Update: Spinergy wheels for heavy riders

Posted by SuperClydesdale on July 29, 2010 under Road Bike Components, Wheels | 6 Comments to Read

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the Spinergy experience to date.  After returning from my business trip, I was able to run the Spinergy wheel to my local bike shop (couldn’t get to Don the Whippet in time) to have them true up the wheel with the new spoke tools I received from Spinergy after the defective one that came with the wheels broke.

The S-Works with the Spinergy wheels back on. They sure do look good. Notice that I still have not transferred my beloved Selle-Anatomica saddle over yet

I want to use the new wheels on a ride I’m doing this weekend, the Shasta Summit Century, so I was in a rush and the LBS was nice enough to true up the wheel immediately.  The wheel needed to be trued because:

  • The rear wheel was making a lot of noise.  Spinergy said that all of the spokes had to have their tension increased in an effort to stop the squeeking.   I guess I’m too damn heavy for limp spokes.
  • In the process of tightening the spokes to Spinergy’s specifications, the metal on the end a spoke snapped, and the spoke had to be replaced.  Spinergy mails some new spokes.
  • The new spoke came and as the wheel was being trued when the special Spinergy spoke tool that came with the wheelset broke.  Spinergy mails a new spoke tool.
  • New spoke tool came, off to the local bike shop….

Nobody at the local bike shop had virtual online casino ever seen a PBO spoke.  I showed them a loose spoke, which looks like a thick piece of limp spaghetti, and there was a lot of gathering around, “hey, check this out!”  Everyone passed a spoke around and just smiled with amazement at how floppy it was.

This shop is the same shop that custom made my other wheels, so they know wheels and they have seen pretty much every brand under the sun — until Spinergy.  I guess they are pretty unusual.

I gave the owner, who is also the head mechanic, the wheel and the spoke tools.  He put the wheel on the truing stand and got to work.  He was amazed at how difficult it was to turn the Spinergy wrench.  He had to insert a small awl through the wrench just to get enough leverage to turn it, and remained nervous that the spoke or the tool or both would snap at any moment due to the incredible amount of force he had to use to get the thing to turn, saying “I’ve never seen such a crappy design on a tool.”

The small Taiwanese children that probably make these things must have incredible strength to be building these wheels  for 20 hours a day.

After about 10 minutes, though, the wheel was straight and true, and its back on the bike.

So, the bike is back to looking sleek and sexy with the Spinergy wheels, and now awaits some big climbs this weekend on the Shasta Summit Century.

Stay tuned…

  • empire builder said,

    RIGHT THROUGH THE RIM! I was “only” 200 lbs back then, and I’m sure that the product has improved in the intervening decade. However this just goes to show that spoke breakage is not the only wheel failure mode that clydes need to worry about, and maybe – just maybe – tightening the bejesus out of the spokes until the mechanic’s fingers go numb may not be the optimal approach.

    BTW I was riding Ride The Rockies at the time, and when I showed my wheel to the Rolf Rep he was only too happy to lend me a set of demo wheels for the next few days. Despite only having 16 spokes, I was amazed that they never went out of true. Then for the last 2 days of the ride I demo’d the Cane Creeks with the Ti spokes, and it was love at first pedal stroke. I own 3 pairs of those bad boys (and one more in stainless steel) and I love ‘em. Too bad Cane Creek got out of the wheel business!

  • empire builder said,

    RIGHT THROUGH THE RIM! I was “only” 200 lbs back then, and I’m sure that the product has improved in the intervening decade. However this just goes to show that spoke breakage is not the only wheel failure mode that clydes need to worry about, and maybe – just maybe – tightening the bejesus out of the spokes until the mechanic’s fingers go numb may not be the optimal approach.

    BTW I was riding Ride The Rockies at the time, and when I showed my wheel to the Rolf Rep he was only too happy to lend me a set of demo wheels for the next few days. Despite only having 16 spokes, I was amazed that they never went out of true. Then for the last 2 days of the ride I demo’d the Cane Creeks with the Ti spokes, and it was love at first pedal stroke. I own 3 pairs of those bad boys (and one more in stainless steel) and I love ‘em. Too bad Cane Creek got out of the wheel business!

  • empire builder said,

    Sorry, my previous post got mangled by my browser. The first part that got chopped off should have read:

    I rode Spinergy wheels back around the turn of the century, and while they were very comfortable (especially on my 69cm Cannondale!) and I never broke a spoke, nonetheless one of the spokes PULL RIGHT THROUGH THE RIM! …

  • empire builder said,

    Sorry, my previous post got mangled by my browser. The first part that got chopped off should have read:

    I rode Spinergy wheels back around the turn of the century, and while they were very comfortable (especially on my 69cm Cannondale!) and I never broke a spoke, nonetheless one of the spokes PULL RIGHT THROUGH THE RIM! …

  • SuperClydesdale said,

    Update: I will write a follow-up article on this as well. After one season, I did find a crack in the rim, at one of the spoke holes. Spinergy did replace the rim for free, as it was still under warranty. It was great that Spinergy replaced the rim, but I am concerned that it cracked after one season. I sold the wheelset to a lighter rider. More symptoms as well (the creaking returned).

  • SuperClydesdale said,

    Update: I will write a follow-up article on this as well. After one season, I did find a crack in the rim, at one of the spoke holes. Spinergy did replace the rim for free, as it was still under warranty. It was great that Spinergy replaced the rim, but I am concerned that it cracked after one season. I sold the wheelset to a lighter rider. More symptoms as well (the creaking returned).

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