Was out on a ride this morning (it’s the middle of summer down here in New Zealand) and was at the back of a biggish bunch when a heard a loud BANG – and then had to take evasive action as a rider in front was obviously struggling to control his bike – and get it to a stop. Ended up in the grass on the side of the road – no harm done.
Turns out – he’d broken a spoke on his rear wheel – and the wheel was so badly buckled that it wouldn’t turn without rubbing hard on the frame – so it was completely unridable. Nothing to be done – but to get the cell phone out and get someone to pick him up.
But it got me to thinking about spoke counts and heavy riders… Not that he was heavy – pretty tall but was a skinny Swiss guy. But he had a low spoke count and one of those lacing patterns where there are 3 spokes close together – then a good sized gap – then another 3 etc etc… He told me that this was the third time he’d broken a spoke with the same result each time. He looked like a pretty handy rider too – which was lucky – as a lesser experienced rider might have gone down – and taken others down too – which would really have spoiled our Boxing Day ride…
As I’d stopped – we got to talking and he looked me up and down and asked if I’d had problems with broken spokes. (I’m 198cm and 127kg – so I guess I looked like a likely candidate). But I was happily able to answer him – that I used to break spokes (and frames) regularly- but since I’d had my Zinn bike and the wheels that they put together for me – I hadn’t broken a single spoke in 3 years and a lot of kms.
For someone my size – this is a big statement! (especially since I race on the bike a lot and I only have the one set of wheels – so they are my racing/training/commuting wheels)
When I bought my bike – my brief was something like “give me the best and most robust wheels you can for around $400 ” (this was all the budget would allow) I knew that they specialised in big bikes and big riders – so I put my trust in them. What they put together has been absolutely bullet proof. DT Swiss TK 7.1 36 hole rims (front and back) laced up to 36 hole Ultegra hubs. And they have just been outstanding.
The only time they’ve ever had to be looked at – was when I got involved in a coming together on a descent – and ended up riding down a ditch at fairly high speed – and the net result of that was the slightest of buckles in the rear wheel – that was fixed at the local bike shop in a jiffy. ( the other guy on the other hand went over the handlebars and snapped his forks in two!)
As I said – they are my everything wheels – race/train/commuting – and they haven’t missed a beat. And that is hugely confidence inspiring… I know now that I can get out of the saddle and sprint or climb – and that nothing is going to break.
Anyway – that’s my observations and experience from 3 years with a set of wheels that Zinn Built