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WHEELS, SPOKES, WEIGHT, STRENGTH

All wheels for practical riding should have at least 32 spokes. The aerodynamics of 16 to 28 spoke wheels means nothing outside of a race, and they're weaker to boot. This chart shows the meager weight saved by cutting spokes.

# of spokes

How long mm

14ga. plain

14 ga. butted

Oz. per wheel

28

292

243.6

215.6

8.6/7.6

32

292

278.4

246.4

9.8/8.7

36

292

313.2

277.2

11/9.8

 

The weights assume brass nipples. You save an ounce a wheel with each four-spoke subtraction.. But as you go to fewer spokes, the spokes get longer, saving you less weight; and fewer spokes creates less wind drag; but with more spokes, the spokes draft one another better. This is a problem with this kind of meaningless detail. The nonsense kicks in and can go on almost forever, until it butts into this: If you want strong, reliable wheels, ride more spokes, heavier rims, and bigger & softer tires.