Question: I weigh 210 (aiming for a svelte 200 soon) and am dreaming of a cross-country ride in the next few years. What wheels should I use, aero or traditional 32 spokes? — Stan M.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Call me an old fogy, but I like traditional three-cross 32-spoke wheels built with sturdy rims, especially for training and long-distance tours like the one you’re planning.
These wheels are easy to maintain. You can touch true them right on the bike, and it’s simple to replace a broken spoke.
Some of the exotic machine-built wheels can’t be repaired by a small-town bike shop, much less by the side of the road. And if they have deep V-section rims they might require special valve-stem extenders or tubes with extra-long stems. You won’t find these tubes in many small-town shops.
Standard 32-spoke wheels aren’t as light and aerodynamic, but this doesn’t matter on a tour or for daily training. It’s great to have a pair of fancy wheels, but save them for special events such as races or fast centuries.