700c road wheel advice for 100+kg rider

Hello All,

Friend of mine has asked for my advice on wheel choice for his disc brake 700c QR road bike.
I could recommend tonnes of wheels, however not sure any wheels that I would recommend would be suitable for him personally.
He is currently about 110kg (down from about 115kg). He is still actively losing weight with a goal to be around 95-100kg.
I am not in the same height or weight cat as him, so my wheels requirements are quite different, I have the luxury of simply looking at wheel weight and aerodynamics.
Does anyone out there in the WCC group have any quality advice as to what the best choices would be with specific wheels or custom builders in the area.
He is looking for something pretty soonish as he has a couple of events scheduled in September and the rear wheel on his new to him bike (which was perfectly true when he bought it) is already showing signs of being out of true, probably about 1000kms on it.
This is a continuing problem he has had with his old road bike and wheelset and his road/commuter/hybrid bike as well.
What is also tricky is his budget which is likely limited, he hasn’t told me an exact amount, but as his new to him road bike was only $750 ($1400new - 2016) cheaper options would be preferred.
My thoughts would be more around strength and longevity, than aero advantages, as if he keeps things up and loses more weight he could get some fancier race wheels then and still have these as quality training wheels.
Any thoughts and advice is appreciated.


Assuming your friend isn’t snapping spokes I would attempt to true the wheels before buying another set. I’m lighter but I have had stock wheels that refused to stay true to build quality, and I have had custom wheels that have never been trued and abused and still run reasonable. This also assumes the rim is still in reasonable shape.

Parts are hard to come by so it is probably worth checking with the local stores if they have anything suitable. A touring set, although heavy may be the best bet as they will be much stronger than a race wheel. Custom wheels would be nice, but you would need to determine the budget first.

Thanks Rob
He does snap spokes, these wheels can likely be trued and will be just fine, but looking for a sloution that stops this, if possible.
It is very rare that my wheels go out of true, regardless of cheaper alu or expensive carbon race, riding on paved roads after tens of thousands of km’s. But he seems to manage it after a couple of thousand or less and has snapped spokes on each rear wheel he has.
His wheels might not be as good as mine, however the last set were a bontrager TLR set that I am sure would have lasted me just fine, with no issues. He didn’t snap the spokes, but after about 2 or 3000kms they were out of true.
I am quite a bit lighter than he is, so I just don’t have any experience with this at all.

Adam, your friend is certainly going to push stock road wheels to the limits. Most just won’t have the spoke count for heavier riders, especially if they can put out some power.

Likewise for my wheels most run reasonably true, but I have had the odd terrible stock sets that just refused to stay true, but your friend would likely notice that in a couple hundred km.

As for custom builds I haven’t used anyone locally but I would determine the budget and call around to see what is available. Rim choice, spoke count and type all mater. For most of us it is pretty irrelevant but if your heavier or touring then it matters.

For what it is worth I built some wheels last year that have held pretty true given my amateur skills for my cargo bike. I guess the total weight including the bike has been at times in the 170kg range. Now the rear wheel is only a 26 inch but the rims are super stiff and strong and the spoke count is 32 spokes. I’m sure a professional builder could do a better job and give you better advice on choices.

Scribe also has some HD alloy wheels with a capacity of 130kg. Not cheap, not expensive though. I haven’t used Scribe myself but they have some good reviews.

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I’d look for a 36h rear wheel, likely can get away with 32 on the front. The surly disc trucker used to come with 36h QR disc wheels before they changed to thru-axle so there are likely options out there. Black Arrow cycles would be my first call since they’re touring/commuter focused. Gotta make sure the hubs can be spaced to fit the road frame, might be worth double checking the rear dropout spacing.

If you can get a pre-built wheel that matches the spec you can also pay to get the tension checked and balanced as well as the spokes stress-relieved, it should help with longevity from my understanding.

One thing to check on touring wheels is that they’ll be narrow enough to run 28-32mm tires.

Thanks All for the replies, all good advice and much appreciated. Scribe wheels look nice from their website and review well. I will check out Black Arrow and see what they say.
Is there anyone out there in the same weight bracket that has had similar issues with rear wheels and has managed to find an “off the peg option” that worked? I will check out the Surly disc Trucker, any others folks?



Ok, for someone that fits that description to a “T” I do have some experience with road wheel problems. Yes, I am over 110 kg at the moment, but even at my lightest (in March pre knee explosion), I was still in the 100 kg weight range. I have experienced many, many truing and popped spokes in my years of riding. It is most annoying when they sell XL and XXL frames with wheels that are meant for light weight riders… I don’t know many folks who would fit that frame that are EVER going to get down below 90kg… which most stock wheels are maxed out at.
My longest lasting stock wheels have been the Mavic Axium wheels… even with only 24 spokes I can usually get a 10 - 20 THOUSAND km before needing replacement. I purchased a set of those for my first road bike - and they lasted about 50,000 km over two bikes. However, they did need to be trued on occasion. That being said, I agree with Rob D and other’s who have stated that you should be looking at a quality wheel set with a minimum of 28 spokes on the rear… preferably 32. Even with the best quality rims, the lower the spoke count the more issues you will have.
My current bike came equipped with the Axium wheels and … true to my experience … have required truing a couple times in the last 3 years. So, this spring as a present to myself for getting the second shot - and something to look forward to once I’m able to ride outside again - I purchased a set of HUNT wheels (Road/CX Disc Brake Wheels – Hunt Bike Wheels International - link for you)… which are lighter weight … but built with 32 spokes rear (I think 28 front - can’t recall). These WERE to be ready for end of August, but they are having supply issues (go figure) and are now promising mid-October. The wheels are more expensive than a stock wheel, but I am hoping that the expense and build quality will allow me to ride these wheels for at least a decade without issues (as long as I have them maintained regularly).
That is one of the keys to wheel longevity for us bigger riders… having wheels checked on a regular basis - including truing, spoke tensioning, etc. Just like a vehicle… you don’t drive it continuously without oil changes… You should have regular wheel maintenance done to your bikes. Us larger folks have to be very aware of this because stock wheels are not built for our power.
Good luck in your search for a durable quality wheelset.

Thanks Kevin

Completely agree, his frame size is a 58cm, wheels on that bike even stock should be of a reasonable quality to handle the size of rider!

I have personally ridden the Mavic Axium Race wheels for the past several years after they came stock on my bike 8 years ago and they have been faultless. Glad to hear your experience is similar.

I will pass along your advice with the link to HUNT. I know you will have done a lot of research on them and chosen them carefully. I liked the fact that on the website you can filter by weight of rider option!

Thanks everyone, hopefully he manages to figure something out, I am heading out of town to cottage country then on to Quebec for the masters. I won’t really have much access to email for the next week, but feel free to add any other real world experience and suggestions and I’ll check when I can.