Wheels and Tires

Velocity bicycle rim
40h Velocity Chukker

I would like to take the credit for these wheels, I think they are beautiful, but I can’t. I wanted an extremely strong and reliable wheelset since I am a big guy and they will be hauling a pretty big load. When I am rolling down the road , me the bike, and all of my gear can be over 400 pounds.

Yeah, I know.


Wide Load
Wide Load

The choice was mine to buy the best possible hubs I could afford so I chose a Phil Wood Touring Rear hub with 135mm spacing and 40 hole flanges. The Phil hubs are strong and have a great reputation for reliability. In addition they are serviceable, should I need to they can be rebuilt. I don’t think I will live long enough to see that happen. The rest of the components were chosen by Peter White, of Peter White Cycles in Hillsborough New Hampshire.

Phil Wood Hub with cassette installed
Phil Hub with Cassette Installed

I explained that I was planning extended road tours and that I weigh much more than your typical cyclist. He confirmed my choice of the Phil hub in 40h configuration. The hub was paired with a Velocity Chukker aero style wheel not for the slipperiness but the additional material gives this rim a lot of strength.

An additional benefit I experienced was that these wheels dissipate heat extremely well due to a lot of surface area outside of the brake sweep area. I have done some very long, very fast descents fully loaded, intentionally coming to a hard full stop and carefully checking the temp of the rims. They were warm but not at all hot. I don’t even think about that anymore, no need to alternate between front and rear to allow cooling, just ride and use the brakes as they are needed.

I am not sure but the I don’t think the 40h version of the Chukker is a standard offering but are being custom drilled for Peters shop by Velocity. Wheelsmith 14g-15g Spokes tie them together.


Bicycle generator hub
Schmidt SON28 40h Generator Hub

The choice of hubs in the front was very easy. I wanted a generator and the Wilfried Schmidt SON28 is arguably the best ever made. It comes in a 40h version and would provide me with more than enough power so I am never tethered to an electrical outlet. There is a lot more information about the front hub in the electrical system section of the build. I get into its output, how I use it and what kind of trade off there is in regards to drag. Let me say here that the drag is insignificant, you can read all kinds of things on the internet about drag and this vs that, but in real life if you are riding along and sneeze twice you have probably lost as much efficiency as this imposes in an entire day.

It was paired with a matching Velocity Chukker and Wheelsmith spokes like in the rear.

Peter White stands behind his stuff. If he recommends (or approves of) a wheel, spoke and hub combination that he builds, it has his LIFETIME GUARANTEE.

Good enough for me.


Schwalbe bicycle tire
Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700 x 32

Nothing gets the internet forums lit up like a discussion about what are the best tires for touring. I went with Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700c x 32 because they have a reputation for reliability. That’s it, no analysis of rolling resistance, sidewall compliance and rebound or tread pattern performance vs coefficient of friction nonsense. I just don’t want flats, any trade off short of filling them with cement is OK with me. As of this writing I have over 7,000 flat free miles on them including a Vancouver to Key West  via Norfolk VA ride and they look like they have at least that many more left in them. The reflective sidewalls are a nice extra too.

Continental bicycle tire
Continental Tour Ride (700×45) 28×1.6

I recently decided to ride the C&O GAP trail from Washington DC to Pittsburgh PA. Since most of this trail is crushed limestone and gravel I decided to trade off the known toughness of the Schwalbes for a larger footprint. Since this may be a one off ride I went with a lower cost tire, the Continental  Tour Ride in a 45 width. That is the largest tire I can fit without removing my fenders.



Bicycle Touring as a lifestyle