Technical > Wheels, Tyres and Brakes

26 inch 40 hole rims availability


We have ridden tandem for about 25 years and have gone thro' all the stages of super light to rugged and comfortable.  This has lead over the years to a stable of tandems with 26 inch, 40 spoke wheels.  For the sort of riding we do, 3000 miles per year made up of fast club runs and 1000 mile self supporting tours we have found 26 in wheels to be strong and reliable with a really good mix of available tyres for all types of surface.
However, it is becoming very difficult, in North America al least, to obtain rims with 40 holes.  Mavic have stopped supporting 40 holes, leaving Sun with the Rhinolite and Mamoth, and Velocity Aero, all of which are difficult to get at short notice.  FIR rims also support 40 holes but are not a serious alternative in any size at the moment, being much too light construction for tandems.
The long term I'm sure is that I will be faced with having to buy new hubs with 36 holes to overcome lack of availability of rims, a propect which does not appeal.  Anyone got any advice?

Nick Payne:
My advice would be not to buy rims one at a time. Next time you find some suitable 40h rims, buy several. Having said that, our experience is that with 26" rims, 36h are quite strong enough for cycle camping on a tandem. We've had a 26" wheeled touring tandem with 36 spoke wheels since 1987, and have never broken a spoke or had the wheels go out of true despite carrying full camping loads over unsealed roads. The original rims have been replaced due to braking surface wear, but the new rims were just laced to the existing original spokes.

A Yamaha Ténéré motorbike has 36 spokes. 36 quality spokes laced 4x and one of the latest freeride/downhill deep section rims makes for a stronger wheel than the old Mavic stuff with 48 Spokes.


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