Riding down steps on a racer - which wheels?!

passout Posts: 4,425
edited August 2008 in Commuting chat
I put the same post on the road gear & know how forum - sorry for cross posting but I really want some answers on this one.....

Are there any wheels which are tough enough to cycle down shallow steps (under the Motorway on the way to work) and take 28mm tyres? Weight isn't my main concern but the wheels must still be suitable for plenty of miles on my winter trainer.

Before anyone asks, I'm 12 stone, refuse to push my bike and know that it's illegal to ride on footpaths (haven't met a pedestrain yet on this short stretch of footpath).

The bike in question is a Trek 1000 road bike. Do you think it will snap? If so what bike would be OK? Presently I use a 17 year old Mountain Bike which has sadly reached the end of it's life. I'd like something faster on the road anyway (which is 95% of the journey) but still strong enough for the city. The Trek is my winter trainer at the moment and ideally I'd like to adapt it a bit more towards commuting / city riding. Plan B is to get a cross bike but or hybrid but i'd rather not.

Would Planet-X's A57 (or 47s?) wheels be OK? What would you suggest? Remember these wheel swill face the odd kerb in an emergency and shallow steps (at low speed) 5 days a week.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.


  • sc999cs
    sc999cs Posts: 596
    Third option is get a MTB for having fun on, and fit slicks to it. Wheels should be strong enough for steps.

    Steve C
    Steve C
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    Yeah. Thing is I want to go faster on road and already have a decent FS MTB for off road stuff. Ideally I'd like less bikes i.e. something that deal swith my commute as outlined above but also cope as a winter trainer road bike. The cheapest option is new wheels for the Trek 1000. But.... you might end up been right I fear.

    Any other suggests? Ta.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • sc999cs
    sc999cs Posts: 596
    Know what you mean. When my commuting bike was stolen I used my Giant OCR for a few weeks until the insurance came through. Loved the ride but as I used a combination of roads, off road cycle paths and rough ground it wasn't really practical. Bought a full suspension MTB to use instead which is now equipped with slicks for commuting and knobblies for fun (wife wouldn't let me buy two bikes...) .

    Are you sure the existing wheels wouldn't cope? The Paris-Roubaix ride goes over some pretty substantial cobbles picture here and I don't think that they use wheels much different from normal (not that I know), just wider tyres and lower pressures.

    Steve C
    Steve C
  • fossyant
    fossyant Posts: 2,549
    A good pair of 36 spoked hand built wheels should do the job !
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    I guess I could try the existing wheels - if I leave enough time to walk to work! Dammit, I will try the existing wheels - wish me luck. I'll get some thicker (28mm) tyres first - any ideas?
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • Mike Healey
    Mike Healey Posts: 1,023
    Somebody else's?
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • I have an 8 year old Trek 1000. The frame is a tough old brute, I'm sure it will cope with what you suggest. The wheels it came with were so p!ss poor they couldn't cope with riding on the road without regularly going out of true, let alone taking on some steps. I am now on a pair of 36 spoke OpenPros with 105 hubs which I built up myself and are pretty bombproof. I regularly go up and down the very cobbly William Brown Street in Liverpool on them, and they have never given any problem. I would reckon they could manage steps if you are VERY gentle. I don't think you'll break the spokes, but you may ding the rim due to the relatively small amount of tyre betwixt it and the step.
    Are you sure there's clearance for 28s on the back? If you have mudguards it'll be VERY tight.
    I\'m here to regulate funkiness
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    I've got those useless race blades so I might squeeze in 28mm tyres. I'll experiment (with one tyre at first) and if not I'll stick it one the front. My Trek is about the same age as yours (postal colours) and yes, the wheels aren't great. I think I've more or less worn them out anyway. I guess a relatively high PSI should help - what do you think?
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • biondino
    biondino Posts: 5,990
    Is it really worth compromising the rest of your cycling by fitting wider tyres purely for some steps? Why not just carry the bike down and ride as normal elsewhere?
  • Bassjunkieuk
    Bassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    I'd agree with biondino on this one, it seems silly to sacrifice speed over the rest of your commute for the sake of a step. How many steps are you going down exactly?

    I try to avoid giving my GIant SCR 3 any hard knocks as I'm not sure how strong it is, but I have taken it down a kerb or 2 with no apparent problems. The back wheel is slightly off true but I put that down to some of the pot holes I've gone down whilst out riding rather then the occasional kerb jump (maybe 3 or 4 times in the 8 months I've owned it)

    If I do need to do kerbs btw I tend to try and take them slowly and move my weight so I'm not pushing down on that wheel, having said that I'm only 10 stone so I'm only just a bit lighter then the OP!
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  • gtvlusso
    gtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    I use Xero wheels - cheap set for £120.

    Cheap to replace!
    Use 700 x 23 Maxxis Detonator tyres
    Strong wheels, bit heavy, but strong.
    Not let me down in a year

    And I go down some steps in town! I am 12.5 stone.....
  • Jon8a
    Jon8a Posts: 235
    Why not have a look at something designed for cyclocross use? They should be strong.

    Personally I'd go for some handbuilt 36 or 32 spoke wheels. Frame wise, something steel maybe a planet x kaffenback.
  • if the steps aren't that big i'd say just plop down them but ride them light.
  • always_tyred
    always_tyred Posts: 4,965
    Are these steps about the height of a kerb?

    If so you should be okay with decent pressure in 25's or 23's and a bit of care. The wheels are strinking a flat paved surface, not an angle after all. It can't be any worse than riding cobbles.

    Getting back might be harder.
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    There are two underpasses next to each other. Each has about seven steps down and seven steps up of course. The steps are shallow, wide and about 5 inches in height. At the moment I ride both down and up these on my old MTB - getting up can be challenging in the wet or if you select the wrong gear. I actually enjoy riding down these steps if I'm honest. I want tough wheels anyway for tow paths, cobbles & kerb hopping in emergencies.

    The MTB'er in me just doesn't accept that I should push plus it's habit now.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.