How Many Spokes Are on a Mountain Bike Wheel?

Last Updated on November 24, 2020
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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How Many Spokes are on a mountain bike wheel?

The thin rods that connect the hub to the rim are known as spokes. The hub is that part at the centre which features an axle and a rotation bearing. The circular frame is known as the rim.  You can easily identify them by the bend located at the end of the hub. They are attached to the hub flange or the collar of the hub.

About 30 years ago, mountain bike wheels had 36 spokes. However, the British standards were 40 spokes on the rear wheel and 32 on the front. This gave a total of 72 spokes. However, one member of the marketing team came up with the idea of reducing the number of spokes to 32. The argument was that these wheels would use lesser material and would be cost effective to produce.

Instead, the wheels produced were a bit weak and less durable. Again, they were more expensive than the previous models. However, they really worked well for an average user who didn’t require to use the mountain bile frequently. These wheels were later improved until everyone was happy with their performance. This trend has continued and today you can find wheels with 24 spokes.

 

Number of spokes in a modern mountain bike wheel

The material, shape and number of spokes in a modern mountain bike may vary. Those that have the highest number of spokes are known to be very durable and robust. The number of spokes in the rear and front wheel is also different. However, the standard mountain bike wheel has between 24 and 28 spokes on the front wheel while the rear wheel has between28-32 spokes. However, the number of spokes continues to go down which in turn reduces the weight of the wheel.

 

Types of Spokes

The major types of spokes are usually straight pull or J-bend. The major differences between the two are that straight pulls do not have a bend at the head and they also require specific hubs.  The J-bends are the traditional spokes which has a 90 degrees bend at the end of the hub. The good thing about the J-bend spokes is that they are easier to replace as compared to the straight pull spokes.

Some spokes are made of carbon fiber, aluminum while others are made of titanium. However, steel spokes are the best and the most common.

 

Conclusion

The mountain bike spokes varies in numbers and each size is suitable for a specific purpose. They also vary in terms of thickness and materials. However, the most common number of spokes is 24, 28 and 32. Some mountain bikes have up to 48 spokes.  However, if you are heavy, you should look for a bike with between 36 to 48 spokes. These ones provide more support and stability when riding. If you are not heavy or you are a medium rider, avoid using a mountain bike with many spokes because these bikes are a bit heavy. When buying, you also need to determine the type, length and gauge of the spoke.

 

Sources:

1. How to Replace a Bicycle Spoke – Post by How Stuff Works

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