I bought a used bike which has 24 front spoke and 28 rear spoke.

I'd like to use this bike to go Tour divide.

  1. Do I need more spokes on front?

  2. I'd like to setup a dynamo system, I see there are not many brands which offer dynamo hubs for less than 28 spokes.

Is it a bad idea to use dynamo hub on 24 spokes when you are riding a ultra long distance such as tour divide?

  • 5
    You can't look at the spoke count in isolation. In general, yes, more spokes bring more reliability. But a low quality 36-spoke wheel won't be as reliable as a premium 24-spoke wheel. If you want a dynamo hub (good choice, I love mine), you're not going to be able to reuse your existing spokes, even if you match the spoke count.
    – Paul H
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 15:22
  • 4
    In my opinion replacing the current hub with dynamo doesn't make much sense. Building a new wheel from scratch is less work even if you decide to not buy a complete wheel, the saved cost at maximum the price of the rim and you get to keep the original wheel.
    – ojs
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 15:32
  • 1
    As long as you are not riding a race, a low spoke count is useless. It's effect on bike performance is minimal, but a 24 spoke wheel simply only has 2/3 of the structural strength as an equally well-built 36 spoke wheel. And, when you build in a dynamo hub, you are obviously not fussed with the marginal gains of low spoke counts. I would simply buy/build a 36 spoke wheel with a dynamo hub, if I were you. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 15:38
  • 1
    @cmaster-reinstatemonica the Tour Divide can be a race, but one that is served better by rugged kit than fast, lightweight kit
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 15:50
  • 1
    Can’t wait for juhist’s response...although I will agree that for this type of event, a stronger wheel is probably your best bet.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


The main reason for reducing spoke count is to improve aerodynamics. This usually goes along with a deeper-section rim, which makes up for the strength lost with the missing spokes. Generally when there are fewer spokes, each spoke is at a higher tension, although that's not always the case. Highly tensioned spokes are more likely to be pushed past their limits of elasticity, which leads to breakage.

Too few spokes will increase the likelihood of spoke breakage. I'm not sure if 24 is "too few" in this context. The effects of a broken spoke are magnified when there are fewer spokes--the wheel will go farther out of true.

The fact that you'll be using a dyno hub will not affect the sturdiness of the wheel. I think this comes down to how handy you are, and how risk-averse you are. You should at any rate be carrying spare spokes for an ultra event. You'll be buying a new hub and new spokes anyhow; you could buy a new rim for added peace of mind.

  • 1
    Rims are cheap compared to dynamo hubs, and you can often find prebuilt 32- or 36-spoke dynamo wheels cheaper than the cost of the parts.
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 15:48
  • 2
    " The main reason for reducing spoke count is to improve aerodynamics" not necessarily. Spokes have weight, as do nipples. More spokes means more weight which makes bikes & wheels harder to sell compared with lighter models, even if that weight is not very significant to the rider.
    – thelawnet
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 18:08
  • I think it also comes down to system weight. A 54kg woman with 5kg of luggage on a 7kg bike (66kg in total) is a completely different story compared to a heavy 85kg man with 20kg of luggage on a 15kg bike (120kg in total).
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 19:00
  • With disc brakes one is often fin with a broken spoke or even two. Alas, I had ridden many miles on a rim-brake road bike with a broken spoke before my freewheel tool came from e-bay and spokes from another e-shop (they ask an arm and a leg to change spokes in the UK) . If the spokes are not too few, you just adjust a bit with a centering wrench and keep going. Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 9:18

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