Replacement wheels for winter bike

by pirnie   December 9, 2013  

Hi all,

So, I've been cleaning my winter bike this evening and servicing the rear hub I've found the bearing cones are starting to get pitted and the rims are fairly worn now so I feel some new wheels may be just round the corner....

These are stock Bontrager wheels that come with lower end Treks, and have been bombproof throughout their life so far. I'm looking to replace them with something, ideally, equally as strong that can take the punishment of bad weather and bad roads the winter here throws at them, but ideally that doesn't cost too much.

Anyone got any recommendations? I'm open to the idea of getting some handbuilts, so if anyone can suggest any good wheelbuilders in the north east or north west, that might be helpful too.


17 user comments

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Mavic Aksium race - awesome and affordable!

posted by Cridge [5 posts]
9th December 2013 - 23:33

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I'd say the answer depends on your budget.

32 spoke Open Pro with something like 105 hubs and d/b spokes is a traditional, strong, rebuildable wheel. Paul Hewitt is a well known builder but there are others with a good reputation like Al at Wheelcraft and Wheelsmith, both in Scotland.

Otherwise Shimano R500 might be worth a look, Parker have them at £95 at the moment (here).

I bought some Giant PR2 wheels from a local guy who bought a Defy and upgraded almost immediately, though I have yet to try them on the road. Pairs sell on ebay regularly.

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posted by Simon E [1940 posts]
10th December 2013 - 0:01

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Simon E wrote:
I'd say the answer depends on your budget.

32 spoke Open Pro with something like 105 hubs and d/b spokes is a traditional, strong, rebuildable wheel. .

+1 although in the end I went for H + Son Archetype on Ambrosio Zenith (the former for the wider rim and the latter because Sam at LMNH said they were more interesting than 105s).

posted by deblemund [83 posts]
10th December 2013 - 0:24

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105 or ideally Ultegra hubs laced to Open Pro's (cheap option) or if there's room in the budget Velocity A23 or H+Son Archetype rims.

The hubs only come in 32 or 36 hole but 32/32 will be stronger than any factory build even laced up with Sapim Lazers (probably wise to go Race non drive side rear).

My winter wheels are basically Ultegra/Open Pro and while they're not light they are outstanding as a do anything, almost no maintenance wheelset and unlike most factory wheels you can maintain the hubs easily.

posted by racingcondor [109 posts]
10th December 2013 - 9:23

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The entry level Hope Hoops are pretty damn good - they may ge a bit pricey but pretty tough, well sealed and with all bits replaceable. And made in UK.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
10th December 2013 - 11:31

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+1 Open Pro built around a hub of your choice. Will also put a bit of trade your local lbs way

posted by woollee23 [92 posts]
10th December 2013 - 12:17

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if you're looking for wheelbuilders in the North East then you could try Tony at Cycle Art in Prudhoe, comes recommended. M Steels in Gosforth also build wheels, plus there are online builders like Just Riding Along.

For off the shelf wheels the Shimano R501 can be had for £70 a pair from Ribble.

My all purpose wheels are 32h mavic cxp22 on tiagra hubs, workmanlike and not exactly super light but they are as tough as old boots.

re: hope hoops, a mate has some and I wasn't all that impressed, they are just bog standard parts. Besides, you can build a whole wheel on 105 hubs for the same price as a hope rear hub on its own.

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posted by joemmo [787 posts]
10th December 2013 - 14:07

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Fulcrum Racing 5 CX, very solid and spin beautifully. Been using these over the last two winters, very happy and tremendous value.

posted by Metjas [281 posts]
10th December 2013 - 17:14

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Support your local wheelbuilder—custom wheels are back big time! Ambrosio or Miche or Hope hubs on Archetype or A23 rims, and you can get 20/24H, no need for 32H hubs unless you insist on 105 or Ultegra (both very good).

Say no to unmaintainable factory wheels!

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posted by harman_mogul [120 posts]
10th December 2013 - 17:27

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Handbuilts all the way - and not just cos I'm currently selling a very nice pair at the moment!

Open Pro on some good hubs will be perfect, and you can simply get them rebuilt with new rims when you eventually wear them out. Plus you can justify better hubs on handbuilts, which can be rebuilt, than on wheels that you'll have to throw away when the hubs wear out.

Let us know what you get!

posted by step-hent [669 posts]
10th December 2013 - 17:33

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I'd go hand built as all parts are easy to maintain and replace. There are plenty of good hubs about, I've had a good experience with Shimano and Miche hubs and Mavic and Ambrosio rims. The best thing for me is that replacement spokes can be found anywhere and that you don't have to throw them out if you wear out the rims.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [309 posts]
11th December 2013 - 0:01

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Hope Hoops. Fit and forget. Nothing to adjust or service.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [178 posts]
11th December 2013 - 1:09

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Okay, so having looked at my options, I think I've made my decision. I'm not that keen on the cheaper factory wheels (R500, aksiums etc) as there always seems to be mixed reviews from heavier riders, and the lack of rebuildability.

Having spoken to a friend who's built wheels before, and I trust knows what he's doing, he's gonna build me a set on 105 hubs on CXP22 rims, 32h for £160. Should be slightly lighter than the Bontragers and strong enough to deal with the winter

posted by pirnie [184 posts]
11th December 2013 - 17:40

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I have a pair of 2014 Fulcrum 5's. Cant fault them.

posted by dunnoh [172 posts]
11th December 2013 - 22:45

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Don't dismiss Aksiums, I have a set from 2008, still going strong despite my 90kg plus weight and several thousand km of riding.

I have replaced the freehub twice in 5 years, two spokes in the rear wheel because the nipples seized and the rear wheel bearings last week, but they have been superb.

They are now used on my winter bike.

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posted by manoirdelourde [28 posts]
11th December 2013 - 23:22

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@ manoirdelourde, if it were 2008 or I could still buy new aksiums from then I'd agree with you! But from what I've read they're a very different set of wheels now.

posted by pirnie [184 posts]
12th December 2013 - 10:15

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My friend built me a pair of Mavic A319's, for my hybrid commuter.. Laced with DT Swiss spokes and on Superstar Switch Evo hubs.. Have some all condition armadillos in 28's fitted & can go up to a 47mm if I want..Easily the strongest pair of wheels I've had & should take anything our crappy roads & weather can throw at them.. My friend lives in Barnoldswick & is a highly regarded wheelbuilder..Not sure if this is any good to you, but I could pass on his details if you want..

posted by smuggers [24 posts]
12th December 2013 - 10:34

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