New Wheels (for the dry days when they come)

by Simon   January 18, 2009  

Being a bit new to this road bike stuff i was wondering what you guys' thoughts were towards wheels. Thinking of spending 500 - 600 beer tokens on a new set of hoops - Should i go for sexy factory eg Mavic Ksyrium ES/SL or Campy Shamal or build my own - perhaps King hubs - not sure on rims!! Have built wheels before & they came out great. Advice or opinions please & what rims, spokes & 'nips' Ta very much Simon

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I guess it depends what you're going to be doing with those wheels. Are you going to be racking up the sportive/training miles or d'you think they'll get a bit less time outside?

I've hand built wheels too – it's not the black art everyone seems to think it is – but generally speaking you won't save much money. you will get a nice, unique wheelset though. Chris Kings are super-nice, the lightweight Hope hubs build into excellent road wheels too, though the freewheel is a bit noisy.

If you're building your own, don't use Aluminium nippes. They round off too easily and save about 2g for a wheel, just not worth it. Good spokes *really* make a difference to the feel, my favourites are Sapim's CX-Ray though they ain't cheap.

If you've got £500-600 to spend then you're spoilt for choice, again it depends on both the riding you'll be doing and your own weight. Some are lighter, some are stiffer. I'm the wrong side of 100kg so I tend to favour stiff over light, though a good compromise is best. We tested Shimano's RS80 which I really rate as an all-round wheel, although it's Shimano/SRAM only. Then there's Fulcrum Racing 1s which are super stiff and better for racier riding, as well as your Campys and Mavics which are all good performers.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7379 posts]
19th January 2009 - 13:24

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Thanks Dave
You're right about building wheels not being a black art - pretty straight forward with Roger M's Wheelpro book - you just gotta take you time - mind you i am pretty good with hands on stuff.
As for riding - racking up the miles - hopefully a sportive or two. However I would probably go for something more on the racy side of things. Weight 11.5 stone ish but hope to lose the "crimbo pud"
If i was to build - what rims for a nice lightweight set of hoops
Thanks again
Simon

posted by Simon [59 posts]
19th January 2009 - 19:36

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Mavic Open Pros (425g) are hard to beat, in my opinion, and readily available. DT Swiss RR 1.1s are 10g lighter but pricier. If you can find anyone who'll sell you an American Classic CR350 rim then they weigh in at 350g and I don't think you'd find anything lighter. Hen's teeth though.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7379 posts]
19th January 2009 - 20:46

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I was having these same thoughts recently and was close to buying these:

http://www.hedwheels.com/productlist.kmod?ProductTypeId=1&contentid=18&c...

Just spotted that a year ago they were £500 and now £699 though.

Blackhound's picture

posted by Blackhound [444 posts]
24th January 2009 - 10:46

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Hey Blackhound - Look Niiice to me - did you get some?
Seems like they are very light & 'reasonable'???!!! price

posted by Simon [59 posts]
24th January 2009 - 21:15

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Looked late September just after price increase to £550, Decided to wait until March as I wouldn't use them before then. TBH at £700 not sure I want to pay that much as I don't believe I am good enough. They were top of my list though. (Review on Bike Radar if you are interested)

Blackhound's picture

posted by Blackhound [444 posts]
25th January 2009 - 15:34

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Apologies for butting in, but I have this conundrum too. I have a pair of robust and faithful open pros on ultegra, but I felt last year in the local road race league that something with a degree of aero-ness about them would have really helped. Plus, this year I'm doing the etape - and I think I'll need all the help I can get there Smile

I think clincher is gonna have to be the way to go, but I can't decide if it is worth spanking cash on something 'aero' like the Reynolds Attack, or the Easton EC70s, or even the DA 7850's, or try to build my own up. I can build wheels pretty well, though I've pretty much only ever built 3x, my open pros are 36 spoke 3 cross (bombproof!), so if I got a nice rim and laced a pair up radial/half radial with low spoke count, bladed spokes, would they be comparable? Can you get 'aero' rims on their tod? I don't mind a bit of a fiddle.

posted by anotherdeadhero [17 posts]
29th January 2009 - 17:16

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not sure -  none of the deep section wheels we've had in this post so far are available as a rim only as far as i know, although with a bit of cajoling you might be able to get them as 'spares'. If you can find them, and you build them up with good spokes, there's no reason why they shouldn't be comparable, but again i'm not sure you'd save much money.

on the question of the etape: do you stand to gain more with a heavier aero wheel, or with a lighter standard wheel? i don't know the definitive answer, just askin'...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7379 posts]
29th January 2009 - 17:47

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Since the Étape involves mainly climbing, I'd go with a lightweight set of wheels any day. Even with my 13st bouncing around on them (my Xero XCR-1s do bend a bit when I'm out of the saddle), I reckon that's more beneficial that heavier, but more aerodynamic wheels.

I'm a bit of a convert to handbuilts, and have a friend who has started his own wheelbuilding business. I shall be running a pair of his wheels (nothing fancy: open pros on 105 hubs) during the Tour of Flanders sportive. That's if they survive the winter commuting....

With £600 you could get something pretty damned light and handbuilt from the likes of Pete Matthews or Paul Hewitt.

posted by ourmaninthenorth [93 posts]
29th January 2009 - 17:54

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look like they'd be up for selling you rims on their own:
http://tinyurl.com/bccngq
Smile

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [302 posts]
29th January 2009 - 17:54

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Good question dave, ideally I'd like a wheelset which has a better aero performance and which is lighter, but it all comes down to budget. The aero component is more for road racing, whereas the etape is probably more likely to be a one-off. Besides, I'm pretty sure I'll be running a compact or a triple.

Cheers for the link cactuscat, I've requested a quote, be interesting to see what I could lace my own up for.

posted by anotherdeadhero [17 posts]
29th January 2009 - 18:16

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Col de la Tipping Point:

http://www.cervelo.com/slideshow.aspx?id=4

Which is better? aero or lighweight? obviously they're dealing with frames but it's an interesting read...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7379 posts]
29th January 2009 - 18:22

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Ah so aero *is* the way to go then ... especially since I can drop considerably more than the mass availible in total on my wheelset from this here beer filter Wink Especially since wheels tend to do this spinning around thing which frames don't tend to so much ...

So if I can build/buy a nice aero wheelset that weighs in around 1500 grams for around 600-700 sheets I'm onto a winner. I wonder what my open pro/ultegra set weigh.

*wanders off to find kitchen scales*

posted by anotherdeadhero [17 posts]
29th January 2009 - 18:41

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at least i don't think so. the rotating mass of the wheels makes a bigger impact than the static weight of the frame, so a smaller weight saving there would be more significant. but i can't do the maths on it Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7379 posts]
29th January 2009 - 19:37

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If the wheels are going to be for general riding duties, I find the deep section of aero wheels tends to make them a real handful on breezy days.

Side winds can have you really hanging on and concentrating on just keeping a line, so the benefits of the aero section can also be a real drawback.

I am a fan of Mavic SL's (the ES replacement), my set are okay as far as aero dynamics go, the spokes are good, but the rim is pretty square so overall they are just okay in that respect. They are light enough to be a decent wheel on climbs, but stiff enough to corner and sprint well and extremely durable so that you can happily use them everyday and not have to worry about them going out of true. They also perform well on windy days, and don't drag you all over the place.

But then I really liked my R-Sys wheels despite what people seemed to say about them, that was until they morphed into a pair of Askium's! Roll on March 31st....

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
30th January 2009 - 13:12

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DaSy wrote:
If the wheels are going to be for general riding duties, I find the deep section of aero wheels tends to make them a real handful on breezy days.

I hear what you are saying, but they're going to be race wheels, not general riding wheels, i.e. only used for events and if it is a *really* breezy day I can make the choice on the line. Desides, I wasn't thinking of an 80mm section - more 35-50mm.

posted by anotherdeadhero [17 posts]
30th January 2009 - 13:48

1 Like