Best 700c Clinchers for sub £500?

by spicypedro   December 11, 2012  

This year I bought a new frameset (Argon18 Radon) and a new groupset (105) but I'm still running my old wheels (OpenPro on 105 on the back and whatever the Bonty factory wheel was that came with my 2009 Trek 1.5 on the front).

The bike upgrade made a real difference to my performance as well as my enjoyment of riding. I also lost 6 stone in weight in 6 months, which probably contributed.

For next season I want to upgrade my wheelset. I'll have a maximum of £500 to spend before The Wife has my nuts and I'm after some advice on the best options.

Obviously I'd like this to be a meaningful upgrade. Something that will make me notice the difference and feel like I'm riding on better wheels.

So what are my best options?

26 user comments

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Mavic Ksyrium Elites - mine have been bulletproof, not the lightest on the market but really tough and you will definitely notice a difference...

posted by jimmo62 [59 posts]
11th December 2012 - 11:25


can you stretch to Duraace c24's might be in reach somewhere on the web

otherwise maybe go for some handbuilts with something like a velocity a23 rim

posted by titusrider [26 posts]
11th December 2012 - 11:32


A friend has recommended getting a handbuilt set of OpenPros on Hope Pro3 hubs, and makes some good arguments for this option.

Any dissenting opinions?

posted by spicypedro [102 posts]
11th December 2012 - 11:55


I've just been through the same debate and literally this morning ended up ordering a set of Ksyrium Elites. Heard good things about them, both online and from friends.

I've had a set of Shimano RS80s in the past which were lovely, but just not stiff enough at my weight (80-85kg) and the back rim's worn out in about 8 months rubbing against the brake pads. I've heard that the Dura-Ace C24s can suffer the same problem but I have no experience of them.

posted by pirnie [217 posts]
11th December 2012 - 12:42


There are some brand new Ksyrium Elites for sale on the forum:

Other names that come to mind are RS80s, Fulcrum Racing 3, American Classic Victory or 420 Aero, Pro-Lite Bracchiano and Planet X AL30s.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2375 posts]
11th December 2012 - 15:26


Ksyrium Elites. Mine are just under 4 years old, 3500 miles or so, 1 spoke replaced after it went in a fast corner recently, but otherwise never been touched. When I bought aero wheels for the carbon bike this summer they moved from there to the audax. When the spoke went I put the RS20 back wheel in and immediately felt the difference. I'm currently just under 100kgs, but I have been over for most of the last 4 years, so good for Clydesdales.

posted by robdaykin (not verified) [145 posts]
11th December 2012 - 15:56


These Planet X aero clinchers are £399 so well in budget. Tell the missus you saved money!

Kudos on the weight loss. If I lost 6 stone I would be 8 stone and a mountain goat.

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1760 posts]
11th December 2012 - 16:10


OK, in support of any Fulcrum wheels ... I have had my Fulcrum Racing 7s since June 2007. I have not had a single spoke break and only had to replace the pawl springs (plus the sprockets of course) with regular commuting etc. If the more expensive Fulcrums are anything like mine, they will be extremely reliable.
Interesting suggestion of Open Pros and Hope hubs ... I have been wondering about building some wheels up (as I used in the 70s and 80s to race) and have seriously considered that combination, too.
My mate owns a cycle shop and he has always had good things to say about Mavics, by the way.

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [229 posts]
11th December 2012 - 16:17


I recently bought some Fulcrum Racing 3s and although I don't have anything in a similar price range to compare them to I am really pleased with them. I noticed a huge difference between them and the CXP22s that came with the bike so I don't think you'd be disappointed if you went for them.

posted by gillerz960 [13 posts]
11th December 2012 - 16:31


Something hand built - Open Pro/Hope combo would be nice. I have a pair of hand built wheels(Dt240s on Dt rims) that I find a whole lot nicer to ride than Kysiriums (SSC SLs). Plus when you wear through the rim you just buy another one ....
Nice list of possibilities here -

posted by MattT53 [144 posts]
11th December 2012 - 16:34


I like handbuilt. Just getting some hope pro 3s, cx-ray spokes and h plus son archetype rims for about £500. Very nice. I have lots of factory wheels all the way through the price range from R500's, ultegra, rs80 etc. to silly expensive zipps. They are ok but I just dont like them as much, plus I wear them out an they are a pain/expensive to get new rims etc.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
11th December 2012 - 17:23


American Classic 420 Aero 3's No discussion IMHO light and good looking. Thinking Wink

posted by philsinclair [11 posts]
11th December 2012 - 17:32


I think Shimano RS80 or Fulcrum Racing 3 or one of the better Ksyriums should do.

I paid £315 for my RS80s at Merlin and they can often be found at that price. They are so light and free-rolling that I'm always having to brake when out with my friends. You get the Dura-Ace rims and a Shimano hub that uses sensible adjustable cup and cone bearings that can be serviced and should last for ages.

drmatthewhardy's picture

posted by drmatthewhardy [564 posts]
11th December 2012 - 19:45


Campagnolo Zonda, great all rounders at around £300. Fast and true, I'm very happy with mine.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [346 posts]
11th December 2012 - 20:59


I second the Ksyrium Elites - great acceleration, great climbers, easy tyre mount, bombproof with easily serviced, 'on the fly' adjustable bearings - cracking wheelset.

For the money they are hard to beat and last for ages.

Had Fulcrum R1's on my Colnago, but for some reason (hard to put a finger on it) just liked the KE's more.

Hope this helps your search.


Trikeman. Wink

Grunt, puff, pant and groan goes the old man - but he gets there in the end. ;o)

trikeman's picture

posted by trikeman [390 posts]
11th December 2012 - 22:15


I got some Mavic Pro on hope hubs from Evans and they have managed 2000+ miles without skipping a beat. I wanted something reliable and that could be serviced easily. There are lighter options but they generally have a lower spoke count which I didn't feel was a good idea for a commuter banging over potholes.

posted by musicalmarc [91 posts]
11th December 2012 - 22:26


+1 for the Hopes/Open Pro musicalmarc. I've had a set for 3 years, done 5800 miles. Funnily enough had a rear (drive side) spoke break yesterday. The main bearings in the rear hub were replaced after 3100 miles as they felt slightly rough when spinning the wheel by hand. Other than that have trained, commuted, toured and done sportives on them in all weathers without a hitch.

Exercising my rights by taking them cycling

posted by pedalingparamedic [94 posts]
11th December 2012 - 23:09


I use Fulcrum racing 7s on a winter hack and racing 3's on a carbon frame dry weather only bike, both sets are excellent, no spoke breakages they never seem to go out of true and the bearings are very smooth.
The only Mavic wheels I've used in the past are Aksiums which are equivalent to the Fulcrum racing 7's, the Aksiums were okay but did tend to go out of round frequently and when I used them on my winter hack the rear lasted about 6 months, the spoke nipples basically corroded and pulled through the rim, never had this problem with Fulcrums.

posted by bike_food [160 posts]
12th December 2012 - 9:48


Wonder if you can buy a set of decent wheels on the Cycle2work scheme?????

Really fancy a nice set of handbuilt rings.

posted by Farky [186 posts]
12th December 2012 - 14:19


Get these:

Seriously amazing wheels, and very light (Front: 625g;
Rear: 770g). £450, and free spokes for life.

posted by Wig9255 [61 posts]
12th December 2012 - 15:04


Looking at some of the comments on here and some I've had on Twitter, I think handbuilt is the way I'm going to go. OpenPro/Hope seems like a great combination and excellent VFM. But those Wheelsmith race23s look great too.

Thanks for all the input. I'm not likely to make any decisions until the new year so keep it coming.

posted by spicypedro [102 posts]
12th December 2012 - 16:19


Wig9255 wrote:
Get these:

Seriously amazing wheels, and very light (Front: 625g;
Rear: 770g). £450, and free spokes for life.

Ooh, Cool

I am so glad I don't need any wheels just now, or these would be yanking resources from my bank account that it can't handle.

They do a range of truly lovely hoops there, both clincher and tubular. Maybe one day...

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2375 posts]
12th December 2012 - 16:34


I just got some OpenPros with Novatech hubs. £210 inc rim tape and delivery. Got them from and so far are just great, ideal for all year riding. Tough, stiff and should get a few thousand miles out of them. Weight isn't bad either.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications

ragtag's picture

posted by ragtag [182 posts]
12th December 2012 - 17:55


depends on what your after, my commuter is running Open Pros on Campag Centaur hubs, hubs obviously no good on a shimano build but the rims are 5 years old and do 5000miles a year... just getting to the end of there life, Not the lightest granted but pretty much bombproof.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1868 posts]
12th December 2012 - 23:49


Definitely handbuilts on quality hubs - you'll know then that, when a rim wears out, you can replace it (whereas I've had to get a whole new set of wheels to replace my gorgeous dura ace C24s now the rims have worn out).

I'd advocate spending most of the budget on hub - that's the bit you'll keep for years. Get a decent but not bling rim and spokes to get within budget - open pro and some standard double butted spokes will work great, and you can always put something fancier like cx rays and lighter rims later on.

You could also consider building them yourself. I just built my very first pair, and got Chris King hubs, H Plus Son rims, standard double butted spokes and a truing stand and tools for just £100 over your budget...

posted by step-hent [717 posts]
13th December 2012 - 15:18


Hi Spicy,

You could do a lot worse than check out the deals on Soul wheels at, they have end of season deals on most Soul models.

The Soul S2.0's were reviewed very well by and the raceware have them for £380.00 instead if the RRP of £575.00.

posted by Adam Buckland_ASD [27 posts]
13th December 2012 - 21:12