A-Class ALX-400 Wheelset: Out of True After ( 100 miles

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by B. Sanders, Jun 26, 2003.

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  1. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    After a bit of a search, I found a set of A-Class ALX-400 wheels on Ebay for $159 + shipping brand
    new in the original carton. At ~1635 grams/pair, they rival the lightest wheels on the market, at
    a bargain price. I had heard that the ALX-400's were OEM on some new road bikes (can't remember
    which bikes.)

    They're beautiful wheels, and were perfectly true out of the box. The finish and engineering are
    superb. It's a first-class wheelset, all around. I was very pleased. Mounted 'em up on my lovely new
    Soulcraft Royale road frame, and off I went. After about 100 miles of riding (4th ride), the rear
    wheel was out of true at least 7mm.

    Though I am a big guy, I've never (under normal riding) thrown a wheel out of true. I'm a careful
    and "light" rider - I'm off the saddle when riding over anything even moderately bumpy, no curb
    hopping, etc. My good old DuraAce hubs laced to Velocity Aerohead rims spoiled me - they were
    bombproof. These A-Class wheels are a different thing altogether. They're a helluva lot lighter, for
    one thing...

    Before you start with the criticism, yes, I was aware that such a light wheelset would be likely to
    go out of true - but I wanted to see if engineering could triumph and make a truly strong yet
    superlight wheelset. Even with the out-of-true problem, I'm still pretty impressed with them.
    A-Class doesn't list a rider weight limit; but I don't think I'm in their ideal weight range.

    I trued 'em up (which was very easy), and will see how long I can go before the next round of truing
    is needed. Meanwhile, I just bought a backup set of wheels for training - very sensible low-end
    Shimano hubs, 14g spokes, Sun ME13II rims. Maybe I should just get rid of all this stuff and lace
    some Ultegra hubs with 14-15 butted spokes to a pair of Aerohead rims. Those were the best rims I
    ever owned.

    Barry
     
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  2. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > After a bit of a search, I found a set of A-Class ALX-400 wheels on Ebay
    for
    > $159 + shipping brand new in the original carton. At ~1635 grams/pair,
    they
    > rival the lightest wheels on the market, at a bargain price. I had heard that the ALX-400's were
    > OEM on some new road bikes (can't remember which bikes.)
    >
    > They're beautiful wheels, and were perfectly true out of the box. The
    finish
    > and engineering are superb. It's a first-class wheelset, all around. I
    was
    > very pleased. Mounted 'em up on my lovely new Soulcraft Royale road
    frame,
    > and off I went. After about 100 miles of riding (4th ride), the rear
    wheel
    > was out of true at least 7mm.

    Did you bother to properly tension and stress-relieve the wheels before you mounted them up? If not,
    this could be the source of your problem.

    Check out www.sheldonbrown.com or the rec.bicycle FAQ (location listed weekly in this group)
    for guidance.

    -Buck
     
  3. barry-<< After a bit of a search, I found a set of A-Class ALX-400 wheels on Ebay for $159 +
    shipping brand new in the original carton. At ~1635 grams/pair
    >><BR><BR>
    << My good old DuraAce hubs laced to Velocity Aerohead rims spoiled me - they were bombproof. These
    A-Class wheels are a different thing altogether. They're a helluva lot lighter, for one thing...
    >><BR><BR>

    Weigh the DA/Aeroheads...not 'helluva lot heavier' at all...

    << Before you start with the criticism, yes, I was aware that such a light wheelset would be likely
    to go out of true >><BR><BR>

    Unless that 1635 grams is with skewers, not that light at all. 1600 grams is pretty much the
    standard for a normal set of wheels, like with DA/Record, Open Pros, Aeroheads, etc..nothing exotic.

    << but I wanted to see if engineering could triumph and make a truly strong yet superlight wheelset.
    >><BR><BR>

    No such thing as a free lunch...1000 grams is super light, 1600+ is not.

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  4. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Qui si parla Campagnolo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > barry-<< After a bit of a search, I found a set of A-Class ALX-400 wheels
    on
    > Ebay for $159 + shipping brand new in the original carton. At ~1635 grams/pair
    > >><BR><BR>
    > << My good old DuraAce hubs laced to Velocity Aerohead rims spoiled me - they were bombproof.
    > These A-Class wheels are a different thing altogether. They're
    a
    > helluva lot lighter, for one thing... >><BR><BR>
    >
    > Weigh the DA/Aeroheads...not 'helluva lot heavier' at all...

    Actually, yes, they were a bit heavier. I used 15ga straight spokes, and they were 7-speed UG
    7400-series hubs. Aeroheads are, what, 440 grams each? That's 880 grams just for the rims alone. I
    didn't weigh my DA/Aerohead wheels; but I'd put them at around 1800 grams, give or take. (I always
    use brass nipples. Alloys aren't worth it to me. I've crunched them at high tensions. Too much
    hassle, IMO.)

    > << Before you start with the criticism, yes, I was aware that such a light wheelset would be
    > likely to go out of true >><BR><BR>
    >
    > Unless that 1635 grams is with skewers, not that light at all.

    Yes, that includes skewers. My "heft test" has these being the lightest wheels I own, by far. I used
    to have some GEL280's on Campy Record freewheel hubs from the late '80's. Those were the only wheels
    I've owned that were lighter than these ALX-400's.

    > 1600 grams is pretty much the standard for a normal set of wheels, like with DA/Record,
    Open
    > Pros, Aeroheads, etc..nothing exotic. No such thing as a free lunch...1000 grams is super light,
    > 1600+ is not.

    I've checked weight listings for the lightest pre-built wheelsets I can find. None are significantly
    below 1600 grams/pair. Most are within 50 grams of the weight of my ALX-400's. Not sure what you
    mean by "there's no free lunch", since my wheels are very close in weight (and design) to many other
    exotic (read: expensive) wheelsets.

    1000 grams for a set of wheels, even 1400 grams/pair, must surely be in the "stupid light"
    category, for track use only. For ordinary mortals with ordinary budgets and ordinary needs, and
    from what I've seen, 1600 grams/pair (with skewers) is exceptionally light. Perhaps not exotic, but
    very light.

    -Barry
     
  5. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > After a bit of a search, I found a set of A-Class ALX-400 wheels on Ebay
    > for
    > > $159 + shipping brand new in the original carton. At ~1635 grams/pair,
    > they
    > > rival the lightest wheels on the market, at a bargain price. I had
    heard
    > > that the ALX-400's were OEM on some new road bikes (can't remember which bikes.)
    > >
    > > They're beautiful wheels, and were perfectly true out of the box. The
    > finish
    > > and engineering are superb. It's a first-class wheelset, all around. I
    > was
    > > very pleased. Mounted 'em up on my lovely new Soulcraft Royale road
    > frame,
    > > and off I went. After about 100 miles of riding (4th ride), the rear
    > wheel
    > > was out of true at least 7mm.
    >
    > Did you bother to properly tension and stress-relieve the wheels before
    you
    > mounted them up? If not, this could be the source of your problem.

    These are hand-built high-end wheelsets (despite the price). I checked tension and true before
    mounting and riding them. Not sure what else I could do beyond that, except monitor and
    re-tension/re-true as needed.

    Thx for the input

    Barry
     
  6. Ken Lehner

    Ken Lehner Guest

    "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > 1600 grams is pretty much the standard for a normal set of wheels, like with DA/Record,
    > Open
    > > Pros, Aeroheads, etc..nothing exotic. No such thing as a free lunch...1000 grams is super light,
    > > 1600+ is not.
    >
    > I've checked weight listings for the lightest pre-built wheelsets I can find. None are
    > significantly below 1600 grams/pair. Most are within 50 grams of the weight of my ALX-400's. Not
    > sure what you mean by "there's no free lunch", since my wheels are very close in weight (and
    > design) to many other exotic (read: expensive) wheelsets.

    See http://www.amclassic.com/350_Wheels.html for a pair of wheel at <1400g, and these are clinchers.
    $500/pair.

    > 1000 grams for a set of wheels, even 1400 grams/pair, must surely be in the "stupid light"
    > category, for track use only. For ordinary mortals with ordinary budgets and ordinary needs, and
    > from what I've seen, 1600 grams/pair (with skewers) is exceptionally light. Perhaps not exotic,
    > but very light.

    I'm ~175lbs, and these wheels have held up just fine, with some rough roads covered.

    Ken Lehner
     
  7. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Qui si parla Campagnolo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > barry-<< I used 15ga straight spokes, and they were 7-speed UG 7400-series hubs. Aeroheads are,
    > what, 440 grams
    each?
    > That's 880 grams just for the rims alone. I didn't weigh my DA/Aerohead wheels; but I'd put them
    > at around 1800 grams, give or take. >><BR><BR>
    >
    > Da hubs, cica 2003...and Aeroheads that we have are not 440 grams...

    I was referring to an old rim weight comparison chart from about 8 years ago.

    > << Not sure what you mean by "there's no free lunch" >><BR><BR>
    >
    > What I mean is that if the wheels are light and you are not say a 'buck
    40' or
    > so in weight, don't expect them to be reliable. 'Technology' does not make light wheels more
    > durable.

    Yes, it does. That's what engineers do, FYI. If American Classic isn't using engineering, production
    and materials technology to make more durable, lighter wheels, then what *are* they doing?

    > << 1000 grams for a set of wheels, even 1400 grams/pair, must surely be in
    the
    > "stupid light" category, for track use only. >><BR><BR>
    >
    > Campagnolo Hyperons are 1200 grams...Some Corimas are also. ADA are even lighter...Some
    > Zipps...1400 grams is light but not hard to acheive...but
    not as
    > relaible as a 1600 gram wheelset...

    Mine are 1635 grams. Other wheels in this weight range have 200lb rider weight limits (some
    are higher).

    > I am mystyfied at people that want to save 200 grams offa their
    wheels(7.14
    > OUNCES), weigh in at approaching 200 pounds then are surprised these
    wheels are
    > not reliable....

    By your estimation, 1635 gram wheels are commonplace, and well within the "normal" range for
    production bike wheels. Why aren't they also reliable for a 200lb rider? 24h front, 28h rear - not
    that unusual, is it? My previous wheels were 32h F and R, with 15g spokes. Not that different from
    what I'm riding now.

    > << 1600 grams/pair (with skewers) is exceptionally light. >><BR><BR>
    >
    >
    > okay...now back to your original question...yes they are light, perhaps
    poorly
    > made and I wouldn't expect them to be very reliable for you...

    Hmm. This seems to be contradictory; but I appreciate your input. I've trued 'em up, and will see
    how they perform. I've also done more stress-relieving, and I'm planning to increase the rear wheel
    spoke tension (reasonably, not excessively). We shall see.

    Barry
     
  8. "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > After a bit of a search, I found a set of A-Class ALX-400 wheels on Ebay for $159 + shipping brand
    > new in the original carton. At ~1635 grams/pair, they rival the lightest wheels on the market, at
    > a bargain price. I had heard that the ALX-400's were OEM on some new road bikes (can't remember
    > which bikes.)
    >
    > They're beautiful wheels, and were perfectly true out of the box. The finish and engineering are
    > superb. It's a first-class wheelset, all around. I was very pleased. Mounted 'em up on my lovely
    > new Soulcraft Royale road frame, and off I went. After about 100 miles of riding (4th ride), the
    > rear wheel was out of true at least 7mm.
    >

    I have a set of Alex wheels. They are a basic model with 26mm wide rims and 36 spokes each. But I
    did find that new, as received, every adjustment was poorly made. Although the wheels were circular
    and centered without much side to side wobble, the spoke tensions were low and uneven. The hub
    bearings were over tight (I know your hubs have cartridge bearings and they are probably OK.) But
    after tensioning and stress relieving the spokes and adjusting the bearings, the wheels have been
    fine. Alex seems to be good at extruding and finishing, (their stuff looks nice) but lacking in
    assembly and final inspection skills. Or, perhaps, you and I are just unlucky. Hopefully, your
    experience will mirror mine and your wheels will be OK now that you've adjusted them.

    Steve Shapiro
     
  9. On 30 Jun 2003 12:35:14 GMT, [email protected] (Qui si parla Campagnolo) wrote:

    >They are for selling. A light wheel, whether acheived with a light rim, light hub(if acheived with
    >smaller and fewer bearings) or few, thin spokes, will be less reliable than a wheel with a heavier
    >hub( rim and spokes. If it is as relaible, then it is a lot more expensive...no free lunch. Not
    >light, reliable and cheap.

    Of course not, but engineering does make things more reliable for less money. This happens
    everywhere, including in bicycles. 50 years ago the epitome of lightweight wheels was having an
    aluminum rim. 100 years ago, the epitome in wheels was having a pneumatic tyre. There are advances
    being made. Usually though such advances pretty much go across the board -- what are now considered
    heavyduty wheels probably still weigh much less than oldfashioned steelrimmed, steelhubbed wheels.
    Targets for "lightweight" and "heavyduty" shift with technology, and this is hardly surprising.

    Jasper
     
  10. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Steve Shapiro" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "B. Sanders" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > After a bit of a search, I found a set of A-Class ALX-400 wheels on Ebay
    for
    > > $159 + shipping brand new in the original carton. At ~1635 grams/pair,
    they
    > > rival the lightest wheels on the market, at a bargain price. I had
    heard
    > > that the ALX-400's were OEM on some new road bikes (can't remember which bikes.)
    > >
    > > They're beautiful wheels, and were perfectly true out of the box. The
    finish
    > > and engineering are superb. It's a first-class wheelset, all around. I
    was
    > > very pleased. Mounted 'em up on my lovely new Soulcraft Royale road
    frame,
    > > and off I went. After about 100 miles of riding (4th ride), the rear
    wheel
    > > was out of true at least 7mm.
    > >
    >
    > I have a set of Alex wheels. They are a basic model with 26mm wide rims and 36 spokes each. But
    > I did find that new, as received, every adjustment was poorly made. Although the wheels were
    > circular and centered without much side to side wobble, the spoke tensions were low and uneven.
    > The hub bearings were over tight (I know your hubs have cartridge bearings and they are
    > probably OK.) But after tensioning and stress relieving the spokes and adjusting the bearings,
    > the wheels have been fine. Alex seems to be good at extruding and finishing, (their stuff looks
    > nice) but lacking in assembly and final inspection skills. Or, perhaps, you and I are just
    > unlucky. Hopefully, your experience will mirror mine and your wheels will be OK now that you've
    > adjusted them.

    Your observations seem very much in line with my own regarding Alex products. I have stress relieved
    my A-Class wheels, and re-trued them. Several respondents suggested increasing spoke tension. Your
    posting made me realize that it's quite possible that my wheels came from the factory with too-low
    spoke tension. I'm going to increase the spoke tension and see if that helps. So far, they're
    staying true after I re-trued and stress relieved them.

    I've wanted to buy a spoke tensiometer for years; but they're so expensive. Maybe I'll finally just
    buy one. Could be very useful in this situation.

    Cheers,

    Barry
     
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