Best/favorite 'classic' wheels

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Wurm, May 1, 2005.

  1. Wurm

    Wurm New Member

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    OK, you gotcher Mavic Helium's and yer HED 3's. You gotcher original Rolf's and Ksyrium's. And of course there's the ubiquitous 32H/box rim/DB 14-15 custom built, (don't forget to tie & solder them!).

    But the best "classic" wheelset in my opinion is the 14/16H (black) Campy Shamal. One of the best ever made for speed, durability, and even all-around use. Except on steeper or tougher climbs, the Shamal was pretty unbeatable for anything near an affordable price. I'll never forgive myself for selling the set I had! :confused:

    What's yours?
     
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  2. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    mavic classics pro/elite.
    these have held up through four years of heavy climbin' and bumpy use.
    they have needed my attention for true and tension numerous times, but they are the only wheels to surpass 32 hole 3x for reasonable practicality in my experience.

    durability is relative to expectation and usage, but you will never get the ultimate with low spoke count wheels.

    they cannot be counted on to this extent.

    the miles will do them in.

    tying and soldering is, according to the owner of wheelsmith, good for a stylistic signature.


     
  3. Wurm

    Wurm New Member

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    I disagree on a couple of points. First, regardless of what the owner of Wheelsmith spokes says, there are others who swear by T & S of the rear drive side after a new wheel has settled in, to help keep them from loosening. I'm not necessarily one of them but I just mentioned it as something I would consider being in the 'classic' wheelset category.

    Also, I can say from experience that not all low-spoke-count wheels are the same. I don't know what some people consider "reasonable durability" for a wheelset, but I've never had durability or repair problems in thousands of miles on Shamal's, Nucleon's (24/22H), or now a set of Zonda's (21/20H). In fact, I've had less need for truing with all 3 of those sets than I've ever had with Chorus/OP/14 or Record/Aerohead/14-15 or WTB hubs/Speedmaster rims/14-15 sets - all were 32H. Yes, it matters a lot on the wheel builder, etc.

    However, I have had reliability problems with lower SC wheels such as Cane Creek 28/24 Road's, and I don't consider those really in the LSC or 'aero' category because they have 24 or more spokes, yet they needed truing quite a bit and the hub internals were not very long-lasting. OTOH, in defense of Cane Creek, I did have a set of their WAM"s on a MTB that never gave me a hassle, even though I beat the crap out of them.

    But I raised this question of "best or fave wheelset" in terms of what is most important to you - for some, ultimate reliability might be the biggest issue; for other's it might be strictly performance; and then there are those that are between those extremes.
     
  4. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    when it comes to defining "classic" as having value over time and a tradition of
    winning heritage the wheels you mention are not in that category. maybe "modern classic" or "classic special event wheel" but that is a loose definition of terms.

    there is no need to disagree, really. just to clarify. glad you like these wheels you mention and if one does not place a demand on them that exceeds what they are capable of they mey serve well.

    32 3X distributes the load better, requires less tension per spoke, can handle greater instantaneous impact without failing catastrophicaly, has a longer mean time to failure from fatigue life, and is easily servicable and replacements are readily available.

    36 3x may even surpass this and was the acknowledged standard for tubulars in real world use.


    when it comes to tied soldered spokes, what Ric was alluding to here was there is no benefit from having wire and solder wrapping the spokes on a properly built and tesioned wheel.

    wheelsmith was a shop (s) in palo alto and los gatos as well the manufacturer
    you know them as and his wheels were used to advantage form locals to national, int'l, pro and olympic racers for years.

    he was, i believe, wanting to be a gentleman and not criticize another local wheelbuilder of renown, who was known for this.
    in either case their wheels held up and were seen in numbers in district 5 uscf because they were built with proper expertise, care and attention.


    "so obviously something needs to be done, the pathetic thing is it has to be us" Jerrry Garcia, commenting on a benefit concert for the rain forest coalition
     
  5. big Pete

    big Pete New Member

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    That is (36x, double walled rims, stainless steal spokes) what I have on my road bike I like this style of wheel a lot it takes the beating a 250 pound rider gives it ... I even use it to race!

    On another note I feel that the hub of the wheel also has lots to do with the wheel characteristics.

    Pete
     
  6. Wurm

    Wurm New Member

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    Really Hypnospin, I didn't pose this question to be a primer on wheelbuilding per se, nor am I in need of one. Just a basic 'fun' question on some of the 'known' wheelsets that have gone before that have a good record, in racing as well as in everyday use. Often times a "race day" wheel is not the one that the average cyclist can afford, or even if he/she can, it may not be the appropriate wheel(s) for the intended use.

    As far as this statement:

    "...glad you like these wheels you mention and if one does not place a demand on them that exceeds what they are capable of they mey serve well."

    Who among us (including any of the racer's here) would ever "place a demand on", for example a Nuke/Neut that would "exceed what they are capable of"? IMO, that statement borders on the ridiculous - more or less damning a product with faint praise. It sounds to me that you're one of the anti-"boutique" wheel people, and that's fine. But the anti-hype can be just as bad as the marketing hype for factory wheels.

    You may have noticed clydesdale's in the pro peloton such as Magnus Backstedt who have ridden Neut's to a win and other good showings in Paris-Roubaix. If you can find a tougher application for a road wheelset, I'd like to know what it is short of a rider of well over 200 lbs. and/or certain very rough off-road CX courses.

    Shamal/Bora Al's have won or placed well in many races also, back when they were current production - I can remember seeing (among others) Marco Pantani on them. (Bora CF's are still in the line up.) See the pix of the silver Shamal front and rear Bora below.

    The excuse always seems to be something like, "standard 32-36H wheels are better as long as they're "properly built and tensioned", blah, blah". Well, did it ever occur to you that that's why certain factory sets hold up as well as they do also - because "they were built with proper expertise, care and attention"?? Yep. That's the reason.

    Yes, if the pro's trash a wheel, they get them easily replaced. My argument is: most of us would never stress a wheel as much as the pro's do, so reliability with more aerodynamic, LSC wheels is usually not a problem for most of us.
     
  7. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    thanks for clearing this up, now i shall go for the boras after all.


    with more aerodynamic, LSC wheels is usually not a problem for most of us.[/QUOTE]
     
  8. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    Well I have never had the pleasure of trying a set of shamals out since they were too expensive for me when they were popular but... I have had several pairs of what I can only "assume" were well built 32x wheels with reflex and CXP30's prior to a set of Nucleons I have been using as my primary wheelset for the last 4 years. I am about the same size and weight as Magnus (minus the talent ;) ) and was never able to keep my other wheels true, and would always break a drive side rear spoke about every 1000 miles or so(again you could argue that the wheels were not well built or whatever, but I do not care to debate that). The Nucleons were originally purchased to be race wheels only. But the difference in stiffness and acceleration was so good, I started training on them and crossing my fingers they wouldn't self-destruct. They are the best wheels I have ever had, never needed any attention and I am super hard on them (of course I have not had a really bad crash with them either). If they blew up today I would still think they are the best wheels I have ever had. I had a used set of American Classic carbon wheels and they were so weak and flexy, I sold them after I broke a spoke after less than 200 miles. Compared to some other wheels from Mavic, etc. I don't know, but the classic wheels from Campy may not be the lightest, but they have to be some of the toughest and strongest wheels out there. They sure are better than my new Zipp 303's(and cost less than half as much)
     
  9. Wurm

    Wurm New Member

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    [/QUOTE] You're welcome. I thought I should "just clarify" that.

    But if you don't have the 3 grand for Bora's, a used set of Shamals or older Boras would do ya just fine. ;) And I'll betcha you won't break them or true them for quite some time if at all.

    Or you could listen to wilmar13 and try a set of Nukes or Protons, or do as I have and get some Zondas or Eurus'.

    Nah. All of those are boring. Not enough maintenance to do, or enough shiny spokes to look at spinning in the sun...
     
  10. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    ya never know who can swing for the boras. but i think there may be enough cycling purchase induced fuel for marital strife already, if not outright spousal battery.

    but after i painstakingly performed my daily ritual of replacing some broken spoke, re-trueing and tensioning (again) these finicky true classic wheels i am reduced to riding, i did manage roll around a bit.

    thanks to your overwhelming charismatic powers of suggestion i was dazzled by all those shiny spokes whirring around.

    you know, since it was annouced that neutrons were to be used in paris-roubaix i have been somewhat captivated.

    even if a teamate exploded his rear one. granted, a top five time trial monster, and this was before the current addition of all of those little "self-aligning nut plates" in there now to hold the things together.

    thanks for the pics, i enjoyed them.


    Quote below

    You're welcome. I thought I should "just clarify" that.

    But if you don't have the 3 grand for Bora's, a used set of Shamals or older Boras would do ya just fine. ;) And I'll betcha you won't break them or true them for quite some time if at all.

    Or you could listen to wilmar13 and try a set of Nukes or Protons, or do as I have and get some Zondas or Eurus'.

    Nah. All of those are boring. Not enough maintenance to do, or enough shiny spokes to look at spinning in the sun...[/QUOTE]
     
  11. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    Mavic Open Pro.
     
  12. Wurm

    Wurm New Member

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    Yeah, I'll betcha that wheel just totally blew up like an Iraqi taxicab.

    If you're hangin' wit the top 5er's, what're ya doin' here? Seems like you should have a sweeper car full of sponsored wheelio's getting ready for you monsters to punk the wannabe's at the Giro this weekend?

    Dood, hop a plane or something - quick! Mind the customs guy - he don't like no steenking wheel bombs.
     
  13. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    Old? Old is Campy low flange Record hubs, laced to Weinmann or Arc-en-Ciel rims. I have two sets from classic bikes I'm working on, bearings are incredibly smooth, and the ride is like velvet.
     
  14. lyotard

    lyotard New Member

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    if one can find this in a front hub, use it today and see the light.
    there were guys using these on the rear, intalling longer axles (Stainless) cut to size, adding spacers and redishing these old rear wheels and using them for 8 speed freewheels into the 90's...
    i don't know if this bearing quality has ever been supassed, perhaps it is so superior it will never be equalled. something about surface treatment, grinding and polishing of these cups 'n cones in tandem with the "campy grade ball bearings" and campy "superlative" grease. or super light viscosity "dissoplast" grease for those special occasions.
    maybe the best stuff has already been made?
    witness the medici pro strada or gios professional for example.


     
  15. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    I have just bought a pair of protons, the price was not as important as the durability and servicability, at least i can get to the nipples, should the need arise. having to remove the tire (tight fit!) and rim strip (by cutting the ultralightweight one, and replacing it with a cloth rim tape, making for an even tighter fit) was not something i was looking forward to, as would be the case with neuts.
    looking at the campy parts list you can see how the axles, brgs, ect are the same as record! I esp like the allen screw brg adjustment, making on-the -bike brg adjust quick, should speed repacks as well.
    the wheelset came with steel centaur level QRs but i replaced 'em with a new pair of salsa ti's. cheep offa ebay.
    so my all ital bike will have wheels built in italy!
    anyway, they are to go on my new bike, unbuilt as of yet, but i am getting the last of it together...a bit at a time.



     
  16. Wurm

    Wurm New Member

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    On the tight-fitting tire prob: what I did with my Zondas is to cover just the spoke & valve holes only (with Velox), and not taping the "blank" areas between, since I couldn't find Conti tape locally which would have been thinner/lighter. This has helped marginally, though sometimes getting a new tire on is still somewhat frustrating. Depends I guess on the particular tire/luck of the draw.

    The on-bike bearing adjustibility is a very handy feature. I've used it from time to time when needed, and it saves a bunch of hassle.

    Congrats on the new bike build, and let us know how the completed rig is doing when finished. :)
     
  17. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    a tight fit it was, and this with velofex pave blacks, which speak the same italian language as the rims right down to the erto size. add to this the new non-french michelin tubes being a bit smaller means watching to avoid pinching on installation.
    oh well, a tight fit may have a safety advantage, i just hope not to get a flat on the road. 'round here, flats are not as common as more urban areas as there is less debris of the man made type.
    i do have some tire levers that are up to the job, made by wheelsmith fabrications, they are super thin and strong. got 'em in palo alto years back.
    the only levers i have seen to compare come with mavic wheelsets, a combo lever cone wrench.
    as for the rim tape, i have never liked anything other than velox, the ultralight stuff is made of fibers that seperate over time to leave exposed sharp edges of the eyelets to contact the tube. but with the protons, there are only holes, no eyelet contact to the campy or michelin rim strips, so this may fly.
    there is a new product to replace rim tape, veloplugs, squishy plug things that push in and leave you with an easier tire fit, though i have not tried 'em.


     
  18. Wurm

    Wurm New Member

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    I had a set of the Veloplugs. They're too small in diameter for Campy wheels. They e-mailed me a couple of months ago that they're working on different sizes for Campy (and other) wheels.

    I think the holes on the Zondas are approx. 10mm. dia., and the Veloplugs are meant for 8mm. holes.
     
  19. toomanybikes

    toomanybikes New Member

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    I confess to being puzzled by the refernce to Classic Wheelsets and then reading about factory wheels.

    My view on the best wheels I have used, and still use, Campy Record High Flange hubs on Nisi Laser rims, 36 holes 3 cross with Good Silk or Good Cotton tubulars.

    They last forever and ride like a dream.

    Now that is a wheelset!!
     
  20. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    I agree - I have one pair with high flange Record hubs and Arc-en-Ciel tubular rims, and another that had the Weinmann tubie rims swapped out for contemporary Mavic clinchers. Both came on 1970's vintage racers.

    They may not have quite the blazing speed on downhills that a modern aero rim has, but they ride smooth as silk. Both sets of hubs are probably 30 years old, and still going strong. Just repack once a year, and they're good to go.

    That's Italian craftsmanship at it's finest - still going strong 30 years later.

     
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