cheap wheels & aero spokes

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by hwttdz, Jan 10, 2004.

  1. hwttdz

    hwttdz New Member

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    Right now I have a pretty heavy pair of wheels which aren't at all aerodynamic. I have about $200 to spend on a new pair and was wondering if anyone had any good recommendations?

    Right now I am leaning towards a pair of alex 300 which I can get for less than $200. The pair weighs 1770gms. The reason I hesistate is because they do not have these bladed spokes which are supposedly significantly more aerodynamic. Do the aero spokes really make any difference?
     
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  2. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    I've read that a good (expensive) aero wheel could be worth 30 seconds over a 40 K course, which would be 30 seconds over an hour @ 25 mph. That's about a 1% speed improvement. Of course, if you're competing, that could be a big deal, but it isn't for my club rides and training.

    This probably isn't what you want to hear, but for $200, I'd try to get durable wheels, and forget about aero profiles and weight.
    You may be able to get 105 hubs laced to Mavic MA-3 for around that price. I'd go for those over the Alex, just based on my many years of riding on Shimano hubs and Mavics...they seem to be high quality and good value.
     
  3. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    Do some looking and you can get open pro rims with ultegra hubs for 200 clams.
     
  4. hwttdz

    hwttdz New Member

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    After talking to some people who have owned alex 320 and finding a place to get a cheap pair that is my new preference. From what I've heard they are rather durable, no problems after 1200 miles. About the ultegra open pro combo I can also find those inexpensively. My current pair of wheels is cx22 rims (I think, decals have peeled, and bike is currently on it's way back to school) and tiagra hubs (low end shimano), but they've given me at least a few thousand miles of good service. As I said before they are heavy and not aero, but I think the difference between these and ultegra/open pros would be very small because the hub would be the weight difference and it's not rotating and the spoke drag would be the same.

    If "aero" wheels offer little to no advantage, and the ultegra/open pros are very similar to my current pair I see little point in spending money on them, but if I were to start from scratch those two would have my vote.
     
  5. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    Go ahead and keep kidding yourself. And FWIW, rims are really only 'aero' if they are over 38 mm or so tall.
     
  6. rv

    rv New Member

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    you're not going to get new aero wheels for $200. period.
     
  7. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

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    Just got a 105 rear with open pro rim , DT spokes ( 32 ) hand built for 95 euros from the local shop ( ordered for me ) and from what I´ve been told there is not a huge difference in quality between the 105 and ultegra hubs ( except the ultegra comes in 28 spoke and adds 20 + euros to the bill for a rear wheel ) spend the money on the rims would be my advice .
    Strong , reasonably light and not too expensive .
     
  8. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Hwttdz, I have to agree with the rest of the pack here. You mention advantages and question the "point in spending money" on a given wheelset, and I think you need to listen closely to yourself on this one.

    For $200, you can get a perfectly durable wheelset at a reasonable weight that will be of better general quality than what you're currently riding (CPX22s with Tiagra hubs, right?); the other guys here have offered some pretty good suggestions in that department... particularly boudreaux's Ultegra/OpenPro tip.

    If you buy new, what you're not going to get for $200 is anything of better quality than this combo, or anything with a real aero advantage. A Zipp 404, Mavic Carbone, or Campy Bora can shave real time off of your fast rides -- but at $200, you should be shopping for quality and reliability. The Alex 320s are not your best buy where quality and reliability are concerned, in my opinion. And as boudreaux pointed out, those rims are too shallow to make their depth a selling point.

    Regarding your bladed spokes question -- this is debatable. It's not necessarily in debate that an aerodynamically designed spoke can make your bike faster... what's in debate is how you define an aerodynamically designed spoke. The jury's still out on that one, from what I understand. There are good arguments to suggest that the Shimano/Mavic-style bladed jobs can be bested by other designs, like subtle ovals; there's also the argument that efficiency in crosswinds is a negating factor. Bladed spokes are neat, and probably have their perks (I've got 'em), but round spokes aren't going anywhere and are in use on many high-end wheels.

    Good luck with your choices.
     
  9. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Lokstah: You've summed it up well. Bladed spokes and deep section rims are specialized race items, and as such, come with their own set of disadvantages.

    This is one thread where all the responses have about the same good advice. But I suspect hwttdz may still have to find out for himself.....
     
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