Recommendations: Wheel upgrade on a budget

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by AyeYo, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    Hey guys, just looking for some advice here. I have a 2012 Felt Z5 that currently has the stock Mavic CXP22s on Felt hubs. These wheels are ~2200g. I do a lot of very hilly riding and I like doing hill climbs, so I'm looking for something lighter. I'm only 175lbs so I don't need anything that's built like a tank, but although I'm not a super experienced biker, I am built well and can put down significant power so something that's not mush would be nice. I'm looking to spend $500 or less - that's flexible but don't go crazy. I'm not putting $1000 wheels on a bike I got on sale for $1,500. I was looking at the Vuelta wheels on Nashbar, which seems to have great reviews everywhere I looked, but the Lites are so cheap I'm worried about build quality, the SLRs seem to have more complaints of various issues, and for the price of the Team V... I figured I might as well get the new Ultegra rims and have a trusted brand name. Then I started researching those and I see lots of complaints about the standard (non-cartridge) bearings and cone adjustment, excessive maintenance, etc. That kind of turned me off to those. So I keep searching. I came across BWW, which many people seemed to have good things to say about. I was looking at the PURE Super Light race build. Then I came across a thread on some forum where a couple bike mechanics were pointing out the cheaper BWW wheels had cheap crap generic hubs which is what made them light and cheap. I think that's a good point and probably explains why their Ultegra/Dura hub rims are so much heavier for the price for otherwise similar builds. Great, now I'm kind of turned off on those as well. I'm also getting tired of digging through crap and mostly baseless or anecdotal info on rims. "omg I love these, I've had them for a day" "omg those are total crap, but no I've never actually owned them" etc etc. So here I am to get help from you guys. Hey, maybe I shouldn't upgrade at all! If you think that's the case ahead and say it. Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Mavic Aksiums have worked well for me for a metric shit ton of training miles over the last 4 seasons. You can find them on sale for $199 with Mavic tires/tubes. Sturdy enough for every day beating the crap out of and you'll save some grams at the claimed 1735 grams. The climb pretty well, just don't expect them to punch like sub-1500 gram carbons.

    You will notice faster spin up and easier acceleration on the hills. My Record hub/Open Pro 32H, 3X training wheels weigh about what your current wheels do and there's a very noticeable performance gain when the Aksiums are on the same bike. So, shooting for 1700 grams in any brand is going to be a pretty decent benefit.

    You could pitch $400 or so at one of the Chinese websites or eBay wheel deals. You won't get fire-proof brake tracks or the latest Toray weave, but Yoeleos and the like seem to survive under guys that use their brains and don't dive bomb RR tracks or descend the Rockies on a daily basis.
     
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  3. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    I'll check those out, thanks. What's the opinion on Fulcrums? I see lot of British guys recommending them so I checked them out. Seemed too good to be true for the price so I wrote them off as probably Chinese junk. Then while I was browsing Felt's site I noticed the $5000 Z2 comes with Fulcrum 5 wheels, so they must be decent (after a little research it looks like they're made by Campy?). Those are in the 1700g range for like $330 or the Fulcrum 3 is down just over 1500g for $500 and looks really nice too. The spoke counts are a bit low for my liking though at 18/20.
     
  4. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    For pre-fabbed wheels Fulcrum have a good reputation. You mentioned "flexible"... if you can go to $599 I would recommend looking at then Mavic Ksyrium Elites which can be found at that price on sale if you look around. There are different flavors of the Elite that get more pricey like the SL, but the plain vanilla 1550 gram Elites (the 2013's are badged with an "S" but as long as they are post 2011 with the milling between the spokes they are excellent wheels). And while the Aksiums are a good wheelset, the Elites feel noticeably more lively and are bulletproof to boot. Not the Elite Equips btw which are apparently also a decent wheel.

    Example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mavic-ksyrium-elite-S-black-bicycle-bike-road-racing-wheels-wheelset-700C-new-/181355705869?pt=US_Wheels_Wheelsets&hash=item2a39a4760d

    Btw, hub weight doesn't mean much as far as a lively set of wheels go. The weight bearing has practically zero bearing on wheel inertia. Better to have a light rim.

    Something else to consider... a pair of wheels built up by an outfit like Excel Boulder Action Sports or Colorado Cyclist. I have a set of wheels from Excel featuring HED C2 rims (the same rims that come on HED's $1300 Ardennes wheels, and you would be doing yourself a huge favor researching some of the benefits of slighty wider rims IMHO) with Campy record hubs that weigh about 1700grms, cost about $650, and ride better than everything mentioned on this thread so far. If you went with Shimano hubs they'd be even cheaper. Something like that is what I'd really recommend. And since you mentioned spoke count, I have 32H only because that's what Campy Record hubs come with but you could get yourself something bespoke with a combo like 32R/28F if you went with another hub.

    To play around with: http://www.excelsports.com/wheel.asp
    (Edit: I just built up a set of wheels with the HED C2 rims, Ultegra hubs, and DT spokes that cost $497, and weigh 1424 grams)

    Nothing wrong with spending money on a pair or wheels, it's one of the single biggest performance upgrades that can be made on a bike. Better to go with a Men's Warehouse suit and a pair of Allen Edmond's than a Brooks Brothers suit with a pair of Bostonians.
     
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  5. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I have several season's experience with 2 sets of Aksiums. I hammered on the first set for a good 2 seasons before I started to pop rear spokes. Spoke replacement is easy given the design, but those wheels are not hanging on the wall. I purchased a second set for cheap and they have been holding up ok. The first set was assembled in romania and the newer set was in china.

    I had much more problems with the spokes twisting on the chinese set. I am not sure the the materials or build quality had changed, the wheels appear identical. Putting drops of locktite on the spoke nipples improved the situation greatly.

    My mass is 100kilos + so I may be on the high end of what these wheels can handle. I bought them because they were cheap and looked a bit sportier than cheap wheels that came on one of my first road bikes.

    A few of my ride mates have Ksyrium wheels and they really like them.

    I have a set of Vuelta wheels (Corsa HD) that I really like. They can be had super cheap and have proven very durable. The build quality is great and I have not had to true the wheel at all. They are not lightweight and have 36 spokes - so are probably not the upgrade you are looking for. I cannot speak for the other vuelta products.

    I am kind of partial to easton wheelsets. I picked up a set of EA70s last fall for a steal. I have yet to ride them, but I expect that they are similar to a set of velomax circuits I rode into oblivion. One of my ride mates has EA70s and loves them. Another rider is partial to EA90s.
     
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  6. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Good info on your wheel experience maydog. I've also had a set of Velomax Circuits, which I rode for a full 30K miles before the rear rim cracked. I consider that amazing life, as I never had to true them, never broke a spoke. I weighed from 180-195 lbs while I was on them, so I'm not a lightweight either. The hubs aren't well-sealed, but at least the standard bearings were cheap and easy to replace.

    Hard to argue with 32 or 36 spoke wheels for us bigger and heavier riders, but I've learned that a well built set of lower spoke wheels can go the distance. The Circuits had 24 front, 28 rear, twin-threaded spokes, straight-pull spokes.

    I'm currently riding a set of RR 1450's by DT Swiss, with 28 spokes front/rear. The spokes are the Aerolite 15/17 bladed, the thinnest spokes I've ever seen. They are probably not the "right" wheel for me, but they ride nice and have really smooth and well-sealed hubs. Bought them "lightly used", maybe 2000 miles, and I've owned them for another 6K now. Will see how they go long-term.
     
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  7. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    I kind of like the custom idea from Excel. That gives me a whole bunch more stuff to research now. What style rear spoke lacing did you use on your set with the Campy hubs?

    I really appreciate the help from everyone. Lots of good and this gives me a mountain of things to do research on while bored at work next week lol.
     
  8. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    X3 all around - front wheel, rear wheel (drive/non-drive side). Good for comfort, good for torque delivery to the rim on the drive side.

    I have owned several pairs of clincher wheels from handbuilts with Mavic Open Pro rims as well as a number of decent factory wheels: Zipp101's, Shimano C50's, Aksiums, Ksyriums (two generations), and these are by far my favorite pair of wheels so far. Btw if you do decide to go with the HED C2's I think the C2 "plus", which are even wider than the regular 23mm wide C2's at 25mm, are slightly overkill. They may be good for cyclocross but I think for all around road use 23mm is fine (most regular old school rims are 19-20mm wide but almost all manufactures are slowly starting to adopt the wider rim paradigm). Windtunnel data on the HED's is also similar to the Zipp101's (no surprise there as Steve HED co-owns the "toroidal" patent with Zipp) which puts both rim shapes roughly 30secs faster than the Ksyrium's over 40k (Ksyriums are known to be aerodynamic dogs, and many riders are familiar with them which is why some manufacturers love to test against them - they do feel stiff and lively though). You probably won't feel the extra speed (in the overall scheme of things it's largely irrelevant), but you'll know it's there. But more importantly, as tire pressure is run slightly lower on wider rims (because of increased air volume), the ride quality is improved. And no, I don't work for HED ;)
     
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  9. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Those Vuelta wheels are just fine for what you want to do, and they have high reviews.
     
  10. MEOJ

    MEOJ New Member

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    Take a look at http://ridewmd.com/ (WHEELS OF MASS DESTRUCTION) Steve makes great wheels at a good price.
     
  11. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    So to follow up with the conclusion to my shopping saga, after building about a half a million different wheel configuations at Excel, I ended up going with Fulcrum Quattros, got a 12-27 5700 cassette so I can finally have a 16 gear, and Pro4 Service Course tires. I was able to find the wheels for $288 shipped from Wiggle, which looks to be a really good price. I simply couldn't find something better for the money. Custom built wheels were more with cheap hubs and lots more with good hubs. I could have gone up to the $500-600 range, but, while still pretty inexpensive, the benefit:dollar ratio just didn't seem to be there. There was conflicting info on whether the Quattro has regular cartridge hubs or Campy's cup/cone hubs. I guess I'll find out when I get it.

    I was able to find some aero tests with the Fulcrum Racing 3 included and it did surprisingly well. Since Fulcrum claims the Quattro is more aero and it's basically the same, but deeper, profile as the 3, I had no reason not to believe the claim. They aren't light at 1800g (actual, claimed is 1710g), but they're still almost a pound lighter than my current wheels and from all accounts and reviews they ride/handle great for the money. Not exactly the lightweight climbing wheel I was orginally going for, but after plenty of research it appears wheel weight is overrated compared to aerodynamics, plus at 400g lighter... they're still an upgrade. lol
     
  12. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Nice. I've read good things about the Pro4's also.
     
  13. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    <strikethough>How did you perform said aero tests?</strikethrough>

    Sorry, I was reading too quickly. Do you have any links to the aero testing?
     
  14. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    I'll have to try to dig it up. I think I actually ended up finding it by digging through Google images and not the website search. Took me forever and a lot of time bored at work to find one that had ANY Fulcrum wheels in it.


    http://www.aeroweenie.com/assets/img/data/tour-nonaero-aero-2011-test.png

    Looks like that chart originally came from this ungodly long article on wheels:

    http://www.tour-magazin.de/services/qtr/epaper_4_2011/page67.html#/92


    I didn't actually read the methodology or anything, just looked at the chart to justify my purchase lol. I'm well aware of the fact that areo difference between rolling on the Quattros vs.rolling on a set of car tires could easily be overcome by simply zipping my jersery up all the way. [​IMG]
     
  15. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Is that wheel weight sans tires/etc.?

    For your future reference, hub maintenance for Shimano & Camapgnolo hubs is NOT difficult.

    FWIW. While hub weight isn't over whelmingly critical (as danfoz mentioned), a better hub is always worth considering ...

    And, now that you have a new set of wheels, you may want to consider re-lacing the CXP22 rims on your wheels with UItegra-or-105 hubs (THAT presumes you have a Shimano-compatible drivetrain, of course) if you are truly unhappy with your old wheelset.
    .
     
  16. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    Yes, my friend with the same bike measured his bare wheels at like 2225g. They're very heavy. The rims are 510g each, plus the spokes which are quite thick and laced 32/32, who knows what the anonymous manufacture Felt badged hubs weigh.

    I'm probably going to keep the old set with the old bomb proof tires on for night rides or any of the really crap road rides I go on.
     
  17. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    Did my first ride on the new wheels today. Everything is great except one issue... or maybe it's not an issue because I have nothing to compare to. Under light to moderate braking, there's some annoying rub/shudder/something in the front. Not in the back. It reminds me of my crap Toys R Us bike as a kid when the rim brakes got wet. Is the wheel out of true? Do the pads just need to bed in? Is this completely normal for a low spoke, radial wheel?
     
  18. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Not normal. The trueness should be evident with a quick check spinning the wheel. I haven't had this problem before on the couple of radial fronts I've ridden, but the pads may possibly need re-adjusting. Maybe one of the more experienced wrench heads will have some additional suggestions.
     
  19. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    The wheel true looks as dead nuts as anything I've seen before. I eye balled looking over the rim and also by looking at brake pad to brake track clearance while it spun. It's the straightest I've ever seen. I searched around online and it looks to be a very common issue, but the causes don't make sense in my case. The headset is already tight, there's nothing wrong with the caliper or pad angle, the fork is fine, etc. The hub seems fine, no play at all. Maybe these pads just don't get along with the rim? I did just find a miniscule bur on the brake track which I gentle sanded down. Maybe it'll magically make the difference.

    In better news though, these things roll nice. Even with my old Zaffiro bricks on them (Pro4's didn't come in yet). I was out rolling EVERYONE on the group ride, which only make the brake issue more annoying as I was constantly on the brakes on hills.
     
  20. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    You've probably got some crap on the rims - either something left over from the manufacturing process, your pads not liking the anodizing or just some crap on your pads.

    Either way, clean the pads well and use something "hearty" like acetone to de-scunge the rims and wash as normal. If there's still judder, consider removing the top layer off the brake blocks with some 250 grit abrasive and wash well afterwards to remove any left over "grit".

    I doubt the problem is with the wheel itself unless there's some obvious play in the hubs.
     
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