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Helium's vs Nucleon's(28 posts)

Helium's vs Nucleon'sCima Coppi
Jul 3, 2001 10:43 AM
Hello everyone,

I have a question for those of you with experience with Mavic Helium wheelsets and Campy Nucleon wheelsets. My LBS has a set of new Helium's they will sell me at a really good price, and I'd fit them with the Wheels Mfr. Shimano 10 cassette. Since they are no longer produced, should I not consider them, and is the Nucleon any better or worse (hub, rim and build quality)? I'm looking to get a light climbing wheelset, and have narrowed the search down to these two.

Please do not comment on other wheelsets not mentioned here. These are the two I'm interested in, and am looking for feedback on either. If you have used them both, I'd really appreciate a comparison.

Thanks in advance, your opinions are greatly appreciated.

Shimano 10, huh???hmmmm
Jul 3, 2001 11:24 AM
good one
FYI...Cima Coppi
Jul 3, 2001 11:32 AM
Wheels Manf. ($129 at Excel) takes a D/A 9-speed cassette, resizes the spacers and adds a 10th cog to produce a Campy campatible 10-speed cluster to fit on Shimano splined cassette bodies.
if that's the case...Highline
Jul 3, 2001 11:55 AM
Why jerk around with some pricey aftermarket cassette that may or may not work well? I assume that you want Campy for compatability with current drivetrain and perhaps interchangeability with other wheels/cassettes. So, why would you want a set of wheels with only one dedicated cassette, or have to pay through the arse for different cassettes that you can only use with this one wheelset?

Look out for golf balls.
A good point!!!Cima Coppi
Jul 3, 2001 12:05 PM
Those flying golf balls must have clouded my judgement. I do, however, personally think the Helium's look a lot cooler than the Nuc's. But you are definitely correct about having multiple cassettes that are incompatible between wheels. The wallet would not be happy with me.
Jul 5, 2001 12:23 PM
Wheels actually uses an Ultegra cassette, you can special order a Dura-Ace edition, but they don't recommend it and it costs a fortune.
The Wheels cassettes work well. I've used one on a set ofbill
Jul 3, 2001 12:13 PM
Cane Creeks; two disadvantages, which you may or may not see as disadvantages -- the sizes were limited, every cassette Wheels made started with an 11. I don't know about you, but the last time I used an 11 on the road; well, there was no last time I used an 11 on the road. The other disadvantage probably means nothing to you; the Cane Creek hub couldn't accomodate the Wheels cassette with perfect compatibility. Wheels recommended a spacer (1 or 2 mm; I forget) and re-dishing, which my LBS determined was unnecessary, but which, I've come to learn since, left my rear deraileur just a little off. It was easy enough to dial in for the Cane Creek setup, but when I bought a wheelset with campy hubs, I found that I had to redial each time I switched out (I know; I could just space and re-dish, but I'm selling the Cane Creeks to my brother, because he's too cheap to buy decent wheels any other way). I don't think that the Mavic hubs will have this issue.
Other than that, the cassettes are good. Actually, the cog ramping (which campy since has adopted) worked better than campy OEM. Little heavy, maybe, but that's by feel, without the benefit of direct comparison, because campy doesn't make an 11-25.
Nothing to say about the wheelsets specifically, although you're bound to get the Heliums one heckuvalot cheaper. If not, I'd definitely reconsider. How are the Nucleons better? Well, enough people have described them as "bombproof" (with, to be fair, plenty of dissenters), but I've never heard the Heliums described that way. I'll pay extra for low maintenance any day.
I've got some HeliumsLazy
Jul 3, 2001 1:17 PM
And I've not had a single problem with them. I have about 1300 miles on them.

I'm on the heavy side (+/- 190 lbs) and ride some questionable roads. I ride around Chatfield alot and the seams in the pavement there are enough to loosen my teeth on occasion.

They also work pretty well going up Deer Creek. I like 'em.
Jul 3, 2001 2:00 PM
That's only about 3-6 mos of riding for many. I'd get the current wheelset- why go with something that's been discontinued for a few years, i.e., passe'? But then again, if you're just worried about looks...
I know looks aren't everything!!Cima Coppi
Jul 3, 2001 2:44 PM
But the experiences are things I'm trying to find out. The Heliums have only been discontinued one season, and I know that hub and rim technology has not evolved greatly in that time. The design features of the Nuc's certainly make them a worthy choice, but given the price I can get a set of new Heliums, is there really a significant advantage with the Nucs that is just too much to pass up?
you should take a lookchatfield rider
Jul 5, 2001 7:12 AM
at some older, well-used Heliums, ones that have faded. That ugly pinkish color might sway your decision on the looks part, it is pretty clear that the nucleons are a favored by people here
Nothing wrong with Heliumspmf
Jul 5, 2001 8:46 AM
I wouldn't pay the $600 I paid 3-4 years ago for them, but they're getting closed out pretty cheap. Its a standard Mavic Open Pro rim with standard spokes and a light weight set of hubs. They're easily repairable and the hub isn't going to explode on you. I've ridden mine thousands of miles (I ride around 6000 miles/year) including tours of PA and CO. Mine have not faded and still look pretty good. My only gripe is that the eyelets have come off on a few spoke holes. No big deal, I just snipped them off. I've only trued them once.

If you can find them for $300-$350 or so which is what a standard nice set of wheels with DA or Record hubs go for, then they're worth considering. Thats about half the price of the Nucleon (which I know nothing about because I use Shimano components). If you have a red bike, even better.

Just because they're getting closed out doesn't mean they're obsolete. Probably just means that Mavic is coming out with the Hydrogen wheel in 2002.
Fragile?grz mnky
Jul 10, 2001 4:59 PM
It's been my observation (and it could be wrong) that they're bit fragile.I've spent a bunch of time truing them for my buds and they're not as hard on their equipment. Sounds like they've held up well for you.

When the Ksyriums came out they were approx. the same $$$, same weight, better aerodynamics, and looked a lot more robust. I'm kinda hard on wheels - probably b/c I switch back and forth between road and MTB. I just expect that I should be able to bounce over rough pavement if I get the bunny-hop right.....

I also wouldn't have the same problems if I didn't ride on a lot of nasty mountian roads. They'd probably be fine for me if I lived in Florida or San Diego.
Jul 4, 2001 12:59 PM
I got them for a song in February. ~$300 for the set.
Shimano 10ColnagoFE
Jul 3, 2001 2:13 PM
do ya mean campy 10? Either way the Nucs are WAY better wheelset. no contest. Heliums are very much overrated and not all that light compares to a comparable handbuilt set.
No, I mean Shimano 10Cima Coppi
Jul 3, 2001 2:31 PM
This is because the Wheels Manf. cassette is a remanufactured Shimano cassette. Technically, it is not Campy componentry, just compatible. I'm trying to find some specs on the Heliums to verify you're description of them not being light. I have been told the heliums are not that light, but I have no way to really compare.

When you say the Nuc's are way better, explain how so. Are the hubs smoother, more reliable? Are the rims that much better? I know the Nuc's are built with bladed spokes which seems somewhat unnecessary for a climbing wheel. Does one really notice a difference here with speed on the decents.

Please explain? Thanks
No, I mean Shimano 10ColnagoFE
Jul 3, 2001 3:55 PM
I'd take the campy hubs over the mavics anytime...basically they are low spoke record hubs. Much more servicable should you need to service. Bladed spokes would be nice for the descent....though definately not neccesary. If you wanna save money get the Electrons...basically the same wheel w/ standard spokes. have also heard of a lot of QC problems with Heliums...spokes breaking and uneven tension etc. Nothing really special about the Heliums either. Basically an Open Pro rim w/ a low spoke count Mavic hub. If you gotta service them you send them back to Mavic.
ill second the wheels manu. cassettes.wes_london
Jul 3, 2001 2:16 PM
have a nine speed set and have super shifting.

heliums are nice and run pretty well. their advantages are immediately apparent. of the two you have mentioned id go with the mavic heliums but treat them well and you should have no problems. 1500 miles on mine and have only 1/2 mm out on the rear. they feel fairly snappy too.

most mechanics have worked with them as well.

ciao, wes
Helium experienceDMoore
Jul 3, 2001 3:16 PM
I had a set of Heliums for a few years - bought one of the first pairs when they came on the market. I rode them for several thousand miles over a couple of years, first with an 8 speed SRP Ti cogset, then with a Wheels Mfg. 9 speed cassette when I upgraded my bike to Campy 9 speed. Shifting was never any problem, and I never had to true even a single spoke. My weight was 175 to 185 the entire time. I did the death ride on those wheels, with (almost) no problem.

One word or warning if you get the Heliums -- THROW AWAY the yellow plastic rim strips. Replace them with Velox. I blew a front tire at 45 mph because of a cracked plastic strip. I'm still surprised that I lived to tell the tale.
Jul 5, 2001 8:50 AM
Had the same experience with mine. That yellow plastic strip was a joke. What were they thinking?
re: Helium's vs Nucleon'sJim Hubbard
Jul 5, 2001 1:34 PM
Having only ridden heliums I can only comment on one of them. I don't rate them. I used them once in a 60 km rate finishing up 1 in 8 climbs that were about 2ks long. I found them to be very 'dead', no life by this I mean that special quality you get with some wheels where they accerlate effortlessly and it feels as though all your energy is going to moving your bike forward. So when I was was thinking about climbing wheels I got a set hand built. The hubs cost $US300, the rims $US100 and the cassette $US125. They come in at 400g front 600g rear for a total of $US525. This kicks the ass of anything pre-built, and for me it was cheaper than buying pre-built too. So my opinion is go and get some wheels hand-made. Especially if you know a good wheelsmith who can tailor-make the wheels to your weight and riding style.
I think your scale's off...jba
Jul 5, 2001 3:31 PM
No way a road wheel can weigh 400g front or 600g rear. A rim alone weighs at least 350g if it's a superskimpy tubular. The front hub may be about 100g. Add spoke/nipple weight and you get a front wheel that's more that 400g for sure.
I think your scale's off...jim hubbard
Jul 5, 2001 6:03 PM
240+70+213+30=553g front
240+190+213+30=673 rear

I have redone the calcs, sorry for misrepresenting the weights slightly, the front more than the rear. It still makes for 1226g for the wheel set at a very good price!
I think your scale's off...jim hubbard
Jul 5, 2001 6:22 PM
I stuffed I put the wrong weight for the spokes, I should just get a digital scale and measure these but........

240(araya adx-5)+70(frm hub)+128(wheelsmith xl-14*32)+22(alloy nipples)=460g front
240(araya adx-5)+190(frm hub)+128(wheelsmith xl-14*32)+30(alloy nipples)=589 rear

And yes these wheels do exist if you doubt me I can produce pictures, they are also for sale to the right home!
Jul 5, 2001 6:28 PM
we must of posted the same time, ignore my post below.
your scale is still off....Tsunami
Jul 5, 2001 6:26 PM
just kidding, i do not doubt your wheels are that light, but........... i am curious, what rim weighs 240 grams? what front hub wieghs 70 grams, and what rear hub wighs 190 grams? can you please fill us in on the exact detail of your build? 1226 grams for a wheelset is extremely light, especially for the low price that you paid.
your scale is still off....jim hubbard
Jul 6, 2001 3:19 PM
Just a bit more info, these probably took me a year to get together. I located the rims first there was a LBS with them that had been sitting there for about 2 years. That is the hardest part of building a light set of whels these days, getting the rims. After doing some research and some saving I bought the hubs. The company is brilliant, I purchased mine through England. The address is The spokes and nipples were not much trouble. I purchase a 12-23 TA cassette to finish them off(~180g).
re: Helium's vs Nucleon'sDog
Jul 8, 2001 4:54 PM
My Nukes are lighter than Heliums by about 100 grams, but I can't use them. It's harder than hell to change tires. The rim channel must be too shallow or something. Others have said the same thing. I want to get rid of them. Other than that (if you never get flats, who cares?), they are great wheels.

The WM cassettes sort of work, but are really heavy, negating part of the advantage of the light wheels. I think I weighed one at around 225 grams, compared to about 160 for a Campy Record Ti. I also had a heck of a time getting the spacers right, and never could get it to work on my Velomax wheel.