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Yet again: Race Wheels(3 posts)

Yet again: Race WheelsGreyhound
Oct 22, 2001 4:19 PM
I am going into my first year of college racing, and am training on cxp33 triple cross with ultegra hubs. For race wheels I am considering some pre-built clinchers: Hed Alps-aero and light, crosswind problems, Velomax Ascent Comps-light, stiff, strong, somewhat aero, Nimble Spider-superlight, inexpensive, questionable stiffness, and Ksyrium sl's-kinda light, kinda aero, very strong. Any input would be apreciated, especially on the Nimbles because I have found no reviews of these wheels.
re: Yet again: Race WheelsTJeanloz
Oct 23, 2001 10:12 AM
First of all, your CXP33/Ultegra wheels may not be particularly sexy, but they would be more than adequate for NCCA racing. Sure, there will be guys (girls) with fancier stuff, but there will be an equal number with worse wheels. And Murpheys Laws of Bicycle racing dictate that the person with the crappiest bike always seems to win.

That being said, here's how I rate the wheels offered.

The Hed Alps is a pretty darn nice wheel. Reasonably light, quite aero, good looking. It's really expensive though. $950? If you're going to drop that kind of cash, I think the Zipp 303 (tubular) is a better answer- it's really light, and as aero as it needs to be.

Velomax Ascent Comp. Really not in the same category as the Hed. We had some QC problems, and there's some uncertainty because of the Schwinn bankruptcy situation (Velomax was distributed exclusively by Schwinn). Those things aside, this is a pretty stiff wheel, but it's not winning any weight contests, nor is it particularly aero.

I didn't really know anything about the Nimble Spider, so I checked out their stats. It appears to be a Sun MA19 clincher rim paired to an American Classic micro hub. They aren't that expensive ($450), but you may be getting what you paid for. If this sort of wheel is your bag, I'd likely recommend Dave Thomas' Speeddreams. He has a great reputation as a builder, and can build a wheelset with similar weight and better attention to detail.

Ksyrium SL's. We don't really know how stiff, or strong, this wheel will turn out to be. It will almost certainly be a good race wheel for you, but it's not cheap, and can be hard to get repair parts- which all NCCA racers will need.

Taking your college situation into account, I'd go with Dave's Speeddreams (unless you've already ruled them out for some reason). You don't want anything to fancy, or anything you'd be afraid to loan out or lose, these things happen in Collegiete cycling. The Hed wheel is probably the best of the bunch, but so pricy it may not be worth the financial and mental agony.
re: Yet again: Race Wheelsbrider
Oct 23, 2001 12:48 PM
Somthing to consider is what type of racing you're going to be doing mainly. TT's? Definitely go as aero as possibly. Road Races? Depending on the amount of climbing, aero might be more important than weight. Crits? Lighter rims and strong wheels would be of higher consideration. Rougher surfaces? Low spoke counts would cause me concern. I raced for years on Mavic Open 4's, in every spoke count from 36 to 28. Think of cost as well, since your team will probably be pooling wheels together for spares, and you never know who is going to end up with them, going high end could cost more than one set of wheels, if you catch my drift. Get the engine up to speed with the big dogs, then let the equipment take you that last 1%.