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Help with new wheels (The factory set vs. hand built debate)(9 posts)

Help with new wheels (The factory set vs. hand built debate)Bikewithadam
Jan 28, 2002 11:31 PM
I'm currently in the process of building a new bike--custom Ti, full Record 10, etc... The whole process of "specing" the bike has been very involved in light of all of the tradeoffs that can be considered between components when functioning on a budget. (Yes, there is a budget for this project.) I'm really having trouble figuring out the wheels for this puppy. There are several considerations that I have in mind, which I will address sequentially. Before I go any further I should say that, although I would like to nail the right choice and be able to get only one wheelset, I am thinking that realistically I might want to specialize and get two to start with, meaning that I'd have to be willing to go to town on the budget allocation for the wheels themselves. Also, for the sake of background, I'm a roadie, 5'7" 160 lbs, going to do some racing some very light touring, but generally just a little bit of everything. Maybe RAGBRAI this summer, some road races, an AIDSRide or equivalent, and a self-planned tour. You get the idea.

Question #1: Should I look at factory wheelsets or handbuilt? In practice, what am I getting in a prebuilt factory wheelset? The 2002 Mavic Ksyrium SSC SL is looking pretty good as a fairly light, high performance semi-aero wheel, with good stiffness. However, I am somewhat skeptical of what happens when I break the wheel. On the other hand, any hand-built wheelset will, generally speaking, offer more easily repairable parts. What does the Ksyrium have to offer over a high quality hand-built wheel, in general terms?

Question #2: Getting more specific, if I wanted to get two sets of wheels so that I could "specialize" per se, would it behoove me to get a general-type wheelset such as Ksyrium (or equivalent hand-built wheel) and a high-spoke-count robust hand built wheelset for training purposes? In this case the custom wheel would be the primary gig while the Ksyrium would be reserved for special occasions. Another viable option would be to still go with the Ksyrium but to complement it with a very light, low-spoke-count hand-built wheelset for climbing purposes, for instance, an Open Pro rim with CK hubs in a 28-F drilling pattern. Implicit in this debate is the question of whether there is more of an advantage for me, given somewhat limited resources, to get a dedicated bulletproof wheelset vs. getting a dedicated stupidly light climbing wheelset. Naturally I would equip said wheels with cassettes in appropriately varying sprocket combinations.

This leads to question #3: Can I put Chris King hubs onto wheels that are going to be used with Campy Record 10, or should I stick with Record hubs? Are Chris King hubs really worth the extra money, especially in the scenario in which I would be using them to build an ultra light wheel. (They are lighter than Record hubs according to my reading.)

Question #4: Other thoughts aside, for a hand-built wheelset, what components should I use? From what I've read Open Pro is a little lighter and more supple (appropriate for climbing) but not as durable as CXP-33, which is more aero and durable. Is this accurate? Again, what about hubs, skewers, and especially spokes, about which I know very little. (Use lighter, albeit less durable spokes for a climbing-intended wheel I assume???)

I know there's alot here, but I'd appreciate any feedback I can get from people on the board. I've read through all the archives and scoured the 'net for answers but there's alot of contradictory information out there. Basically what it all boils down to for me is this: A) Is it really worth getting two wheelsets or can I get one to do everything I need? B) In either case, does a prebuilt factory wheelset (specifically Ksyrium) give me a substantial net benefit over a hand-built set? C) If I were to get two wheelsets for specialized usages, should I get either a bulletproof/semi-aero, semi-aero/climbing or bulletproof/climbing combination of wheelsets, and which combinations of prebuilt or rims/spokes/hubs componentry should I pursue?

Phew. That was a long post. Thanks guys!
Lots of questions-some answers.Len J
Jan 29, 2002 5:44 AM
Let me start by saying that I have never had K's, but I think I can givce you a context for making your decision.

1.) Most opeople who have K's seem to love them. They find them relativly bullet proof & a good combo between aero & light.

2.) Cost of OP's vs K's. I built a set of OP's on Dura Ace hubs with Double butted 14/15 spokes 3 cross front & rear 32 spoke. Complete wheels buying parts from my LBS and buying his time to teach me how to build them cost $312.00. You can buy them prebuilt for under $300.00. The K SSC SL is around $800.00, you can get the regular K's for under $500.00.

3.) My OP's weigh (with Skewers) 683 fr 933 r. Regular K's are around 750 fr & 952 r. I don't know what the SSC SL's weigh. I do know that Mavic ( & others) tend to come in with actual weights heavier than published.

4.) The OP's are made with parts that are easily "findable" & easily replacable. If you are doing tours, I would recommend these as it will be easy to find support. K's spokes are unique & may be harder to find should you break one. If you get the K's I would recommend that you buy some extra spokes for your tours.

5.) CPX-33 vs OP's OP's are lighter, CPX-33's are more aero. If you went through the archives there are some great debates about aero vs weight.

6.) Kings do not come campy compatible (I think).

If it were me I would definatly build up a set of 32 spoke OP's (especially if you are touring & doing charity rides). They are bombproof, easily repairable & relativly light. The best of all worlds. If you want a second super light set for climbing/racing, and you have the money I would look at something more exotic than K's like Zipp 404's (590 fr 780 rear) .

If you really want to learn about wheels, I would recommend you read "The bicycle Wheel". See the attached link.

http://www.excelsports.com/item.asp?major=3&minor=1&description=The+Bicycle+Wheel&vendorCode=BOOK

My .02

Len
Lots of questions-some answers.Bikewithadam
Jan 29, 2002 8:13 AM
Thanks for the thoughts Len. Your reply got me thinking a little more about OP's/CXP-33's and I went back to a wheelbuilding book to read more, so let me add another question as an addenda to my earlier post. If I wanted to build a very light wheelset by hand, would it make sense to use a CXP-33 rim (which is presumably stronger) so that I can use a lower spoke count in a radial pattern, as opposed to going with the Open Pro rims which, although lighter (and less expensive), are supposedly not as robust and would therefore require a "meatier" spoke count in a 3-cross? The physics of it tell me that the thing to do is to lower the weight of the rim, but if I can get a relatively large weight savings/aerodynamic benefit by using fewer, radially laced spokes it could make sense to use a heavier rim.

Again, the question of whether or not factory prebuilt is better sneaks in. For super duper light wheels the price gap increases. In regards to the Ksyrium though, which I view as a solid middle-of-the-road do it all wheel, I can get them for $500 from Ireland, so they would cost me $188 more than your OP's.

There's too much to decide on. Help!!!
I wish I was a master of the physics....Len J
Jan 29, 2002 10:36 AM
but I'm not. Perhaps some of the engineers in the group would chime in. My guess would be that the spoke savings vs the increase in rim weight would be close to a wash. I think that the CPX-33 is about 25 gr heavier than the OP. In addition rotating wheight is only an issue (I think) when spinning up not while maintaing speed. Aerodynamics (read CPX-33) rule when maintaining speed.

A Couple of other thoughts:

Shimano (& I think Campy) will not warrent the flange when used in a radial lacing pattern. Be careful that you are not creating other problems.

You talk about getting a large weight savings. What do you consider large? The difference that I quoted between the OP's & the original K's works out to 86 grams or a little over 3 ounces. I have a set of Rolf Sestriere's that weigh a total of 1478 gr (652 Fr & 826 rear) or about 5 ounces total less than the Open Pro's. I honestly can't feel the difference when riding other than ,because of the low spoke count, the Rolf's are noticably stiffer. Both are good climbing wheels. I think that these kind of weight differences are nominal.

You are really down to personal choice. The K's are great wheels and they definatly look cooler than the OP's. Why not get both? then you will have 2 good sets of wheels (One of which you could learn how to make yourself (different discussion)) one for tours (the OP due to it's ease of repairability) and training & one for training, centuries and such. Plus you would have a spare set if one needed extensive repairs. Finally if you get the SSC SL K's for $500 and you find you don't like them, you can recover a large portion of the cost by selling them. they are cool wheels.

Notice how easy it was for me to spend your money? :)

Len
Lots of questions-some answers.Woof the dog
Jan 30, 2002 7:27 PM
i thougth king hubs were campy compatable. go to their website to findout. I think its www.chrisking.com, although not too sure

Get a good 32 spoke durace hub training wheelset and get something real light tubular for racing/sunday rides. just don't forget to carry a spare tubie!

peace

woof.
Lots of questions-some answers.Ligon
Jan 31, 2002 9:15 AM
King hubs are not Campy compatable. I really wish they were though. I asked them about a month ago if there were some in the making, but they said no. They are to focused on a BB right now to think about anything else.
oh ok, thanx (nm)Woof the dog
Feb 1, 2002 3:16 PM
give Dave a calltcr01
Jan 29, 2002 6:32 AM
Give Dave Thomas a call @ Speed Dream Wheels. It will be worth your time.

http://speeddream.com/
look in the wheels classified sectionSub
Jan 29, 2002 11:30 PM
there are two sets of ksyriums, one for 400 and one for 325, both with low miles. If I didn't already own a set I would look into these. I like my Ksyriums alot, my bike originally came with mavic cosmos, which i hear are similar to OP's, correct me if i'm wrong, and they are a nice solid wheel, but I can tell a difference, the K's just seem so "smooth" for lack of a better word.

Sub