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Wheelset strategies and where to buy?(12 posts)

Wheelset strategies and where to buy?sodade
Mar 9, 2002 5:02 PM
1st off, any comments on my wheel strategy? I am planning on getting a set of Ksyreium SSLs from totalcycling to use as my primary set of wheels (every ride is special to me :o)
Realizing that, if I have a problem, or if they even need to be trued, I will probably be without them for 1-2 weeks because the only shop that I would let near these puppies is far away and super busy.

So... I need a good set of sturdy backup wheels, and judging from the 100,000 posts on this subject, I should get handbuilt Open Pros with DA hubs, DT Revolutions and DT alloy nipples. I am thinking radial laced front and 3x rear (I have never had to true a front wheel - but I constantly have problems with rear wheels).

so, are these a good choice for a 160lb rider on crappy New England roads whose Velomax Orions flex into the brakepads when I stand up and after 250 miles need to be trued?

The next question is where should I buy them? I could have my LBS build them up for me, but I doubt that they are going to do as good of a job as Excel or CC. Plus, I am sure that I will end up spending $100 more. But, if there is a problem, I can be at the LBS in person in 10mins. If there is a problem with an excel or CC wheel, I gotta send it back. Recommendations?
Here is where I bought mine!davet
Mar 9, 2002 6:06 PM
I just had a set of wheels built for me by Frank Corda in Long Island, New York. Mine were Phil Wood hubs, laced 3x to 32h OpenPro, DT spokes and brass nipples. I chose Frank after "interviewing" several other wheelmakers. I liked his philosophy, and the pictures of his wheelmaking equipment he sent me. (Phil Wood spoke machine and Villum truing stand). His prices are OUTSTANDING! His service is terrific! I am going to have him build me another set of wheels for my new bike. The nice thing about the wheels you want and the ones that I have is that any competent LBS can true and/or repair them when necessary.

You can reach Frank Corda at:
I have no affiliation with him other than as a very satisfied customer
Backup backupsKerry
Mar 10, 2002 9:28 AM
The wheels you propose for your "first set" offer virtually no advantages over the wheels you propose as your backups! Why not (plan A) just get the wheels built by CC or Excel, and learn to true them yourself (easy to do - just get any decent book on bike maintenance). Plan B would be to take them to the LBS for truing, and pay the price for the job. They won't kill you for bringing in wheels that could have come on a bike you bought, and it will take forever to spend as much money having them trued as you would spend on the boutique wheels that you don't really need.
The Ksyrium a boutique Wheelset?bobobo
Mar 10, 2002 11:46 AM
If the Ksyrium is a boutique wheel, does that also mean tha chorus, record and dura Ace are boutique grouppos?? Does that mean that any custom or high end frameset is boutique as well? Just curious.
I like boutique Wheelsets!!!KurtVF
Mar 10, 2002 2:15 PM
I prefer brand consistency, but there is probably little or no real advantage. Remember: "A foolish consistency is the hobgobblin of little minds"-Emerson
The Ksyrium a boutique Wheelset?merckx56
Mar 10, 2002 2:25 PM
I guess my merckx with dura ace and k's needs to go in a shop window somewhere!
Boutique definition (IMO)Kerry
Mar 10, 2002 4:03 PM
A boutique wheelset is defined (by me at least) as offering no performance advantage and only being unique by virtue of your not being able to buy the components separately. For example, a Campy Nucleon could easily be built by anyone if the parts were available. Instead, you pay a few hundred $$ extra for the privilege of getting it built at the factory. Ksyriums are $500 retail, and you can get Velocity Aerohead/DA for $210 less (current CC prices). You're paying a $200 premium for the factory build - do you think it's worth it? The Aerohead/DA weighs less, is just as good a hub and rim, would be just as durable and maintenance free when properly built, and can actually be maintained and repaired without a trip back to the factory. Therefore, in my definition, premium priced factory built wheels are boutique. On the other hand, a higher priced gruppo, for which you may get better shifting, better braking, lighter weight, more durability, etc. is NOT boutique, just more performance for more money. Boutique wheels offer NO more performance for more money.
Boutique definition (IMO)TJeanloz
Mar 11, 2002 5:29 AM
It's an interesting and snobbishly retro-grouch take, but I don't think it's inherently fair. While 9 times out of 10, I prefer a handbuilt wheel, I don't think it's fair to say that pre-builts offer NO more performance. It is my opinion that no builder could build a wheel as strong, light and aero as the Kysrium with off the rack parts. Yes, you could easily build a lighter wheel, and easily build a more aero wheel, but the Ksyrium is uncompromisingly stiff and strong- so much so that I've never seen it replicated by a wheelbuilder.

My feeling lately is that 'boutique' wheels CAN be better (though they aren't necessarily) because the hub, spokes and rim can all be designed with a specific goal in mind- not a general idea of how it should be built. When Chris King builds a hub, he doesn't know how the builder will lace it- when Mavic designs a Ksyrium hub, they know exactly how it will be laced, and can optimize the hub design for that pattern (whether they do or not is a different argument).
some do offer more performance, but at a costColnagoFE
Mar 13, 2002 9:23 AM
I mean how can you argue that a Zipp 303 or similar won't provide you an advantage--cost not factored in. Still it's not going to be a HUGE differece between that wheelset and a conventional handbuilt one, but there is a difference. Whether that difference is worth the price difference is up to you. I also think it's silly to train on super light wheels--no matter how tough they are. You might as well train on some good bombproof wheels and save your fancy ones for special occasions and races.
Backup backupsmerckx56
Mar 10, 2002 2:35 PM
when i was managing bike shops, there was one thing that i flatly refused to sell to a customer, a spoke wrench. i told them to let my mechs do it and save themselves the aggrevation. inevitably, they would buy a spoke wrench and screw their wheels up and we'd end up truing them anyway.
just let the lbs true your wheels, unless you want to take the time to learn, from an experienced wrench (not a book), to build and true wheels. a wheel true costs anywhere from $8-15, depending on the quality of the initial build and how bad the rim is out. a well built wheel should stay true for thousands of miles and require only small touch-ups when it actually does have to be trued.
(btw- all of my "boutique" wheels stay straight longer than my "normal" wheels anyway. Had to true my k's for the first time in two years and about 4k miles about a month ago.
aint that the truth, but you still should learnColnagoFE
Mar 13, 2002 9:25 AM
When I first started truing my wheels I messed them up so bad they had to be rebuilt. I don't think there is any way else to learn though other than trying it yourself. What if you need to true up a wheel on the road? Better know how to do it or you might be walking.
re: Wheelset strategies and where to buy?Quack
Mar 14, 2002 9:22 AM
It sounds like you are definitely sold on buying the Ksyriums so I won't discourage you. I can fully relate to lusting over factory wheelsets with tons of decals. "If the bike looks fast sitting still, it has to make me faster" is my rationale.

As far as the backup wheels go, I would personally go through your Orions provided the rims aren't shot and the hubs are OK. The extra money you save could help justify the mega$$ Mavics.

From the information that you provided, it sounds like you're constantly lacking/losing tension in your rear wheel. Given that your rear wheel is flexing into the brake pads while rocking is indicative of a serious lack of tension in the wheel. I've had a few factory wheels that chronically go out of true and the only long term fix has been to completely go through the wheel as if it is being built new.

I'm not sure what wheel tools you have but a spoke tool, a musical ear, and the internet should be the only required tools. There is loads of info for free on the web regarding wheel building. In a nutshell, detension the wheel, clean the spoke threads and rim eyelets, apply spokeprep or threadlocker to the threads and reassemble making sure to keep the wheel round, true, and dished correctly while bringing the wheel up to proper tension.

If you have a bike shop do this for you, they will probably charge you double the normal truing charge and may even charge you for a full rebuild.

For recommendations on building new wheels, outside of aerodynamics and weight, the parts don't seem to matter much. Get a good box-section aluminum rim(aero or non-aero), a reliable hub, lace it up with stainless spokes, BUILD IT RIGHT, and beat on it for thousands of miles.

With regard to radial lacing the Dura-Ace, I don't believe that Shimano recommends radial lacing any of their hubs. I am 150 lbs. and have a radially laced 32-hole DA 7700 wheel with 2000 miles on it that is just fine, but there's always a chance that the flange can fail.