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Best Wheelset for $500-$600.(13 posts)

Best Wheelset for $500-$600.robocomp
Jul 12, 2002 9:08 PM
Looking for the best possible campy based roadbike clincher wheelset at this price range. Have considerd Mavic Kysrium, Campy Eurus, etc. I am interested in weight but also durability and servicability. thanks much, robo
re: Best Wheelset for $500-$600.xcandrew
Jul 13, 2002 12:19 AM
That's a lot of money... I would get two wheelsets.
#1 Chorus, Centaur, or Record hubs (all pretty much the same) /MA-2, Montreal, Open Pro or Torelli Master rims/36 1.8/1.6/1.8 Wheelsmith or DT spokes 3x, brass nipples, well built and stress relieved. That would meet your requirements - durable (especially with the non-anodized, non-machined, non-welded no-longer-made MA-2, in any case more durable than the ones you mentioned), light (about 1700g w/o skewers, 1830g w/skewers, lighter than the Kysrium), and serviceable, (but won't need sevicing). About $300, maybe less.

For the second wheelset, I would get the same thing to be mounted with wide tires, or if something different, a lower spoke count, deeper rimmed wheel.
re: Best Wheelset for $500-$600.Juanmoretime
Jul 13, 2002 3:19 AM
I ride Velomax Curcuit comps and love them. For the best deal on them, look on Ebay. Also look at Excelsports wheelset. It's under $500 loooks like a very good build up with Mavic rims, KIng hubs and DT spokes and alloy nipples, great common parts that could be easily replaced if necessary.
The Excel wheels are called threats. nmJuanmoretime
Jul 13, 2002 3:20 AM
no sure about what's lighter hereJekyll
Jul 13, 2002 5:32 AM
None of these would be lighter then Ksyriums (1530gr and no need for rim strips). Record/3x (15/16/15)/brass nips/OP/rim tape would be right around 1800 without skewers.
Also, the wheel better be built by someone with a good set of wheel building skills if you expect it to hold up near as well as the K's.
Serviceability and price are the two advantages you will get with built wheels. Though at around $500 for Ksyrium SSC SL (from UK sites) they are pretty tough to beat.
no sure about what's lighter herexcandrew
Jul 13, 2002 6:11 PM
The Ksyrium SSC SLs (1530g, 1610g w/skewers)are about $800, out of the specified price range. I used the weight of the Ksyrium Elite (1915g w/skewers) for comparison because they are about $500.

Weights for Record/Open Pro/36 1.8/1.6/1.8 spokes/brass nipples / rim tape:
hubs w/skewers: 181g front + 316g rear = 497g and about 369g w/o skewers
72 293mm (right size for this wheelset) Wheelsmith 1.8/1.55/1.8 spokes = 360g +/-10g (extrapolated from a shorter spoke)
72 brass nipples = 80g
2 Open Pro rims = 840g +/- 45g (highly variable for any Al rim depending on die condition, including Kysriums)
That's 1649g w/o skewers and 1777g w/ skewers +/- about 50g.
I didn't know that Kyriums didn't need rim tape, but so you can add 60g for a pair of Veloxes or Kool stops, less for some other tapes. That is about 80g lighter than the Kyrsium Elites, even with 36 spokes and brass nipples. The Wheelsmith spokes are slightly thiner than the 15/16/15 DTs, so add 26g for DTs. (Revolution spokes have too much difference between the center section and ends, and will twist too much to get the wheel up to a proper tension, so I wouldn't use those for a durable wheel.)
no sure about what's lighter hereJekyll
Jul 13, 2002 9:20 PM
Ksyrium SSC SL @ totalcycling.com - $569........... Less elsewhere if look hard enough. Well within the price range. I got mine from my LBS for $650, including tax.
There is no problem in building with Revolutions by the way, you just have to know how to tension the wheel and avoid wind-up. Just built a set of beater wheels (D/A, CXP33 28h, Rev radial front, 14/15/14 3x rear drive and Rev 2x left) - no problems - just a lot of work - right around 1800gr. Also, would not build with 15/16/15 on the drive side anyway, put the meat where the torque is and there is no reason to go to 3x on the non-drive unless you're an elephant. Also, 15ga spokes tend to not sit as well in the hub, probably best to use washers (you did not add that into your weight comparison :-). My estimate with rim tape 32h/3x and your spokes still holds (and your numbers seem to agree).
Either way, the biggest variable in home brews is the builder. I have a feeling that a master wheels builder could make a more durable 28 hole wheel than I could 36. If you can find a guy who knows which end is up you're in luck. Otherwise its just a collection of nice parts that won't stay true. If you use someone like Dave from Speeddream you will get a very well built wheel - unfortunately they will cost about the same as the K's from abroad.
Its fun to play but if you want a no-brainer, bomb proof wheelset for under $600 - the K's are your best bet (well actually not a bet, as a built wheel from an LBS typically is).
no sure about what's lighter herexcandrew
Jul 13, 2002 11:36 PM
Hey, you can find anything cheaper if you look hard enough...
I agree that the build can make the difference between a great wheel and a bad wheel, but wheel building isn't something mysterious that only certain people can do well at. If you can read and follow directions carefully, you will be able to build a good wheel using Jobst Brandt's book, The Bicycle Wheel. I have no doubt that, with the same components, I can build a 36 spoke wheel that is more reliable than anyone's 28 spoke wheel. If you aren't going to build it up yourself, yeah, you might not know what you are getting.

As for spoke head washers, you don't need them for most spokes except for some of the DT's from a little while ago when they were made with a longer section from the bend to the head. The spoke head washer takes up the side to side slack. Jobst himself has used a single set of 1.8/1.6/1.8 spokes on his wheels for 20 years, only changing out the rims as the braking surfaces wear away. You can do this with 36 spokes. You need heavier spokes if you go with fewer spokes to take a higher tension (assuming you want a wheel of the same strengh). You can go with a lighter rim with 36 spokes and retain the same strength. The original post did request a durable wheel after all. For more than you ever want to know about this stuff, you can do an google groups search on "spoke selection" or "Jobst 36 32" or similar.
no sure about what's lighter herebobobo
Oct 2, 2002 2:33 PM
I don't know a single person who has paid anything within $175 for Ksyrium SL's at $800. With very little research you can find loads of places selling these wheels for between $500 and $600 without looking hard at all.

Also, a built up Open pro wheel like somone else previously said had better be built by someone who really knows his stuff. i don't care how nice the component parts are - OP's, King hubs, DT spokes...etc, if the builder is mediocre the wheelset will be mediocre, PERIOD! Also, way too many of you guys are myopically focused on wheel weight. Aerodynamics of a wheel in almost all situations will play at least as big a role as rotational weight as to how fast you bike moves in in many situations it is in fact far more important. The minimally spoked and bladed Ksyrium Sl and Campy Eurus wheels with their significantly deeper rims are way, way more aerodynamic than any built up set of OP's.
Ksyriumfiltersweep
Jul 13, 2002 5:47 AM
I was in your situation recently... and I settled on Mavic and feel I made NO compromises.

The Ksyrium SSCs can be found in that price range if you look- and their published weight is 1530g- AND you don't need rim tape. I don't know how they do it- those wheels are amazing- I almost want to just hang them on the wall. They are a work of art to look at (never mind the gawdy lettering- I'm talking about the FIT and FINISH... no seams, no visible welds, no burrs). I know some people feel the Ksyriums are overpriced, but I do think the finish is worth something (unlike some brands that look great from the outside, but are rough on the inside). I had intended to use my "old" wheels as everyday wheels, but I doubt I'll ever put them back on my bike.

I had a substantially heavier set of Rolfs that are considerably more noodly. I tried a set of Velomax Ascent Comps- and older model with the older hubs, but they didn't seem quite as refined (might have been the hubs) and the felt "fragile" if you know what I mean. I run Shimano, and if I'm not mistaken, it is more a a pain using Campy on Velomaxes. They are superlight- and they feel light. The Ksyriums are light but feel solid- if that makes sense (they are so stiff for their weight that they "seem" heavier, until I accelerate).

I know "everyone" has Ksyriums, and my thinking was I wanted to be a bit different, but I'm left with the opinion that there is a reason that the Ksyriums are so popular. Mavic parts are obviously very easy to find.

I've never tried the Campy wheels... but I doubt you could go wrong with them either.
Agree with filtersweep and others plus Campyboneman
Jul 13, 2002 8:44 AM
I have a set of 2001 SSC Ksyrium's and think they're a good value. Durable enough for everyday use and extremely well built. The SL's got less weight in the rim. I also have a pair of 2002 Campy Neutrons. They're lighter than the SSC's and about the same as the SL's. I like the Neutrons better as they're very responsive and lively to ride. Rather subjective but they're one of the best wheel sets I've ridden in the last 30+ years.

FWIW, if you want to go with handbuilts, first thing is to find a reputable builder if you're not doing it yourself. In some places that's easy but in some places, it can be a problem.

Instead of the usual Mavic Open, Campy/Shimano, DT combination, I'd recommend Ambrosio Excellence or Excellight rims, Sapim spokes- Lasers and/or X Rays, with the aforementioned hubs. For handbuilts, my preference remains 28 or 32 hole, and 3x lacing.
re: Best Wheelset for $500-$600.Alan Ross
Jul 14, 2002 5:16 AM
Velomax Orion Comp are good. You can pick them up at this price but they list for $700. I am happy after 3 months.
re: Best Wheelset for $500-$600.robocomp
Jul 14, 2002 6:45 PM
Thanks one and all for your excellent feedback.

Robo