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Campy Protons or Mavic Open Pros?(8 posts)

Campy Protons or Mavic Open Pros?tremblay
Oct 15, 2002 3:06 PM
OK, I am shopping for a wheelset, something that will be relatively light but good for long rides with mountains and etc. My current (and only) set of rims is great for the everyday, but I would like to have a nicer wheelset for racing/long rides/hills/etc/

So, I am, at the moment, considering the following:
Campy Protons (Between $600-$700 CDN)
Mavic Open Pros built with Campy Chorus hubs

Or??? What else would one suggest?

Which wheelset would be recommended here? Keep in mind I am in the $500-$700 Canadian range, and they need to be Campy 9 speed compatible.
re: Campy Protons or Mavic Open Pros?Spunout
Oct 15, 2002 3:28 PM
I'm on Chorus and Open Pros, these are my only wheels. They are flawless, but get a good builder.

If I went with a racing wheel, I'd skip the Proton and go straight to the Neutron(as my second set). What are you using now? It is tough in Canada (me too!) as the prices are quite expensive. Or, if you can find a good wheelbuilder where you are, you could get something flashier. Chorus hubs aren't made to be radially laced.

Other than that, check for Kryseriums on sale, or Neutrons from Europe (bitz4bikes on E-bay have campy wheels).
re: Campy Protons or Mavic Open Pros?tremblay
Oct 15, 2002 5:47 PM
I think I'll get my LBS (one of them at least) to build me a wheel from Chorus/Open Pros, or something comparable. Right now I'm on Ambrosio Balance rims- heavy, cheap, and reliable. They are great for bad weather/every day riding, but they don't do much in the high performance category, and they are also rather heavy.
Mavic Open Prosweiwentg
Oct 15, 2002 3:45 PM
spunout is right. if you must get chi-chi, go all the way and get the really chi-chi stuff. this is not to say that Protons are bad wheels, but a set of OPs would be more cost-effective.
Just say NO to boutique wheels!Kerry
Oct 15, 2002 4:16 PM
Two (and a half) problems I see with "boutique" wheels (I own Electrons - they are my only wheels). First, many of them push the envelope on reliability in an effort to be different or light. First (and a half), because of the first issue, they often change frequently during their product life cycle and it becomes nearly impossible to get parts or repairs.

The real complaint I have about them is that they are grossly overpriced. A company comes out with a wheel that is nearly the same as can be built with stock components, and they add $300 to the price of a comparable wheel. For example, MAVIC Helium clinchers were red, Open Pro, low spoke count rims/hubs that you couldn't buy, but were not substantially different than a 32 (or 28) wheel you could have built or build for $350 less. Campy doesn't sell 24 spoke hubs and rims, otherwise, you could build Nucleons and Protons yourself at a far lower cost. No one would every consider paying someone $300 to build a set of wheels or $350 for a set of rims, but that effectively is what you pay when you buy something like this. On top of this, you can't get replacement parts (spokes, rims, hubs) except through the manufacturer's rebuild operation or at outrageous prices. Last I heard, 48 spokes for my Electrons would cost me $80+! As much as I like Campy stuff, this is the last set of factory-built wheels this sucker will ever buy (at least at these prices). Rant, rant, rant.

So, in order to get these chi-chi wheels, we end up paying through the nose and don't get much or any performance advantage. And please don't tell me about the quality of "factory built" wheels. Even ignoring the problems people have had with the factory wheels, you can't convince me that the boys in the factory are any better than a good bike shop or an experienced builder. If a good wheel can be built by a factory technician, given the same parts, I can build one too, perhaps a better one. And then, if I break a spoke, I can replace it. If I dent or crack a rim, I can replace it. I'm not dependent on UPS and a 3 week vacation from riding to get a spoke replaced. IMO, you'd be much better off buying or building wheels with stock parts.

My complaint is that Campy produces wheels with low spoke counts in both the Climb Dynamic and Aerodynamic groups, but don't make those hubs, rims, and spokes available separately. MAVIC pulls similar tricks. The only two explanations that come to mind are that 1) the general public and the LBS can't be trusted to build wheels with these "leading edge" components or 2) Campy wants to be able to offer an exclusive pre-built wheel that the consumer can't get anywhere else. As someone who has built his own wheels since 1968, this really burns my beans! Based on the strength of the Velocity Deep V, CXP30, etc., I see no problems in building strong wheels at the 24 (rear) and 18 (front) spoke count.

It's pretty obvious to me. MAVIC hit on a great marketing idea when they came out with the Cosmic. (now there may have been some others before that, but I'm not sure): A factory built wheel at a premium price using components that were not available separately. Others soon followed suit. If Campy offered just the parts, would (could) you justify a hubset for $450? Or a set of alloy rims for $200 each? I doubt it. Since there's no special assembly required, they'd be hard pressed to charge hundreds of dollars for building the wheel, so the only choice they have is to only offer the built wheel, which is what they intended all along - and they can ask just about what the want for it.
Just say NO to boutique wheels!tremblay
Oct 15, 2002 5:48 PM
Wow, thanks for the in-depth reply.

I am now thinking I'll stick with the Open Pro/Chorus option, or something of similar performance from my LBS. All I need to do now is find out who has the best deal in town...
My choice for wheelsDY
Oct 15, 2002 9:30 PM
I was in the same boat you are in. I had Campy Protons last year. I found them stiff, strong and never had a problem with them riding over average road surfaces. I am 6' 180lbs. I sold my bike and then wanted to go with more of a training wheel. I've ridden the Open Pro combination before and as well didn't have a problem. After reading so may complaints about the clicking of OP's, I knew that it would happen to me too (just my luck) so instead I went with the Campy Montreals/Chorus. They are about the same weight as the OP's and they use the (basically) same rim profile as the front of Protons or Neutrons. As well, they say that everything lines up perfectly (meaning braking surfaces) so if you later get the Neutrons for race wheels you can just switch them back and forth easily.
If you are in the Outaouais, I can suggest builders..Spunout
Oct 16, 2002 4:35 AM
But check around, after asking a few other people you will find that the same name (wheelbuilders) keep coming up, and that is for a reason!