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Weight/Aero of good handbuilt vs Ksyrium SSC SL(31 posts)

Weight/Aero of good handbuilt vs Ksyrium SSC SLHaydnG
Nov 5, 2002 5:32 PM
Anyone know comparative weight of top end handbuilt (say Dura Ace 32s with Mavic Open Pro, or a suggested combination of your choice) against Ksyrium SSC SL?
There is another topic comparing cost/servicability/aero. Seems to me that on cost and servicability handbuilt way ahead. Having dinked my old Mavic Cosmic beyond economic rebuilt (assuming rim can be found) I don't want to be in same position with shiny new v.expensive Ksyriums. On aero presumably its the Ksyriums, but by how much? On weight I presume the K's are lighter, but is it by an appreciable margin?
Comparable in everything but priceKerry
Nov 5, 2002 5:56 PM
You can meet or beat the weight of Ksyriums (remember, the K's are advertised weight without skewers) with pretty common components. Ks are not really aero, so there's not much challenge there. What you can't match with the hand builts is the graphics and cache' of the Ks. Performance will be equivalent though.
re: Weight/Aero of good handbuilt vs Ksyrium SSC SLgray8110
Nov 5, 2002 5:59 PM
Ksyriums are lighter. 610 in front and 900 in rear. An Excel Sports set of 32 spoke open pro's w/DA hubs are 716/954. Keep in mind that Ksyriums don't need rim tape which probably runs nearly 100gms per wheel if you are using high quality tape. I would assume the K's have lighter rims which make for quicker accelaration, but I don't know that.

As far as aero, I doubt either have an appreciable difference.. K's have a deeper rim, but they aren't aero and the spokes may be bladed but they aren't aero.

I guess the real question is whether that weight difference is worth the $300 difference in cost. That set of DA/Open pro's from Excel run's $295.. the K's cost 589.83. If you want light wheels racing wheels, get the Open Pro's with ultegra hubs for training and save up for a REALLY lightweight set of race day only wheels.. Am.Classic 350's or Zipp 303's.

That's some heavy tape!pmf1
Nov 6, 2002 6:48 AM
I don't think Velox tape weighs anything close to 100 grams per roll.
re: Weight/Aero of good handbuilt vs Ksyrium SSC SLbobobo
Nov 6, 2002 6:30 PM
K's are not lighter, their advertised weight is 1530 grams, not 1510 and as Kerry correctly pointed out their advertised weight does NOT include the weight of the skewers which come with them. Unless you plan on running your K's without skewers the real weight of K's mounted on a bike with skewers is between 1630 and 1650 grams. The advertised weight for the D/A built wheels you described includes skewers and if you built the wheels with record hubs you easily shed another 50+ grams of weight. Most riders could easily get away with a 24F 28R build which drops even more weight. Even a 32/32 wheelset is gonna with skewers build to about the same exact or even less weight than K's. K's have fewer spokes than most built up wheels but if anyone believes for one second those huge blades are aero they either do not know what an aero wheel feels and rides like or they're lying. K's stink as far as aero is concerned. Pure poseurs, big graphics $600 POS wheel that has to be the poster child for recent overpriced, low performance boutique runway model wheels.
re: Weight/Aero of good handbuilt vs Ksyrium SSC SLMellowVelo
Nov 6, 2002 9:45 PM
I took my info directly from Excel Sports.. don't run it down my throat if excel is wrong. And again, K's do NOT not need rim tape.. I don't know how much rim tape weighs.. Velox doesn't advertise the weight, but it seems comparable to a light tube.. so I'm guessing between 50-100gms per roll. K's may be poser wheels, but I've seen VERY few people who have them who weren't satisfied. They are far too expensive for what they are but they aren't a POS. They aren't the master of any one trait (they aren't super lightweight and they aren't aero and they aren't built to be ridden by clydesdales) They are laterally stiff with a fairly compliant ride, they are fairly light, they can be ridden as everyday wheels and not need constant attention. The downfall is that cost at least $600 with shipping which is $300 more than a similar handbuilt wheel. As I said in my original post, it makes MUCH more sense to go Open Pro/DA/ultegra for all purpose wheels.. if you want aero or lightweight racing wheels go with a specialty racing only wheelset like Zipp 303's.. You'll end up spending about the same and get a wheel that does more.

Make you feel better?cyclequip
Nov 7, 2002 5:15 AM
"but if anyone believes for one second those huge blades are aero they either do not know what an aero wheel feels and rides like or they're lying"

Your diatribe occasioned by the fact you've never ridden K's? It just tells me you've never compared the two types of wheelset. I have both. I train on the OP's and race the K's - just like half the pro peloton. But hell, what do they know - they're sponsored aren't they and ride what they're given, right? It's not because , just maybe, the K's are quite a bit faster? And yes, I've ridden Carbone as well so I know what an aero wheel feels like.
excel sports catalog...C-40
Nov 5, 2002 6:01 PM
Excel Sports lists the weight of there DA/Open Pro wheelset as 1670 grams versus 1614 for the K's (both with skewers). The DA hubset is not the lightest. Additional weight can be saved with a lighter hubset like the Chris King (or Record if you're a campy user).

Can't help you on the aerodynamic aspect, but I doubt it's significant.

If you're prone to bashing wheels, obviously the handbuilts will be more easily repaired.

Personally, I've found the K's to stay true a little better than any of the handbuilt wheels that I've owned. I wouldn't pay $800 for them though. I've owned two sets, both purchased from for about $540 a pair. Still pricey, but worth it to me.
excel sports catalog...koala
Nov 6, 2002 7:49 AM
I bought a pair of cirrus wheels from excel. Revo spokes(14/15 rear drive side), campy chorus hubs, alloy nips. They were under 300 bucks, are vey lively and have yet to need truing after 1500 miles of upstate n.y. potholes and one big pothole crash. I weigh 168 but spin more than mash. I havent weighed them but comparing to a set of K's by hand they seem to be identical in weight. My 2 pennies.
Nice unbiased answers! (nm)tmguy
Nov 5, 2002 6:38 PM
re: Weight/Aero of good handbuilt vs Ksyrium SSC SLweiwentg
Nov 6, 2002 4:50 AM
search through the Ksyrium threads. someone posted a test done by a German magazine (original thread posted on, comparing the Ks to a set of 32-spoke CXP33s with Tune hubs and Sapim X-rays. the results for wind drag and moment of inertia were identical. the Ksyrium rim is not that lightweight; it's around 25-30mm deep. I did borrow a pair of Ks for a race, and there wasn't a huge difference.
bottom line, if you want prebuilt, get something else.
Get a set of Speed Dream'sSwat Dawg
Nov 6, 2002 7:54 AM
With the kind of cash your looking to put down you can get a much better set of wheels than krysriums from Dave at Speed Dream. I have been doing a lot of looking around and his wheel's are lighter, less expensive, and would be taylored to you specific needs/wants. The pre-fab wheels on the market don't make sense to me, when you can get a better deal on a better wheel by getting a wheel built by a expert.
An option worth consideringpmf1
Nov 6, 2002 8:19 AM
I have a set of aerolghts. The set weighs (with skewers) 1445 grams. They ran around $500. American Classic hubs, Sapim bladed spokes and a rim that looks like a Sun Venus, but has no decals saying what it is (except that its made in Australia of all places). They're nice wheels and I've been pleased with them. Only problem is my wife tried them and refuses to give them back.
The rim is...PsyDoc
Nov 6, 2002 9:03 AM
...a Sun Venus, at least that is what he claims on the website.
website is old ...pmf1
Nov 6, 2002 9:14 AM
Yeah, that's what he used to use. When I ordered mine he claimed he was having some rims manufactured for him. I had to wait 7 months to get the wheels since he was waiting for the rims (I assume he has a supply now and these is minimal wait). The rims on mine do look like Sun Venus, but they don't say who made them. Only "made in australia". Is Sun located in Australia?
I think he uses Velocityjzinckgra
Nov 6, 2002 12:22 PM
I have an older pair of speeddreams too, which use the sun venus rim. I real PITA to get the clincher on/off. i was going to order another pair since the above rims cracked around the nipples. dave told me he had switched to velocity rims since then. he should really update is website. i don't think it has changes in the last 3 years or so. anyways, i decided to go with a pair of mike garcia's wheels ( 1383grams/pair. $385.
I think he uses Velocitypmf1
Nov 6, 2002 12:58 PM
I do recall him saying something about the Sun rims cracking. The guy talked my leg off. He's really into bike wheels. Its almost scary.

I'll check out the oddsandends wheels. Find them durable?
I think he uses Velocitybobobo
Nov 6, 2002 6:40 PM
Sun is part of Sun Ringle an American company. Velocity is based in Australia and their rims are excellent. I'm currently waiting on Dave to build me a set of Velocity fusion rims laced to record hubs with sapim CXray spokes. This wheelset will be both lighter and more aero than K's and cost at least $100 less. I too can't understand the endless fascanation so many have with mediocre performance prebuilt wheels simply because they have gaudy graphics which I think look like crap anyway and we all know the performance isn't worthy of anything close to $600. Ever seen what a pair of K's looks like after about 1 seasons use, black coated blades all chipped, at that point you then have the worst of all worlds even crappier looks and mediocre performance.
I think he uses Velocitypmf1
Nov 7, 2002 5:29 AM
Between my wife and I, I have 2 sets of K's as well as Speeddream and a bunch of other wheels.

Lots of folks bad mouth K's. They aren't the lightest or most aero wheel, but they're a decent combination of the two. One thing they definitely are is very durable. K's are the toughest wheel I've ever owned (and I've got a lot of bike wheels). Put them down all you want, but if I had to choose one wheelset, it would be K's. If you owned a set, I bet you'd have a similar opinion.

You can peel the stickers off to get around the gaudy graphics and you can het them lots cheaper than the MSRP of $800.
I think he uses Velocityscorpionking
Nov 10, 2002 6:26 PM
They're not a $600 wheel, that's the point. For $300 you can build a custom set of wheels with good rims and hubs that will be everybit as durable as K's, easier to fix if you do ever have a problem, and provide equal and in many cases better performance. I rode K's for about a week and sold them, they ride harsh, their ride sucks, and there are many custom built wheel options where the wheels will last every bit as long with a much more forgiving ride. Bigtime boutique wheel for poseurs if you ask me.
Holding up well so farjzinckgra
Nov 7, 2002 10:40 AM
I've only ridden the AC350's a couple times so far and Garcia's wheels seem fine so far, although I did have to true up the rear wheel a little. Maybe just a fluke.
My $.02jeph
Nov 6, 2002 9:02 AM
I weigh 185 and am fairly hard on wheels. I have had Excel built OP\Chorus wheels with 14\15 DB spokes and brass nips. These wheels ARE NOT AS DURABLE AS Ksyriums. I have also had Velomax Orion Comp's, THESE WHEELS ARE NOT AS DURABLE AS Ksyriums. I won't even bring up the Spinergy wheels I had. Bottom line, some people talk about "borrowing" a set here and there, or their "buddy" had trouble with K's, etc., BUT they personally don't OWN them. Wheel aerodynamics between the wheelsets I mentioned are virtually identical, you have to much deeper on the rim to see any real advantage. The weights are also very similar. And, if one buys the K's overseas or on eBay, cost is similar. That leaves us with styling and longevity as the deciding factors. And, in my experience, the K's have better hubs, and are just flat out more durable (requiring less truing, etc.) than any other wheel. If you ride a few thousand miles a year go with the hand builts and save a few coins. If you ride more than 10K miles a year and race, get the most durable wheels.
My $.02pmf1
Nov 6, 2002 9:17 AM
I've got 1000's of miles on my K's. In the 3 years I've had my set, I had to tweak on of the spokes once. They truly are bullet proof wheels.
My $.02bobobo
Nov 6, 2002 6:45 PM
Bulldookey. A well built set of open pros using any number of quality hubs will last everybit as long as a pair of Ksyriums. I'll put Record hubs matched to Velocity Fusion of Mavic CXP-33 rims any day for faster spinup and greater durability. If the K's didn't have the graphics on them you would not find 1 in 20 current owners willing tp pay $600 for them, not 1 in 20. Pure pretty boy wheel.
My $.03pmf1
Nov 7, 2002 12:17 PM
Guess I'm the 5% anomoly because I took the stickers (graphics) off mine, and I'd still buy them again. They really are a strong wheel. And I own lots of other wheelsets including open pro/dura ace wire sets. I'm saying this from experience, are you?
My $.03scorpionking
Nov 10, 2002 6:32 PM
From my personal experience with them their ride sucks, very stiff and harsh, I'm surprised you put your wife on those wheels unless she is one big momma. So far about the most positive thing you have said about the K's is their durability. You spent $600 on a wheel for its durability? I could get a custom build a pair of wheels for half that price that would be as durable, give a more forgiving ride and be much easier to repair with comparable or better performance characteristics. Such a custom wheel would not require very exotic components to build either. K's are an extremely overpriced and overated wheel. Nice durability, mediocre performance, and high price, losers on 2 of 3 major points. Throw in the harsh ride and you are now talking losers on 3 of 4 major points, my what a deal for $600 indeed, I better go get some, NOT! :-)
You should probably read this.Sintesi
Nov 6, 2002 1:21 PM

Willett, did not like the Ksyriums at all. In his overall value comparison it came in dead last. Ironically the K's came last in his durability evaluation as well, which is surprising since this is what most K owners rave about. I think he got a dud Ksyrium. BTW ,it's the older version; you can take off 80g from his weights. He says: If you got a couple grand you can get some really high performing wheels, otherwise save the cash and get some wheels handbuilt w/ CK hubs and CXP rims because the factory built stuff is mostly hooey.

Well, I read this and still bought the K's because everyone else was telling me about the opposite. Personally, I find the SLs to be quite noticably faster, stiffer and better climbing than my regular spoked wheels. Not leaps and bounds but noticable. They perform better. But (big but too), they are also much less comfortable than regular spoked wheels. I started developing lower back problems this year which had never happened before. I feel more beat up than before and I ride a steel frame to boot.
Go Figurejeph
Nov 6, 2002 8:03 PM
Let's see, the Excel sponsored site recommends Excel hand built Threat wheelset! Man talk about an unbiased opinion! Really relevant! When you shop for a car go to and see what they recommend.
Go FigureSintesi
Nov 7, 2002 5:44 AM
That would probably make sense if they didn't also sell K's and Nucleons. Why would they knock a brand that they already make gobs of money off of to begin with? I think opinion is honest.
Here's why it's biasedjeph
Nov 7, 2002 11:03 AM
Why would they recommend the Threats?
1. Profit margin.
2. Where else can you (easily) buy that exact prebuilt product?
3. Everybody and their mother sells K's and the other wheels, several reasons to NOT buy K's from Excel.
re: Weight/Aero of good handbuilt vs Ksyrium SSC SLHaydnG
Nov 6, 2002 1:49 PM
Thanks to all contributors. Three points to note from my perspective:

1) These will primarily be race wheels (we're talking Masters here where they almost all run top-end bikes). I've got several Ultegra or 105 on Open Pro or CXP12 type pairs for training.
2) I'm in UK hence can get K's as cheap as anywhere (£370 is about the lowest I've seen on mail order)
3) Some of the more exotic US/Aussie rims/hubs mentioned are rare here (if they are available at all) and hence you are likely to have to pay top dollar (or £ in my case).

So I was looking at easy to obtain components for the handbuilts.

Keep your views coming though because I really am in two minds and in the autumn/winter it's the thought of shiny new bits for the spring that help tempt me out on a blustery damp Satuday morning, plus of course the company.