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Hey Doug Sloan... wheelset question(17 posts)

Hey Doug Sloan... wheelset question5ive
Mar 5, 2003 6:42 PM
Hello Doug.

I'm looking for some comparison between Nucleons, Ksyriums, and 303s. If I recall correctly, you've owned all 3 of these wheels so I thought you were uniquely qualified to ask this question.

I've owned a pair Nucleons for 2 yrs. and quite happy with its riding characteristics, weight, and especially its stiffness. I'm now in the market for another pair of wheelset and narrowing my choices between Ksyrium SLs and 303s (clinchers). I am not overly focused on aerodynamic qualities. I am however very interested in a stiffness and durability since I'm a sprinter and I need something I can train AND race on. Given my situation, what is your opinion of what might suit me better? I have a hunch that most people would recommend me a set of Ksyriums but I wanted your opinion. Thanks in advance.

ps: Didn't you once post a picture of ksriums with the stickers removed? Do you still have that photo?
I'd stick with NukesDougSloan
Mar 5, 2003 9:19 PM
Over all, I think the Nukes are the best. The K's are very, very close, but I think the Nukes are better quality hubs, and the smaller, aero spokes might actually be faster, even with the boxier rim. The only drawback is the difficulty mounting tires.

Ksyriums are great wheels, though. Bottom line, you'll likely never know the difference between the two.

The Zipps are sort of trickish, but I think the quality is about 60% of the Nukes or K's. Mine had to be warrantied, as the rear rim buldged out in place, making braking hazardous. They came back with new rims, but a full 100 grams heavier, and with some nasty looking carbon crap sticking out at the carbon/aluminum rim junction. Plus, I don't think the freehub is nearly as smooth or as durable as the other two. Their tire mounting is every bit as difficult as the Nukes, and maybe a little worse, as the outer rim edge is very sharp, making it easy to pinch tubes.

If you are happy with Nukes, I'd stick with them.

Thanks...and just one more question5ive
Mar 5, 2003 10:32 PM
Doug. Thanks for your input. One last question: do you think the K's catch more crosswind than Nukes with those fat aluminum spokes? I get tossed around alot.
yes, but not badDougSloan
Mar 6, 2003 7:13 AM
I've ridden K's in every sort of condition, including 40 mph cross winds in Death Valley and vacinity. It might get your attention, but it's manageable. The Nukes catch far less cross wind. While I was riding with K's in Panamint Valley, near Death Valley, a couple of years ago, we had a 40 mph tailwind, then turned 90 degrees. I could handle the cross wind, but a buddy with Zipp 404's was literally all over the road. He could barely keep it in the lane.

Maybe if you are really light, you might be better off with Nukes. While its spokes are bladed, there are very few of them, too.

Thanks! (nm)5ive
Mar 6, 2003 8:35 AM
Forget both, both are heavy and non aero and slooowaltidude
Mar 6, 2003 8:57 PM
If you think Nukes are light you must not have very damanding standards for lightweight wheels. Nukes true weight with skewers is about 1730 grams real life actual weight. hardly what any serious racer would consider light and both they and Ksyriums have nonexistent aero qualities. Stiff and durable wheels for sure but little else and there are loads of wheels out there can be built just as stiff with the same weight for about 1/2 the price. Bigtime overated prebuilts IMO used by those primarily concerned with looks more than anything else. Compare silly $600 Nukes with SpeedDreams which goes about 1570, true weight with skwers attached, 160 grams lighter and more aero than either K's or Nukes. By the way, if you think the real world weight of K's is anywhere near Mavics totally bogus 1530 suggested grams try again. With skewers supplied real world weight is more like about 1725 grams, thata a true weight not a bogus manufacturers targeted weight which also conveniently fails to include skewers besides being false for the wheel without skewers.
Hey Alti.....El Caballito
Mar 6, 2003 11:00 PM
You say there are some wheels which can be built for half the price. Can you name a few? I think K's look pretty b1tch'in, but they carry a heavy duty price. I would be interested in buying a pair of strong lightass wheels it I could get my hands on some.

Not to answer for Altidude......DaveLobster
Mar 7, 2003 6:11 AM
But I guess I am so here goes.....

The whole idea that only prebuilt wheelsets can be light is ridiculous. There are plenty of people who build light wheels with well-known and easily replacable parts. Try Mike Garcia at He is selling an American Classic/Velocity Fusion wheelset that is lighter than Kysriums for $400 shipped. And that is not his lightest wheelset.
I know...5ive
Mar 7, 2003 7:04 AM
As I stated in my original post, I am not overly concerned with aerodynamics. I am a bunch sprinter who wants a stiff and durable wheels. I am aware of many custom handmades that are lighter and perhaps stiffer than K's or N's but I'm not familiar with their durability. My pair of N's went 8500 miles without truing. I've been interested in Speeddreams. They tend to get great performance reviews on this board. But are they durable? Also, they too are quite expensive aren't they? I thought they were $550 range.
Mar 7, 2003 7:44 AM
I have had Spreedreams, built by a local shop, too. They were sort of flimsey, and went out of true every ride. The quality is about 1/10th that of Nukes or K's.

They weighed in around 1450, compared to about 1500 for Nukes. As you can use any skewers with any wheels you want, I think that is independent, and should not be included, any more than tires and tubes should be.

The Nukes with fewer, and bladed spokes, are indeed more aero than 28 round spoke Speeddreams, unless you believe that spokes don't make a difference.

I'm not going to try to talk someone into using something that is better quality and faster; if you want to spend less and have less, that's up to you.

Happy riding!

Thanx again...just how many wheels do you own :-)?(nm)5ive
Mar 7, 2003 11:07 AM
owned or have owned...DougSloan
Mar 7, 2003 11:32 AM
Last 5 years:

*Ultegra/Open Pros
*2 sets Shimano Ksyriums
*Campy Ksyriums clinchers
*Nucleon clinchers
*Dura Ace/Mavic Reflex (tubulars)
*Velomax Ascent Pros (Lew carbon rims)
*Zipp 303 tubular
*Zipp 303 carbon/al clinchers
*Campy 6 speed Record/Open Pros
*Zipp 909 (disc/404 tubulars)
*Campy Record 10 speed/Open Pros
*LBS built SpeedDreams (American Classic/Revos/Velocity Aerohead)
*home built, by me, Campy Veloce/Mavic MA3
*Plus, whatever is on the Bianchi Pista (fixed), Milano, KHS tandem, and I probably forgot some

owned or have owned... <- my listrussw19
Mar 7, 2003 1:32 PM
Built by me...
Chris King hubs/Open Pros/Revolutions
King/Open Pros/Ti Bladed Spokes
Dura Ace/Open Pros/DT double butted
Dura Ace/Campy Montreal/DT db.
Record/MA 40's/DT straight

Bought pre built....
American Classic 420s w/ Bladed spokes
Mavic Ksyriums
Rolf Sestriere
Bontrager Race Lite
Shimano Dura Ace WH-7700
Cane Creek Aerohead Team Ti

As well as a bunch of cyclecross and mountain wheels.

Of all the ones I built myself, the King Open Pro Ti Bladed spoke wheels are the nicest, but I wish I used a different rim as it clicks like most of my Open Pros. I may rebuild that wheel on an IRD Cadence rim in the next couple months.

Of all the prebuilt wheels I have ever owned, or even test riden for that matter, the nicest thing I have found is the Cane Creek Aerohead Teams. They are now called the Volos, and the difference is the rear rim is now offset. They are fairly light, but better by design, not weight. They have a straight pull spoke that goes in the rim and is anchored at the hub shell with a nylock nipple. I had mine for about 5000 miles before I sold them to try something new. I never once trued them. They came perfect from the factory, and I never touched them. They are stiff and smooth due to the Ti spokes. Best wheels I ever owned, and I am ordering a pair of the Volos in another month or so. I want to give a month of riding exclusively to the American Classics I just bought.

Mar 7, 2003 1:50 PM
Have you noticed any general difference in quality build between your own, LBS, or pre-built wheels?

Mar 7, 2003 10:09 PM
I work in a shop. I am not the only guy there that builds wheels, but I build all my own. Other than the pre-built factory wheels, everything I have ever ridden in the past 5 years has all been built by me, except the Dura-Ace/Open Pro wheels that came on my last bike I ever bought complete. It was a Cannondale. Since then, I have pieced together bikes and built my own wheels. I was certified by Wheelsmith as a builder after taking their course about 12 years ago when I was a junior in high school.
I don't want to brag, as I am sure there are better wheelbuilders than me out there, but I build pretty good wheels. Which is why I am so critical of other people's builds and critical of pre-built factory wheels. That experience is what impressed me the most about the Cane Creeks. They are built very well. They are better by design, and the attention they pay to their wheels is apparent when you pull them from the box. I was also impressed with the Ksyriums. I had the first generation ones, but the SL's are just as nice. But if you ask me, you are sacrificing a heavy rim for lighter hubs...not the best way to do things. I like the quality of my American Classics, but I haven't ridden them more than once so far.
I was not at all impressed with the Bontragers, they just seem flimsy. I was impressed with the quality of the Rolf's as they are built well, but not the actual design. The problem with paired spokes is that they run really high tension and spread that tension across too large a span of rim. Once one spoke breaks the whole wheel tends to fail. It never happened to me, but happened to a training buddy will I was riding side by side with him. There was a bang and he was on the ground. That fast.. spoke broke, wheel folded. Lucky for him he crashed so fast he didn't have time to tense up, which is what causes broken bones.
Of the wheels I have built up, my favorites like I said earlier are the Kings with Ti bladed spokes, but the rims click like most Open Pros. But the easiest to build are on a commuter bike. The Record hubs with Mavic MA 40's. They are older hubs and rims, but they were about the easiest wheels I have ever built. That's cuz they are from a time when people didn't buy "boutique wheels" so they are designed to last forever and they probably will. I built them with simple straight gauge spokes and brass nipples as they are a commuter wheel, and I think I built them in about an hour for the pair.

If you got any questions about wheels, I love to try to help out.

Hey RussSpaceCowboy
Mar 11, 2003 10:08 AM
Thanks for all the tech. info. on wheels/wheelsets.......Any everyone else (Doug S.) for that matter. Based on reading a few of the previous threads on wheels, especially those from Cane Creek, and in search of an extra set of wheels (currently own Campy Nucleons) I decided that the sale at on the Aerohead SG's for $250 was definitely worth a try. They have been ordered and I should be able to give them a workout next week sometime.
Hey Russrussw19
Mar 11, 2003 3:32 PM
Hell at $250, you will be more than happy!
I saw an ad for the Ti spoke Aeorheads for $400 in the Hot Deals section to your screen's left.. but didn't catch who offered it... but either way... you will love those wheels. It's my mission for 2003 to get everyone who wants to buy a set of Ksyriums to at least look at the Cane Creeks. They are amazing wheels and well worth the money.