's Forum Archives - Components

Archive Home >> Components(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 )

Are the newer wheels worth the price?(9 posts)

Are the newer wheels worth the price?PS
Jun 30, 2003 7:26 AM
Hi all--

I have two Giant road bikes, and one set of wheels needs to go to the junkyard (Sun rims)-- too much flex.

My other wheels are Mavic CXP 21s-- they seem to be dependable, and I like their "slightly aero but not overboard" look. The CXP 21 wheels are pretty low-cost ($150 or so).

I'd like to hear from some riders who really know wheels...

My bike shop owner thinks I should go with Cosmic Elites (Mavic), and of course Mavic is touting their Ksyrium wheels.

Are either of these really worth the price over the more pedestrian CXP 21 wheels? (I also think that both the Cosmic Elites and the Ksyriums are ugly-ass rims, and like the clean look of the CXP 21s).

I weigh about 190, and am a moderately fast club rider (16-17 average in hilly terrain). I tend to push big gears.


Fairfield, Connecticut
Jun 30, 2003 7:37 AM
I feel the newer wheels are worth the expense, if you don't go too outrageous. I've had Hed 3 wheels ~ a little heavy, but very aero (need to be above 20mph to get full effect), Corima Carbon tubulars ~ great wheels, light weight and I had no problems at all except for the fact they were tubular, and now I am riding on Ksyrium SL and am very much enjoying them. I'v got about 400 miles on them so far with no problems. I did however take off the decals and do like the look much better.
Go for good hubs and bearing as they will also make a big difference on how the wheels roll. Good luck and have fun.
Keep the rubber side down.
Got the elitesHillman
Jun 30, 2003 9:46 AM
and some OPs on Chorus hubs, and some Ksyriums (elites).

The difference? Not very much, aside from looks. On rides, my times don't vary with the different wheels more than they do as between different rides with the same wheels.

I think the key is in quality bearings more than the shape of the rim, unless you are doing some serious aero TT work.

And I don't really notice the difference on climbs, time wise. I tend to think I'm going better with the Ks on, but in fact it's not the case.

On durability, all 3 have been very good indeed - nothing between them.

I have buddies who train on 21's - they certainly don't struggle with speed or durability on them. I doubt that you'll notice a whole lot of difference until the bearings start to wear, unless you are doing A LOT of climbing/stop/start riding. For "generall roling rides" I don't think rim makes a whole stack of difference once you get into the good quality spectrum. At your weight, I don't think that you want to go superlight anyway, and the 21's won't stop a boat.

But then again a lot of folks pay a lot of good money to look/feel faster, and never actually measure the (perceived) difference.
Questions for yahPS
Jun 30, 2003 11:05 AM

You said that you "don't think rim makes a whole stack of difference once you get into the good quality spectrum." Would you put the CXP 21 in that group, or are you talking about higher-end wheels (OPs, Elites, etc)?

What did you mean by "the 21s won't stop a boat"? I couldn't figure that one out.


Jul 1, 2003 1:50 AM
Yeah, I'd put the 21's in that league - they probably have the same bearings are the rest of the range anyway, they are certainly good enough. They are well made and durable, which is what you need in the real world.

It's a reference to boat-anchors, which is the slang term for really heavy kit. 21's aren't the lightest in the world, but then, most of the guys who pay big $ for light wheels would be better off getting a few lbs of the gut first anyway.

I'd say if you want to spend some $ and everying else you have is fine, then wheels is a good place to spend, but don't expect an earth shattering bang for your $, that's all.
Check my "spoke suggestions" postoff roadie
Jun 30, 2003 1:11 PM
What rims do you use that flex to much? I'm almost the exact same wieght / speed rider as you, and haven't ever had a RIM flex so much as wheels that had poor spoke selection (to thin for the purpose, but that purpose was riding off 4 foot drops on a MTB) or poor build quality (a well built wheel is almost always stiffer).

I specked out a wheelset for myself that uses $150 in parts and beats the Ksyriums Elites (not SL) on weight by about 5%. The spokes I'm looking at for the front are Wheelsmith XL15, wich have 1.5mm centers. That may seem thin, but the Ksyriums low spoke count means my wheel (more but thinner spkes) should be just as stiff; 18 bladed 14g spokes is exactly the same total spoke cross section as 32 Wheelsmith XL 15's. Thae back wheel comparison is similar, except my selection actually has more total spoke thickness than the Kserium (by a nice margin), while weighing less, with an offset spoke bed to boot.
The Ksyrium may have other things going for it, but it doesn't seem to show up nicely specked conventional wheels in terms of weight or stiffness. And certainly not on cost, unless you speck very high quality (and potentially even lighter) hubs.

The one diffrence between us is that I'm a spinner, not a masher. IMO that makes little diffrence, except you might want heavier spokes than I could get away with. DT champion 15's might work better for you, with a 1.6mm center amd thus about 20% more stiffness.
NoKerry Irons
Jun 30, 2003 5:18 PM
Until you get into super expensive super aero wheels, you'll not see a performance (weight, durability, ride, maintenance, rolling friction, quality) improvement over something like Record or DA hubs with Velocity Aerohead or Open Pro rims. And those super wheels may cause you problems in crosswinds. Given what rims, hubs, and spokes cost, you're paying $200-$400 to have a boutique wheel built, which is just plain outrageous. What you get with boutique wheels is exclusivity, not performance, and these days you don't get much exclusivity.
Kerry is usually always right on....Damn
Jul 1, 2003 5:40 AM
and this time more so. Just get some Mavic Open Pro's with Ultegra or Dura-Ace hubs. Just look at the weights given in a Colorado Cyclist catalog. Mavic OPen Pro's with DA/Ul hubs will be lighter than almost everything else. Also, gettting a spokes replaced is alot cheaper than buying a spoke for a K.
If you really want speed, just have them put colored spoke nipples on your wheels. Mine are red and you can really feel the difference.
I agree with these guyswjtm
Jul 3, 2003 2:00 PM
I did a lot of looking for wheels last year, and it seems that much of a wheel's price correlates to its weight. Lighter wheels, in general, cost more. The exception to this rule are dura ace/ultegra hubs with open pro rims, and similar unsexy wheels. They're not cool to look at, but they are light and for big guys (I'm 185+) I can't complain.
I used to ride cool looking deep-dish wheels. Not only was replacing spokes a pain (and expensive), but even changing tubes irritated me because I had to buy long stem tubes or use valve extenders. I'm done with that!
Am I faster now? Well, probably not much faster, but I will give you an anecdote that makes me feel faster. I usually do a 3 mile sprint locally, and after I push past the 'line' I lean back and take my hands off the handlebars, usually to massage my back and take a break. On my old deep-dish wheels I was super stable and would coast for a quarter mile sitting straight up. Well, the first time I put my new non-deep-dish wheels and crossed the line, I leaned back and damn near crashed into a stone wall. I was MUCH less stable without my hands on the wheels. It took me a second to realize that with less mass on the rim of my wheel, the gyroscopic effect was reduced and I had to actually concentrate when I took my hands of the bars. Weird, I know, but it taught me right away that my new, cheaper wheels are better!