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Wheel Upgrade(12 posts)

Wheel Upgradevidal
Aug 2, 2003 6:37 PM
I am considering upgrading the stock Shimano WH-535 wheels that came on my Bianchi road bike. I am likely looking at something along the line of the Ksyrium Elites. I am about 170lbs, ride about 150 miles a week. I do not race, but the guys I ride with are pretty fast. My main concerns are that the 535s are very heavy, and since an unfortunate accident have not been perfectly true (very slightly off despite my best efforts). In general, do you think that an upgrade from heavier wheels like the 535s to something like the Elites will make a signifiant difference or am I wasting money. Thanks for your help.
Velomax Circuit CompsCrash
Aug 3, 2003 6:54 AM
You will probably soon be getting the usual suspects telling you to get DuraAce / Open Pro handbuilts, which is a great choice IF they are built right. I actually like prebuilt wheels and the only wheels I've ever had problems with and had to return were a pair of Speeddreams (although I realize I am probably the exception). Anyway I had been riding mainly the 'K' wheels for the last 3+ years but on my last bike I went with Velomax Orion II's. So far (about 400 miles) I love them. Lighter than the 'K's and a better ride. From what I hear the Curcuit Comp's are VERY close to the Orion's, but much cheaper. I would have went with them but they don't make a true Campy compatible version in the Circuit Comp's.
Velomax Circuit Compsvidal
Aug 3, 2003 7:56 AM
Thanks. I have been think about the Velomax as well as the American Classic 350s. The advice is helpful
Velomax Circuit CompsCrash
Aug 3, 2003 8:32 PM
By the way, I've seen Circuit Comp's on Ebay for as little as $250.
I have K's, Heliums, open pro, comps. Like the comps the best nmPaul
Aug 4, 2003 10:49 AM
Colorado Cyclist is a good builder, so there's an easy one.niteschaos
Aug 3, 2003 9:58 AM
Upgrade or just spend more moneyKerry Irons
Aug 3, 2003 5:20 PM
Get a well built set of Record/DA with Velocity Aeroheads or MAVIC Open Pro for around $300. The Ks and many other boutique wheels will not weigh less, not perform better, but will cost $100s more. Pretty straightforward decision unless you are looking for more "show" than "go."
re: Upgrade or just spend more money_jim_
Aug 4, 2003 10:34 AM
kerry knows everything, and he also rides prebuilt campy wheels. i hope to be like him one day
Get over itKerry Irons
Aug 4, 2003 4:16 PM
If you know me as well as you intimate, you know that it is my experience with boutique wheels that make me recommend something else. I would never buy them again. The fact that I still ride them is not the issue. They are still in good running shape, so there is no need to "upgrade." Should these wheels fail, I would build EXACTLY what I consistently recommend to others: Record/Aerohead. Your approach certainly adds to the quality of this discussion.
Boutique wheelsNessism
Aug 4, 2003 5:52 PM
I have to admit that I don't have a lot of experience with boutique wheels per say. My old Dura Ace hubs and Mavic Reflex clincher wheels just will not die.

If one takes the time to learn about the technical aspects of the different wheels on the market, it becomes clear that many high end wheels are overpriced. For example, in order for a wheel to offer a noticable aero advantage, the rim height must be somewhere in the 50 mm height range. How many wheels meet this requirement? Certainly not Ksyriums or most of the Velomax offerings. So given that most of these wheels are not aero, what advantage do they offer? Light weight? Maybe, but at what price? Using Al nipples that are not all that durable? Using rims without eyelets? Using a super low spoke count? Using an AL hub body which can allow the cogs to dig in and gouge? All things that comprismise durability.

Honestly, these things may not be important to many people, but for my money, I'm with Kerry.

Agree...Mike Prince
Aug 5, 2003 5:25 AM
I've had boutiques in the past and they are no better than good handbuilts IMO. Weight-wise, there is little practical difference and at some point a super-light wheel, whether handbuilt or boutique, is stupid for everyday use. In most cases, the biggest difference is price.

My thought process is - I've been on plenty of rides where someone breaks a spoke. On a 32 or 36 spoke wheel, they get home most of the time. On a low-spoke boutique wheel, they are calling the spouse on the cell phone to come get them almost all of the time. The boutiques just lose too much tension in the wheel when 1 spoke lets go.

I'll put a $300 properly built conventional wheel up against a Ksyrium or the like any day. At the end of the day both wheels are true, but my wallet is heavier and there is litte if any difference in the 'real' performance of the wheels.
Another Kerry supporterDaveLobster
Aug 6, 2003 5:55 AM
Like Kerry, I mostly build my own, but also own (and have owned) prebuilts. In my opinion it would not be fair to critcize something with which I had no first-hand experience.

In fact it was the low quality and short life-span of my first pair of boutique wheels which inspired me to learn wheelbuilding.

I now ride some Bontragers "Race Lites" I got used for $100, and that's about what they are worth. Compared to my hand-built Aeroheads on White LTA, the Bonty's are anchors, and I swear the bearings have drag. Also, the spoke tensions are all over the place, but I hesitate to mess with them since they are true and round. Top it off with the fact that the rear hub may as well have a "not user-serviceable" sticker on it, and I'm still not sold.

So Kerry has boutique wheels. Big deal. I'd rather listen to someone with experience. -Dave