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Carbon race wheel choice(4 posts)

Carbon race wheel choiceEric_H
Sep 17, 2003 2:59 PM
OK, I am seriously considering plunking down on a set of tubular carbon race wheels for next season. The choices boil down to basically three vendors and four wheelsets:

Zipp 404, Zipp 303, Bontrager Race X-Lite Carbon (I believe there is a 303-like wheel coming out, Race XXX Lite), Reynolds Stratus DV.

I am leaning toward a Zipp wheelset, because they have been at it a long time, they have nipples that can be accessed without having to unglue the tire, and they can be converted from Shimano to Campy quite easily. The final point is important because after I finish off my Dura-Ace 9v stock I am planning to make the move to Campy.

FWIW, I am 6' and 165-168 lbs (depending on the day). I race mostly rolling to hilly road races and a few criteriums. I am not a sprinter, but I ride bigger gears and climb out of the saddle a lot. I am thinking about a 303 front and a 404 rear. I have seen the 303 rear used by others and it does not seem that strong. I worry about the 404 front being strongly affected by crosswinds. In the past I have used the original Mavic Cosmics and they got blown around enough.

Thoughts? Experiences?
Go Zipp, young man!MShaw
Sep 18, 2003 10:23 AM
I have a pair of 404 wheels (that I built for racing track) and really love. I built another (rear) wheel out of a 340 rim, 28 spokes. I've ridden the 404 front and rear, and the 404/340 on the rear combo and can really tell a difference in the amount of effort required to go fast. The 404s are much faster wheels.

What are you going to use them for? Crits? Go 404 on both ends. You can probably get away with 18/24 lacing, but if you're racing crits, you may wanna go 24/24 for stiffness.

If you're doing hilly road races, then I'd probably opt for the 303s laced 20/28.

If you can, but the wheels used. MUCH less spendy!

I've seen the Stratus wheels. Look WAY nice! Very light, and I hear stiff, but I haven't actually ridden a pair.

I also don't have a bunch of experience with the Bontrager wheels.

That help?

How about the Reynolds K.O.M.??? nmDUOHEAD
Sep 18, 2003 9:56 PM
re: Carbon race wheel choicescorpionking
Sep 22, 2003 8:09 PM
Go with Reynolds, easy choice. They have a superior spoke bed design to Zipps. Zipps nipples are angled into the rim such that the spokes are forced to bend as they exit the nipple and head towards the hub flange, this puts lots of unnecessary strain on the spokes at this bend and has often resulted in spoke breakage in the past. The hubs used by Reynolds, White Industries are more reliable and simply a better design than Zipps. 3rd, reynolds carbon fiber layup process is also better than Zipps, smoother, stiffer and stronger. Get the Stratus wheels in either the Dv or UL version and you won't be sad. I have talked to no less than 3 dealers who sell both Zipps and Reynolds carbon wheels and not one of them favored the Zipps.