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Buildable wheels - is there a future for them?(14 posts)

Buildable wheels - is there a future for them?Fez
Sep 26, 2002 6:00 AM
The Mavic Open Pro w/ DuraAce hub is probably one of the better 32 spoke wheels you can build up for $300. The rim and hub are as light as most others out there, but completely built up, the Open Pro weighs hundreds of grams more than a Ksyrium SL or American Classic wheelset. So I am concluding that the high 32 spoke count is the culprit for the weight penalty of running the Open Pros vs. the built up wheelsets.

So my question is, why don't they start offering reduced spoke count hubs and rims and special lighter weight spokes? People can start building reduced spoke count wheels and not have to pay highway robbery prices like $800 for complete wheelsets. Am I missing something here?
people would diemr_spin
Sep 26, 2002 6:15 AM
The spoke tensions required for building a 16 paired spoke wheel are far greater than the tensions on a 32 spoke wheel. Unless you really knew what you were doing and had special equipment, it would be downright dangerous to build a low spoke count wheel yourself. If a spoke breaks, it's going through the wall! Also, spokes that tight are hard to tighten or loosen. Ideally, you would have a device that would temporarily deform the rim inward to disconnect the spoke from the rim while tightening it. Who has that kind of equipment?
"people... die!" - Dr. EvilFez
Sep 26, 2002 8:01 AM
I have heard about the high tension thing you mention.

OTOH, I have also heard that these wheels can be serviced and rebuilt. LBS said Ksyrium and Rolf and others could be worked on in the shop (servicing hub, replacing AND tightening spoke, truing, etc.)

Don't know if LBS was full of sh1te, but that would seem to indicate that these are serviceable and thus the question, why can't wheels be built up using a similar design rather than factory prebuilt at a huge cost premium?
Sep 26, 2002 8:20 AM
Ksyriums and Rolfs are serviceable in a bike shop. These things have to be built in the first place by somebody. The issue is whether then have the proprietary parts (rims with correct drilling pattern, spokes, cartridge bearings, etc) in stock or can get them quickly. Stainless steel spokes, 32H rims, ball bearings are usually always stocked by competent shops.

Ksyriums, Rolf, Campy, Velomax, Spinergy use the most proprietary components. American Classic uses mostly conventional stuff in their wheels with AC hubs. Zipp rims can be purchased separately and built up with low spoke count hubs and stainless steel spokes.
two thingsmr_spin
Sep 26, 2002 8:31 AM
1. Ksyriums aren't really low spoke count wheels.

2. Bike shops are much more likely to have the necessary equipment to deal with low spoke count wheels. Your post said that "people" could build these wheels, which I interpreted as ordinary people, not bike mechanics with access to shop tools.
two thingsTrekFurthur
Sep 26, 2002 10:46 AM
1) All one really needs to build/service these wheels is a trueing stand and a spoke wrench.

2) Most "people" can have these items and so could deal with low spoke count wheels.

At the shop, using only the above two tools, we routinely service and rebuild such wheels. The one Vector Pro that I've seen a spoke break on in the stand did not kill anyone, nor did the spoke go through the wall. Have heard of a number of people break spokes while riding such wheels without puncturing or otherwise impaling their legs, or those of others.

The only real difference between the shop handling these wheels and the average Joe is the knowledge of what goes into dealing with the higher tension, which doesn't really amount to much.
Hub weightBipedZed
Sep 26, 2002 6:20 AM
DA hubs are pretty heavy at 178g front and 376g rear. Compared to lightweight hubs used in AC and Mavic wheels at approx 90g front and 240g rear and there's your hundreds of grams.

Spoke count does affect overall wheel weight, but reducing spoke count requires increasing spoke tension to maintain lateral stiffness. High spoke tension wheels are more difficult to build and often require stronger rims, which is why you see so many deep profile rims mated to low spoke count light hubs in "factory" wheels.

IMO, you can't go wrong with an Open Pro/DA wheelset however. I have or have tried most of the fancy wheelsets and got my best race results when I used my OP/DA training wheels.

Hub weight - OK, assuming you are correct aboutFez
Sep 26, 2002 7:53 AM
the hub weight, then would this work?

AC, Mavic, Hugi, and others would make super lightweight 32 hole hubs. People would build them up on Mavic Open something rims (conventional or aero profile) and the weights would be competitive to factory built wheels.

How come we don't see more of this?
One word - STYLEBipedZed
Sep 26, 2002 8:09 AM
Mavic really created a new market beginning with Heliums and then more succesfully with Ksyriums. They looked much different and sexier than conventional 32H 3X spoked wheels and were a great way to trick out your bike. Didn't hurt that Armstrong won his first Tour on a pair at Sestriere.

I went through a serious "boutique" wheel phase and have had Heliums, Ksyriums, Zipps, Velomax, Eurus. Now I'm back to building my own wheels with 32H Revo spokes and Hugi hubs (for racing), DA/Record hubs (training).

Among the more experienced and knowledgable riders I know, hand built wheels with carefully selected components are becoming in vogue again now that every novice is riding a set of Ksyriums. Once again it all comes down to style.
Shimano includes skewers in hub weightsHillRepeater
Sep 26, 2002 9:19 AM
Shimano includes the weight of the skewer in their published hub weights - something basically no one else does. Subtract about 65g per hub to get a weight that is comparable to other hubs.
Be VERY careful on hub weightsKerry
Sep 26, 2002 4:39 PM
Note that Campy and Shimano publish hub weights WITH SKEWERS while Hugi and AC publish without skewers. Since Campy and Shimano actually have decent skewers, you have to add about 120 gm per pair to the AC weights to get an honest comparison.
Why not?TrekFurthur
Sep 26, 2002 7:32 AM
I've got DA/Open Pro built with 28 Revolution spokes per wheel--they come in at about 1600-1650 grams and feel a heckuva lot faster than my Bont. RaceLites (they're also more comfortable).

As for a lightweight race wheel, I've got a similar wheel (same spoke count and gauge) built on Chris King hubs and Campy Barcelona tubular rims. Very comfortable and, at 1450 grams (weighed 'em myself), they're quite fast. Now thinking of selling several of my other "boutique" wheels.

For what it's worth, I see plenty of pros (notably Mapei riders) that do quite well on what look to be traditional wheels.
wrong about the weight...C-40
Sep 26, 2002 8:40 AM
I don't know where you came up with the weight figures, but the open-pro and duraace hub with 32 revolution spokes everywhere but the right rear, will weigh about only about 50 grams more than a Ksyrium SL, not "hundreds of grams" more.

If the wheels are built with campy record hubs they will actually weigh slightly less than a Ksyrium. Using readily available 28H open-pro rims will lower the weight another 50 grams.

This has been discussed many times on this forum. A custom built wheelset is a lot cheaper and just as light as many of the "boutique" wheels.

Personally, I like the K's, but I've never paid more than $560 (delivered) for a pair.
Sep 26, 2002 8:43 AM
I met a guy at a race who was using Zipp Carbon rims and had them laced every other hole. When I questioned him. I found out that he worked for American Classic and had been using those wheels for a long time. The difference in the weight of the stock Zipps to those was unbelievable. Anyway, why not? If they are built right they should hold up.