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Wheelsets- "not just for races anymore" ?(19 posts)

Wheelsets- "not just for races anymore" ?filtersweep
Jul 5, 2003 8:11 AM
This is more of a philosophical issue of the relationship between a wheelset and the bike. A riding friend who has a Seven Odonata and I, both ride Mavic Ksyriums SLs as "everyday wheels." One guy at a club ride started making a stink that HE would "only use them for races" (although from the looks of things, I doubt he even raced). I didn't really give this a second thought as I was too busy guessing what decade his bike was built, but it started me thinking. I don't mean anything perjorative about that other than he also asked the Seven owner how much his bike cost and it appeared that he may have been a bit perjorative in his questioning- if not intrusive.

My observation is that most OEM wheels are underspec'ed for the frameset. There are all sorts of $1500+ frames that have "maybe" a $300 wheelset (and THAT at full MSRP). Same with the $15-20 tires they throw on. Not that there is anything wrong with DA OP "standard" wheels, or any of the entry offerings from Campy or Shimano, but isn't the point of riding something like an Odonata to be at least a bit opulent? Wouldn't it be just as ridiculous to have a $200 "training" wheelset slapped on? Like all the money went into the frame and there was nothing left to buy wheels?? The Ks aren't exactly the most fragile wheels in the world anyway.

OK- taking this a step or two further, however, where is the line drawn? When is it overkill? Some ultra-light wheelset- like an Ascent Comp or lighter as "everyday wheels?" Carbon rimmed wheels? Tubulars? At what point does it become poseurish? And I know for a fact that people are judged on this issue... I knew of a guy who rode Cosmic Carbones non-stop last year and he raised more than a few eyebrows. Turns out he had a shop sponsoring him and these were an extra set.

On the other hand, if someone showed up at a club ride with some Zipp 303s, I'd be thinking "this ain't a race, buddy"- so I'm not exactly impervious to this line of thinking myself. Then again, some of us get bent out of shape when someone shows up with aerobars- especially when they try to pull (and never point out any obstacles in the road).
re: Wheelsets- "not just for races anymore" ?JFST
Jul 5, 2003 9:23 AM
I ride Ksyrium SL's for training as well. Its quite a strong wheel. I have Crossmax SL's on my MTB as well. Its pretty much the same wheel in 26" size and its a considerably strong wheel given its weight so yeah, I'd say its perfectly suited for use as an everyday wheel. Personally I don't care what anyone uses. If you bought a super fancy expensive wheelset chances are you can afford to replace it if it breaks right? ;)
Not really, I've seen the other side of the extreme...Fez
Jul 5, 2003 9:59 AM
You wrote:

"My observation is that most OEM wheels are underspec'ed for the frameset. There are all sorts of $1500+ frames that have "maybe" a $300 wheelset (and THAT at full MSRP). Same with the $15-20 tires they throw on. Not that there is anything wrong with DA OP "standard" wheels,"

I've seen the opposite of what you describe.

How about a top of the line Jamis bike for $2,000 with a made in 3rd world frame, but it had Ksyrium SLs, Ouzo Pro, Thomson post, Zepp stem, ProRace Tires and a whole bunch of high end stuff.

Also the Cannondale 2000si comes with Ksyrium SLs, Conti GP3000 tires and the whole bike MSRP is $2,500.

It all depends on the buying power and marketing strategy of the manufacturer as to what they can offer at a given pricepoint.

In addition, sometimes the frame is dirt cheap (steel or Al and built overseas) so they can offer high end parts elsewhere for a given price. Sometimes its the frameset is expensive (Ti or carbon and made in US) and they have to cut costs on other components.

Sometimes when customers custom spec the bike, they see the frame and fork as a "long term" investment and buy quality, yet buy more practical components (Chorus instead of Record)and more practical wheelsets. Some folks don't believe there is not a lot of added value in spending $800 on Ksyriums vs. $300 on Open Pros.
Just a short noteAtombomber
Jul 5, 2003 10:25 AM
An active racer with racing and training wheelsets might use his race wheelset on some training rides to get used to them, or stay comfortable on them. An extra-light deep section low bladed-spoke count wheel will ride differently than a less light shallower section conventional laced wheel. Like all sports, it is recommend that some training be done on the event equipment, be it golf, tennis, skiing, track and field, etc.

For the non-racer, use what you like. Its your money.

I was going to build a set of cheap hubs I found at the local garbage dropoff into off season ugly weather training wheels. The older 105 rear hub has no seals on the non drive side (the free hub was going to be updated with an 8/9 speed rebuilt one) and the front is sealless too. I figured that was pointless, since I'd be using these wheels when seals would be required most, and spending money on spokes and a rim was not a good investment only to have the hubs fail way before the rest of the wheel. Using a more current better sealed design would be more prudent. Therefore, I use my Xsyrium Elites all the time though they are not the most expensive or lightest wheels, but they are fine.
re: Wheelsets- "not just for races anymore" ?gtx
Jul 5, 2003 11:12 AM
no offense, but I consider spending more than $300 on a set of wheels (no matter how much the frame costs) either "poseurish" or ignorant. I figure anyone who knows how to build wheels who rides Ksyriums or any spendy wheelset either got them free or at a very major discount, or they have major amounts of cash to burn.
Jul 5, 2003 12:16 PM
First- I don't know anyone who paid full retail for the Ks...

Last Sunday there was this giant of a guy who showed up at a group ride on a custom titanium monstrosity... he claimed to have paid $6000 for it- and I didn't doubt it. Relatively speaking, $300 for wheels would be nothing. The guy is rich, wants to have the best of everything, and doesn't care about price. That doesn't make him ignorant- any more ignorant than someone who owns a Mercedes SUV when a Ford would do just fine at a fraction of the price. Does he really NEED the performance of the Mercedes?

There are people with all sorts of cash to burn. Some of them are also rather serious cyclists.

Is buying a Pneumo helmet any less poseurish? Or ignorant? The vast majority of helmets cost HALF what the Pneumo costs.

That $300 figure pretty much rules out any pre-built wheels...
Jul 5, 2003 1:01 PM
my point is when you spend $600 instead of $300 you aren't getting anything--wheels won't be lighter or more durable. The rest is hype (I'm talking about wheels for all-purpose road riding and racing, not specialized wheels for time trials). When you buy a Mercedes you get a better, more durable, etc. vehicle than the Phord. A Pneumo helmet has better venting than the cheaper helmets--it costs more to design/manufacture. I'd argue it provides less protection, and I don't need the extra cooling here in the Northwest, so I ride the $50 Giro instead. So again, you get more "performance" with the Mercedes and the Pneumo, you don't with the $600+ wheelsets. I do understand just wanting them cause they're cool or get you more excited to ride or whatever, but I think some of the justifications are silly. My $.02.
Does your argument prove too much?Look381i
Jul 5, 2003 4:13 PM
Many of us, even some of us who race, find cycling principally an esthetic experience, not a scientific or engineering one. It involves all the senses as well as personal and professional associations and loyalties. Part of the esthetic means making choices that often don't hold up well to coldly rational analysis. That helps to explain why we do things like buy expensive frames, expensive groups, wear pro kit, read cycling magazines, even participate in cycling bulletin boards, when we would probably ride just as efficiently with much less costly gear and do more useful things by devoting our off-bike time elsewhere.

Your esthetic seems to involve appreciating the lowest cost/performance ratio, at least with your wheelset if not your frame. Mine doesn't, although I do look for good deals on what I decide to buy. I don't think about it much, but I guess I often choose gear that's a bit out of the ordinary, so long as it fits and functions well. Cannondale, Trek and Litespeed make great bikes. I chose otherwise, and it had nothing to do with money.

Some might justify the extra expense by noting a weight saving or aero improvement. I don't, not really. I could save a lot more weight and be a lot more aero by foregoing a few extra beers or helpings at dinner.

I don't think I'm ignorant. I am fully conscious of what I do and its costs and benefits. And "poseur" is a concept that exists only in the eyes of the insecure. I actually like to see folks who don't ride ordinary bikes, don't wear monochrome jerseys, black shorts and shoes, and add a little color to their tires and lives. But most of all I just like to see people who ride.
Bravo!KG 361
Jul 6, 2003 1:51 PM
Couldn't have said it better myself. I prefer to ride something a little less ordinary and no, my K's probably are an insignificant aid in climbing/sprinting etc, but I LIKE THEM. This is a free country, after all, and I'll buy what I like, if I can afford it. Really, though, they haven't needed trueing in over 3 yrs and still coast like they were new. Mostly though, they look good. =)
Jul 6, 2003 6:56 PM
Then again, I ride a Look KG281... so maybe there is a bit of a pattern here?
"I took the road less traveled by...." nm =)KG 361
Jul 7, 2003 11:14 AM
False logic.Len J
Jul 5, 2003 2:30 PM
I've ridden high zoot wheels (K's , Sestrair's, and even borrowed 303's for a century) and I've ridden OP's on D/A hubs that I built for less than $300. What i found was that there was little if any difference thaat I could detect. Yea the Zipp's and the Rolf's were lighter (The K's were not) and I felt some difference climbing, but not enough to justify the difference in price, especially when you consider that my normal ride is an unsupported 75 to 100 mile ride. In addition, I do one long supported multi-day ride a year. In other words, the best thing I can ride (for the type of riding I do) is a light, bullettproof, easily repairable wheelset. The OP's on D/A hubs are perfect for my type of riding. BTW I ride a Serotta Legend TI and could afford to buy most wheels, I choose to ride what is best for my type of riding.

I don't see any "Underspec at all, to me it is just good sense.

My .02

gtx and Len J have it spot on (nm)Kerry Irons
Jul 5, 2003 3:29 PM
Same goes with most componentsLone Gunman
Jul 5, 2003 3:53 PM
Seems once you get above a certain price point, you begin splitting hairs as to quality of the wheelset. I would say these days on a wheelset $350 seems to be that point. You just don't notice that big a difference on the higher end wheels to justify the cost. Alot of oohs and ahhs do not make the wheels any better or worse.
depends on your priorities.....scrublover
Jul 5, 2003 4:01 PM
I've got a frame that cost quite a bit less than my wheels. E-bay bought ~ 3 pound Giant TCR Team frame from 2001. Budget, but works great for me. I went for more money for the wheels, and other parts in the long run. The goal being to buil up a nice ride "now" and then step up to a nicer frame later on, once I knew what I wanted.
Hugi 240 hubs, OP rims, Revolution spokes with alloy nips, 28 holes. radial front, 3 cross driveside, radiol non drive rear. Are they some high zoot super wheels? Nah, but they are pretty damn light, and durable. With easily replaceable parts. And now I have a nice semi-compact steel frame coming to replace the Giant, which will go back on E-bay. All according to far!
re: Wheelsets- "not just for races anymore" ?Ye Olde Balde One
Jul 6, 2003 7:01 AM
My everyday wheels; 32h Ambrosio Evolutions (480gm rims) laced 3x with DT DB spokes. Resonably heavy Schwalbe Stelvio tires are fitted.

I have FiR Mast (25mm deep 18/24h) wheels, SRG30 (30mm deep 18/24h), and a set of (SC170 box section 28/28h on Hugi) as well that I have a wider range (11-25t) Tiso AL cassette fitted to for hilly rides (Ride around the Bear for example) with Veloflex Pave. Can't use the Pave all the time as they would be shot quickly, so I use heavier tires, plus a heavier rim and build. I'm getting a set of tubular Ambrosio X-Carbo's next for the 24hr UMCA TT.

Why bother? Well I like the Pave for the long rides I do (a couple of centuries and a double so far this year), and the lighter set of wheels they are on FEELS like it makes a difference, so I do it. I CAN do it, it's my choice, and if I feel it makes a difference, then that's my choice. Having a setup with lighter cassette and tires which I put on is part of me putting myself into a mindset, it's pre ride preperation.

The other more aero wheels I used in the double, and any ride I think is going to be fast, not really sure if it makes a difference, but there again, I have them and they were not expensive, the SC170/Hugi are my most expensive wheels (at about $500). The X-Carbo's are for racing on, I'll ride them a few times first, but they are event wheels on the whole, and that's what I'll use them for.

What I guess I'm trying to say is, I do things one way, and that's my choice, based on some science (aero stuff for fast rides) and on my feelings. It works for me, but it's also my opinion, someone elses may differ.
re: Wheelsets- "not just for races anymore" ?Money D
Jul 6, 2003 10:09 AM
I have thought about this a lot. I bought my first road bike 2 years ago after mt biking for 9yrs. I was used to nice components on my mt bike, so I skipped entry level road components and went straight to ultegra. I found a used 1999 GT ZR2000 w/ full ultegra mint, with Spinergy Rev-X's on ebay all for $860. I love the bike and know I got a great deal. But, I have always felt a little funny being such a beginner (road riding) riding an $800 wheelset. I love how they ride and look though, and have had no problems with them as an everyday wheelset. I am a little nervous as I weigh 225 (6'5") and I have heard the stories of catastrophic failures. Do I feel guilty? No, I got an amazing deal on them. They have made me even more addicted to getting out on the road. The bike sits in the corner and begs me to take it for a spin.
re: Wheelsets- "not just for races anymore" ?aliensporebomb
Jul 7, 2003 6:42 AM
My friend Triathlon John has a set of Zipps and I believe
he just uses them for races and special occasions - he's
a sponsored rider for a local cycling team so the fact
that he owns a dozen bikes and has multiple sets of wheels
to use isn't a problem for him.

I myself have for everyday wheels Mavic CXP21s with
Shimano 105 hubs. They are far from high-zoot wheels,
but seem to do the job. At some point, I WILL pick up
a set of Ksyrium SSC-SLs for several reasons - (1) yes,
they do look 'waycool' but all reports I've heard from
heavier riders indicate that they (2) tend to stay true
for thousands of miles are (3) tough and (4) though they
require special spokes and the like the need for replace-
ment isn't often.

I think the original poster (filtersweep) encountered a
sort of retro-grouch type who was that was not necessarily
by choice but by economic choice. Not everyone can afford
the Ksyriums even at reduced prices (LBS offered a set of
SSC SL to me at $550, I didn't have the cash at the time,

Look, it's not like your buddy is clothespinning playing
cards to the chainstay to get that "super motor sound"
with the bigger spokes of the K's but the guy was probably
just unaware of how robust those wheels are and presumed
they'd be trashed in short order if they were used as
everyday wheels (and maybe more than a lil' jealous).
If all you have is a hammer...MShaw
Jul 7, 2003 10:08 AM
...everything looks like a nail...

I fall into the category of rider that has different wheels for different occaisions: lightweight tubulars, aero wheels, training wheels, etc. and use the "correct" wheels depending on what I'm doing that day.

For everyday riding, Mavic 571/Reflex ceramics or D/A/Ritchey "aero" wheels. For fast training/crits with corners: Ritchey Pro DS wheels. For going REALLY fast: Mavic Cosmics or 404s.

If I had to choose only one set of wheels, I'd probably stick with the 32 hole type of wheelset. If I got an absolute screaming deal on a pair of Ksyriums, maybe, but I've heard too many stories about broken AL spokes...