View Full Version : $500-1500 road wheelset for ~260 pounder
6th November 2007, 9:51 AM
Hello, OK, I'm not completely new to road riding, but I am pretty out of date. When I was in college about 20 years ago, my bike was my only form of transportation for about 3 years and I put about 2K miles/year on it. I finally graduated and was able to afford a car and basically quit riding. This last year I have picked up riding again. I started with my 20 year old bike, but my 20 year older body was getting beat up too much by that old and stiff aluminum framed monstrosity (not to mention it weighs about 23-25lbs) and upgraded to an entry level CF bike (about 19-20 lbs, gotta LOVE that carbon comfort!) with a (mostly) Dura-Ace group. However, it has relatively entry level wheels (Vuelta XRP Pros, 24 flat (aero) spokes, 2 cross) and at ~260lbs (and decreasing) I appear to be a bit too beefy because I am starting to break spokes and the wheels only have about 400 miles on them. On my current wheels, I can average about 16-19mph (over 20+ miles), depending on the kind of day I am having over a given route, so I guess I'm more than a recreational rider, but less than competitive. Also, the routes around here are pretty flat, but when I do hit hills (really anything more than an incline) they kick my butt. Carrying around the extra 60-70 lbs of "spare tire" hurts! Then again, it seems to help on the descents, though those don't last nearly as long as the hills! So, I need some suggestions for wheelsets that are available in the US and range from ~$500-1500 retail. This means that wheelsets like Zipp and Lew are out, but others, like Easton (eg. SL's and Tempest II), Shimano (eg. Dura-Ace), and Mavic (eg. Kyserium SL and ES's) are still game. I would like to get some feedback on these and any others I may be missing. I have most of the necessary equipment to build my own (eg. Chris King hubs, Sapim nipples and CX-Ray spokes, and Mavic Open Pro or CXP33's or Velocity Aeroheads or Fusions), but would rather buy built so I don't take the chance of messing things up from the beginning. I am open to new or used and use eBay extensively for various purchases. If I buy used, then I realize I will probably have to do some maintenance (truing, tensioning, bearings (ceramic?), etc.) and for what I cannot handle I have a good LBS that does all my major maintenance. The LBS's around here usually run about 40-75% higher than online for major items where I live (this is not much of a cycling area) and I just cannot justify that kind of markup right now so I only . My priorities right now are durability, speed, and efficiency, in that order. I'd like to get something that will hold up to me, but will be usable for keeping up with competitive riders once I lose my next 60-70 lbs. So that means strong, fast/quick, and better aerodynamics than a flying brick. At my age, I doubt I will ever race, especially with my knees, but who knows, I may lose my mind and try. Anyway, I would appreciate whatever suggestions you might have for me! Thanks in advance!Best regards,Scott
6th November 2007, 12:06 PM
Those Vueltas aren't that strong, do don't be put off by their fragility. A good pair of handbuilts using 36 D/B spokes at the rear and possibly 32 front will do the job, especially while you work the weight off. I'd go for Shimano 105 hubs with Mavic Open Pro rims to keep the price/performance ratio acceptable. Also, most good builders will work with your components if supplied.
6th November 2007, 5:22 PM
Richard,Thanks for the quick response!Yeah, I kind of figured that they were not that strong when I was able to bend them pretty easily by hand up against the brake pads. I have to wonder how much energy I am burning against those pads...My problem is I don't have the funds for two or more sets of wheels. Well, I will keep these Vuelta's as backups, but I can only afford one more (good) set. I know I can get some real (generally heavy) workhorse wheels built, but if I lose this weight in the next six months (as I am currently planning) I don't want to have to sell them and buy some others at that time. Also, with some of the group rides I go on, the pace is pretty quick and I would prefer to have the only drain on my pace be my spare tire, not the wheels. So wheels I will use for a few years are high on my priority list. Then again, maybe there are not any "factory" wheels that can handle my weight at a reasonable price, so custom may be my only choice.I have also heard good things about DT Swiss rims. Do you know how they compare to the Mavic Open Pro? Yeah, I guess I want my cake and eat it too. Scott
7th November 2007, 12:34 PM
I have recently looked for new wheels. I like best hand built, custom wheels versus factory built. If you fancy factory, then i would go for campagnolo shamal or eurus, or fulcrum racing 1 (also built by campagnolo). they build shimano-compatible models.If you go for custom built, then I give you several links of people who seem very reliable, you will enjoy comparing and choosing. some are craftsmen, some shops who build and sell online, there in the states.enjoy your choice and keep us informed:www.competitivecyclist.comwww.excelsports .comwww.whitemountainwheels.com (a wheel builder named ron ruff, very cooperative)www.handsonwheels.comwww.coloradocycli st.comwww.prowheelbuilder.comwww.spinlitecycling.c omwww.youngwheels.com (a wheel builder named joe young, with an impressive curriculum vitae, I would either chose he or ron ruff)www.lickbike.comwww.light-bikes.comWith your budget I think you can find excellent wheels, but you will enjoy more selecting rims, spokes, lacing pattern, hubs, than buying already assembled wheels. I would trust upon the judgement of reliable wheel builders and you can get easily wheels under 1500gms with standard components (DT swiss rims, DT 240s hubs, 23 front adn 32 rear spokes ...)enjoy your choice and do not hesitate to mail me if you want any ideas or advice, I have the topic very fresh.
7th November 2007, 3:11 PM
Most of the riding I do is on wheels I have built myself, usually with 32 spokes and my favoured Mavic Open Pro rims. Wheels like these will give good service long after you have got to whatever weight you aim at, and for most purposes will not slow you down noticeably. Either save those Vueltas for time trialling if you decide to do it, or sell them and put the money towards a new pair. Then get a good, sturdy pair for general riding, touring etc.
VLAD (the Yellow BAT)
7th November 2007, 6:13 PM
If you are thinking of a pair of factory Aero whels, have you looked at the range by HED. The stinger and Jet are only £600 whilst the Alps are £699.They also do a Hill Climb wheelset.They are also sold on Ebay a few times , but beware of worn out rims.Also I have seen on Evans web site sets of Bontrger Race X Lite for £299 normal RRP of £499.Some of the web based compaies are selling of last years stock, now cheap.
15th November 2007, 1:45 PM
Your wheel choice is guided by your weight, so keep that in mind. 24 spokes are really meant for smooth courses and average weight. 28s are stronger, with 32s and 36s stronger still, but spoke choice is crucial! A 36s wheel with standard spokes is not necessarily stronger than a 24s wheel with top components!!! CXRays are the strongest, lightest and most aero money can buy, so choosing spokes like that allow you to reduce the spoke count. Be aware they are hard to get and expensive. Building your own wheels or getting the LBS to do it for you is more fun than factory kit! Use your eBay knowledge to your advantage and get some strong kit that has good resale value. I personally swear by Chris King hubs as they are fully serviceable, very light, very strong, and the manufacturers have a topnotch environmental record and stance. Lace them up with CXRays and you can choose 28s, 32s or 36s. 28s will last you a lifetime of roadriding and will stand up to your weight no problem. 32s will allow you to use the bike offroad and 36s with CXRays would allow you to do downhill racing (on mtb rims and bike of course). In terms of the rim, choose CXP33 or similar; go for a good rim with a strong cross-section and ideally eyeletted spoke holes. Around the 400g-550g for a rim is standard.Used King hubs on eBay go for about £200 a set, CXRays are about £1.50-£2.00 each depending on where you buy them, and CXP rims are about 50 a set. Add £60 for the wheelbuild. £400 or thereabouts will get you a sub-1.5kg wheelset that will last the rest of your life and will resell for about the same price. This combo will give you top durability, low weight fast wheels. Unbeatable combination methinks!