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Light Bicycle Wheels

Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Light Bicycle Wheels

Old 03-13-19, 09:35 AM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
I've used Novatec hubs(291/482 SB, and 291/482 SB-SL) for several builds, with very good results. I chose Novatec 411/412 hubs because I'll be using this wheelset for road only, and most of the roads in my are are quite good.
I also have 4 wheelsets with Novatec 291/482 hubs [between wife and I], and they have done well over the last couple of years, So, I also went with Novatec.
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Old 03-13-19, 09:40 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
I also have 4 wheelsets with Novatec 291/482 hubs [between wife and I], and they have done well over the last couple of years, So, I also went with Novatec.
The complaint many people have with Novatec hubs is the bearings. Manufacturers can spec the bearing, and many go with the cheapest ones available.

Luckily it's easy(and cheap) to upgrade to a better sealed version when the time comes.
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Old 03-13-19, 10:26 AM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
The complaint many people have with Novatec hubs is the bearings. Manufacturers can spec the bearing, and many go with the cheapest ones available.

Luckily it's easy(and cheap) to upgrade to a better sealed version when the time comes.
I got my hubs from bdop cycling, and he said that he uses the higher quality bearings.
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Old 03-13-19, 10:41 AM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
IMHO...TL;DR if you have the money get the DT350s. They are nice durable hubs that make for nice strong wheels.

I have a set of Bitex laced Pacenti SL25 hoops....and the Bitex, for what they are--they're not bad. What they are, is bottom-dollar cartridge bearing hubs. But the freehub isn't that durable, even "anti-notch" revision will notch because they only reinforce one side of the splines. But cheap hub, there you go. The ratchet/pawl engagement is okay but I've found it hit/miss on one of the pawls.....resulting in one pawl not fully seating sometimes--resulting in a frustrating loud "BANG" when applying power--as the pawl fully seats.....They work and spin well, but they won't put a grin on your face as much as a nice hub probably would.

Faint praise is faint, as you may have noticed.
This is my experience with Bitex as well. Oddly, I couldnít find a single review that mentioned the pawl issue when I bought mine. All the reviews claimed Bitex hubs were perfectly functional.
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Old 03-13-19, 04:13 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Ok thanks so much for the honest feedback guys! I had heard mainly good things about Bitex hubs before. I guess they are good for the money, but you get what you pay for.

Hmmm, I was looking at the Bitex and Novatec hubs mainly for their reduced weight.. they are about 150g lighter than the DT Swiss 350. The cost is not that significant only $100 more for the DT Swiss.

I guess the weight and cost savings are not worth it for the reduced durability and lackluster performance?

What about the spokes? They offer both Sapim CX Ray and Pillar Aero X-tra. About $40 between them, same weight. I am tempted to just go for the name brand of Sapim here. Any experience with the Pillar spokes?

Thanks!
I don't want to rag on Bitex...For $100 and change for a hubset that gets you cartridge bearings--they're a good deal. But when a reliable hubset with a great trackr ecord from a company that stands behind product is so close....the weight and price change is worth it. Unless there's a pricepoint you absolutely are locked into, I'd splurge.

Spokes. I always go with brand name. Never used Pillar, TBH--then again I don't want to.

Originally Posted by smashndash View Post


This is my experience with Bitex as well. Oddly, I couldnít find a single review that mentioned the pawl issue when I bought mine. All the reviews claimed Bitex hubs were perfectly functional.
The thing with my symptoms...they only appeared after a bit over 5,000 miles. Which most review time frames are barely a 1/10th of that. For a set of beater wheels that'll get put through the ringer--they're okay.
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Old 03-13-19, 04:46 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post


The thing with my symptoms...they only appeared after a bit over 5,000 miles. Which most review time frames are barely a 1/10th of that. For a set of beater wheels that'll get put through the ringer--they're okay.
Mine (for google search keywords: This was the Bitex RAR12 hub) was REALLY bad out of the box. I ended up removing half the pawls and tightening the end caps hard and that significantly helped the issue. But it still happens once in a while. But I agree - considering that they're not exactly slow, heavy or unreliable, and how cheap they are, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to someone looking for something that just works.

On the topic of the thread - I haven't thoroughly perused this thread yet, but Hambini recently posted a test for the WR56C02 - 56mm deep, 30mm wide, 460-490g per rim. It does extraordinarily well, considering the price and the presumable lack of R&D that went into them. It was tested with a 23mm GP4000 sii, which is probably not the tire we'd use, but a 25mm tire would probably make the WR56C02 rank even higher.

Also I can't figure out whether they're called the WR56C02 or the RR56C02...

Last edited by smashndash; 03-13-19 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 03-13-19, 10:01 PM
  #107  
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While Iím at it... is anyone concerned that LB is able to make a wheel thatís lighter, wider, and more aero than most wheels on the market at 1/3 to 1/5 the cost? Am I to assume that the only thing Iím missing out on is customer service and ďR&DĒ (which apparently doesnít help)?

Sounds too good to be true. And you know what they say...
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Old 03-13-19, 10:22 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
While I’m at it... is anyone concerned that LB is able to make a wheel that’s lighter, wider, and more aero than most wheels on the market at 1/3 to 1/5 the cost? Am I to assume that the only thing I’m missing out on is customer service and “R&D” (which apparently doesn’t help)?

Sounds too good to be true. And you know what they say...

I understand your skepticism, but you should also understand that reverse engineering costs far less than R&D, and that marketing/team sponsorship is a huge expense.

Light Bicycle has been around the block a few times(since about 2010), and there are very few negative reviews/forum posts about the company, or their products. The one post that has been mentioned, was strange in many ways.

https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mt...er-rim-review/

I'd love to hear what @Bob Dopolina has to say about them.

Last edited by noodle soup; 03-13-19 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 03-13-19, 11:23 PM
  #109  
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Cracking a rim is inconvenient, but not ride ending!
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Old 03-13-19, 11:47 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Cracking a rim is inconvenient, but not ride ending!
Yeah, that dude is a kook.

2 rim "failures", and he still gives a fairly positive review.

It sounds like both failures were due to user stupidity, not the equipment.
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Old 03-14-19, 12:16 AM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
I understand your skepticism, but you should also understand that reverse engineering costs far less than R&D, and that marketing/team sponsorship is a huge expense.

Light Bicycle has been around the block a few times(since about 2010), and there are very few negative reviews/forum posts about the company, or their products. The one post that has been mentioned, was strange in many ways.

https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mt...er-rim-review/

I'd love to hear what @Bob Dopolina has to say about them.
If the LB wheels were exactly as aero/light/wide as the mainstream competition Iíd have no problem buying that. But they didnít just reverse engineer their competitors... they seemingly out-engineered them by making something more aero/light/wide... again, at a fraction of the cost. Thatís what concerns me. If it were as easy as just reverse engineering, at least a couple western companies would have come up with something to match them by now.

What am I missing here?
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Old 03-14-19, 02:54 AM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
If the LB wheels were exactly as aero/light/wide as the mainstream competition Iíd have no problem buying that. But they didnít just reverse engineer their competitors... they seemingly out-engineered them by making something more aero/light/wide...
I don't think they did that though. If you look at ENVE 3.4, 4.5, 5.6 wheels, the equivalent rim depths from those wheels have a very similar cross-section to the Light Bicycle rims of equivalent depth, and the Light Bicycle rims weight more in every case I glanced at. I'd say they are doing a good job of reflecting the trends of the day, but I don't think its accurate to characterize what they are doing as "out-engineering" others.
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Old 03-14-19, 05:42 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post


If the LB wheels were exactly as aero/light/wide as the mainstream competition Iíd have no problem buying that. But they didnít just reverse engineer their competitors... they seemingly out-engineered them by making something more aero/light/wide... again, at a fraction of the cost. Thatís what concerns me. If it were as easy as just reverse engineering, at least a couple western companies would have come up with something to match them by now.

What am I missing here?
They didn't out engineer them...what is more, many people are of the opinion Zipp and ENVE are overpriced. It needs noted that ENVE hasn't been able to even turn a profit for well over a year now--as a result ENVE is up for sale (again). Whereas Zipp was bought out by SRAM 10 years ago, and most people know the pricing shenanigans SRAM plays with their product (MAP=MSRP). And both ZIPP and ENVE have had their own teething issues.

LB has been around for a while. One of my coworkers bought had a dozen sets for a shop team 5 years ago (back when Am Classic hubs were still a thing) his only dislike were the alloy nips. I don't really have any dislikes about my set.
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Old 03-14-19, 10:07 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by Quiglesnbits View Post
I don't think they did that though. If you look at ENVE 3.4, 4.5, 5.6 wheels, the equivalent rim depths from those wheels have a very similar cross-section to the Light Bicycle rims of equivalent depth, and the Light Bicycle rims weight more in every case I glanced at. I'd say they are doing a good job of reflecting the trends of the day, but I don't think its accurate to characterize what they are doing as "out-engineering" others.
LB: 460 disc, 490 rim
ENVE 4.5AR: 445g disc, despite a hookless design
Zipp 404 NSW: 500g rim
Boyd 60: 550g rim
DT Arc 1100 62: 1600g wheelset with aluminum nipples while the LB can be had for under 1500 with a DT 240.
Cannondale KNOT 64: 1600g disc wheelset
Roval CLX 64: 1570g rim brake wheelset
Iím not sure which wheels you glanced at... I hope you can excuse my confusion. But something isnít sitting right here.

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Old 03-14-19, 10:22 AM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post


LB: 460 disc, 490 rim
ENVE 4.5AR: 445g disc, despite a hookless design

I’m not sure which wheels you glanced at... I hope you can excuse my confusion. But something isn’t sitting right here.


How is Enve heavier than LB?

BTW, the Enve hoops are also wider than LBs

Originally Posted by smashndash View Post



Boyd 60: 550g rim
DT Arc 1100 62: 1600g wheelset with aluminum nipples while the LB can be had for under 1500 with a DT 240.
Cannondale KNOT 64: 1600g disc wheelset
Roval CLX 64: 1570g rim brake wheelset



all of these are deeper than LB

Last edited by noodle soup; 03-14-19 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 03-14-19, 10:45 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
How is Enve heavier than LB?

BTW, the Enve hoops are also wider than LBs

all of these are deeper than LB
the ENVE is hookless, and I know that one person was able to slice off the hooks on the LB (making it 25mm ID) and ride it on his commuter- which would bring them on a par. And youíre right, the ENVEs are 1mm wider externally. But besides that, they are quite similar. Except one is over 5 times the price of the other.

others:
but not by much, and not more aerodynamic- which is what matters. And theyíre heavier by some 100g. At this point weíre splitting hairs over technicalities, which to me is insane considering how much time, money and expertise has been poured into all of these other wheels.

I have very little reason to believe that LB rims would be anything but reliable. However, that would mean believing that almost every single other mainstream wheel manufacturer is basically scamming us out of our money by charging us hand over fist and providing us with technologically inferior wheels.

Besides ease of communication, can anyone provide me with a good reason to go with a mainstream wheel over LB? Iím just out here looking for a ďcatchĒ. I get very uncomfortable around deals with no ďcatchĒ. Usually the catch is $$$.
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Old 03-14-19, 11:00 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
Iím not sure which wheels you glanced at... I hope you can excuse my confusion. But something isnít sitting right here.
ENVE 5.6 front disc clincher rim is 54mm deep, 29mm wide, and 449 grams
LightBicycle disc clincher 56mm deep rim is 30 mm wide and 460 grams
Same rims in non-disc are 490 and 494 respectively.

ENVE 3.4 rear disc clincher rim is 42mm deep, 27.5mm wide, and 393 grams
LightBicycle disc clincher 46mm deep rim is 28 mm wide and 435 grams
Same rims in non-disc are 459 and 460 respectively.

To me this is all in the wash. I have bets I'd put on who they are trying to mimic. The only thing they are really doing objectively better from my consumer perspective is proving that the other companies are laughably out of the ballpark on price.
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Old 03-14-19, 11:04 AM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by Quiglesnbits View Post
ENVE 5.6 front disc clincher rim is 54mm deep, 29mm wide, and 449 grams
LightBicycle disc clincher 56mm deep rim is 30 mm wide and 460 grams
Same rims in non-disc are 490 and 494 respectively.

ENVE 3.4 rear disc clincher rim is 42mm deep, 27.5mm wide, and 393 grams
LightBicycle disc clincher 46mm deep rim is 28 mm wide and 435 grams
Same rims in non-disc are 459 and 460 respectively.

To me this is all in the wash. I have bets I'd put on who they are trying to mimic. The only thing they are really doing objectively better from my consumer perspective is proving that the other companies are laughably out of the ballpark on price.
Thatís the way I want to be able to look at it - that all these companies just happen to be charging absurd amounts. But itís hard to believe that, in such a competitive industry, these companies would be able to get away with it for so long.

I guess Iím really afraid of being ďthat guyĒ who took the bait and paid in flesh and blood instead of $, despite all of my friends telling me so. Moreso the social humiliation than the physical pain 😂
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Old 03-14-19, 11:12 AM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post

I have very little reason to believe that LB rims would be anything but reliable. However, that would mean believing that almost every single other mainstream wheel manufacturer is basically scamming us out of our money by charging us hand over fist and providing us with technologically inferior wheels.
A friend of mine is a CF framebuilder that purchases tubing from Enve and Rock West Composites. He has sent tubing samples from both to be tested by Mitsubishi Chemical Carbon Fiber and Composites, and the results were indistinguishable from one another. One big difference is that Enve charges over twice as much for the same tubing.


Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
Besides ease of communication, can anyone provide me with a good reason to go with a mainstream wheel over LB? I’m just out here looking for a “catch”. I get very uncomfortable around deals with no “catch”. Usually the catch is $$$.
Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
Communication hasn't been an issue with LB, other than the time difference. Every email I've sent(usually around 10am Pacific time) gets a reponse at around 11pm Pacific.
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Old 03-14-19, 11:15 AM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
Thatís the way I want to be able to look at it - that all these companies just happen to be charging absurd amounts. But itís hard to believe that
I understand your perspective. And I understand to some degree the argument that some of these companies have regarding development costs in what is maybe not a huge volume industry. At the end of the day, maybe I am a bad engineer, but I don't see anything associated with bike components, their design, or their manufacture that can justify the cost that is charged for them. To me that is all happening on the market side of the equation. Carbon layup is a different and complex issue from most components, but my baseline assumption is that most of these companies are founded by people who learned what they know by making rims at OEMs that "name brands" sell for 5 or 10x.
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Old 03-14-19, 11:18 AM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
I guess Iím really afraid of being ďthat guyĒ who took the bait and paid in flesh and blood instead of $, despite all of my friends telling me so. Moreso the social humiliation than the physical pain 😂
The LB 36mm, 46mm, and 56mm hoops were released in early 2018, and I have yet to find one bad review of them in any forum or blog.
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Old 03-14-19, 11:44 AM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by Quiglesnbits View Post
I understand your perspective. And I understand to some degree the argument that some of these companies have regarding development costs in what is maybe not a huge volume industry. At the end of the day, maybe I am a bad engineer, but I don't see anything associated with bike components, their design, or their manufacture that can justify the cost that is charged for them. To me that is all happening on the market side of the equation. Carbon layup is a different and complex issue from most components, but my baseline assumption is that most of these companies are founded by people who learned what they know by making rims at OEMs that "name brands" sell for 5 or 10x.
Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
That’s the way I want to be able to look at it - that all these companies just happen to be charging absurd amounts. But it’s hard to believe that, in such a competitive industry, these companies would be able to get away with it for so long.

I guess I’m really afraid of being “that guy” who took the bait and paid in flesh and blood instead of $, despite all of my friends telling me so. Moreso the social humiliation than the physical pain ��
It is not that hard to believe that they just reverse engineered Enve (or any other competitor's) rims by looking at the carbon layup and design with X-ray, sawing through them, etc. etc. Carbon fiber layup of a wheel does not strike me as that difficult of a thing to reverse engineer. At the end of the day, it is just strands of carbon fiber in a polymer resin. The tech has been around since the 1970s.

Much easier to reverse engineer than many of the nano-sized computer chips etc. that are also being reverse engineered in China. Or fighter jets, etc.

And if reverse-engineering is indeed what they do, then yes, the saved costs in RnD and marketing could very well account for the cost difference. Companies spend HUGE amounts on marketing, Rnd, and of course just straight up profit margin in some cases (like Apple with their iPhones, 30% profit margin from hearsay).

Is the price of the LB wheels "too good to be true"? I don't really think so. Building up a wheelset with a quality hub on their website still runs you about $700-$800. While a similar wheelset from the likes of Enve costs maybe $2500. But wheelsets from other reputable brands can be found for around $1500?

Last edited by maartendc; 03-14-19 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 03-14-19, 11:58 AM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
It is not that hard to believe that they just reverse engineered Enve (or any other competitor's) rims by looking at the carbon layup and design with X-ray, sawing through them, etc. etc. Carbon fiber layup of a wheel does not strike me as that difficult of a thing to reverse engineer. At the end of the day, it is just strands of carbon fiber in a polymer resin. The tech has been around since the 1970s.

Much easier to reverse engineer than many of the nano-sized computer chips etc. that are also being reverse engineered in China. Or fighter jets, etc.

And if reverse-engineering is indeed what they do, then yes, the saved costs in RnD and marketing could very well account for the cost difference. Companies spend HUGE amounts on marketing, Rnd, and of course just straight up profit margin in some cases (like Apple with their iPhones, 30% profit margin from hearsay).

Is the price of the LB wheels "too good to be true"? I don't really think so. Building up a wheelset with a quality hub on their website still runs you about $700-$800. While a similar wheelset from the likes of Enve costs maybe $2500. But wheelsets from other reputable brands can be found for around $1500?
Yea, for reference, ProWheelbuilder has their own house-branded CF rims that they handbuild here in the USA. $999 for Bitex hubs and sapim spokes. $1300 for White Industries hubs. 3 year warranty. And PWB are good folks that stand behind their work. Lots of people are doing carbon fiber. LB is in the middle between the uber-cheap and the expensive.

Enve is too expensive to sell product..AMER is selling them off. Zipp was bought out by SRAM renowned for their price-fixing shenanigans. Both, for their price, have had many problems with product that made the news. Probably part of why "ENVE" is no longer called "Edge Composites"....Zipp, well, you'd think a wheel that costs that much would have reliable and decent hubs.
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Old 03-14-19, 12:04 PM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post

Is the price of the LB wheels "too good to be true"? I don't really think so. Building up a wheelset with a quality hub on their website still runs you about $700-$800. While a similar wheelset from the likes of Enve costs maybe $2500. But wheelsets from other reputable brands can be found for around $1500?
Buying from the NA distributor, a 56mm wheelset with DT240 centerlock hubs and CX-Ray spokes is $1299 with shipping
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Old 03-14-19, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post

Enve is too expensive to sell product..AMER is selling them off. Zipp was bought out by SRAM renowned for their price-fixing shenanigans. Both, for their price, have had many problems with product that made the news. Probably part of why "ENVE" is no longer called "Edge Composites"....Zipp, well, you'd think a wheel that costs that much would have reliable and decent hubs.
they changed the name because "Edge" was already being used by another company(I can't remember who).
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