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Light and durable road rims for 650b, rim braking?

Old 01-26-20, 01:19 PM
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Light and durable road rims for 650b, rim braking?

Please share your ideas and what you think works, for a light, responsive set of 584/650b wheels for 38 or 42 mm tires.. Mine has a set of wheels, nice hubs, quality spokes, but some buds think it feels sluggish (aside from my lard butt) because the rims and tires are too heavy - Synergy rims and Hetre tires. I've been thinking of going to supple 38 mm tires, probably Compass, but .... rim suggestions? The Synergies are around 450 or more grams each. The bike has canti brakes, and is will be used for local distance rides and nearby brevets, depending on that lard butt I mentioned.
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Old 01-26-20, 01:44 PM
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650B Synergies are more like 470-480g per their specs.

You can save a few bucks and grams by not insisting on the widest possible rims. Velocity A23 weigh about 425g, Pacenti Brevet about 435g (mine are a few grams less). Both have proven themselves to be pretty robust for their weight.

Despite all the horror stories about the 700C version, my first-generation 650B SL23s are holding up just fine, and they weighed about 415-420g each! Part of me wishes I'd backed up the truck while they were made.


P.S. I'd also recommend keeping the spokes light. What did you use on your Synergy wheels?
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Old 01-26-20, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
650B Synergies are more like 470-480g per their specs.

You can save a few bucks and grams by not insisting on the widest possible rims. Velocity A23 weigh about 425g, Pacenti Brevet about 435g (mine are a few grams less). Both have proven themselves to be pretty robust for their weight.

Despite all the horror stories about the 700C version, my first-generation 650B SL23s are holding up just fine, and they weighed about 415-420g each! Part of me wishes I'd backed up the truck while they were made.


P.S. I'd also recommend keeping the spokes light. What did you use on your Synergy wheels?
I didn't build the wheels, I bought them from another BFer or perhaps a Google group member. For a 200# rider with 32 spokes, I'd probably go for ... open to suggestions! I would likely keep the hubs, though I would like to have a Campagnolo compatible rear hub. I have more spare Campy 10 speed parts than I do anything else. Have to check the Box o'Hubs, I thought I bought another Record 130 mm a few years back. For a while I tended to buy stuff as I saw good examples available.
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Old 01-27-20, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
I didn't build the wheels, I bought them from another BFer or perhaps a Google group member. For a 200# rider with 32 spokes, I'd probably go for ... open to suggestions! I would likely keep the hubs, though I would like to have a Campagnolo compatible rear hub. I have more spare Campy 10 speed parts than I do anything else. Have to check the Box o'Hubs, I thought I bought another Record 130 mm a few years back. For a while I tended to buy stuff as I saw good examples available.
I think spokes and tubes get overlooked sometimes when people try to lighten up their wheels. DT Revolutions or Sapim Lasers are plenty of spoke for the rear NDS. I'm having great results on a 32-spoke wheelset that I built completely out of DT Competition 1.8-1.6-1.8, which seem to be too old-school for a lot of people these days. But that sheds a lot of weight compared to regular 2.0-1.8-2.0 butted spokes or (gasp) 2.0mm straight-gauge.

And tubes: those Schwalbe "super-light" and "xx-light" tubes seem pretty rich at $13-16 each, but on a $/g basis, they're actually pretty good bang for the buck! I use the SV14A for 650B and mine weigh in right around 100g each.
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Old 01-27-20, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I think spokes and tubes get overlooked sometimes when people try to lighten up their wheels. DT Revolutions or Sapim Lasers are plenty of spoke for the rear NDS. I'm having great results on a 32-spoke wheelset that I built completely out of DT Competition 1.8-1.6-1.8, which seem to be too old-school for a lot of people these days. But that sheds a lot of weight compared to regular 2.0-1.8-2.0 butted spokes or (gasp) 2.0mm straight-gauge.

And tubes: those Schwalbe "super-light" and "xx-light" tubes seem pretty rich at $13-16 each, but on a $/g basis, they're actually pretty good bang for the buck! I use the SV14A for 650B and mine weigh in right around 100g each.
As I said, I didn't build the wheels or order them. I needed a set of wheels and these were decent quality, so I bought and solved the immediate problem. Update: The rims are indeed Synergy. The spokes are round, stainless, 2.04 mm diameter at the thread and elbow ends. and 2.0 mm in the middle. I'd have to think of them as 2.0 mm straight gauge. So for the new ones I guess I'd go 1.8/1.6/1.8 butted. But I don't even own a catalog which lists spokes. I chose the inner tubes, and I'm pretty sure they are Michelins about 120 g each. I still have bad memories of Performance Forte Lunar-Light tubes at 40 g each for 21 thru 23 or so mm, from the mid-1980s. Nearly impossible to install without a leak.

Where can I get some spoke pricing info? I had a set of custom wheels made about 10 years ago with Sapim CXrays and Mavic GP-4 rims (NOS), and they are still going strong.

So considering I have 2.0 "gaspipe" SS spokes, I should save about 64% of the current spoke mass, I guess.
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Old 01-27-20, 01:43 PM
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I got some synergies and they are pigs in comparison to the 700 synergies. But this was a low-cost build
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Old 01-27-20, 06:59 PM
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I don't really see the "pigs" thing. The weight difference between th Synergy and the A23 (sorry making a bold assumption that the A23 is what everyone likes) is not very large. At Starbike the weight database says the two examples of A23 are respectively actually 460g and 435 g, an average of 446. The five Synergy examples are all below 427 grams. If the Synergy is a "pig" and the A23s are not. But the mass advantage goes against the seemingly zippier rim. I don't get it. And the Pacenti from Rene Herse weighs 435 by the RH cycles claim. If the Pacenti is "better," why? If the Synergy is poorer, why? A weight argument does not support the experiential opinions. And except perhaps for the aero advantage or the A23 "mini-vee," I simply don't see any additional requirements that would affect physical performance of the bicycle. And even the aero advantage does not become dominant at randonneuring speeds.
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Old 01-27-20, 11:19 PM
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WW's listings for Synergys are from the very early 2000s. Were those the versions that were prone to cracking? Maybe Velocity beefed them up and that's why the specs on their site now say they're heavier, and why the ones Eric got felt like pigs.

Anyways, the small differences add up, IMO. Including the tires and tubes in the package, I shaved off a bit over a pound with the lighter wheelset on my rando bike, and I can feel it! My PBP might have been a little easier and quicker had I paid attention to these details the first time around.

P.S. Nothing wrong with 2.0-1.8-2.0 spokes (definitely lighter than 2.0mm straight-gauge and what most people are comfortable with), but if you're interested in following me down the skinny-spoke rabbit hole, I plan to buy them from Colorado Cyclist next: https://www.coloradocyclist.com/dt-s...6-gauge-spokes
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Old 01-28-20, 10:53 AM
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I could be wrong about the weight, but they sure impressed me as being heavy when I built the wheels. I know it really doesn't matter much even if they are. I know they had trouble with synergy rims being too thin at the corners. Had a 700 synergy come apart on me when I hit a pothole. No flat, just had to open the brake pads and ride 6 miles to the finish.
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Old 01-29-20, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I could be wrong about the weight, but they sure impressed me as being heavy when I built the wheels. I know it really doesn't matter much even if they are. I know they had trouble with synergy rims being too thin at the corners. Had a 700 synergy come apart on me when I hit a pothole. No flat, just had to open the brake pads and ride 6 miles to the finish.
I remember being concerned about early Synergies having problems back when I bought the rims, but I was told these are probably of the newer version that is stronger. I don't know how they relate to the model cited in WeightWeenie.

If they are 470 or 500-ish, that is 2 to 3 ounces more than the other Velocity and Pacenti rims, which data show to be around 430 grams. My experience with lightened wheels is that they add a little responsiveness, but the character of the rest of the bicycle is not lost, and the difference in my response is forgotten after a few miles. FWIW, my sense of sluggishness in my 650b w. Synergy/Hetre is reduced if I raise the pressures to nameplate values, so it gets a little zippier but I don't know if it is planing. So I'm reluctant to just go build lighter wheels if they are not a LOT lighter. Are there any 584 650b rims weighing in below 400 grams? I certainly like the difference between decent 700c clinchers and tubulars, but I've ridden tubulars since 1970.

So with say A23's I would save 50 to 75 grams per rim over the Synergies. With 32 2.0 spokes eachwheel, 2.0-1.8-2.0 spokes I would save about 3 grams over the 2.0 gaspipe spokes, for savings of 96 grams per wheel, for a total of 146 to 171 grams total. Assuming Loup Loup Extra Light at 333 g versus Hetre at 412, 79 grams are saved. Total savings is up to 79+171 = 250 grams, about 0.6 lb lighter per wheel.

I weigh around 200 right now. My 650b is for paved and gravel/dirt paved roads, not for riding in forests or actual off-road. The frame is certainly not designed for that. I have CXrays tubular wheels on one of my light road bikes and they have been nearly bulletproof for about 10 years, maybe 2000 miles total. For this rebuild I'd consider using the 2.0/1.5/2.0 butted spokes. Less $ than CXrays.

So I may walk down this path to make my 650b wheels lighter and perhaps use a Campy hub in the rear - I prefer indexed Campy 10 speed over what I have. I'm pretty confident the bike that results will feel better. But will it be a planer?
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Old 01-29-20, 10:33 PM
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Bikes don't plane for me. A good bike is one that I don't notice. Someday I'd like to build a weight weenie bike again. .6 pounds is a lot. You probably have to replace your wheels sometime anyway.
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Old 01-29-20, 10:59 PM
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IIRC, the first-generation Pacenti PL23 weighed under 400g. But those had a weight limit and were somewhat notorious for cracking. My spare second-generation SL23s are about 406g, but the brake track is kinda thin (1.1mm). 425g is probably close to the minimum for for an aluminum rim that is robust and won't wear out quickly.

I bet you'll notice much more of a difference with extra light Loup Loup Pass than a couple grams either way on the rims. Not just in the weight of the tires, but the lower-resistance sidewalls and tread that isn't overly thick at the edges.
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Old 01-30-20, 06:47 AM
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that's true, I have had tires that made it feel like I was riding through thick mud
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Old 01-30-20, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
WW's listings for Synergys are from the very early 2000s. Were those the versions that were prone to cracking? Maybe Velocity beefed them up and that's why the specs on their site now say they're heavier, and why the ones Eric got felt like pigs.

Anyways, the small differences add up, IMO. Including the tires and tubes in the package, I shaved off a bit over a pound with the lighter wheelset on my rando bike, and I can feel it! My PBP might have been a little easier and quicker had I paid attention to these details the first time around.

P.S. Nothing wrong with 2.0-1.8-2.0 spokes (definitely lighter than 2.0mm straight-gauge and what most people are comfortable with), but if you're interested in following me down the skinny-spoke rabbit hole, I plan to buy them from Colorado Cyclist next: https://www.coloradocyclist.com/dt-s...6-gauge-spokes
I think I'd like to try the skinny spokes if I do a rebuild. And the Co Cyclist price is hard to beat! A LOT better than CXrays.
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Old 01-31-20, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
I think I'd like to try the skinny spokes if I do a rebuild. And the Co Cyclist price is hard to beat! A LOT better than CXrays.
Yeah, you pay a lot for them to squish the spokes flat.
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Old 02-04-20, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
if you're interested in following me down the skinny-spoke rabbit hole, I plan to buy them from Colorado Cyclist next: https://www.coloradocyclist.com/dt-s...6-gauge-spokes
That's a nice price for those spokes, I'll have to remember that for when I lace my A23s back up into a wheel

I've always used DT Swiss 2.0/1.8 double butted for my wheel builds. Do you think that things would be stout enough using the 1.8/1.6 in the following build:

36 650b A23, front normal, rear drilled offset
35lb bike, 200lb rider
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Old 02-04-20, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by abshipp View Post
That's a nice price for those spokes, I'll have to remember that for when I lace my A23s back up into a wheel

I've always used DT Swiss 2.0/1.8 double butted for my wheel builds. Do you think that things would be stout enough using the 1.8/1.6 in the following build:

36 650b A23, front normal, rear drilled offset
35lb bike, 200lb rider
With 36 spokes front and back, especially with an offset rear, I should think so! If you want to beef up the rear drive-side spokes, they sell the 2.0/1.8/2.0 version for a penny more, too: https://www.coloradocyclist.com/dt-s...5-gauge-spokes
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