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Are the Wheels worth it? Question from a new high-end bike owner

Road Cycling “It 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.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Are the Wheels worth it? Question from a new high-end bike owner

Old 09-26-10, 09:52 PM
  #76  
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Campy Neutrons for $562 shipped, from Shiny Bike, when I wanted a good set of wheels without wait. They've been holding out well, including up to three 25mph bunny hops a lap over some crazy mad road seams. Planning for an Alchemy set sometime before the end of the year.

Its sad how Mavic *used* to be a supplier of rims, and that their QC has fallen.
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Old 09-26-10, 11:43 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by cappuccino911 View Post
I'm an avid golfer who sports a single digit handicap and I also build golf clubs. It's similar in the golf club component industry. Some companies don't want to sell to what they perceive as "hobbyist" clubbuilders for fear that some schmoe who doesn't know how to build and fit someone for clubs will just cut and glue clubs and then if they don't work for the customer the customer feels that the product was bad when really the fitting and the build was bad.
It's not even a matter of them not wanting to sell to "hobbyists" in cycling. It's that they have directed the market away from custom wheels. They like having proprietary spokes they can charge $4 for and/or require it to be sent to their factory to be repaired.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:06 AM
  #78  
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Start with anything and acquire as you progress. Your riding style, terrain, goals will dictate where you go from here. btw, if you think that's your last $1,000 spent in this sport you're about to become enlightened to the slippery slope. Your parts buying career has now begun. GL
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Old 09-27-10, 10:46 AM
  #79  
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strong believer in having at least 2 sets of wheels...
one for those crappy ridin condition days and one 'Sunday goin to meetin'...
you're headin into winter, I'd be ridin my 'winter' set until the roads clear and clean up in Spring.

for "abuse worthy and just keep rollin" wheels, I'll echo the PB Forte Titans that someone else mentioned... run well and just keep comin back for more abuse. I have a set which has prolly 7K miles and never seen a spoke wrench... not real light, but not real heavy, just right for a training set.
But they do vary... I went thru 3 sets at the local PB store to find this set.

not wanting to take food out of the mouths of someone's children...
I will offer up a slight diff. type of wheel, which I've now had 1K miles on.
Spinergy Xaero Lites
I was a doubter when I got these, now a firm believer.
Definitely the most comfortable performance wheelset I've ever ridden. Really Light, super smooth hubs.
I mean, incredibly comfortable and still firma and responsive..., without any mushiness!
They climb really well. Roll really well, especially on rough roads.
at 165 lbs, I'm not a heavy weight, and even though I'll ride big gears, I'm not a masher, so YMMV for the really big guys...
we'll see how they hold up at 5K; but I'm convinced enough to get another set...
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Old 09-27-10, 11:01 AM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by Kneecop View Post
Spongedad nailed it w/ the Ksyriums. I know I'd be happy with them, though it sounds like for the price they might not be the end-all be-all.
I bought a set of Ksyrium Elites this season because I found a screamin' sale. At full price I'd say there are probably more choices that should be considered. But they are really nice wheels. Lots of folks ride them and they have indeed proven bomb-proof on the roads here in New Hampshire.

If I were in your shoes (and didn't have a screamin' deal for Ksyriums staring me in the face) I'd go with whatever build Psimet recommended to me. I doubt you can go too far wrong with a good custom built wheel.
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Old 09-27-10, 11:27 AM
  #81  
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This is a very illuminating thread. Maybe i can just toss my question in to the mix, as the answers [thanks in advance] may help others as they start down the wheel road.

So Saturday i blew up my rear rim. It's on a 1999 Aegis 700Aro that i just picked up for $500. [i'll post a pic after i get the wheels replaced...]. LBS said it would be close to $200 for anything decent with a Campy spline. So i spent that evening on line, looking at options. Then last night at the bar i'm telling this story to a local supercyclist, who stopped me and said Campy? I have a spare set of Campy compatible wheels i'll never use again, come check 'em out. [whooohooooo!]

So they are some 5+ year old Colnago, blue, 'light alloy' 32-spoke wheels. The previous wheels were the original Wheelsmith 32-spokers that probably had 10-15,000 miles on. I liked them fine, but this is my first good bike, so have just been enjoying the whole package. I'm still about 225#'s, still dropping slowly, so do put some strain on my gear.

So my plan is to use these through the fall, and maybe look at a spare set over the winter. Any caveats or insights on the Colnago wheels? Note to any other rookies out there: while the LBS is pretty sure this failed mostly because of 11 years of rigorous use, it was a hair out of round when i got it. It may be that I could have delayed the inevitable if I had been more aggressive with keeping them true. Lesson learned, to keep them as true as possible in order to keep any unneeded stress out of the wheel system...
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Old 09-27-10, 12:11 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by keep on trekkin View Post
This is a very illuminating thread. Maybe i can just toss my question in to the mix, as the answers [thanks in advance] may help others as they start down the wheel road.

So Saturday i blew up my rear rim. It's on a 1999 Aegis 700Aro that i just picked up for $500. [i'll post a pic after i get the wheels replaced...]. LBS said it would be close to $200 for anything decent with a Campy spline. So i spent that evening on line, looking at options. Then last night at the bar i'm telling this story to a local supercyclist, who stopped me and said Campy? I have a spare set of Campy compatible wheels i'll never use again, come check 'em out. [whooohooooo!]

So they are some 5+ year old Colnago, blue, 'light alloy' 32-spoke wheels. The previous wheels were the original Wheelsmith 32-spokers that probably had 10-15,000 miles on. I liked them fine, but this is my first good bike, so have just been enjoying the whole package. I'm still about 225#'s, still dropping slowly, so do put some strain on my gear.

So my plan is to use these through the fall, and maybe look at a spare set over the winter. Any caveats or insights on the Colnago wheels? Note to any other rookies out there: while the LBS is pretty sure this failed mostly because of 11 years of rigorous use, it was a hair out of round when i got it. It may be that I could have delayed the inevitable if I had been more aggressive with keeping them true. Lesson learned, to keep them as true as possible in order to keep any unneeded stress out of the wheel system...
The Colnagos are probably just like the set that was brought to me this summer. They appear to be Novatech style carbon wrapped straight pull hubs with Ambrosio rims. The set brought to me was because the alloy nipples used were all starting to finally fail, and then the driver pawls gave up the ghost. Decent set. The owner got a ton of use out of them. If you can get them for a song then do it.
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Old 09-27-10, 12:51 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
The Colnagos are probably just like the set that was brought to me this summer. They appear to be Novatech style carbon wrapped straight pull hubs with Ambrosio rims. The set brought to me was because the alloy nipples used were all starting to finally fail, and then the driver pawls gave up the ghost. Decent set. The owner got a ton of use out of them. If you can get them for a song then do it.
Thanks- Didn't notice any carbon on the hubs, they have a plate riveted over the valve stem hole that i've not seen before, but again i'm pretty new to this stuff. Yep, the way he was talking i'm not sure he'll even take a hundred bucks. The front has never been used, rear very very lightly. I'll be checking out your customs when i start my search for the nice set this winter!

Any idea what the usual lifespan is for wheels of that technology, if kept trued? 10k miles?
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Old 09-27-10, 01:08 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by keep on trekkin View Post
Thanks- Didn't notice any carbon on the hubs, they have a plate riveted over the valve stem hole that i've not seen before, but again i'm pretty new to this stuff. Yep, the way he was talking i'm not sure he'll even take a hundred bucks. The front has never been used, rear very very lightly. I'll be checking out your customs when i start my search for the nice set this winter!

Any idea what the usual lifespan is for wheels of that technology, if kept trued? 10k miles?
The plate around the valve hole implies Ambrosio. Very nice rims. That set should last a long time. How long? Way too many variables to determine. Very well built wheels don't usually come to a natural end. They are usually destroyed in a wreck, or the braking surface wears out. Brake wear is completely dependent upon rider weight, riding style, terrain and traffic conditions, brake calipers used, brake shoe compound, riding weather conditions, etc.....

If cared for well built wheels should last most normal riders for many years....they are usually de-comisioned because the rider gets bored with them and wants something new. usually relinquished to pit wheels or given to a new rider.
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Old 09-27-10, 01:22 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
The plate around the valve hole implies Ambrosio. Very nice rims. That set should last a long time. How long? Way too many variables to determine. Very well built wheels don't usually come to a natural end. They are usually destroyed in a wreck, or the braking surface wears out. Brake wear is completely dependent upon rider weight, riding style, terrain and traffic conditions, brake calipers used, brake shoe compound, riding weather conditions, etc.....

If cared for well built wheels should last most normal riders for many years....they are usually de-comisioned because the rider gets bored with them and wants something new. usually relinquished to pit wheels or given to a new rider.
Good stuff, thanks. Particularly like the 'or given to a new rider' part!

If this is too much of a threaddrift feel free to ignore, but, apart from really keeping an eye on the truing, what else in a rider's control can he do to maximize lifespan?

and, edit: both wheelsets are 36, not 32 spokers.
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Old 09-27-10, 01:39 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad View Post
I have Ksyriums (the one the LBS is recommending perhaps?), they are indeed bombproof,
FWIW - my rear Ksyrium cracked this summer, and Mavic offered ZERO support.

I went with handbuilt wheels by Lyle at Spinlite cycling, but would have used psimet had I known more about him at the time.
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Old 09-27-10, 01:39 PM
  #87  
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Keep an eye on tension and true. Clean the wheels - I use rubbing alcohol for the most part.
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Old 09-27-10, 02:09 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by pjn0629 View Post
I just put a set of Rol Race SLs on my trek 5500, they look great, and are a decent blend of aero/lightness, and they're about $615,
I've had my Race SL's for almost 3 years and ~8,000 mi. Love 'em. Nearly bombproof, have yet needed to be trued. Can not say enough good things about his customer service.

Much lighter than the Mavic's I had when I upgraded from the original stock wheels.
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Old 09-27-10, 03:24 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by gizzsdad View Post
FWIW - my rear Ksyrium cracked this summer, and Mavic offered ZERO support.

I went with handbuilt wheels by Lyle at Spinlite cycling, but would have used psimet had I known more about him at the time.
Ksyriums don't break much. If they do, Mavic is USELESS. They do suck. I've moved away from their products after a bad customer support experience. Eff 'em.
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Old 09-28-10, 08:24 AM
  #90  
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I hit a pothole this weekend, and pinch flatted, with two slits in the tube. It was a sharp metal edged hole around a water valve cover in the street. I lifted the front wheel in time, but the back took the impact.

The 30mm Kinlin rim has no dent or mark on it, and I checked the wheel on my truing stand after the ride. It wasn't affected by the hit at all. Strong rims.
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Old 10-08-10, 12:33 PM
  #91  
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To sum it all up, here's what happened:
Was prepared to do what others mentioned and get cheapo wheels for now, upgrade next year A 2nd wheelset sounds like it's a must have anyway. Talked to my LBS owner who was doing the tuneup and the fitting who wanted me (of course) on more expensive wheels for this bike. He knows I'm going to start on group rides in the spring, and he also knows that I probably would wait a year or two to get new wheels ;-) So, he wound up selling me his "used" Ksyrium Sl's because he's getting rid of his old bike and his new one will be using SRAM components (not Campy). So, at less than 1/2 the price of new ones, I got barely used ones (he says there's about 100 miles on them, but even if it's 5x as many I'd still probably make the same decision). So maybe I'm a sucker, who knows. Only time will tell if they are as insanely good or insanely bad as opinions seem to be about them.

And if they are too heavy, or not aero enough, or what-have-you all I can really tell is that riding this bike is the BEST. I don't know why I waited so long to get a proper road bike (yes I do, $$), but it's so much better than riding my hybrid. It's not even in the same league. At least for what I do anyway. If there's anyone out there considering buying a used high end carbon bike, I can safely say - DO IT!

PS to Psimet - I know you're not asking for business advice, but I shot you an email around the time of this original post. I have not yet heard back from you, but still wish I did. I know you're busy, but you probably could have sold me on some wheels. I also know coming up with proper individual wheels takes a lot of time, but if it takes that long, might figure out a way to streamline the process somehow. Just some constructive criticism so please take it or leave it. You couldn't ask for a much better targeted lead than me - high end bike, no wheels, looking for advice, referred from a bike forum by what, 5 or more people? Maybe next time around - or maybe for my wife next season.

Oh and I know, pic or it didn't happen...
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Old 10-08-10, 12:44 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by Kneecop View Post
To sum it all up, here's what happened:
Was prepared to do what others mentioned and get cheapo wheels for now, upgrade next year A 2nd wheelset sounds like it's a must have anyway. Talked to my LBS owner who was doing the tuneup and the fitting who wanted me (of course) on more expensive wheels for this bike. He knows I'm going to start on group rides in the spring, and he also knows that I probably would wait a year or two to get new wheels ;-) So, he wound up selling me his "used" Ksyrium Sl's because he's getting rid of his old bike and his new one will be using SRAM components (not Campy). So, at less than 1/2 the price of new ones, I got barely used ones (he says there's about 100 miles on them, but even if it's 5x as many I'd still probably make the same decision). So maybe I'm a sucker, who knows. Only time will tell if they are as insanely good or insanely bad as opinions seem to be about them.

And if they are too heavy, or not aero enough, or what-have-you all I can really tell is that riding this bike is the BEST. I don't know why I waited so long to get a proper road bike (yes I do, $$), but it's so much better than riding my hybrid. It's not even in the same league. At least for what I do anyway. If there's anyone out there considering buying a used high end carbon bike, I can safely say - DO IT!
You made the right choice. Those wheels won't shatter your perceptions of greatness or anything but short of $6000, little will. They are excellent strong/stiff/light wheels that should compliment a carbon frame nicely. My Ksyrium SLs were always very low maintenance and I would jump on a half-price deal for another set.
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