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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    NoVa
    Posts
    305

    Can we talk about upgrading wheels?

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    I have read/heard numerous times that the biggest upgrade you can make on a bike is the wheelset. I love my Ruby but have been pining to upgrade the bike as a splurge. I made a promise with myself that IF I completed the 170 mile Tour de Cure and IF afterwards I still wanted to ride that then I could gift myself with a new set of wheels. I really don't think I need a better bike. But new wheels are tempting. And I did finish the entire 170 mile ride AND I still loooooove riding (as if that would ever change!).

    What wheels would you buy as an upgrade? I don't want to put a limit on price because I would love to hear about what other people want. Realistically I am looking at the 500-1k range. But if a strong case was made for a set just above that pricepoint.... well.... maybe.

    A friend is suggesting the mavic ksyrium sl.

    (PS-sorry if this has been discussed before. I did try, admittedly briefly, to search for old threads on the subject. Also, I disabled the autocorrect on my ipad keyboard so please forgive my typos!)
    ____________________________________
    2008 Ruby Elite
    2012 Tricross Elite

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chicago suburbs
    Posts
    1,222
    I absolutely LOVE my custom built HED Belgium C2 wheels laced to Chris King R45 hubs. They are bombproof...which I need given the crappy roads that I ride in my area.
    2012 Seven Axiom SL - Specialized Ruby SL 155

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    DBF would recommend the Mavics as well.
    I actually asked a similar question at work today (I work in a large chain bike store), as I've been considering buying wheels for my current bike that would be an upgrade for my future bike as well. I asked my BF as well as two coworkers. I got three different answers.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,324
    I love my Dura Ace C50s.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    I upgraded my Mavic Aksiums a few years back with a set of custom wheels. It's a pretty basic build: Velocity Aerohead rims with White Industries hubs. Sapim double butted spokes; 24 (I think) in the rear and 20 in the front. I love them, and my husband has a similar set. We both love them. I shied away from prebuilt wheels because many are overbuilt for someone my size. I also didn't want bladed spokes. I think you can often get more bang for your buck with handbuilts.

    Ron Ruff at White Mountain Wheels built my husbands wheels. If I were in the market again, I'd call him or another reputable builder. Tell him what kind of riding I do on what kind of roads and let him recommend a build within my budget and weight.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    501
    I had a similar set to what indysteel had made, Velocity Aerohead rims, White Industries hubs (love that old time chrome look although they do make black too) but I deviated in getting the Sapim cx-ray bladed spokes, a personal fave. Several pluses to such a wheelset.

    1. Hand laced and if properly done, is almost always better than a mass produced wheelset.
    2. You pick the parts, you choose how many spokes. You get what you want, and not what some marketing manager chose.
    3. Stuff breaks. Exotic spokes and and rims may look really cool, but not so much when you have a broken spoke and the LBS does not have anything to fix it. Then you have to send the wheel off or the LBS orders parts, and they are always a lot more $$ than the trusty double butted or bladed Sapims or DT Swiss.

    All that being said, I have always wanted a set of HED Ardenns. . All that aero stuff out there has a weight penalty and at my speeds the aero 'benefit' just won't be there but a nice set of climbing wheels...
    Tzvia- rollin' slow...
    Specialized Ruby Expert/mens Bontrager Inform RXL
    Specialized SWorks Safire/mens Bontrager Inform RL
    Giant Anthem-W XT-XTR/mens Bontrager Inform RXL
    Fuji Newest 3 commuter/mens Bontrager Inform RL
    Novara E.T.A commuter/mens Bontrager Inform RL

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    portland, or
    Posts
    190
    Quote Originally Posted by nscrbug View Post
    I absolutely LOVE my custom built HED Belgium C2 wheels laced to Chris King R45 hubs. They are bombproof...which I need given the crappy roads that I ride in my area.
    I just got the same wheels and hubs in May as an anniversary gift, handbuilt by Jude at Sugar Wheel Works and I love love love them. I was skeptical that new wheels would make a noticeable difference, but wow, do they ever!

    I also was contemplating a bicycle upgrade, but I love my Torelli, even if it's 11 years old and heavy. I don't road race, and it's comfy and fits me perfectly. But hills were a drag. The new wheels have given my bike new zip and have really made climbing (slightly) more fun.
    Last edited by jdubble; 07-21-2012 at 08:19 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,704
    I built myself a set. Dura Ace hubs, Aerohead rims, DT Swiss double-butted spokes. They're fantastic. If I did it again, I'd look at Velocity's wider A23 rim.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    208
    Check out www.prowheelbuilder.com . They offer semi-custom wheel sets at good prices. I've spec'ed out (as in "dream on, Christmas is coming up!") a set of Velocity A23 rims, White Industries hubs, DT double-butted spokes - at an affordable price of ~$500.
    JEAN

    2011 Specialized Ruby Elite - carbon fiber go-fast bike
    DiamondBack Expert - steel road bike
    Klein Pinnacle - classic no-suspension aluminum MTB

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,364
    Yeah customs aren't necessarily super expensive. I think it costs me 200-250 or so a wheel to have my commuter wheels rebuilt every couple of years (cause I ride them in all sorts of crappy weather and wear out the rims...).

    If you want some super light, but comfy wheels (they may be a bit over your price point.... but search around for the best deal and it is entirely possible you could find them under $1,000) I love, love my Dura Ace C-24 carbon wheels. Light as a feather, but handle and feel like a dream - they really damp down chip seal vibration. I have the tubular version, as I use them for racing and thus have someone following me around that can give me a new wheel if I flat..... but there is a clincher version too.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,565
    Hmmmm, I always feel a bit weird about posting this because it feels like advertising in the wrong place. Having said that, I agree with those above who recommend a custom wheel build. It really is superior and often can cost significantly less than an equivilant quality production wheel.

    So here's the advertising bit, my BF, Tom, owns a mail order/boutique bike shop and custom wheels are a huge part of what he does. He has built thousands of wheels. He's built all of my wheels and none of them have failed. I had a spoke break once and the wheel stayed true enough for me to ride 30 miles home in spite of it. I'm not saying you should buy from Tom, but it really is worth it to buy from an experienced wheel builder.

    Tom loves Mavic rims, especially open pros, for their durability and performance and he leans towards sapim spokes. What hubs you get is highly dependent on your budget, how important weight is etc. He often recommends White industries and Shimano dura ace. But what a good wheel builder will do is talk to you and help you decide what will work best for you depending on your goals. You shouldn't feel like someone it trying to sell you something without considering what your needs are.

    I think that Tom is the best wheel builder on the planet, but then again I'm very biased. An added bonus is that he loves working with women and manages to make you feel comfortable when asking questions. It's part of why I fell in love with him.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    Eeeenteresting.

    Sort of threadjacking: I don't need a really aerodynamic wheel. I am looking for lighter ones. Of course, anything would be an upgrade from my current wheels (the stock ones). I'm not regularly going fast enough for aerodynamic wheels to make a difference. I realize that I'll have to compromise performance and comfort.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Becky View Post
    I built myself a set. Dura Ace hubs, Aerohead rims, DT Swiss double-butted spokes. They're fantastic. If I did it again, I'd look at Velocity's wider A23 rim.
    That's impressive, Becky. Was it hard to do?
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    I'm glad you weighed in, Wahine, to sing Tom's praises. Wahine's bias is well deserved as GVH has long enjoyed a great reputation.

    I can honestly say that having wheels custom built for myself was a great pleasure. It's one of my favorite gifts to myself. It was both incredibly functional and indulgent. I highly recommend it.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,324
    I'm also glad you weighed in Wahine. You're a long established presence here and what you say has merit. Other people post about their experiences with various shops and wheel builders, so why shouldn't you? You're up front that you may be a little biased and you should be biased.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

 

 

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