training / racing wheels that won't break

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Mar 6, 2011
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I build road wheels for my own use and these are bombproof - DT Swiss RR415 (465) rims + DT Swiss Competion spokes + Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 hubs. This is a great pleasure for me to have a wheelset built by myself. Try to do it yourself!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Well I think the riding type and roads are an important factor in deciding what to buy. If Mongol_Waaijer is still riding a lot over cobbles he's going to kill most wheels no matter what type a lot faster than if he didn't, not saying he shouldn't ride over cobbles just that its harshness has to be taken into account and wear and tear should be expected to reduce the life of the wheel. All wheels are good (assuming non-defective) till you do something odd to them that causes them to go bad, hitting potholes at high speeds, running over sharp objects, riding with a flat too long, storing them outside :eek:, not taking care of them. Wheels are not indestructible you need to take care of them. I know people who love to jump off sidewalks and get mad the moment their wheels come out of true, well if they're going to be doing that kind of riding they need to buy equipment for that kind of riding not super light boutique wheels. Speaking of care I own a pair of wheels for over 10 years that are Mavic 601 hubs, Mavic CPX-33's, DT-Swiss double butted spokes with aluminum nipples and they're true as can be, not one spoke replaced and they've been to Europe and have ridden over cobbles and countless miles, sure they are no longer my primary wheels but I will never sell them as they always work! Then again, I make sure they are always functional, or am I the only one who oils his nipples (the ones the wheels perv.'s) and makes sure they are still true and clean out the hubs?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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I rode and raced on Open Pro 28s with DA hubs for about 10 years before they started going soft on me. Bombproof.

That said, I have also ridden more than 20,000km on a pair of 2006 Mavic Aksium race wheels and even though I was weighing about 110kg and treating them very badly, I have not once had a problem with them.

I would add a vote to both piles - either get a set of handbuilt Open Pros with Ultegra hubs, or a set of Aksiums (seems clear to me that your original ones were faulty).
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Martin318is said:
I rode and raced on Open Pro 28s with DA hubs for about 10 years before they started going soft on me. Bombproof.

That said, I have also ridden more than 20,000km on a pair of 2006 Mavic Aksium race wheels and even though I was weighing about 110kg and treating them very badly, I have not once had a problem with them.

I would add a vote to both piles - either get a set of handbuilt Open Pros with Ultegra hubs, or a set of Aksiums (seems clear to me that your original ones were faulty).
You're one of the lucky ones! :D

As per the OP, he said his "main concern was reliability." Always a gamble with machine built and/or large factory produced wheel sets. There are 3 glaring issues working against them. One, machine built wheels cannot "feel" the build, often times shipped from the factory visually true but sometimes up to 40% difference in tension values just on one side of the wheel. Wheel machines still cannot resolve spoke torsion with round guage spokes as well as a human can, which is super critical for a wheel that stays in true. These machines are kind of a rip off for $250k unless it's really low end stuff, high volume. A machine built wheel is only as good as the mechanic who unboxed and fixed it, a common saying amongst shop wrenches. Two, larger companies that hand build from start to finish more often than not the people building your wheels are paid very poorly, usually held to hourly quotas, aren't cyclists themselves, don't ride the product they're building and couldn't care less how your wheels preform on your local club race calender. Building this way creates warranties up the yin/yang due to half-assed hurried builds. Three, Using non standard parts for training wheels, the biggest one being the straight pull and/or bladed spoke. If one happens to break your chances of finding a quick replacement is really poor, unless your LBS is stocking many lengths of SP's. I know a few that do, but most on this planet absolutely don't.
 
May 20, 2010
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
You're one of the lucky ones! :D

As per the OP, he said his "main concern was reliability." Always a gamble with machine built and/or large factory produced wheel sets. There are 3 glaring issues working against them. One, machine built wheels cannot "feel" the build, often times shipped from the factory visually true but sometimes up to 40% difference in tension values just on one side of the wheel. Wheel machines still cannot resolve spoke torsion with round guage spokes as well as a human can, which is super critical for a wheel that stays in true. These machines are kind of a rip off for $250k unless it's really low end stuff, high volume. A machine built wheel is only as good as the mechanic who unboxed and fixed it, a common saying amongst shop wrenches. Two, larger companies that hand build from start to finish more often than not the people building your wheels are paid very poorly, usually held to hourly quotas, aren't cyclists themselves, don't ride the product they're building and couldn't care less how your wheels preform on your local club race calender. Building this way creates warranties up the yin/yang due to half-assed hurried builds. Three, Using non standard parts for training wheels, the biggest one being the straight pull and/or bladed spoke. If one happens to break your chances of finding a quick replacement is really poor, unless your LBS is stocking many lengths of SP's. I know a few that do, but most on this planet absolutely don't.

Yours is a very good argument RdV, and one that I (naturally!) agree with.
Reliability should be of paramount importance to most people, and the standard builds offer exactly that in most cases. Tailoring the wheels to match the needs of the individual is something only the specialists can offer.
Now, that said, I have seen lots of factory wheels (Aksiums, et al) last along time with no fiddling, but many more of them fail prematurely than custom wheels. Think of it as a case where the local guy cannot afford to disappoint, but the anonymous factory worker in Romania may for a variety of reasons builds a few duds in the course of a day's work.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
You're one of the lucky ones! :D

As per the OP, he said his "main concern was reliability." Always a gamble with machine built and/or large factory produced wheel sets. There are 3 glaring issues working against them. One, machine built wheels cannot "feel" the build, often times shipped from the factory visually true but sometimes up to 40% difference in tension values just on one side of the wheel. Wheel machines still cannot resolve spoke torsion with round guage spokes as well as a human can, which is super critical for a wheel that stays in true. These machines are kind of a rip off for $250k unless it's really low end stuff, high volume. A machine built wheel is only as good as the mechanic who unboxed and fixed it, a common saying amongst shop wrenches. Two, larger companies that hand build from start to finish more often than not the people building your wheels are paid very poorly, usually held to hourly quotas, aren't cyclists themselves, don't ride the product they're building and couldn't care less how your wheels preform on your local club race calender. Building this way creates warranties up the yin/yang due to half-assed hurried builds. Three, Using non standard parts for training wheels, the biggest one being the straight pull and/or bladed spoke. If one happens to break your chances of finding a quick replacement is really poor, unless your LBS is stocking many lengths of SP's. I know a few that do, but most on this planet absolutely don't.
All valid points - that said however, I am still yet to physically meet someone who had an Aksium wheel fail. For me this is the baseline for a component. I know that shop mechanics see more wheels than I do, however I had several shop owner/manager friends and at least 2 of them also ride on the Aksium Race as do a number of other training friends for convenience.

The thing is, I can get a new full set of those wheels for half the cost of getting a set of handbuilt open pros (my prefered choice). Yes I can do it cheaper by building them myself but then I just introduce the risk that I get it wrong (I have done a lot of builds but am not a wheelbuilder). So in the end I went with the machine made wheel because it was cheap and (in my personal experience) utterly reliable.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
44, I would say the exact opposite about hand built wheels, training wheels especially. We can look at it from your perspective, which isn't really cost effective. You can gamble on big factory machine built wheels built with proprietary parts that are cheap like you said, maybe get a couple good seasons out of them until they start falling apart, which happens all too often with Mavic wheels, ask any bike shop mechanic. It costs Mavic much less to build mediocre machine built stuff and deal with warranties rather than have a master builder crafting wheels from the ground up that will last more than 3 years. Spend a couple hundred more on some custom hand built wheels from a reputable builder that are built to fit the riders weight and riding style you'll often get more than double the lifespan as compared to an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all machine built. Choice is pretty easy, but most don't get it due to misinformation.

I will say that machine built wheels are great for entry-mid level bikes, beach cruisers and kiddie bikes, but for people who take cycling seriously as a way of life they know custom hand built by a human is the way to roll. :cool:

Can i just say this? you are really full of it...I have ridden machine built open pros for about 20 thousand miles...and I am not a lightweight guy... why do you have to do this sorta crap when someone asks you for a cheaper alternative? yes, you build wheels...that is fantastic...and I am sure you get plenty of rich customers...but you are seriously full of it... get off your high horse would you...yeah man, handbuilt things probably do last abit longer when folks like you know what they are doing ... but not THAT much to justify price and EGO... to crap on stuff and compare it to buying kidding wheels is ridiculous...
 
Jun 23, 2009
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I would sooner have handbuilts. However, I have had two pairs of Kysrium elites and the only reason they are not still in use is because I wore the rims down. Never needed truing or servicing in over 30,000km (combined).

Aksiums or RS-20's don't seem a bad deal to me as long as you set your expectations accordingly.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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The Gnome said:
Can i just say this? you are really full of it...I have ridden machine built open pros for about 20 thousand miles...and I am not a lightweight guy... why do you have to do this sorta crap when someone asks you for a cheaper alternative? yes, you build wheels...that is fantastic...and I am sure you get plenty of rich customers...but you are seriously full of it... get off your high horse would you...yeah man, handbuilt things probably do last abit longer when folks like you know what they are doing ... but not THAT much to justify price and EGO... to crap on stuff and compare it to buying kidding wheels is ridiculous...
Good for you man, machine built wheels are only as good as the person who touched them up after they came out of the robot. Rich customers? Are you out of your &%$@ing mind!?!?! :confused: Can't believe I'm actually responding to this brilliant post anyway, just killing time before I start in on another $$$million$$$ dollar custom wheelset. Jesus H. F-ing Christ! Pffft, what a joke.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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I'm with RDV on the call for handbuilts - definitely the way to go for reliability - and for value for money.

Oh, before I start - for the OP: I'm about the same weight as you and while I don't abuse my kit, the bikes all definitely get a good workout ...

My cross bike came with ****ty Shimano RS20's on it. They were crap and needed truing every other week - even worse during the season (the bike was my commuter - and summer trainer while my roadie was still down in NZ). When I changed the gruppo over to Campag, I also built myself a set of wheels - Centaur hubs (which are identical to Record, just with a heavier freehub body), Open Pros and Wheelsmith spokes. Total cost was about C$280. If I'd got someone to build them, it would've cost me another C$50 - but I'd never built wheels before and wanted the fun of building them myself.

I used those wheels as summer trainer, raced a full cross season and have commuted a whole winter on them. Total maintenance to date = one truing up after the first ride when the spokes seated in. They maybe need a touch of cleaning where the spokes cross - winter crud and all that - but they are still perfectly true.

Similar story with my road training wheels - Record hubs, Open Pro, DT Competition. Last time that they got serviced was in about May last year when Texpat gave them a slight tension - before that was about two years ago ... Because of the hubs, they weren't such good value as the cross wheels - unless you work on the fact that the hubs are about 10 years old and when the braking surfaces on the previous wheels wore out, I simply replaced the rims and spokes (try doing that with factory wheels!!) The hubs haven't needed anything other than a regular greasing their entire life. Jeez, the hubs have actually outlasted three frames!!

So for reliability and value for money, I can't see why anyone would go past handbuilt wheels ... :)
 
Feb 28, 2010
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Juts thought I'd give some feedback on handbuilt wheels. I've been using a pair of Excellight 28 spoke rims on Ambrosio hubs for almost two years. They were built by a local well regarded builder. He was little concerned at 28 spokes given that I'm 85 kgs. Last weekend a group of us did some 4 up team time trial training. Riding at 24-26 mph the rider in front of me yelled a warning, but too late I hit an enormous pot-hole with a bang! Looking down everything seemed to be okay so we carried on. Coming to the end of the session we stopped and I checked my front wheel, the others were sure that I must have broken a spoke, but nothing not the slightest wobble. It did seem to have loosened the integrated headset though.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Dura Ace 7850sl should work well

I have been abusing a set for 2 years now and have never done more then change tires. I set them up tubeless when new and never looked back. I raced them on the road last season, cx last season, and will race them on the road again this year. Can't say anything bad about them. Oh I've had a number of hand built DA & Ultergra hubs built on OP's and they are great to train on and ride in the rain, but I would never race on them; they are just not stiff enough compared to the 7850's. I currently am sitting on about 12 sets of wheels from Shimano, Mavic, Easton, Reynolds, Rolf, American Classic, & Sun (remember when they made road wheels!) and the 7850's make me want to sell the rest. An older set of Ksyrium SL's and the DA wheels are by far they heaviest used in the whole lot. If you can find a set, I would take a long, hard look at them.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
Good for you man, machine built wheels are only as good as the person who touched them up after they came out of the robot. Rich customers? Are you out of your &%$@ing mind!?!?! :confused: Can't believe I'm actually responding to this brilliant post anyway, just killing time before I start in on another $$$million$$$ dollar custom wheelset. Jesus H. F-ing Christ! Pffft, what a joke.
Gosh...sorry for offending you...when you compare factory built wheels to kiddie bikes it set me off abit as i have a few sets i have gotten 8 years from...but sorry to touch that nerve...
 
The Gnome said:
Can i just say this? you are really full of it...I have ridden machine built open pros for about 20 thousand miles...and I am not a lightweight guy... why do you have to do this sorta crap when someone asks you for a cheaper alternative? yes, you build wheels...that is fantastic...and I am sure you get plenty of rich customers...but you are seriously full of it... get off your high horse would you...yeah man, handbuilt things probably do last abit longer when folks like you know what they are doing ... but not THAT much to justify price and EGO... to crap on stuff and compare it to buying kidding wheels is ridiculous...
Glad you like wheelouttaboxes but two things to remember. Compare apples to apples with regards to the hubs..most low end wheelsouttaboxes, and mavic specifically have really crappy hubs. Mr Devlamik can build you a set of wheels with much better hubs, using standard stuff, for the same $.

Also try not to think that deep discount, here today and gone tomorrow mailorder places are the norm with regard to pricing. Yep you can get some whizbang looking wheel with big decals for not much $ and when they go to hell, surprise, the company is dust.

The BEST idea is still to know a good wheelbuiulder who can design a wheelset specifically for you and your needs. Not some over marketed, poorly designed, made for the $ wheel that is everywhere. It's more about the reliability and less about coffee shop points.
 
May 21, 2010
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how much is not much money?

OP didnt see who much your budget was. Campy have a few sets to be had between the 2-300 euro mark all a step up from aksiums also shimano rs30 similar price but better IMHO than the mavics too.However for 330 ish euros you should be able to get some kinlin xr270s rims with decent enough hubs such as novatec a291/482s built up.theyed be stiffer lighter and built for your weight/riding style.Thats the way id go as your are doing crits.
Thats my 2 peneth anyhow
 

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