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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2008 Trek Madone 5.2. Love the bike, but looking to upgrade the wheels. The current wheels are Bontrager Race Lites. They are decent, but I would like an upgrade. I consider myself a avid rider. I do 2-3 centuries a year and many smaller charity rides. I usually put 100-200 miles a week on my bike.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!
 

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If you want then pretty light: Tune hubs, Niobium 27 or 30mm rims, CX-Rays... and money left over. 1350-1400g.

If you aren't a weight weenie, you can use White Industries or DT hubs and have a lot of money left over. 1430-1500g.
 

· Just Riding Along
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What you have isn't so bad...

and (although you did not state your weight), with your riding habits which aren't that dissimilar from mine, I think you should value reliability over fashion, aero or weight. There are lots of light hubs, rims, spokes & nipples and lots of ways to put them into servicable hand built wheels. You'll get great performance out of a D/A Open Pro build and it will last and last and last (and cost a lot less than $1,000.)

If you want to spend $1,000 and get a highly regarded wheelset, consider the latest Shimano Road Tubeless. The reviewer on the other RBR (roadbikerider.com) loved them.
 

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leonrice said:
Sorry, I'm 5'8 and 165 lbs. I'm not overly concerned about the weight of the wheels. I would rather have a wheel that can stand everyday wear and tear and still be reliable.
For your riding - OP/DuraAce/CX-Ray/32h/x3 for less than half the price you mentioned.
 

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For a good all-round reliable set of wheels I'd get Niobium 27mm rims on Dura-Ace or White Ind. hubs, CX-ray spokes.

There's a lot of custom builders who'll make a good set. Troy @ Ligero wheel works is one. The DA hubs are probably the ultimate in reliability but the White Ind. hubs are also good and a bit lighter. They roll almost as well as the DAs too.

I am not much of a fan of shallow rims like Open Pros any more. I have had one crack at the spoke hole and the replacement's got a loose piece at the joint that makes noise.
The shallow aero rims like the 27mm Niobium are stiffer. That's good especially for the rear wheel which doesn't have sufficient spoke bracing angle for lateral loads. It keeps the wheel from flexing so much which keeps the spokes from coming loose quite as easily. The shallow aero rims aren't much heavier than the Open Pros either... maybe 20-30g.

The cost should be way way under $1k.

BTW, the Bontrager Race Lites are supposed to be pretty good. What's wrong with them that you'd like to fix?
 

· Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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leonrice said:
I have a 2008 Trek Madone 5.2. Love the bike, but looking to upgrade the wheels. The current wheels are Bontrager Race Lites. They are decent, but I would like an upgrade. I consider myself a avid rider. I do 2-3 centuries a year and many smaller charity rides. I usually put 100-200 miles a week on my bike.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!
If it were me I'd buy Campy Eurus wheels. They are truly bombproof and have an amazing ride. Second to that, my vote is for my team's sponsor, Williams Wheels, not because they are my sponsor, but because they truly are fantastic all-around wheels. Plus, you'll only be paying 500.
 

· Banned forever.....or not
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Ultegra 10 with Open Pro CD.
32 by 32 or 28 by 32
If you get them built right, they will last and last.
 

· I like the BIG RING
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Mavic Ksyrium ES

I am 5-11, 195 pounds and use Mavic ES's. Light, bulletproof and they look good, too! Michelin Pro3 Race tires round it out nicely.
 

· Spicy Dumpling
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leonrice said:
Sorry, I'm 5'8 and 165 lbs. I'm not overly concerned about the weight of the wheels. I would rather have a wheel that can stand everyday wear and tear and still be reliable.
I'd just stick to what you have if you aren't concerned about the weight. As far as I know the Racelites still use DT-Swiss hubs so you have a good wheelset already. I've been running race-x-lites for almost 5 years and they've been great as far as the hubs are concerned. I had a small crack in the rim that was common in the 03-04 raceXlites but that was warrantied. They've since fixed the problem with the rims and I probably have 15K miles on them right now without touching the hubs or rims.
 

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go Swiss

DT Hugi 240 hubs
DTRevSpokes
DTRR1.1Rims
28hole (or32) 2x front, 3xrear
totalweight
28/1416 grams
32 /1495 grams
price under $700
easily retrued, easily fixed, parts easily replaced

tweak a rim on a K (around $2oo and over a month wait)
 

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^^ hrm... finding it hard to believe 8 more spokes is gunna cost u 80g... also IMO u'd battle to get those down to 1416g..... i'd say the weight for 32 is pretty close, and for 28s maybe around 1460g...

dt 1.1s, even the single eyelets versions are NOT 415g... they're pretty close to OPs... 425-30g...
 

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atpjunkie said:
DT Hugi 240 hubs
DTRevSpokes
DTRR1.1Rims
28hole (or32) 2x front, 3xrear
totalweight
28/1416 grams
32 /1495 grams
price under $700
easily retrued, easily fixed, parts easily replaced

tweak a rim on a K (around $2oo and over a month wait)
This is a good route. I bought a Zipp CSC team wheelset barely used off ebay that included nearly new DA cassette and brand new conti gatorskins for $540 shipped. The only thing zipp on this setup are the hubs/skewers with DTRR1.1 rims 28/32 and DT aero light spokes (i think). Given the weight (not quite weenie, but not bad), I believe these wheels are about as bomb proof, stiff and fast as you can get with those factors combined, especially with Michelin latex and Pro3s.
 

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White H2, Sapim CX-Ray, Velocity Aerohead

You are in luck, you do not need to spend more than about $800 to put together the best clinchers available for your riding habits.

By best I mean:
1. Lightweight relative to commercially available factory wheelsets
2. Strong
3. Resistant to windup and lateral deflection
4. Durable
5. Easily serviced and maintained for years of quality experiences

Rider weight: ~160 lbs
Target Wheel Weight: ~1,530 gr
Target Price: $670 components full retail, $800 built & signed by a quality wheel builder
General Description: 32h rear/28h front lightweight durable clinchers
Compared to Mavic Ksyrium SL Premium: 1590 gr/$1,090.00 full retail

Details of recommended build -

Rear Hub: 32 hole White Industries H2, 247gr (my scale), Optimized flange geometry builds a stronger wheel, Steel Axle, Ti Cassette Carrier, can be configured for Shimano, SRAM, or Campy. Great bearings, seals without punitive drag from sealing mechanisms (no bushings like some european factory wheels), stays put in dropouts, easy to service. No creaky cassette carrier noise like Aluminum Cassette carriers. Elegant & simple aesthetics Black or Silver . . . which is the new black ;-)

Front Hub: 28 hole White Industries H2, 95gr

Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray, 3-cross rear, 2-cross front ( as a wheel builder, there is a long laundry list of why to use these spokes, you just care that they are stronger than the other light alternatives and make a great wheel ). I would shy away from a 14/17 gauge round spokes . . . although you could save some $ over the CX-Rays and shave a few grams per wheel, you will likely increase lateral deflection and windup, and may also reduce the durability of the wheel.

Nipples: Sapim Polyax brass for right rear (drive side), alloy for all other spokes. The spoke head design reduces the potential for stress risers at the rim over other name brand spokes.

Front Rim: Velocity Areohead 28h ~420gr. (I am 220#, this rim is lighter than many but stays tight and true for me year in and year out)

Rear Rim: Velocity Aerohead Off Center 32h ~440gr. The spoke bed is off set by 4mm which in conjunction with the optimized postioning of the H2 hub flanges brings non drive side tension up to nearly 80% of drive side tension for a much stronger wheel than any "name brand" centered spoke bed aluminum rim that is easily available could ever hope to be a part of.

Top these wheels off with a supple 23mm Vittoria Open Corsa EX, roll along and have fun.

Option: change to tubular and reduce the wheel set weight (w/o tires) by 80+ grams as well as another 100 to 160 grams in tires and tubes.

Performance option: Swap out bearings for ceramic if you think there is a benefit. (hybrid Grade 3, don't need to go full ceramic, nor do you want to go with lower quality grade 5 ceramic hybrids)

Benefits over factory wheelsets: No bushings in the hubs. Lighter wheel perimeter reduces the wheels' moment of inertia for hill climbing and sprints.

Downside of clinchers versus tubulars: Total rolling wheel weight of clinchers with tires can be >200grams heavier than comparably built / priced tubular wheels with tires.

Other considerations: If your average pace is in the mid 20mph's consider deep section carbon rims for events if you are seriously concerned about your finishing time.

Note about rider weight: If you weigh > 180 lbs consider a 32h 2x front wheel. You will appreciate the additional stability while descending curvy roads and when you accidentally hit a bump (increase of roughly 19gr which is nothing if you are > 180 lbs). If you weigh > 200 lbs consider a 32h front and a 36h rear wheel (increase of another 19 grams, nothing for a big person). If a hub manufacturer does not make a 36 hole rear hub in the model you are considering they probably do not want clydesdales riding their hubs . . . look for something with a more durable axle and cassette carrier. I read somewhere that some well known high end product warrantees are limited to riders who weigh less than 80kg (176 lbs), good information when you are selecting for weight and durability. What would your insurance provider say if you had an accident and they found out that you were riding products that were outside of the intended usage parameters?

Have a great ride,
WR
 

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Wheel Right said:
Rider weight: ~160 lbs
General Description: 32h rear/28h front lightweight durable clinchers
WR
Why so many spokes? I am 165-170lbs and ride 20/24 on Niob 25mm Tubulars and 20/24 30mm Niob clnchers and these wheels are MORE than stiff enough for me. I have had tubulars for over a year and never needed truing.

Even my old 24/28 custom/Niob 350 wheels never needed truing in 2 1/2 yrs and were morte thewn stiff enough.

All wheels used DT Aerolite spokes and Aluminum wheels. Radial front. radila NGS and 2X GS.

Now your quote would be more than stiff and bomb proof. But lower count wheels should do him just as well, plenty stiff and durable with those Sweet H2 hubs.
 

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DB thanks for the questions - Sure you can drop roughly 80 gr off of my recommendation by pushing the limit on spoke count. On the other hand, that 80gr may come with a performance penalty in a sprint or hard climb when the rear wheel is wound up and begins to surge. At 6'3", >200lbs, with 180mm cranks I am probably more sensitive to wheel wind up in a sprint or hill climb than most. I am admittedly conservative on this front. I personally ride 36R/32F because I think I feel the difference, and I can measure the difference in wind up on the workbench in my garage. If I did this for a living, I think I would have to set up a system to calculate the relative advantages of stiffness versus weight prior to making a definitive recommendation . . . but my opinion may err on the conservative side. I do not have enough data points to know how low a rider of a given weight can safely go. Your data points seem to suggest that one can safely go impressively light. Kudos for building a good wheel set for yourself.
 

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I am in a similar 'boat'...I have narrowed my choices to the Williams System 19 and a set of wheels by WhiteMountain Wheels. Here are some questions: At 155 lbs, not racing, doing very fast group rides for 3 seasons...do I 'need' aero spokes? Round will reduce weight.
I have WI hubs on my mountain bike, have rebuilt them several times over the years, great company, reliable product... I am not familiar with the 'reliability', etc of the Wms hubs...
Any feedback on comparing the two builds? Is it worth the extra $200-ish to gain White hubs and bladed spokes?
 
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