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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Best road wheel with quiet hub? (thinking Mavic Open Pro with Ultegra Hub)

Hi guys,

I recently bought a new road bike! Having had a "real" job for a while (I'm 28), I figured I deserved a new bike. :) Plus, I spent all last summer with a professional bike fitter trying to get my old bike to fit me (it was a little to big) and was never able to get it quite right - I still had a little back pain after riding, and a little wrist pain. And it was an old touring bike with 32c tires (the smallest I could put on) and an aluminum frame and fork...so I thought I'd upgrade. :)

Well...you know what happens. :) I started with the $500 bikes and easily jumped to the $900 ones. Then for $2k you could get full carbon fiber which was way fun to ride...the only bikes that seemed to fit me really well were the Specialized bikes. The $2k tarmac fit great except that it left me with wrist pain after a ride (yeah, I got fitted on it - it just seemed to have a lot of road buzz). The $2k roubaix was more comfy, but had a dead feeling ride, and I like the "exciting" feel of the Tarmac. The $3k Tarmac got rid of most of the road buzz, and I would have bought it - except I really didn't like the red, white and blue color scheme (there was even red on the tires! sheesh). So decided to wait to see what colors the 2009 models were going to come in (for $3k, I wanted something I liked looking at :)). While I was waiting, my bike shop had a sale on older model high end road bikes - so anyways, after some back and forth I ended up with the top end Specialized Tarmac SL (in a color scheme I like!) for $3,500. (You know - before taxes, accessories...)

Frankly, I didn't care anything about speed after the $2k Tarmac (I'm not a racer, I'm never going to know the difference), it's just that the more expensive models were more comfortable. They took hitting bumps easier, and I'm happy to report that the top end tarmac I bought has completely eliminated road buzz for me. :) No wrist pain after a ride - yaaaaah!

However, I'm faced with another (solvable) problem. I like to speed out of town, then take it easy and do some coasting on the outskirts and in the parks. I love to get the blood pumping, and then enjoy being out of the city and listening to the wind and the trees. But when I try to coast, the stock Mavic Kysrium ES wheels that the bike came with make a sound like an angry duck chasing me. I've been told that this is normal, and there are certainly a fair number of other wheels that make as much noise (and I've been told, some that make more like the Chris King wheels/hub that apparently sound like a swarm of angy bees chasing you!).

I understand that apparently that's a result of a freewheel that engages quicker, but really - for my kind of riding it just doesn't matter. I'd vastly prefer a nice quiet hub. I've also been told that I could try lubricating the hub, but as they're brand new wheels I'm not real confident that will solve my problem.

There are other bikes who's hubs don't make that kind of sound. I rode a $3k Specialized Roubaix Expert which didn't make any noise while coasting. At least, it made so little noise that even though I was listening for it, I couldn't hear anything while riding the bike, which is good enough for me. Those wheels had an Ultegra hub.

Having done some research here on the forums, if I want a still fast but durable wheel with an Ultegra hub, the Mavic Open Pro's with Ultegra Hub have been recommended to other people again and again. It looks like I can get a back wheel for about $150, and then swap it out with my current back wheel. People have said that it's a little on the heavy side, and it's not particularly aerodynamic or anything.

So my question is - what do you think? Would the Mavic Open Pro's be my best choice, or is there another hub and wheel that you would recommend that would be quiet (including when coasting) and durable, but faster?
 

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Shimano hubs in general seem to be pretty quiet. If you wanted lighter, you could have them built with a different rim (The Niobium 27's seem to be pretty popular these days), and get lighter, and probably a little cheaper. I'd recommend getting in touch with a custom builder and see what they can do for you. Likely you'll get a wheel much better than your current mavics, atmo.

Also worth considering the Neuvation wheels - my wife's pair (don't remember which model) are virtually silent.
 

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There was a thread a couple of years ago on hub noise ratings. I've found that Ultegra hubs and Velomax (Easton) Circuit hubs are very quiet. The higher end Easton hubs have some noise to them though.
 

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Generally speaking Shimano hubs are on the quiet side. IME, Ultegra/ Open Pro's are an excellent choice - very durable, spin forever and are easily maintained. I've run a pair for literally years and tens of tousands of miles without a problem, but they go about 2,000 g's +/- per pair, so high performance isn't part of the equation. And considering you just got the Tarmac SL I doubt your goal is to add weight.

Easton EA-70's have replaced the Circuits, are quiet and weigh in around 1,650 g's/ pair. The Circuits have been pretty highly regarded, so the EA-70's should prove fairly durable. I just got mine and haven't even mounted them to a frame yet, but they are smooth and quiet when just spinning.

So there are a couple of options. You don't mention price range or your weight, but IMO it comes down to your order of importance - price, smoothness, durablility, quiet, ease of maintenance, weight? But either way I think when you replace the Ksyrium's you're going to notice a smoother ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
PJ352 said:
Generally speaking Shimano hubs are on the quiet side. IME, Ultegra/ Open Pro's are an excellent choice - very durable, spin forever and are easily maintained. I've run a pair for literally years and tens of tousands of miles without a problem, but they go about 2,000 g's +/- per pair, so high performance isn't part of the equation. And considering you just got the Tarmac SL I doubt your goal is to add weight.

Easton EA-70's have replaced the Circuits, are quiet and weigh in around 1,650 g's/ pair. The Circuits have been pretty highly regarded, so the EA-70's should prove fairly durable. I just got mine and haven't even mounted them to a frame yet, but they are smooth and quiet when just spinning.

So there are a couple of options. You don't mention price range or your weight, but IMO it comes down to your order of importance - price, smoothness, durablility, quiet, ease of maintenance, weight? But either way I think when you replace the Ksyrium's you're going to notice a smoother ride.

hehe, I'm almost tempted to just lie about which bike I got so I don't get a whole bunch of "Oh gee, you want a really fragile expensive wheel because of your bike right?" :)

The order of my priorities is:
1. Quiet and Durable
2. then Weight
3. then Price

I think I'd like something that aerodynamic, but hey I really have no idea. I just know that sometimes I'd heading into the wind across town and I'd like to cut down on the drag when I'm doing that. :) But that may not make a difference at all, I don't know.

I'm not sure about smoothness - aren't all the midrange wheels smooth, with the really upper range wheels less smooth because they're so stiff?

I'm not doing any of my own maintenance on the internals of the wheels, either - I'm to lazy. I'd just rather pay the bike shop to do it. :) Clean and oil the chain yes, and I'm getting into derailler adjustments. That's where I am.

I suspect that all wheels are quiet when spinning before they're put on the bike. :) Could you let me know if they're still absolutely quiet after you've ridden with them? "hfc" also said Easton hubs were quiet, so that's a good sign...I know it's hard to slow down (hehe), but just try to coast for like 10 seconds and see if you can hear a noise at all. :) I know for sure the Ultegra hub is quiet - I'd hate to pay to have something put on, then not have it work...

I can't believe you're replacing the wheels on your Tarmac Comp already! If you didn't get such a great deal, I'd give you crap for paying more for the comp than the elite, then replacing what arguably made up half the price difference. :)
 

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PaulRivers said:
hehe, I'm almost tempted to just lie about which bike I got so I don't get a whole bunch of "Oh gee, you want a really fragile expensive wheel because of your bike right?" :)

The order of my priorities is:
1. Quiet and Durable
2. then Weight
3. then Price

I think I'd like something that aerodynamic, but hey I really have no idea. I just know that sometimes I'd heading into the wind across town and I'd like to cut down on the drag when I'm doing that. :) But that may not make a difference at all, I don't know.

I'm not sure about smoothness - aren't all the midrange wheels smooth, with the really upper range wheels less smooth because they're so stiff?

I'm not doing any of my own maintenance on the internals of the wheels, either - I'm to lazy. I'd just rather pay the bike shop to do it. :) Clean and oil the chain yes, and I'm getting into derailler adjustments. That's where I am.

I suspect that all wheels are quiet when spinning before they're put on the bike. :) Could you let me know if they're still absolutely quiet after you've ridden with them? "hfc" also said Easton hubs were quiet, so that's a good sign...I know it's hard to slow down (hehe), but just try to coast for like 10 seconds and see if you can hear a noise at all. :) I know for sure the Ultegra hub is quiet - I'd hate to pay to have something put on, then not have it work...

I can't believe you're replacing the wheels on your Tarmac Comp already! If you didn't get such a great deal, I'd give you crap for paying more for the comp than the elite, then replacing what arguably made up half the price difference. :)
Well, considering your priorities, I'll throw another option in the mix:
http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-2503-shimano-ultegra-sl-6600-700c-wheelset.aspx
These will save you about 350 g's over the Ultegra Open Pro's and are only 50 +/- g's more than the Easton EA-70's. I included this link because it gave some useful info and had a pretty pic, but if you shop around you may find them for less.

I still think the Easton's and Ult/ Open Pro's would suite your needs, but I know looks matter, so only you can decide which you like best. FYI, Performance Bike is running a two day, 15% off deal this weekend and have an excellent selection of Ult/ Open Pro's at good prices. They don't carry the EA-70's, but they do have the lighter (and higher priced) EA-90's.

To answer some of your questions:
Mid range wheels can be smooth, but not as smooth as the higher range wheels. As an example, my RS-10's are smooth, but my old Ult/ Open Pro's are noticably smoother, and the cost difference isn't significant. It depends on what the manufacturers priorities were when designing - lighter weight? Rigidity? Aerodynamics?

When I hold a wheel and spin, I can actually get a pretty good idea of how smoothly and quietly the wheel spins, especially the rear because I can hold the freewheel and spin. Also, there's no drivetrain noise present to mask any freewheel noises.

Last, but certainly not least - my Easton's aren't replacements for the Comp's RS-10's. It's a long story, but I've got a custom steel bike on order that I'm gathering up parts for, so the Easton's are going on that. But here's a thought. Maybe I should give you 'crap' for getting that high end Tarmac that quells all the road buzz when maybe a really good wheelset on a Comp or Expert woulda filled the bill!! :D
 

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PJ352 said:
Well, considering your priorities, I'll throw another option in the mix:
http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-2503-shimano-ultegra-sl-6600-700c-wheelset.aspx
These will save you about 350 g's over the Ultegra Open Pro's and are only 50 +/- g's more than the Easton EA-70's. I included this link because it gave some useful info and had a pretty pic, but if you shop around you may find them for less.
D

I think those have the old (but not oldest) DA freehub, which is louder than the standard ult freehub. But then, who the heck knows with shimano wheels. I'd stick with the ult/OP build because I'd KNOW its quiet.
 

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Well, considering your priorities, I'll throw another option in the mix:
http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-2...-wheelset.aspx
Durable? Absolutely not. They and the previous WH-R600's (essentially the same wheel) are notorious for cracking. I'm only 140 lbs and was lucky to get 11,000 miles out of mine before the rear cracked in the usual area. Plus many people complain of the severe lateral flex with these wheels.

I think those have the old (but not oldest) DA freehub, which is louder than the standard ult freehub.
It's looks like DA, but it's not (I have the WH-R600's, which is essentially the same wheel with a different finish and the WH-7801 wheels). The R600/Ultegra freehub with the wheels is definitely quieter than the one used for the WH-7801.

I'd stick with the ult/OP build because I'd KNOW its quiet.
I'd stick with Ultergra/OP too since durability is a number one priority. The hubs will definitely last and are quiet. The Ultegra rims will not.
 

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Dr_John said:
Durable? Absolutely not. They and the previous WH-R600's (essentially the same wheel) are notorious for cracking. I'm only 140 lbs and was lucky to get 11,000 miles out of mine before the rear cracked in the usual area. Plus many people complain of the severe lateral flex with these wheels.
Certainly your first hand experience matters, so the OP should pay heed to it. I was offering the Ultegra SL's as an option because, IMO they represented a good compromise in weight, quality and price - at least 'on paper', but did go on to say that the Easton's and Ult/ Open Pro's would suite the OP's needs.

I actually thought they were new to market, so I'm surprised they had time to develop a reputation, be it good or bad.
 

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I actually thought they were new to market, so I'm surprised they had time to develop a reputation, be it good or bad.
They're essentially the WH-R600 with an "ice" finish and some very minor changes. I did enjoy my WH-R600s for the reasons mentioned: great hubs and nice and quiet, and a nice ride. But the OPs are a much safer bet if rim durability is an issue. I haven't talked to anyone yet that has cracked an 6600SL wheel, but I have talked to enough people with them that strongly dislike them enough due to the lateral flex to not use them. It's a basic design flaw. I was sitting at a light on my bike with my WH-7801 wheels (same basic design as the 6600SLs) when some other cyclists came up and were surprised that I was using them. One said that after cracking two sets (replaced under warranty) he gave up on them. Another guy said that he'd crack a pair also.
 

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Live and learn, I guess. I should have qualified my 'recommendation' saying I had no first hand experience with them, but your input cleared that up. :)

I've had such good luck and good experiences with Shimano components through the years that I (mistakenly) assume all their products are bulet proof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
PJ352 said:
Well, considering your priorities, I'll throw another option in the mix:
http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-2503-shimano-ultegra-sl-6600-700c-wheelset.aspx
These will save you about 350 g's over the Ultegra Open Pro's and are only 50 +/- g's more than the Easton EA-70's. I included this link because it gave some useful info and had a pretty pic, but if you shop around you may find them for less.

I still think the Easton's and Ult/ Open Pro's would suite your needs, but I know looks matter, so only you can decide which you like best. FYI, Performance Bike is running a two day, 15% off deal this weekend and have an excellent selection of Ult/ Open Pro's at good prices. They don't carry the EA-70's, but they do have the lighter (and higher priced) EA-90's.

To answer some of your questions:
Mid range wheels can be smooth, but not as smooth as the higher range wheels. As an example, my RS-10's are smooth, but my old Ult/ Open Pro's are noticably smoother, and the cost difference isn't significant. It depends on what the manufacturers priorities were when designing - lighter weight? Rigidity? Aerodynamics?

When I hold a wheel and spin, I can actually get a pretty good idea of how smoothly and quietly the wheel spins, especially the rear because I can hold the freewheel and spin. Also, there's no drivetrain noise present to mask any freewheel noises.

Last, but certainly not least - my Easton's aren't replacements for the Comp's RS-10's. It's a long story, but I've got a custom steel bike on order that I'm gathering up parts for, so the Easton's are going on that. But here's a thought. Maybe I should give you 'crap' for getting that high end Tarmac that quells all the road buzz when maybe a really good wheelset on a Comp or Expert woulda filled the bill!! :D
hahahaha! :) Yeah, if a really good wheelset on the Elite Tarmac would have quelled the road buzz, I could have saved myself $1,500, 6 trips to the bike shop, several forum posts, hours and hours of research on the internet and a lot of needless aggravation over frame color! Man, that blue 2009 Tarmac Elite was one pretty bike... :D

I did a search on the Easton's. The good news is that my local bike shop carries the EA-70's. But I also ran across this:
http://www.backcountry.com/store/EAS0050/Easton-EA70-700C-Wheel-Set.html#reviews

"This wheel set is a good option for those looking to get a nice light wheel. It's good for climbing, and for cruisin' around town. The hub does seem to be a bit loud, but it's still a good wheel."

"Nice light wheel set which is what I wanted to have for climbing the hills. I also ordered a 12-27 Cassette which I had installed on the EASTON Wheel set which has been awesome for getting me back on the rode and back to my training. Something that I have added to my training is not spinning while riding. Why you ask? Well the EASTON hub is not what I believed it to be and that was QUIET, this HUB is very loud and not at all what I wanted in a expensive hug such as this. To loud on the ratcheting and not what I would recommend."

:-(

Next years Tarmac Expert comes with the Ultegra SL wheels and hubs...but I had also read other places about the flex, in addition to the comments here. :-(

I'll try take a look at the Eastons but I'm leaning towards the Mavic Open Pro (especially with all the recommendations for them - thanks, guys). Everyone seems to recommend them, and I only need to replace the back wheel, which means being aerodynamic is less important, to.

And..well, this is kind of embarrassing, but in the last week of riding my bike I've been reminded twice that "it's the rider, not the bike". I've been spending my time bike shopping rather than actually riding (my old bike was the wrong size, didn't want to accidentally buy another bike that wasn't fit well for me because my body got used to riding the old bike). So I've been out biking like 15 times this year. My brother, on the other hand, has been taking a spinning class twice a week since summer started. I rode with my brother on my 1st real ride out with my new bike. He was riding an upright handlebar bike with big (though slick) tires that was probably worth $500 brand new. With such a huge difference in bike quality, I have to admit I was a little suprised to find that though I could outsprint him, he had no problem keeping up with me when I was at a comfortable cruising speed. A couple days later I went riding with my cousin, who has an even older and crappier bike - it's from like 1975 with upright swept back handlebars, and internal 3 speed hub which only has 2 speeds that still work, big tires...he's pretty poor, so it's been his transportation whenever he can use it to avoid paying for gas. So he's been out biking nearly every day the entire summer. He smoked past me going uphill.

I believe the difference between my current rear wheel and the mavic with ultegra hub is no more than 250 grams, about 1/2 a pound. I've also read several places that weight on the wheel counts about twice as much as weight on the frame, so I'd be gaining...a pound on the frame. I weigh 200 pounds. :) I'm a little concerned about it not being as aerodynamic as my current wheel (most of my riding is by myself, or with people who don't ride close enough to draft), but since it's the back wheel it shouldn't matter so much.

I was thinking about just buying a new cassette for the new back wheel, so I could swap the new and old wheels back and forth if I wanted, but according to a quick search the cassette costs $100 to $200 depending on if you get Ultegra or Dura-Ace. Yikes! Online, a new Mavic Open Pro rear wheel with Ultegra hub only costs $150 itself...
 

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PaulRivers said:
"Something that I have added to my training is not spinning while riding. Why you ask? Well the EASTON hub is not what I believed it to be and that was QUIET, this HUB is very loud and not at all what I wanted in a expensive hug such as this. To loud on the ratcheting and not what I would recommend."
:confused: What is this person saying? The only time you hear the ratcheting is when coasting, not spinning??!! :eek: If he doesn't spin, how does he manage to get back home??!! :)

I was thinking about just buying a new cassette for the new back wheel, so I could swap the new and old wheels back and forth if I wanted, but according to a quick search the cassette costs $100 to $200 depending on if you get Ultegra or Dura-Ace. Yikes! Online, a new Mavic Open Pro rear wheel with Ultegra hub only costs $150 itself...
If you act fast, Performance bike has a 15% off sale going. Ultegra cassettes are $65 before the 15% off.
 

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PJ352 said:
Generally speaking Shimano hubs are on the quiet side. IME, Ultegra/ Open Pro's are an excellent choice - very durable, spin forever and are easily maintained. I've run a pair for literally years and tens of tousands of miles without a problem, but they go about 2,000 g's +/- per pair, so high performance isn't part of the equation. And considering you just got the Tarmac SL I doubt your goal is to add weight.
fwiw, A set of Ultegra/Open Pros with DB spokes 3x will be 1800g (+/- 20 g) w/o skewers.. Yes, the rear hub is reasonably quiet. Fantastic bang per buck and a very comfortable ride.
 

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flanman said:
fwiw, A set of Ultegra/Open Pros with DB spokes 3x will be 1800g (+/- 20 g) w/o skewers.. Yes, the rear hub is reasonably quiet. Fantastic bang per buck and a very comfortable ride.
Performance bike quoted me 2035 g's/ pair, w/o skewers. They didn't specify the spokes used. I don't know who, if anyone weighed yours, but that's the lightest claimed weight I've ever heard of.
 

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Oldteen said:
My Ult/OP's (32 spoke) weight ~1845g actual weight (no QRs).
Then Performance has to stop using lead spokes for their build ups.. :)
That's actually a pretty competitive weight, especially considering their pricepoint. As I originally posted, I think they're bullet proof, but never (and still don't) include them in a performance category. Of course, there are those that would argue that durability is performance, and they are that!

Bottom line though, as much as I like them if I had an SL or SL2, they wouldn't be my first choice for a wheelset.
 
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