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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Carbon wheel "warped" according to local bike shop, so now some questions...

Thanks in advance for your insight here folks. Here's the deal: bought a Stradalli with 50mm carbon clinchers about 4 years ago. Been riding sporadically over that time. Changed the brakes last summer to a carbon oriented brake due to last breaks essentially melting from the heat that the carbon wheels were giving off.

Now the wheel is warped according to the bike store and unusable. I thought it was just out of true but they were able to point out cracks and wear against the bead of the wheel and showed basically that it could fail at any point, and that is not a good thing. Naturally I called Stradalli and they have only a 1 year warranty and do not sell single wheels.

Questions:
1. Has anyone tried the carbon clincher wheels on ebay? I do not have $1k or more to spend on a new set unfortunately!
2. I am seeing carbon wheels that an aluminum braking surface like this: 700c 100 Carbon Fiber Wheelset 50mm Clincher Aluminum Braking Surface Wheels | eBay - - this seems to be a better option, no?

Any help or thoughts would be great. I already have some ksyriums on another bike so of course could use those, but love the lightweight and look of carbon!

Thanks
Wyley
 

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From what I can tell from Stradalli is that they are basically the same generic stuff you find on eBay. I wouldn't risk it. Do you really want to risk your health on something like cheap carbon wheels?
Cycling is an expensive sport and while high end products are arguably overpriced the cheap generic stuff you find on eBay isn't "they are from the same mold/factory/whatever". There is no silver bullet here.
 

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Thanks in advance for your insight here folks. Here's the deal: bought a Stradalli with 50mm carbon clinchers about 4 years ago. Been riding sporadically over that time. Changed the brakes last summer to a carbon oriented brake due to last breaks essentially melting from the heat that the carbon wheels were giving off.

Now the wheel is warped according to the bike store and unusable. I thought it was just out of true but they were able to point out cracks and wear against the bead of the wheel and showed basically that it could fail at any point, and that is not a good thing. Naturally I called Stradalli and they have only a 1 year warranty and do not sell single wheels.

Questions:
1. Has anyone tried the carbon clincher wheels on ebay? I do not have $1k or more to spend on a new set unfortunately!
2. I am seeing carbon wheels that an aluminum braking surface like this: 700c 100 Carbon Fiber Wheelset 50mm Clincher Aluminum Braking Surface Wheels | eBay - - this seems to be a better option, no?

Any help or thoughts would be great. I already have some ksyriums on another bike so of course could use those, but love the lightweight and look of carbon!

Thanks
Wyley

So you bought Stradalli wheels (which are nothing more than cheap chinese rims w/ crappy looking stickers) and they didn't supply them w/ specific BRAKE pads?

You then rode them w/ the same BRAKE pads you had been using w/ your aluminum wheels?

So the BRAKE surface overheated and is now bulged out some?

If this is the case and you're well past your warranty, you obviously need to buy some new wheels. You're actually pretty lucky you didn't have any major issues because of this and you're not injured in any way.

I'm finding it hard to believe that you're considering another pair of chinese wheels from ebay. Maybe you like throwing money away or have some kind of death wish, but my advice would be:

For the love of god do NOT buy cheap wheels on ebay. Those are not 'carbon' rims w/ aluminum BRAKE surface. There isn't any such thing. They are aluminum rims w/ a carbon fairing attached. They are NOT a carbon rim w/ a layer of aluminum on the BRAKE surface. I would do some research on this forum and look at some of the relatively less expensive wheels that other forum members have bought and used w/o problem.

The least expensive carbon clinchers I would buy would be Zipp Firecrest carbon clinchers which have come down in price from around $2800 to $2100. Anything less than that, forget it.

And one more thing...this should obviously be posted in 'wheels/tires' not 'general'.
 

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So you bought Stradalli wheels (which are nothing more than cheap chinese rims w/ crappy looking stickers) and they didn't supply them w/ specific BRAKE pads?

You then rode them w/ the same BRAKE pads you had been using w/ your aluminum wheels?

So the BRAKE surface overheated and is now bulged out some?

If this is the case and you're well past your warranty, you obviously need to buy some new wheels. You're actually pretty lucky you didn't have any major issues because of this and you're not injured in any way.

I'm finding it hard to believe that you're considering another pair of chinese wheels from ebay. Maybe you like throwing money away or have some kind of death wish, but my advice would be:

For the love of god do NOT buy cheap wheels on ebay. Those are not 'carbon' rims w/ aluminum BRAKE surface. There isn't any such thing. They are aluminum rims w/ a carbon fairing attached. They are NOT a carbon rim w/ a layer of aluminum on the BRAKE surface. I would do some research on this forum and look at some of the relatively less expensive wheels that other forum members have bought and used w/o problem.

The least expensive carbon clinchers I would buy would be Zipp Firecrest carbon clinchers which have come down in price from around $2800 to $2100. Anything less than that, forget it.

And one more thing...this should obviously be posted in 'wheels/tires' not 'general'.
As an occasional lurker, I must say you are an impressively consistent dickhole in your tone of posts...even though what you say is certainly on the mark.
 

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All this "warped rim" stuff wouldn't happen with aluminum rims; you wouldn't have to worry about compatible brake pads, and you'd have a lot of coin left in your pocket with no loss of performance.

Stop bemoaning the fact you're trying to get away cheap because you can't afford to replace these carbon wheels with something more reliable (and expensive).

For the love of Merckx, just get some aluminum wheels and forget about the headaches.
 

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Expensive Carbon clinchers will also warp if you over heat them. You are lucky the sidewall didn't blow out. Carbon clinchers are alright in the flatlands, but if you have long downhill's, and you want carbon, go tubular. You don't have those thin "ears" to overheat.
 

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I warped some rims, from riding at warp SPEED!

you feel me?
 

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Watch out for Carbonder Ants. Orkin can protect your wheels.
 

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Expensive Carbon clinchers will also warp if you over heat them. You are lucky the sidewall didn't blow out. Carbon clinchers are alright in the flatlands, but if you have long downhill's, and you want carbon, go tubular. You don't have those thin "ears" to overheat.
Over here in the bay area it's quite hilly. If I want to hit 100ft/mile on a ride I could easily do so on multiple routes, including climbs that average 10% for 2,500ft. This leads to technical descents on them. Of the spandex clad cyclists I see I'd say about 20-30% of them are now riding carbon wheels. Even the heavier guys don't seem to have a problem these days if they are using quality rims. At this point I'd say the name brand stuff won't give 90% of people out there an issue.

That being said, everyone I know who tried to eBay wheels did have problems. It wasn't always a complete failure sometimes they would eventually warp from the continuous heating/cooling cycles even with the correct pads. Eventually those guys used them for flat crits and that was it.
 

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My advice? Forget carbon wheels, and go for something with some integrity.

Something like this
Alloy Ride -- HED Belgium + - Chris King Wheels

These wheels are rock solid, and will basically last forever if the are properly taken care of (they require very little maint.) I have 9k miles on a set and they have never even had to be trued (I weigh 240lbs).

Barring that, for a lot less than your ebay carbon wheel budget, you could get a custom alloy wheel built that will be more than adequate.

The only people who won't be impressed by your new wheels would be the dickead friends that think if you aren't riding deep section carbon you are a Fred. Ignore them.
 

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Light
Durable
Cheap

Pick two.
 

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Cycling is an expensive sport ...
Cycling often is an expensive sport.

But a quality used bikes/parts don't have to cost much, and the operating costs for the bike (not engine) in the sport are pretty close to zero per mile. When my wife got into road cycling (after only MTBing for a few years), we spent $150 on an older bike at a garage sale, but one that was used in competition. She rode that for several years with no problem.

Cycling becomes an expensive sport when you want to shave weight and seconds through technology.

Cycling becomes a painful sport when you want to shave weight and seconds through training. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Okay - thank you all for your commentaries here, even the ones that were that were not all that beneficial.

Some details in my brain (wrong or not) are that the wheels probably warped due to excessive downhill braking on the wheels in my last training ride, I am often 3k or more on my average rides.

The carbon, while cheap, were 50MM deep and performed well on the flats hopefully due to the aero part, where I was able to sprint in the 29-32 MPH range.

Money is definitely a factor based on having a family of 5.

I think that forking over for zip 303's is out of my league as is all carbon. I was doing research on these (wiggle.com | Pro Lite Bracciano A42 Alloy Clincher Wheelset | Road Race Wheels) and these are certainly interesting to me.

I should also mention that the cheap carbon I was on was 1800gms and these are Pro-lites are clocking in at 1801 if I am doing my math right.

Does anyone have experience with them?

Please spare flaming me about being cheap ass and china prone, I just am looking to figure out the right thing here as a roadie enthusiast.

Gracias
 

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I have over 30k miles on my Reynolds carbon clinchers that were "only" $1500. Lots of technical descending, as in several times a week. You need to have the right brake pads and know how to use your brakes properly.

CF wheels are probably a bad choice if you are a timid descender that rides the brakes all the way down a mountain, but you can also overheat aluminum wheels or tubs and blow a tire off the rim and crash if you overheat them too.




.
 

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A friend of mine has the $500 AliExpress 50mm wheelset and has 3+ years of riding on them without an issue, though with carbon brake pads. Using normal brake pads was probably your issue, not the rims themselves.

Some people have a love of name-brands. And sometimes, they *are* better -- better aerodynamics, better warranties, etc. Other times, the generics are perfectly fine. Check out the various Generic Carbon wheels threads and the Generic Carbon Frames thread. Hundreds of happy customers, including myself. There's no way I could have afforded a Carbon frame back in 2011 while in college had I gone to a LBS. Yet, 5 years later, the one I got for $400 or so still rockets by butt around without a single issue.

As MoPho said, if you're doing a lot of mountains, I'd go for a solid set of aluminum. If you're in flat land, you shouldn't be riding your brakes that much.
 

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A friend of mine has the $500 AliExpress 50mm wheelset and has 3+ years of riding on them without an issue, though with carbon brake pads. Using normal brake pads was probably your issue, not the rims themselves.

Some people have a love of name-brands. And sometimes, they *are* better -- better aerodynamics, better warranties, etc. Other times, the generics are perfectly fine. Check out the various Generic Carbon wheels threads and the Generic Carbon Frames thread. Hundreds of happy customers, including myself. There's no way I could have afforded a Carbon frame back in 2011 while in college had I gone to a LBS. Yet, 5 years later, the one I got for $400 or so still rockets by butt around without a single issue.

As MoPho said, if you're doing a lot of mountains, I'd go for a solid set of aluminum. If you're in flat land, you shouldn't be riding your brakes that much.
It's more than better aerodynamics and better warranties. You are not getting an "equal" rim in any sense of the word when buying inexpensive chinese carbon. It's magical thinking spurred on by those that buy the cheap chinese carbon and no matter the construction, buildability, etc, insist, that they got a deal on a product that is equal to the big name brands. It just isn't true. No matter how many times you say it.
 

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A friend of mine has the $500 AliExpress 50mm wheelset and has 3+ years of riding on them without an issue, though with carbon brake pads. Using normal brake pads was probably your issue, not the rims themselves.
One anecdotal situation can not make a sweeping generalization that these rims are quality or safe. We don't know how much your friend weighs, the terrain he rides in, or his style of riding. All of these will greatly affect how long equipment lasts. Your friend may have gotten lucky and received a high quality set. The fact of the matter is that the QA on these wheelsets can vary wildly to none at all. When you buy them you are rolling the dice.

@OP - One thing to keep in mind is that clothing, body position, and aero helmet all have more to do with your overall drag than a set of carbon wheels. So if you get a race cut kit, ride with your elbows 90 degrees on the hoods, and ride an aero helmet and don't feel the same advantage that you get from the carbon wheelset, it means that the advantage from the wheelset was mostly in your head. I'm not attempting to deny that carbon wheelsets are faster, wind tunnel data clearly shows this. But what I am saying is that the parts that matter most when it comes to getting aerodynamic is what is most overlooked. But hey having a nice kit isn't as flashy as some carbon wheels is it :thumbsup:
 
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