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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at getting a set of Rolf Prima wheels, but like most people I want to get them as cheap as possible. But after doing some searches, I can only find online vendors listing Rolf wheels at list price with no sales or discounts.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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As a previous owner of Rolf Prima Vigors, I have to ask... why that wheelset? They were ok, but I'm always curious when someone pars down to a very specific set of wheels. What advantage do they offer, looks, performance, or other?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As a previous owner of Rolf Prima Vigors, I have to ask... why that wheelset? They were ok, but I'm always curious when someone pars down to a very specific set of wheels. What advantage do they offer, looks, performance, or other?
I'm a recreational rider and 99% of the time I ride alone. I've only rode in one organized 43 mile ride which was the longest ride I ever did. I'm not looking for the lightest or stiffist or widest or most aero wheels, but I'm just looking for a good solid wheel that will last for years.

What drew me to the Rolf Prima wheels is the paired spokes. I think they just look cool. Then I started reading reviews and they seem like a solid wheel according to most peoples reviews. They are also an American company (I know their parts are probably sourced overseas) and they are hand built. Last but not least, the decals are just stickers and are removable.

I was looking at the Echelon SL due to the price $699. 31mm 'aero' rim (I know they don't even compare to a deep dish carbon aero rim), weight 1620g and the decals are removable. My bike is a black Madone 4.5 with Zipp Beyond Black handlebars, stem and seatpost and Sram Black componentry. I like the black on black look.

According to Rolf Prima, the Echelon rim is beefier than the Vigor and has more spokes. It's not as tall as the Vigor so not as much push in crosswinds. and the SL has upgraded hubs over the standard Echelon that are lighter and has a ceramic bearing upgrade if I ever wanted to do that.

I was also looking at the Aspin SL that has a shorter rim and falls below 1,500g for the set. I live in a hilly area so lighter would be better. It has the same hubs and the Echelon SL wheels.

As for the comment about vendors selling items at retail price, I have no problem with that. But if it's possible to save a few dollars because another vendor has them on sale or discounted, you would be an idiot not to go for the cheaper price.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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Fair enough. For the most part, wheels are a pretty personal choice. Paired spoke wheels do have a fairly awful reputation for potentially leaving you stranded should one break, and my Race X-Lites, like many others, cracked at the nipples after only two years of use, mostly in races. I can't speak to how well the Rolfs hold up these days because I haven't owned a set in at least 6 years, and maybe they've come a long way since then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My first Trek 1.5 had paired spoke SSR's on them and I broke two spokes. But they were Bontragers bottom of the line wheels at the time. As many reviews as I've read about Rolf Prima's wheels, I don't know if I found any where somebody actually broke a spoke with them. Just a lot of skepticism on low spoke counts and paired spokes but no real proof that there is an issue with the wheels.

I had a set of 2010 Bontrager RXL's that weren't paired spokes. They were really good wheels but I wasn't crazy over the bright white spokes. I priced getting them respoked with black spokes but it would have been crazy to do that. So I sold them and found a set of Bontrager RL Aero wheels in all black on Ebay. They are heavy at1915g for the pair. I'm going to use them for winter wheels or everyday wheels. I'm not looking for a "murdered out" look with the bike, I just don't like flamboyant advertising everywhere.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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if you're looking for a set of wheels to just ride on, not race (not that it really matters), take a minute and think about paired spokes. more to the point, try to figure out why they do or don't make sense.
spokes spaced evenly around the rim make it much easier to true the wheel if it gets out of true. evenly spaced spokes don't have to carry as much tension.
paired spokes are really not a very good idea. if they were everyone would be using them. i'd recommend a nice set of handmade wheels that are spec'd for your needs/weight/riding style. you can't go wrong w/ something like this.
 

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No one else does the paired spoke because Rolf Prima have a patent on it. Other companies have to pay / liscence it from them if they want to use it. They have been around for 17 years now and are big in the USA. If they were no good, they would not be here. When you look at the videos of why the wheels are made like they are - the brand actually stands out a lot. No other big companies hand build there wheels. Its all machine. White Industry hubs (USA), Sapim spokes, Internal and self aligning nipples (patented again).
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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No one else does the paired spoke because Rolf Prima have a patent on it. Other companies have to pay / liscence it from them if they want to use it. They have been around for 17 years now and are big in the USA. If they were no good, they would not be here. When you look at the videos of why the wheels are made like they are - the brand actually stands out a lot. No other big companies hand build there wheels. Its all machine. White Industry hubs (USA), Sapim spokes, Internal and self aligning nipples (patented again).
they may hold the patent, but trust me...if it were such a great idea other companies would pay royalties and do it. this happens w/ suspension forks and shocks all the time. certain companies hold patents, but you see the technology on many brands.
and it really isn't a great idea. there have been other companies that have used paired spokes in the past and they don't any more. could partially be because they don't want to pay for it, but it's not exactly the smartest way to build wheels.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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Sounds like a lot of Rolf cool-aid to me. There are lots of ways to get around patents, and no one is else is even bothering to try because it's simply not a design that's worthy of recreating. And if Rolf were so fantastic, they would sell a lot better than they do. Mostly, this is just a gimmicky wheel that people buy for the looks. Take it from someone who rode Race X-Lites and had to limp home from a practice crit after a broken spoke because that through the wheel so far out of true that it wasn't even rideable with the brakes wide open.
 

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Sounds like a lot of Rolf cool-aid to me. There are lots of ways to get around patents, and no one is else is even bothering to try because it's simply not a design that's worthy of recreating. And if Rolf were so fantastic, they would sell a lot better than they do. Mostly, this is just a gimmicky wheel that people buy for the looks. Take it from someone who rode Race X-Lites and had to limp home from a practice crit after a broken spoke because that through the wheel so far out of true that it wasn't even rideable with the brakes wide open.
I have two sets and they easily roll the easiest of any wheels I have had. Race X lites are a bontrager wheel by the way. Made by machine. Hardly a precision built product and everyone knows Bontrager is **** quality made in large volume. In terms of where to buy them, jump on the web and find the closest distributor would be the best bet. And for the record - rolf took Trek to court over patent infringement and won. So you don't really know what your talking about much do you.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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Nice little passive aggressive snip there at the end. You sound like this is personal to you. It shouldn't be. It's just a wheelset. I owned and raced a pair. They were nothing special. There is better quality and better performance out there for the money.

I have two sets and they easily roll the easiest of any wheels I have had. Race X lites are a bontrager wheel by the way. Made by machine. Hardly a precision built product and everyone knows Bontrager is **** quality made in large volume. In terms of where to buy them, jump on the web and find the closest distributor would be the best bet. And for the record - rolf took Trek to court over patent infringement and won. So you don't really know what your talking about much do you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If Rolf Prima wheels are that bad, then why are their more positive reviews about them than negative? I really had a hard time finding a thread where a large group of people are bashing Rolf wheels because of a flaw or weakness. There may be the one disgruntled cyclist that broke a hub or spoke, but it doesn't seem like the norm with these wheels. The Vigors seem to be really solid with WI hubs and even with a low spoke count, there aren't many horror stories about them.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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Never once described them as "bad". Certainly didn't relay any horror stories. I merely stated that, for the money, it's my humble opinion that there are better wheels out there. To each his own. You aren't going to go wrong buying Rolf Prima Vigors. I owned them, and they were just fine. Still, I wouldn't buy them again simply because I know I can get a better wheel for the same or less cost. Zen, for one. I'll take his wheels any day over Rolfs.

If Rolf Prima wheels are that bad, then why are their more positive reviews about them than negative? I really had a hard time finding a thread where a large group of people are bashing Rolf wheels because of a flaw or weakness. There may be the one disgruntled cyclist that broke a hub or spoke, but it doesn't seem like the norm with these wheels. The Vigors seem to be really solid with WI hubs and even with a low spoke count, there aren't many horror stories about them.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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I have two sets and they easily roll the easiest of any wheels I have had. Race X lites are a bontrager wheel by the way. Made by machine. Hardly a precision built product and everyone knows Bontrager is **** quality made in large volume. In terms of where to buy them, jump on the web and find the closest distributor would be the best bet. And for the record - rolf took Trek to court over patent infringement and won. So you don't really know what your talking about much do you.
time for another one of my apparetnly famous douche-bag replies...

i would have to say that between you and the G-Nome, you're the one w/o the clue. no one is saying they're flat out 'bad' wheels, but they are for sure a solution looking for a problem that doesn't really exist. ask any mechnical engineer. just like Mavic, Rolf is trying to reinvent the wheel, but the 'old' wheel is just fine and doesn't need any help.
 

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I'm riding on 6 year old RP Elan w/ ceramics. I bit the bullet and bought the Ares 4's.
Gottaridebikes.com site will discount 20% off list.
I don't baby my bikes. Those wheels have endured bad roads, bunnyhopping curbs, crashes and plain old neglect yet they spin effortlessly and remain true.
Ignore the negative comments and get them!
Yes, they are somewhat pricey however, you can easily reason why you don't need
just about anything with the exception of food, water and a job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just to give an update, I went with a used pair of Zipp 101's demos and I couldn't be happier after 2 short rides. I'm not going to get into any arguments about "feel" vs. data/facts/proof, but the wheels do feel more planted in corners compared to my old Bontragers and feel "zippier".

I went with the Zipps over the Rolf Echelons because of reviews I've read. They were a decent weight (lighter than the Echelon SL's). I was able to remove the Zipp decals so they are all black now. And I believe they are also handmade in the USA. They had a wider rim profile over the Rolf's. They were demo's with around 500 miles but I found no issues at all with them. And I got the Zipp's for the same price and new Echelon SL's. Plus they now match my Zipp Service Course SL handlebar/stem/seatpost.
 

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Rolf follow up

I'm looking at getting a set of Rolf Prima wheels, but like most people I want to get them as cheap as possible. But after doing some searches, I can only find online vendors listing Rolf wheels at list price with no sales or discounts.
I have several sets of Rolfs. The early Rolf Vector Comp, the Rolf Prima Vector & the Rolf prima carbon tt85 tubulars. I've owned, mavic, shimano, Zipp and Hed wheels. (I love Heds) For my money Rolf is the best bet. They roll beautifully & the sealed bearings last forever. I'm 6' 205lbs and I've NEVER broken a spoke or even trued one in 15 years...and I use the vector comps for Cx! Most importantly, the lack of spokes makes them aero as heck because they reduce the egg beater effect. That's just my experience. I'm not easily impressed, but they get my full endorsement.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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I have several sets of Rolfs. The early Rolf Vector Comp, the Rolf Prima Vector & the Rolf prima carbon tt85 tubulars. I've owned, mavic, shimano, Zipp and Hed wheels. (I love Heds) For my money Rolf is the best bet. They roll beautifully & the sealed bearings last forever. I'm 6' 205lbs and I've NEVER broken a spoke or even trued one in 15 years...and I use the vector comps for Cx! Most importantly, the lack of spokes makes them aero as heck because they reduce the egg beater effect. That's just my experience. I'm not easily impressed, but they get my full endorsement.
You apparently didn't notice that this is such a hot topic that no one has seen the need to comment on it for over 4 years. In internet forum speak what you're doing is called a thread dredge...meaning you've brought up a really old thread to hear the sound of your own voice. Meaning if the thread isn't currently active you must have searched for it...for no good reason. Not a great first post.

ETA: Your knowledge concerning the aerodynamics of bicycle wheels is sorely lacking.
 
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