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I have seen quite a few opinions on which way to go but still cant decide. I was under the assumption that new pre-fab wheels were the way to go. More aero, etc but I see opinions that say you should get your wheels built up like the old days. I was looking at the new Ksyrium SL(well its new to me) or a 32 spoke wheel made by someone like colorado cyclist. Opinions, experience? Oh, I weigh 190 lbs and dont race.
 

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I've only ever rode the stock wheelsets or pre-fabs for my road bike. But, for my Mt bike i've had custom and pre-fab wheels. I'm about 235lbs and have destroyed most types of pre-fabs mountain biking. I got my first custom wheelset from Colorado Cyclist in the early spring. I have yet to knock them out of true. Still amazed....would do it again. Hope that helps any....
 

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Factory wheels

gh1 said:
I have seen quite a few opinions on which way to go but still cant decide. I was under the assumption that new pre-fab wheels were the way to go. More aero, etc but I see opinions that say you should get your wheels built up like the old days. I was looking at the new Ksyrium SL(well its new to me) or a 32 spoke wheel made by someone like colorado cyclist. Opinions, experience? Oh, I weigh 190 lbs and dont race.
At any given price point, factory wheels (like Ksyriums) will cost $100 to $300 more than an equivalent set of wheels based on Campy or Shimano hubs, quality butted spokes, and a Velocity Aerohead or MAVIC OpenPro rim. But you do get more bling with the factory wheels, plus something that is not easily serviced.
 

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Factory wheels like Ksyrium SCC SL's are nice for weekend rides and if you race. They do ride a little better, especially if matched with a quality set of tires. If you break an aluminum spoke on a SCC, it's not rideable. You have to be very careful of what you run over. The spokes run about $8.00 a piece.

Custom wheels can be made for your type of riding and body weight. You might have to eventually replace a rear rim once and awhile (for me 13,000-15,000 miles). They are less worry. A good set of custom wheels are almost bomb proof.

So far with my SCC's, I had the freehub replaced once, one broken spoke, serviced twice because the pawls needed lube. All within under 6,000 miles. I love these wheels, but I don't think I would go this way again.

I should add that I am a heavy rider and ride lousy roads. I'm hard on wheels and tires. If you are a smaller rider and ride good roads, the factory wheels might work for you. I just prefer peace of mind.
 

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Customs can be had for less, be repairable and be lighter than customs. Problem is you would have to do some of the material purchasing for the build on your own and have access to a wheel builder that's still interested in building a set. Most LBSs don't have a wheel builder and aren't interested in the hassle of carrying all the parts, much easier and profitable to point you to a pre-built set with a warranty.
 

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I'm going custom for my current build - it seemed a good way to get a high quality, durable wheelset that is unique (I have a celeste rear Aerohead and a white front laced to Am. Classic road hubs, 28/32). They're not ultra-light, they don't have much in the way of ostentatious stickers, but they're dead sexy. I think they're going to end up a better value than any another prebuilt wheelset I could get for $350.

Plus it's gonna keep the fixie riders on their toes. One of the guys at my LBS was pleasantly surprised to finally see colored velocity rims going on a geared bike.
 

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If you're a complete noob on wheel maintenance, go with the factory wheels. If you can true a wheel, or replace spokes, the majority of your wheels should be hand made.
 

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Not by a noob......
Or even by a semi-noob.
I don't even think that I would take on re-rimming a paired spoke wheel that had been squished.
 

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Have customs on my road bike that have held up for 6+ years without a true. On the other hand, I have several pairs of Bontrager wheels that have been utterly abused on my mountain bikes and continue to hold up. I use a pair of Race-Lites for doing drops and such, and I am waiting for these things to die. It should be soon.
 

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gh1 said:
So are you saying that wheels like the Ksyrium's cant be fixed or only can be fixed by a shop?
With the Ksyrium SSC SLs, a user can fix them, the issue is two fold though: The parts aren't available at most shops, and if you break a spoke, since the Ks use high tension the wheel will be so badly out of true it will be unrideable.

I had a spoke break in early May. I had a freehub practically explode at the end of the 2006 season (same wheels).

That said, they're great wheels. The only reason I broke a spoke was due to a stupid maneuver on my part, where I some how got my heel caught in the rear wheel at speed. (Unclip gone awry).

The free hub is a different story. I was riding up a hill when all of a sudden I could no longer free wheel. Turns out there are only two pawls in those wheels, the both pawls had actually burst through the freehub body locking it up.

So other than that, the wheels have been awesomely strong. I'm a massive rider, and I put on about 8000 miles before I broke the spoke, and up until then they have never required truing.
 
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