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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all:

I want to upgrade the wheels (Bontrager selects) I have now, and think I'm just going to stay with Bontragers. I guess my main question is: at what point does durability significantly suffer in favor of weight reduction? I've pretty much focused only on Race and Race Lite, and just wondered if there is any real difference in the two and for any tips folks with experience may have.

My front wheel has some pretty serious braking surface wear, and the pair together has seen some pretty serious duty over the last couple years. I thought this would be a good opportunity to upgrade and gain a 2nd rear wheel for the trainer only.

I don't race, but enjoy speed and distance. I ride 100mi or so per week on a mix of paved MUTs and better-than-average country roads, and weigh about 170lbs all suited up. I'd be curious to hear some opinions any of you would recommend.

thanks.
 

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I weigh about 215 lbs, and have been using Race X-Lites for the past three years. Two summers ago, I was doing about 30 or so downhill underneath tree cover. The sun was shining through the canopy and throwing spots of light all over the road. Sure enough, one of the dark areas was hiding a big chuckhole...the deep kind with <i>edges</i>.

I hit the chuckhole <i>hard</i>. So hard, in fact, that I stopped and inspected my frame for cracks. The front wheel was fine, and the rear wheel was a few millimeters out of true.

<i>I'm</i> sold... :)
 

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I had a pair of selects that got screwedup during a crash so I got a pair of race lites
to replace them. After 3000 miles I still find them a joy to ride and worth the money.
The rims are better made and the hubs have sealed bearing. The spokes are more aero
and the rear hub just sound cool.
The rims impressed me so much that I built a spare wheel set using the select hubs,
the race lite rims and 14/15 DB spokes. They are much nicer than the original selects.
 

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No, No, No No

My LBS informed me that the spokes for my 2004 Bontrager Race front wheel are no longer made (280mm bladed black). They suggested replacing these with straight 14 ga spokes.

Now, Bontrager Race front wheels have only 20 spokes, so it could be risky (as compared to a 32 spoke wheel) to change spoke types, so the LBS is now angling for a pitch that I need new wheels. Screw that!

My point is, if you have worn out your Bontrager wheels, take advantage of this by declaring your freedom from planned obsolecence and buy wheels with components that can be cheaply relaced when they wear out. For example, 32h Ultegra hubs with 14/15 DB spokes and Open Pro rims are every bit as good as Bontrager Races and are now on sale at Performance for $190 for the pair. If you want to spend more money, get Chris King (Colorado Cyclist), DT Swiss (Colorado Cyclist), or Phil Wood (Harris Cyclery) hubs with the same spokes and rims - in any case you will have functionally excellent wheels that can be kept new with simple (self) maintenance.
 

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My Bontrager Race Lite's have DT-Swiss hubs. I've had them for close to 4K miles now and haven't needed to true them yet. However, they may be just a bit flexy for me, although it might just be my imagination. Maybe the spokes just need to be tightened. Who knows?
 

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Cyclesafe said:
My LBS informed me that the spokes for my 2004 Bontrager Race front wheel are no longer made (280mm bladed black). They suggested replacing these with straight 14 ga spokes.

the LBS is now angling for a pitch that I need new wheels. Screw that!
Hmmmm....they may have overlooked something, or they may not fully understand just how servicable your wheels are.

Have them look up part #243127. That's a 10-pack of 2.0 X 280mm front, straight-gauge, black, bladed spokes with an elbow bend (not straight-pull). The 10-pack shouldn't cost much more than $20 or so.

Oh, and as of right now (5-18-2006, 11:41am), there are 25 10-packs in stock.
 

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Bontrager Wheels

I work for a Trek dealer and our overall experience with Bontrager wheels is very positive.:)

I personally have Race Lites (2006) on one bike, and Race X Lites (2005) on another. Obviously, the X Lites are lighter (about 1450 grams the set compared to approximately1650 for the Lites) and damn near twice as expensive. Both wheelsets use Swiss DT-Hugi hubs, DT spokes, and US made Bontrager rims. These are my first sets of "pre-built" wheels as I have heretofor built my own wheels and have been a stickler for reliability over light weight.

Interestingly enough, the X Lites seem laterally stiffer than the Lites, at least at the front. Out of the saddle, I can get occasional brake rub with the Lites but, in all honesty, that may be the different forks.

Regardless, both sets have been rock-solid reliable with several thousand miles on the X Lites and a few hundred on the Lites (just got 'em). No truing necessary.

The lower end Selects and Races that come on a number of Trek and LeMond production bikes have not needed any warranty work, but are rather heavy. The upper end Carbon rims are just too rich for my blood.:(
 

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Go x-lite!

Hey Texass4

Have got a set of x-lites because that is what came standard on my 5.9SL. Must admit I was pretty dubious as I had a really good experience with my previous set of Ksyrium SL1 and didn't want to fix something that had worked for 7000kms over 2 years for my 90kg (say 200lb) weight.

Now after ~5000km in 8 months, I can say my concern about the x-lites were pretty unwarranted up to now. Not only have they performed well but have got a fair few comments on their great looks (have got the Ti anodised set) and they seem to spin better than a set of Ksyrium SL3's that I also use.

The only thing is they are a fraction out of true- not enough to be of real concern and probably within acceptable limits- I only mention it because my dealer flagged it as a potential issue because of my weight and the spoke count.

Have you thought of the new XXX-lite carbon clinchers? Pricey but lighter again.

Let us know your choice :)
 

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I've managed to kill two rear wheels of the RaceLites in less than 2000 miles. Trek replaced entire first rear under warranty. Second is in shop for bearings after 1300 miles. Bad Luck? from what others are saying.
2005 Lemond Zurich.
 

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PS to my post above. When looking at my spokes, my dealer noticed a microfracture on the rim near one of the spokes. It's in in for a warranty claim now. If anything, at least it seems Bontrager seem to be good on their warranties. Does make me miss my Ksyrium SL's though- got more kms over longer period out of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All,

Thanks for the replies. I think I'm going to go for a pair of Race Lites. My motto is to upgrade when things wear out, but I'm not really a big fan of bling for bling's sake. I've heard nothing but positives about Race Lites, and the Selects that came on my bike new are getting tired. I thought about a set of Ksyriums, but I really do like the look of keeping Bonty/Trek parts together (except for my Fizik saddle) as much as possible. Don't know why, but that combo just seems to look right to me. Plus, like I said, this is a great opportunity to keep an old rim/tire around strictly for the trainer.

Maybe the weight difference/aero factor of the bladed spokes won't amount to much of a tangible difference, but hopefully I can trick myself into gaining enough mental advantage to accomplish my personal goals of riding farther, faster, and with less effort. Sweet.
 
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