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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I just recently bought my first road bike and it came with Axis 2.0 wheels. I switched the tires they came with for the Continental Grand Prix 4000s II's. For me, the overall difference in the ride (with regard to the smoothness, the speed, etc) was noticeable in an incredibly major way from the hybrid I rode for a few years.

Now what I wanted to know is: What are your opinions on upgrading the wheels? Would a casual (somewhat frequent/maybe not a beginner, but definitely not a pro) rider, who does enjoy speed, notice a difference between the two wheelsets? Even though I have the cash to drop on the wheels, I don't want to buy them just for the sake of upgrading. If there is little to no noticeable difference, then I'll either stick with the wheels I have or I'd be more than happy to hear recommendations on other wheelsets.

For the record, this is not a troll post. Honestly. I know the difference in price is big and I also know that the Mavic's are highly regarded by many, but I still think, for me, this is a valid question. I mean I would assume there is some tangible, objective and positive difference, but I'm just hoping some of the experienced riders on here would share their thoughts on whether or not a somewhat regular (non-racing) rider, would notice a difference.
 

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Interesting question. I am still riding on my stock wheels after a few years. I have looked at some wheels and read various perspectives on them. It seems that there are many diverse opinions and info out there. I will be interested to hear what readers here say.
 

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Would a casual (somewhat frequent/maybe not a beginner, but definitely not a pro) rider, who does enjoy speed, notice a difference between the two wheelsets?
Probably not. If you want to upgrade, it should be because the wheels you have don't do something important. For example, most new bikes come with wheelsets that have a 20/24 spoke count. If you weigh above 200 pounds, that would be a good reason to upgrade. At that weight you should consider 20/28 or 24/28.
 

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I know the difference in price is big and I also know that the Mavic's are highly regarded by many, but I still think, for me, this is a valid question. I mean I would assume there is some tangible, objective and positive difference, but I'm just hoping some of the experienced riders on here would share their thoughts on whether or not a somewhat regular (non-racing) rider, would notice a difference.
You will probably not notice much difference. If any, it would be a tiny difference in comparison to the jump from hybrid to road bike.

Mavics in general are nowhere near what they used to be. There are better choices. If you do a search here on RBR, you won't find a lot of love for Mavic.

You did not say how much you weigh. That is a big consideration when choosing a wheelset as SauronHimself said. I don't like low spoke count wheels. They may look sexy, but the weight savings from using fewer spokes is very minimal since the rim must be heavier as a result. I am going to one-up SauronHimself and say that I would not recommend anything less than 28 front / 32 rear for someone over 200lbs. You are looking for early failures if you do.
 

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I won't get into whether you should or shouldn't upgrade.
Nothing wrong with Mavic Ksyrium per se. Except the price (oh an proprietary spokes). They're grossly over priced for what they are. You can get equal or better wheels for less money.
 

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Like TLG said, nothing wrong with Ksyrium wheels, just better options out there for sure at the retail price.

As far as upgrading ... cycling is a hobby, so buying new stuff can be part of the fun of it. Wheels can make a difference if you are looking to shave 30-40 seconds off of a 20 mile time trial, or if you climb some monster hills, hit high speed corners, etc.

New wheels can also encourage you to ride your bike more often, which in turn increases your fitness, and results in better riding.

I would put some miles on the wheels that you have, and determine if there is something about them you don't like. (handling, braking, weight). At that point, you can be a little more specific about what you are looking for.

My favorite all purpose wheelset was putting Ultegra hubs together with Hed Belgium rims. Seem to do everything well, and was a lot of wheel for the money.
 

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My favorite all purpose wheelset was putting Ultegra hubs together with Hed Belgium rims. Seem to do everything well, and was a lot of wheel for the money.
Just built myself a pair of these. Very happy with them.
 

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Going from clincher to tubular will reduce the rim weight, that's possibly a notable improvement. Learn to glue or tape your tires.
 

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Going from clincher to tubular will reduce the rim weight, that's possibly a notable improvement. Learn to glue or tape your tires.
A minuscule amount of weight savings and a lot more hassle. Not worth it IMHO, unless you race competitively.
 

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its the ride of the tubulars not the few grams saved from the rims
 

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I won't get into whether you should or shouldn't upgrade.
Nothing wrong with Mavic Ksyrium per se. Except the price (oh an proprietary spokes). They're grossly over priced for what they are. You can get equal or better wheels for less money.
I bought a set of Ksyriums years ago when there was just one model (there must be 4 or 5 these days) for $800. This was maybe 15 years ago. They've been great wheels, in fact, I rode them into work today. My only incident with them is breaking a rear spoke which the LBS had in stock and replaced for a small fee. I weigh 205 lbs.

That said, I think there are a lot better wheels out there for $800 than Ksyriums. Lately, I've been having wheels custom built for me and my wife. Since she weighs 125 lbs it makes no sense that we ride the same wheels. I really like HED Belgian rims, White Industries hubs and sapim cxray or laser spokes. The best bang for the buck IMO are the November wheel set.

November Bicycles: Race smart. - Select Alloy
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Appreciate the help, guys. Thank you. I guess I'll just stick with Axis wheelset then. Considering how much people talk about wheels needing to be upgraded (or that they, above all other things, should be upgraded), I'm kind of surprised how there is little to no noticeable difference between these super expensive wheels and the stock wheels that come with some of these road bikes.

Anyway, glad to have saved a few bucks and also learned a thing or two, so thanks again.
 

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Wheels can make a performance difference but the impact is small. What's going to make you faster is training and stronger legs. I upgraded wheels twice (sort of). Swapped out Mavic Krysium for Dura Ace C-24's on my C-59. They "feel faster", especially on climbs and I enjoy them more, but the true impact is marginal. I also switched out ten year wheels on m 5200 and put on the Mavic's not wanting to waste them and on the 5200 it was an upgrade. The old wheels were basically 90's technology so the feel and impact was a bit more noticeable.

Bottom line, you may enjoy how the new wheels make your bike feel but nothing is going to make your bike go faster more than stronger legs. If you wheels excite and motivate you to train harder(the C-24's did that for me) then go for it, just don't be under any illusions.

Oh and be careful what you call an upgrade. For me the term swap is more appropriate.
 

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Bottom line, you may enjoy how the new wheels make your bike feel but nothing is going to make your bike go faster more than stronger legs. If you wheels excite and motivate you to train harder(the C-24's did that for me) then go for it, just don't be under any illusions.
This.
 

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Want to know what wheels will make a noticeable difference?

Hint: Not the Mavic wheels.

Answer: Wider rims.

If you buy some new style wide rims with 25mm or 28mm tires you will probably notice a difference. Switching from skinny rims to other skinny rims is fruitless, but let me tell you, the new style wide rims make a difference.

More confidence, more stability, more comfort, less rolling resistance, actual stuff you can feel on the bike.

Worth the money? Maybe. Only if you're looking for some confidence, stability or comfort.

And what I mean for a new style wide rim is something that's about 22mm wide at least with an internal width of around 17-20mm .
 
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