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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been trying to decide which carbon clincher road disc rims to buy. I would love a set of Enve wheels and have a few friends that ride them and love them, but the price is a bit hard to swallow. I was looking at Boyd wheels, but somebody said I could get better wheels than Boyd for less than the price of Enve, but never mentioned which brand to look at. Is there a good list of carbon wheel brands that ranks them by quality? My purpose in asking is to help me and others make an informed decision regarding the best quality that can be had for any specific budget. Specially, I am trying to find the best value for mod-high end carbon clincher road disc wheels with 40mm-ish deep rims for general purpose riding.
 

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1) Durable
2) Light
3) Inexpensive

Pick two.

What is your budget? Look at the HED website. I'm not a fan of carbon wheels, but just about anything HED makes will be good.
 

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I'd say Flo Wheels, given your criteria. Know a couple of guys with them; they absolutely love them...the fact that they're pretty much cheaper than any others is a big selling point too.
 

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I've had Enve 3.4 SES and Zipp (303s and 404s). I prefer the Zipps for over-all ride experience and stiffness AND braking quality. I have no tie to Wheelbuilder or their business, but I got my 303s and 404s with customer colored Chris King hubs, nipples and upgraded spokes for only a few hundred more than the Boyds.
 

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I've had Hed wheels forever, I actually have 3 sets but they are tri-spokes and Disc wheels. I do have a set of Reynolds 81's that I really love and are my daily road bike wheels for the last three years. I did pick-up a Hed 90 off ebay band new for half the price in January. I found out that Hed uses ebay to sell off old stock (new) but under a different name, not the company name. All my communications was to Heds corporate head quarters and they shipped straight form corp. They weren't knock offs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've had Hed wheels forever, I actually have 3 sets but they are tri-spokes and Disc wheels. I do have a set of Reynolds 81's that I really love and are my daily road bike wheels for the last three years. I did pick-up a Hed 90 off ebay band new for half the price in January. I found out that Hed uses ebay to sell off old stock (new) but under a different name, not the company name. All my communications was to Heds corporate head quarters and they shipped straight form corp. They weren't knock offs.
Would you mind sending me their related ebay info in a PM?
 

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1) Durable
2) Light
3) Inexpensive

Pick two.
I agree with Lombard. I think Bontrager might have coined that famous saying. If you are looking at Boyd to start we, then i am guessing you are looking at the sub 2000 price range.

There are still plenty of brands in this category that will offer good product after sale services.
1. Irwin Cycling
2. Reynolds
3. FLO
are 3 i can think on top of my head
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I agree with Lombard. I think Bontrager might have coined that famous saying. If you are looking at Boyd to start we, then i am guessing you are looking at the sub 2000 price range.

There are still plenty of brands in this category that will offer good product after sale services.
1. Irwin Cycling
2. Reynolds
3. FLO
are 3 i can think on top of my head
Yeah I was trying to keep it around $2000. Is there anything in between $2000 and the $3000+ required for a set of Enve wheels? I would like to be able to buy just the rims as I would like to set up this pair of wheels with the Onyx road disc hubs. I know they are heavier but I will get more enjoyment over a lighter noisier hub. These wheels will be my wheels for longer rides and sportives, maybe some specific workouts. I do plan on getting a separate lightweight set for hilly races at sometime in the future, but a durable all-around wheelset is what I'm after now.
 

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Is there anything in between $2000 and the $3000+ required for a set of Enve wheels?
A set of Enve's can be had for about $2500.
 

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If November still made carbon wheels, I would have recommended them. Theirs were the best bang for the buck in that market.
 

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Thanks for the shout, but we've had a long long journey to the considered belief that carbon is just not the thing to build road wheels out of. Start with the premise that in order for a decision to be worthwhile, that the payback in return for payment should be net positive (or at least neutral). What paybacks do carbon make possible? Potential aerodynamics gains, potential weight gains, potential stiffness gains, and aesthetics.

In reality, we've found that none of the above (except aesthetics) bear fruit in carbon clinchers. We've covered the aerodynamics ad infinitum, and unless you're going really really deep there's almost no there there. The exceptionally credible German Magazine Tour placed a 13w range between Mavic Ksyrium and Zipp 404 (which was tied with a DT Swiss 65 and maybe one other for best). A humble Kinlin XC279 was like 6 or 7w worse than the 404, and from tests this winter we know that the 303s numbers are matched by several quality alloy rims. 303 is at a 3w deficit to 404 per Tour - and these are all at 30mph. But 404 is about at the outer edge of what anyone wants to ride because of handling concerns. This whole thought paradigm that aero wheels would give you an amazing boost of speed is largely thanks to this "10* yaw angle is the dominant condition" fallacy that was initiated by one of the major aero wheel brands and certainly served well to buttress the idea of enormous aero differences, but it's been debunked to bits. So yes there are some small aero gains but for most riders it's well south of not much.

Weight, just iteratively, hasn't panned out in favor of carbon clinchers. You need mass to heat sink the braking forces. Resin heat resistance exists on a parallel curve to brittleness, so as you increase heat resistance you make the rims more brittle. In order to overcome that, you need to add more material to add strength. You can dope the resin to soften some of the corners of this piece of materials science, but you can't "change the game."

We regularly measure alloy rims that are comparably stiff to carbon ones, and have seen rims where weight and stiffness were both markedly in favor of an equally aerodynamic carbon rim.

Carbon rims are also simply difficult to mold and produce. The supply chain is really long and every ingredient and part of the process is absolutely critical path. They're hard to get right and often go wrong - as products in the market, even the fancy branded expensive ones, continue to prove daily.

On the other hand, alloy rims offer benefit of cost, generally superior handling manners, infinitely better braking performance with regard to heat and also heaps better braking in general. And now, with the proliferation of PEO ("ceramic") brake track rims, the aesthetics bridge has been crossed - there are some carbon rims out there (Zipp NSW for one) that have a much more visually pronounced brake track than a PEO rim.

That's simply my (and November's) position. It's informed by having sourced and sold carbon, as well as having been a dealer and builder of "not our" carbon rims, and having consulted with a whole bunch of the world's leading carbon and molding experts (I live at ground zero for boat building tech and have many lifelong friends and some family members who are in that realm). This position may situationally disagree with any one person's experience, but in the aggregate, I categorically believe it to be correct.
 

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Thanks Dave at November for a brilliant and fact filled reply. Many excellent points such as the 10 degree yaw and almost non-existent gains at 30mph.
 

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I take what Dave and November says quite seriously. And I know a lot of folks will only want to look at certain name-brands.

But if the OP or others has decided (for aesthetics, weight savings, or other reasons) they want carbon rims, then it's worth having a look at Light Bicycle's offerings.

I've built up 8 different rims in the past few years, mostly aluminum rims, and the overall quality and strength of the light bicycle carbon rims was really impressive. They were the easiest wheels to build because they started out so round to begin with, and after 3,000 miles they have been flawless.

The ones I went with were 35mm deep and SUPER wide. They compare to something like the new Force Al33 or the Kinlin CX31, but the built-up set is a good 100 to 200 grams lighter than those aluminum rims. I have two sets of the kinlins and they are GREAT wheels at any price, but especially for the money. But the carbon rims are lighter and feel a bit more solid/stiff/planted underneath me (might be in my head).
 

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Not to beat this thing to death, but as it happens we have a pair of recently-acquired Light Bicycle 55mm rims in house. We like to stay in touch with what's out there, and also to be able to somewhat readily identify who's using what sources, both to produce their own rims and as rebranded open molds. Weights are consistent at 513g each, which is about 15g more than an Al33, and they are equivalently stiff to an Al33. We can take a really good guess that the aerodynamics are functionally equal. A 36mm LB rim would be 450g, which is of course matched by HED and Easton rims.

Before too long we will take it to our torture test track, where I fully expect it to warp. The torture test is demanding, but it's easily replicated in real world conditions, and of course you continue to see warped carbon rims all the time.

Again, anyone's individual experience may vary, but the aggregate picture still demonstrably reinforces our stated position. So it really just boils down to aesthetics.
 

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I know this can be a passionate subject for some but here it is anyway.

I too have built up a couple pairs of wheels using LB carbon rims.
Going on a few thousand miles now and all is good.
Quality seems quite good.
They built up super easy.
Been lasting better than other name brand rims I have used in the past.

Just a data point to consider.
 

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Not to beat this thing to death, but as it happens we have a pair of recently-acquired Light Bicycle 55mm rims in house. We like to stay in touch with what's out there, and also to be able to somewhat readily identify who's using what sources, both to produce their own rims and as rebranded open molds. Weights are consistent at 513g each, which is about 15g more than an Al33, and they are equivalently stiff to an Al33. We can take a really good guess that the aerodynamics are functionally equal. A 36mm LB rim would be 450g,
Not disagreeing at all, but just for informational purposes: my LB clincher rims are 35mm deep and they weighed 433 grams on my scale when I received them.
 

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Thanks. Just going off their specs for current wide rims. They show a 21 internal 36mm deep at 440 (misread it as 450 earlier) and an 18 internal 35mm deep at 435. Still comparable to a HED or Easton at 450+/-. It's probably stunningly obvious which of those choices I'd rather see people on if that's their desired weight mark, the only advantage I see to carbon there is aesthetics and the disadvantages I see are numerous, but I'm only here to share what I know and not to harangue anyone for a particular decision.
 
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