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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys !

I recently discovered some cracks in my 2008 Bontrager Race X lite wheels. The cracks were originating from the nipples and occurring in more than one spoke. Of course a wheel failure is far from nice to have in a peloton so, the best option was to retire this wheels and use my old (and damn heavy) rain wheels.

I'm out of the market for a long time so I don't know what manufacture today brings the most bullet-prof wheels for this weight range (same as bontrager). Some I am considering are:

Shimano WHRS81
Mavic Ksyrium Elite
Fulcrum racing 3

Since I don't have access to a good wheel builder, what recommendations do you guys give for long term usage ? (Can be other manufactures if you think are better).

I weight 65 Kg & 1m80cm and usually ride 300 Km/week.

thank you !
 

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Hey guys !

I recently discovered some cracks in my 2008 Bontrager Race X lite wheels. The cracks were originating from the nipples and occurring in more than one spoke. Of course a wheel failure is far from nice to have in a peloton so, the best option was to retire this wheels and use my old (and damn heavy) rain wheels.

I'm out of the market for a long time so I don't know what manufacture today brings the most bullet-prof wheels for this weight range (same as bontrager). Some I am considering are:

Shimano WHRS81
Mavic Ksyrium Elite
Fulcrum racing 3

Since I don't have access to a good wheel builder, what recommendations do you guys give for long term usage ? (Can be other manufactures if you think are better).

I weight 65 Kg & 1m80cm and usually ride 300 Km/week.

thank you !
Ahhhh, you were cursed with the notoriously bad Bontrager dual-spoke pattern wheels. I don't know anybody you DIDN'T have spoke holes crack on these - including me!!! They were a major embarrassment for Trek and they have since abandoned the dual-spoke pattern which created uneven stresses.

I would not recommend any above that you mention - especially not the Mavics. For similar money, you can get a much better wheelset from a custom builder. Mike T. and DCGriz are wheel building experts who may reply to this thread as some point. Mike T. has is own website with a wealth of info on it. Even if you are not planning on building your own, there is still very good info here:

Wheels

You may want to read through the stickies in this subforum as well.

November Wheels is a builder that has a good reputation:

November Bicycles: Race smart. - Custom wheelsets
 

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Disagree with above on Shimano and Fulcrum, but agree about Mavic. The Shimano and Fulcrum are excellent wheels and will last a long time. They are a good price point/value in their lineup. Fulcrum is owned by Campagnolo, and have great hubs and bearings. I have used Campy wheels for thousands of miles on several bikes without a problem. They aren't the lightest of wheels but reasonably light, reliable and stiff.

Shimano is similar and have teammates that use them for training and racing.

The advantage of hand built wheels is that it can be tailored to your weight and riding style. For someone your weight, factory wheels maybe over-engineered. I have had several sets of handbuilt wheels that can be lighter than factory. For example, i am 78kg and have a wheelset that's 1320 grams used for hilly rides.

Another advantage to handbuilts is that they don't use proprietary parts and can be easily repaired by any competent shop.
 

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If you are the original bicycle owner, you could probably get a warranty replacement for these wheels.
I know I warranties my 2007 Bontrager Rkace wheels at least 3 times.
I finally purchased some problem-free custom Velocity Fusion/Race hub wheels from the Wheel Department.
RC
 

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If you are the original bicycle owner, you could probably get a warranty replacement for these wheels.
I know I warranties my 2007 Bontrager Rkace wheels at least 3 times.
I finally purchased some problem-free custom Velocity Fusion/Race hub wheels from the Wheel Department.
RC
I believe the Trek warranty on their wheels was 5 years.
 

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My B XLites 2001 wheels I considered really cool, & they never pulled through. But I have moved on... well almost.
 

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Ahhhh, you were cursed with the notoriously bad Bontrager dual-spoke pattern wheels. I don't know anybody you DIDN'T have spoke holes crack on these - including me!!! They were a major embarrassment for Trek and they have since abandoned the dual-spoke pattern which created uneven stresses.

I would not recommend any above that you mention - especially not the Mavics. For similar money, you can get a much better wheelset from a custom builder. Mike T. and DCGriz are wheel building experts who may reply to this thread as some point. Mike T. has is own website with a wealth of info on it. Even if you are not planning on building your own, there is still very good info here:

Wheels

You may want to read through the stickies in this subforum as well.

November Wheels is a builder that has a good reputation:

November Bicycles: Race smart. - Custom wheelsets
Not limited to the paired spoke wheels. Every set of Trek/Bontrager wheels I've ever owned has cracked. I even had a chunk of rim pull out at a spoke hole on a Trek wheel.

I recommend Shimano Ultegra wheels. Lots of miles on my two sets. I would definitely buy them again. Reasonably priced today, especially from UK vendors.
 

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Not limited to the paired spoke wheels. Every set of Trek/Bontrager wheels I've ever owned has cracked. I even had a chunk of rim pull out at a spoke hole on a Trek wheel.

I recommend Shimano Ultegra wheels. Lots of miles on my two sets. I would definitely buy them again. Reasonably priced today, especially from UK vendors.
Interesting about newer Bonty wheels. I hadn't heard any complaints on those before. Oh well.

Shimano Ultegra wheels are probably one of the better factory wheels out there. But remember, as with nearly all factory wheels, parts are proprietary, so when something breaks, that's a new wheel. The good thing is that as long as you aren't 200lbs.+, you will probably get good miles out of these.

However, the "be prepared" personality in me must warn you that the spoke nipples in these are a proprietary size - larger than a normal spoke wrench on a multi-tool. So I recommend either getting the special Shimano spoke wrench, or for much cheaper, just carry a tiny crescent wrench with you. Otherwise, if you break a spoke, you will be walking or calling for a ride. Then again, at 16/20 spokes per wheel, you probably won't be able to get that wheel straight again if a spoke does break.
 

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Interesting about newer Bonty wheels. I hadn't heard any complaints on those before. Oh well.

Shimano Ultegra wheels are probably one of the better factory wheels out there. But remember, as with nearly all factory wheels, parts are proprietary, so when something breaks, that's a new wheel. The good thing is that as long as you aren't 200lbs.+, you will probably get good miles out of these.

However, the "be prepared" personality in me must warn you that the spoke nipples in these are a proprietary size - larger than a normal spoke wrench on a multi-tool. So I recommend either getting the special Shimano spoke wrench, or for much cheaper, just carry a tiny crescent wrench with you. Otherwise, if you break a spoke, you will be walking or calling for a ride. Then again, at 16/20 spokes per wheel, you probably won't be able to get that wheel straight again if a spoke does break.
Parts for Shimano wheels can be ordered, like most of Shimanos stuff.
 

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Interesting about newer Bonty wheels. I hadn't heard any complaints on those before. Oh well.

Shimano Ultegra wheels are probably one of the better factory wheels out there. But remember, as with nearly all factory wheels, parts are proprietary, so when something breaks, that's a new wheel. The good thing is that as long as you aren't 200lbs.+, you will probably get good miles out of these.

However, the "be prepared" personality in me must warn you that the spoke nipples in these are a proprietary size - larger than a normal spoke wrench on a multi-tool. So I recommend either getting the special Shimano spoke wrench, or for much cheaper, just carry a tiny crescent wrench with you. Otherwise, if you break a spoke, you will be walking or calling for a ride. Then again, at 16/20 spokes per wheel, you probably won't be able to get that wheel straight again if a spoke does break.
Parts for Shimano wheels can be ordered, like most of Shimanos stuff. The wheels are user repairable, unlike a lot of wheels. If I follow your recommendations, I would ride nothing more than conventional wheels with j-bend spokes. Unfortunately, such wheels, while ez to repair suffer more cracked rims and spoke breakages than these Shimano wheels do; at least in my experience.
 

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Parts for Shimano wheels can be ordered, like most of Shimanos stuff.
Maybe. I know that ball bearings on a pair of Shimano RS-11 wheels I had were trashed and Shimano does not make replacements. The good side of that story is that my bike shop finagled a new wheel set out of them. :) Shimano does have great customer service.


If I follow your recommendations, I would ride nothing more than conventional wheels with j-bend spokes. Unfortunately, such wheels, while ez to repair suffer more cracked rims and spoke breakages than these Shimano wheels do; at least in my experience.
Very misleading statement. Yes, some specific rims are known for cracking around spoke holes - Bontrager and Mavic. I really doubt you will find many people who have had a rim failure with a HED Belgium or H+ Son Archetype rim. And keep in mind that most wheel failures are due to a poor build rather than poor quality parts. While not common, I have known people who broke spokes on Shimano wheels. Here again, these are machine built factory wheels which will never have the build quality of a hand built wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all for the answers. I didn't know Bontranger wheels had such a dark past.

I am considering shimano's RS-81 C35 CL wheels. Not as expensive as shimano's DA line and with the same kind of technology ( ~1600 Kg/pair). But will just effectively make the buy in a few months. Any opinions these wheels ?

Thank you !
 

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thank you all for the answers. I didn't know bontranger wheels had such a dark past.

I am considering shimano's rs-81 c35 cl wheels. Not as expensive as shimano's da line and with the same kind of technology ( ~1600g/pair). But will just effectively make the buy in a few months. Any opinions these wheels ?

Thank you !
fify. :D
 

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I have Shimano RS80s, RS81s, and DA9000s, all in C24.

I love the RS80s, do not like the RS81s as much although they're fine, and love the DA9000s.

My biggest regret is that I didn't spring the extra cash to get C35s. You will probably love your wheels.
 

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Maybe. I know that ball bearings on a pair of Shimano RS-11 wheels I had were trashed and Shimano does not make replacements. The good side of that story is that my bike shop finagled a new wheel set out of them. :) Shimano does have great customer service.




Very misleading statement. Yes, some specific rims are known for cracking around spoke holes - Bontrager and Mavic. I really doubt you will find many people who have had a rim failure with a HED Belgium or H+ Son Archetype rim. And keep in mind that most wheel failures are due to a poor build rather than poor quality parts. While not common, I have known people who broke spokes on Shimano wheels. Here again, these are machine built factory wheels which will never have the build quality of a hand built wheel.
I don't believe the Ultegra and DuraAce Shimano wheels are machine built. Machines can't deal with a non drilled spoke bed and non slotted spoke nipples.
 
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