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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pretty sure this topic is well-covered here on RBR forum, but I do have a couple of wrinkles to add to the question (see criteria below). I’m thinking about replacing the stock wheels on a Specialized Langster single-speed that I just purchased as my “weather” bike. I’ll be using the bike to do laps in the winter, occasional wet weather and casual rides year round when I don’t feel like dealing with gears or taking out the expensive road bikes.

I’m not looking for really good wheels, just something with better ride quality than the heavy, lifeless wheels that came with the bike.

Here are some criteria:
- Running the bike strictly with a freewheel cog. Will need rims with a brake track.
- About 160 lbs, worth of rider here and think 20/24 spoke count should be fine.
- I live in Brooklyn, and will occasionally lock the bike up on casual rides, so anything that is black and low-key (able to peel stickers off?) would be great.
- I own a set of Pinhead through axle lock skewers and lock nuts for solid axles, so either could work for me. I don’t know how many manufacturers make through-axle for single-speed hubs and spacing.
- thinking about running 25 or 28mm all-season tires like Conti GP 4 Seasons or Gatorskins (the frame can accommodate up to 28mm tires, I’m told ny my LBS)
- Not a competitive rider or track racer, but wouldn’t mind seeing a bump in performance as I do like to push myself
- Since I have a few spare road wheelsets sitting around, I can use the Pinhead skewers on the front and just get a rear wheel if that is a practical solution. That way I can save money or drop all the money into a better rear wheel.

Is this doable for $200 or less? Slightly more?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I've no idea where you would get a SS wheelset of 20/24 for $200. Plus, I've seen a few people race stock Langsters on the track and the stock wheels never held them back at all and they sure pushed themselves.

With parts from BikeHubStore.com you can get 24/28. The parts alone will cost you about $250.

You can get a SS wheelset from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse in 32/32 for about $240.

Probably anything else you can find for the $200 mark will be offshore machine-made stuff and it will be 32/32.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've no idea where you would get a SS wheelset of 20/24 for $200. Plus, I've seen a few people race stock Langsters on the track and the stock wheels never held them back at all and they sure pushed themselves.

With parts from BikeHubStore.com you can get 24/28. The parts alone will cost you about $250.

You can get a SS wheelset from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse in 32/32 for about $240.

Probably anything else you can find for the $200 mark will be offshore machine-made stuff and it will be 32/32.
Thanks for this info, Mike. You're right, my legs are dead and lifeless — not the bike. Totally out of shape this winter and just started doing laps. Huffing and puffing my way up hills that I normally have no problems with. I should ride the stock wheels for awhile before making a decision on whether to get a new set. If I do decide on a new set, the info you provided is perfect.
 

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A wheelist
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Thanks for this info, Mike. You're right, my legs are dead and lifeless — not the bike. Totally out of shape this winter and just started doing laps. Huffing and puffing my way up hills that I normally have no problems with. I should ride the stock wheels for awhile before making a decision on whether to get a new set. If I do decide on a new set, the info you provided is perfect.
What a great attitude jta. Yes, fancy light/low spoke wheels might allow you to go 20 seconds faster over 25 miles but a few months of steady riding would allow you to knock 20 minutes off maybe - with the stock wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Enoch, I have 3 decent road wheelsets sitting around unused, and considered getting a rear single-speed hub to replace the road hub on one of them. Didn't think about simply using spacers (in fact didn't even realize this is an option). You achieved this by using spacers and a cog from a 10 or 11-speed cassette? Are there compatibility issues with the chain that need to be addressed? What about dropout spacing: 130mm vs. 120mm?

As I mentioned to Mike T., so out of shape this winter that I'm fine running the stock wheels for awhile. But I may end up trying something like this in the summer for kicks and giggles if it's something that can be done with a few spacers and lockrings. Cheers!
 

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If you are using a a aluminum freehub, you need a wide base cog. A single cog off a cassete is not recomended since the teeth are short. I recomend using a true SS cog. The teeth are longer. THe Surly cogs are steel and last forever.

THose spacers are stuff I had laying around. You can also go to Lowes and get some PVC pipe and cut it to fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you are using a a aluminum freehub, you need a wide base cog. A single cog off a cassete is not recomended since the teeth are short. I recomend using a true SS cog. The teeth are longer. THe Surly cogs are steel and last forever.

THose spacers are stuff I had laying around. You can also go to Lowes and get some PVC pipe and cut it to fit.
Gotcha - I do know that one of my hub bodies is aluminum and I can see where the cassette bites into it. I didn't realize that you can fit a single-speed cog onto a road hub.

I tend to get ahead of myself when I get a new bike and was curious as to what my options are. Most economical and easiest way to improve the ride is to just pick up a set of decent 25 or 28mm tires. I could easily drop 150-200 grams and get a smoother rolling tire (The Espoir stock tires are 23mm wire-bead, 340g each). I'll do that at some point, then decide if I want better wheels after I become more familiar with the bike. Thanks for the advice.
 

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I have a Langster that I got used that came with I assume the stock front wheel (Alex 500 rim, no name hub) and a rear wheel Phil Wood hub, DT Swiss 1.2 rim. I rode the bike hard as a commuter for 3 years, all weather including snow and heavy rain. The front hub was gritty with a lot of play. I recently overhauled the hub and it made a world of difference. FWIW, just for the hell of it I took apart the PW hub and it was absolutely pristine inside.

I would suggest a little time and not that much money to overhaul your hubs. I can't say enough good things about the Phil Wood hub, although I realize it doesn't meet your price and low profile criteria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have a Langster that I got used that came with I assume the stock front wheel (Alex 500 rim, no name hub) and a rear wheel Phil Wood hub, DT Swiss 1.2 rim. I rode the bike hard as a commuter for 3 years, all weather including snow and heavy rain. The front hub was gritty with a lot of play. I recently overhauled the hub and it made a world of difference. FWIW, just for the hell of it I took apart the PW hub and it was absolutely pristine inside.

I would suggest a little time and not that much money to overhaul your hubs. I can't say enough good things about the Phil Wood hub, although I realize it doesn't meet your price and low profile criteria.
I just made the decision to keep 4 bikes, up from my maximum of 3. This will allow me to make a few changes to the Langster and use another bike as the townie bike. This way I can install decent saddle, tires, pedals, etc. I'll run the stock wheels for awhile, and maybe get a rear wheel built eventually. Thanks for the advice — sounds like the Langster is a good, reliable bike.
 
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