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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may buy some used LEW wheels. From what I understand, Reynolds bought LEW and, I think, beefed up the rims a bit to make them stronger. Anyway, I don't know the particular type of LEW wheels these are except that they are 46 mm deep dish and are very light. I'm about 180 pounds. These would be race only wheels for me. I'm interested in any reviews, comments about durability, quality of hubs that people can offer as well as any opinions about whether I'm just too heavy for these wheels and will break spokes constantly. Also, do you need to run carbon brake pads with these? Also, I think they have a shimano compatible freehub body but I assume that I could use an American Classic conversion cassette for Campy 10? Thanks.
 

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I have a set of LEW composite wheels and a brand new set of Reynolds Stratus DVs. Both wheels use the excellent and smooth White Industries LTA hubset. The biggest difference between the two is that the LEWs are 19mm wide and the Reynolds are 3mm wider if I recall correctly. According to Reynolds, the Stratus use a better grade of carbon composite and they have refined the building process which has made the wheels stronger. And strong they are. Both wheelsets are laced with 16f/20r butted spokes. The Reynolds have Sapim spokes.

I weigh 215 lbs and I have absolutely no problems using these wheels. The LEW Palermos were advertised as being for riders over 175 lbs. I called Reynolds before I bought my Stratus wheels and I was told that they would be fine for a 215-220 lbs rider. They said if you were 280 lbs or more then they probably would not be the wheel to use but that they wouldn't necessarily break, they would just have a great deal of flex. I pound them when I climb out of the saddle just to see if they will flex. Neither pair flex at all. I even tighten down the brakes to within mm's from the rim just to see if I can hear the rims against the Campy carbon pads. (They say you don't have to use the carbon pads but I do so just to be safe) The wheels never rub the pads no matter how hard I go. Since I paid so much for these wheels I have used the LEWs for training quite often especially when I do my hill repeats and I plan to do the same with the Reynolds.

As for weight- I've never put either wheels on a scale but by feel they are just about the exact same weight. They are much lighter than my Ksyrium SL's and my Zipp 404's. I'll bet they shed about 1/2 pound or more over the Ksyriums and the majority of the weight is lost in the rim.

I've been using a Wheels Manufacturing conversion cassette for the past year on the LEWs and I'm doing the same now on the Reynolds without a problem. These are claimed to be the strongest rims made and I believe it. The rim can withstand 850 lbs of force before it will collapse as compared to 250 lbs for the Zipp 303's. (I just found these figures somewhere on the net last week, I'll try to find it again) The LEWs (&Reynolds) have the highest spoke tension of any wheel. This is a result of the nipple being hidden in the rim which allows for much higher spoke tension. Supposedly, the White Industries hubs are the only hubs with flanges strong enough to withstand the extremely high spoke tension. This tension helps to make the entire wheel so darn strong.

Sorry for the long post but I love both wheelsets and I'm happy to inform anyone about them.

:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Max

Thanks for your reply. That's a ringing endorsement if I've ever heard one! I would buy the Reynolds wheels but I'm looking for a real deal on used wheels and am hoping that the LEWS would work for me and it looks like they will.

By the way, I know that the LEWS are not as deep dish (46 v. 58, I think)as the 404s - do you think the 404s are faster? Also, what do you think about crosswinds with the LEWS - does the bike get thrown around? Have you ever noticed that the LEWS might induce a shimmy during a high speed descent? Thanks again.
 

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You might want to check out ebay for a set of Reynolds wheels sometimes you can get a great deal there, I did. A few weeks ago there was a set of new LEW Palermos up for auction that had never even had a tire glued on. They were 20f/24r spokes which really interested me but obviously I don't need anymore wheels if I want to stay married.

I've never really noticed any real speed difference between the 404s and the LEWs. But if you look at the reality that the difference between a standard 32 spoke box rim and a set of HED 3 over 40k is 2 minutes or 120 sec. That equals only 3 sec per kilo faster between two very different wheels therefore I would imagine the difference between 46mm rims and 58 mm rims would be hard to notice especially when hills are added into the equation. The Zipps are more succeptable to cross winds which will jerk the front wheel around a bit while on the LEWs you will feel a slight push but it's nothing to worry about. Neither wheel is as bad in heavy winds as my Specialized tri-spokes they get blown around something fierce at times.

To be fair I have to add that my Zipps are, gasp, cinchers! They are pretty heavy compared to the LEWs. You can really feel the difference when climbing or accelerating out of the saddle, the LEWs spool up so much faster and with less effort.

Now for the one problem I've experienced with the LEWs- braking. On both the LEWs and Reynolds wheels the front brake will shudder and jerk when applied hard. I'm actually wondering if this is due to my bike set up since it only started around November. I had gone several months without using the LEWs and I only used my Ksyriums during that time which may have done something to the brake pads. I'm going to adjust the toe-in on the pads and see if that will fix the problem. I can't think of any other reason this would suddenly develop. The rear wheel on both sets work fine so I usually "trail brake" the rear and pump the front.

I've only hit about 46 MPH on decents and I've never noticed any shudder on the LEWs. They are pretty much arrow strait and the White Industries hubs are as smooth as can be. Also, White Industries has the best customer service of any company I've ever seen. I stripped the threads on my front hub when I became over zealous with the wrench. I sent White an email and they called my house less than 15 minutes later. Two days later they sent me a new part free of charge which is amazing given the fact that I'm not the original owner and that the part was damaged due to my stupidity. Personally I would ONLY consider LEWs built on White LTA hubs. To me anything less is a cheap alternative. Remember, there is a good reason why LEW and Reynolds chose White to be the sole hub supplier for their wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Types of LEW wheels

Since you seem to know LEW wheels ..... do you know what the different types are; I've heard of Palermo and Sydney, maybe there are others. Can you tell me what the differences are? I'm not sure my buddy knows what he has.
 

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The Lew Palermos are the equivelant of the Reynolds Stratus DV's. From my understanding, and info is very limited now that LEW folded, that the Sydneys are the equivelant of the Stratus DV-UL's at least in weight. The DV-UL's use a higher grade of composite material which is supposed to give the same strength at a lighter weight. The Reynolds DV-UL wheelset is 140 grams lighter than the standard DV wheelset and I would assume that that holds true for the Palermo/ Sydney wheelsets.

The original version of the LEWs are labeled simply with a LEW decal with an oval around it and the word "graphite" on the lower left side of the decal. This is the set that I have. From what I can tell (someone might be able to clarify this) these are the same wheels that were sold under the Palermo name in the later years of LEW production. There were many versions of this wheel produced as they were originally very limited production and were hard to come by. I've seen 12 spoke front wheels and even a 9 spoke wheel that had the spokes grouped in a tri spoke pattern with 3 spokes grouped together kind of like the Campy G3 system. The most common design used 16f/20r but they were also found in 20f/24r which has to be an extremely strong and durable wheel. I think the LEW composite wheel weighs about 485 grams fully built which is a little lighter than the Stratus DV's 524 grams. The added weight of the Stratus is more than likely from the increased rim width. I've never found the weight of the rear LEW but I would imagine it is in the ballpark of 734 grams since that is what the Stratus weighs and holding both in your hands you would be hard pressed to feel any difference between the two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks once more

Now I'm all wound up about getting these wheels - as you say, just need to unload some other stuff to keep the spousal unit from spontaneous combustion. Maybe the tandem and Mt bike I never ride will have to go as well as my race wheels from 1982!
 

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I hear you. I've got NINE sets of wheels for 3 bikes (actually 4 when my C-50 gets here). I'm going to sell off some of them on ebay whenever I get around to it. I can't believe that I'm still married after all the bike stuff I've bought. At least my wife realizes that there are worse things I could be doing with the money like wh0res and strippers and booze!!! :D

Here's a link with more details on the LEW Palermos: http://www.racycles.com/eq/catalog/lew_-_palermo_1348169.htm
 
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