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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I plan to purchase a new bike. Although I have not made the final bike selection yet, the front-runner offers 2 different wheelsets at the same price. I can get either the Reynolds Solitude wheelset or the Shimano 6700 wheelset. Which is the one to go with?
Some facts about me:
Large frame, around 200 lbs. I log about 125 miles a week. I am in Upstate South Carolina and there are hills on every ride. So, hill climbing is a large part of EVERY ride. I do not race, but I try to do a charity ride just about every month. I have a metric century+ coming up in mid-June. (Jackson County Brevet). My biggest cycling goal is to ride the 80-mile Gran Fondo Hincapie here in Greenville (Gran Fondo Hincapie: The Ride). Full disclosure: my current bike has the Reynolds Solitude wheelset and I like them a lot. Not one problem in 500 miles. That speaks for itself, but if the Ultegras are clearly better, I would like to know.
I am a bit worried about the low spoke count on the Ultegras based on my size. I know the Reynolds wheels are pretty narrow, going by current trends, but, I still have been very happy with them. I run Michelin Pro 4 Service Course, 23c, tires on them.
One other bit of info: (from the bike dealer's e-mail) "A couple options to look at would be the Ksyrium Elite S and the Ksyrium SLS,* These upgrades would be $400 and $600 respectively." I would just as soon keep the extra $$$ in my pocket, unless the offers on these wheels are just too good to pass up. That is what I am counting on you fine folks to clue me in on. Am I too big for these wheels? Is this a good price? Is the weight of these wheels good for hilly terrain? Etc.?
Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well first off, I'm not sure I agree with your shops recommendation. Mavic will leave you stuck with proprietary parts and lacking aerodynamics. If you got into that range, a custom wheelset would be far more practical.
Thanks.
I know nothing about custom wheelsets or how to go about ordering them, or from whom to order.
As I said in the original post, I would actually prefer to keep the extra money unless the wheels they offered were some great deal too good to pass up.
I don't know anything about the Mavics or the Ultegras and would just stay with the Reynolds unless someone has a reason not to. I really like the Reynolds. I was just hoping to gain some insight into the other options.
 

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Well, all I can do is reinforce what sounds to be your personal bias in favor of the Reynolds. I have the Solitudes' predecessor the Alta Race, for about 5 or so years and at least 10,000 miles. I have not had one iota of problem with them. Never trued*, no broken spokes*, brake surfaces seem barely worn. Bearings are still perfectly smooth. Mine are a little "heavy" at just under 1600 grams, and I'm a fairly weak 165 pounder so if I ever get new wheels, I'll probably go all weight weenie on it. But my current wheels feel light, fast and are very stable going fast downhill, even in cross winds.

the *: I have actually broken one spoke and needed the wheel trued..... after I ran over it with my car. After replacing the spoke and broken skewer, and having the wheel trued, it's been carefree for the past 4 years or so (this happened the first season I owned the wheels!).

If any wheel has more durability and reliability than these, I couldn't care less, because after a certain point, it's just overkill and the durability will benefit your heirs, not you.
 

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I weigh 180 and have ridden the Ultegras heavily for 8 months without needing to true them. Major benefit is the true tubeless compatibility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Shimano 6700 all the way!!
Thanks for the opinion, but is there a particular reason you like the 6700's?

The poster above is right in that, all else being equal, I would go with the Reynolds. But, if you all can assure me that the Shimanos are better wheels, i would really appreciate that input.
 

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I tried the Shimano 6700s on a new build and hated them. I weigh 180. I came from Open Pro CD rims 32f/32r 3x and wanted something new for the new build. I did a lot of reading and thought I would like the Shimanos, but I found them to be very "squirrely". I constantly felt like I had a death grip on the bars to keep the bike straight and I also felt as though the rear had a bounce to it. So much so that I ended up with back pain. But I chalked it up to an entire new bike and figured it was just some new positioning changes, even though the new bike was very close to the old one. I got so frustrated with the pain and the handling, that out of desperation I put my old Open Pros on the new build and all the steering problems and back pain went away. I also had to true the 6700s constantly and they use proprietary spokes which are a pain to true. Personally, I will never even consider a wheel with 16 spokes ever again. I had tried Ksyrium Elites on a demo of the bike that I bought and did not like them either. They were one of the harshest riding wheels I ever felt. So I started from scratch again and decided to go the custom route and ended up with HED Belgium C2s with Velocity Race hubs and Wheelsmith double butted spokes 32r/28f 3x and could not be happier. The superior ride of the wider rim was instantly apparent with the exact same tires. So I guess this could be considered a strong vote against the 6700s (and I LOVE everything Ultegra, so it took a lot for me not to like these wheels).
Another option if you don't want to go custom is Velocity A23 Comp wheelset direct from Velocity (Velocity Wheels). It my be a little more than the 6700, but they are cheaper than the Ksyriums and they'll build them up with more spokes for you if you ask them to. And they are now tubeless and come in colors if you're into that.
Lastly, don't be afraid to go custom. I was apprehensive about it also, but you can find a few great builders on this forum with excellent reputations. Reach out to them and see if you like what they have to offer.
 

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I have no idea where steveo983 is coming from. We have 6 guys on our shop team who all run WH-6700's, on some really bad roads. They range from 170lbs to 210 lbs, and put out a lot of watts, and the wheels have been perfect.

I also don't get the "the wheels are a pain to true" comment. How are they any different from any other wheel? The bladed spokes make it easy to prevent wind up, and Shimano supplies multiple spoke wrenches with each set.

Also, when you look at the milling/finish on the Shimano hub's versus something like Velocity or BWW Blackset, the Shimano's look jewelry, and the others look like toys.
 

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I have no idea where steveo983 is coming from.

I also don't get the "the wheels are a pain to true" comment. How are they any different from any other wheel? The bladed spokes make it easy to prevent wind up, and Shimano supplies multiple spoke wrenches with each set.

Also, when you look at the milling/finish on the Shimano hub's versus something like Velocity or BWW Blackset, the Shimano's look jewelry, and the others look like toys.
I guess where I'm "coming from" is my own personal experience. Maybe I just got a bad set. Luckily I bought them from Nashbar and they took them back. In my opinion, truing the bladed spokes with two wrenches (and the one that Shimano provided to hold the bladed was at least 5 times wider than the blade) is more of an aggravation than using a simple Park wrench on a double butted spoke. Personally, I have had no problems with wind up on my new wheels. Then again, unlike the 6700s, I don't have to true them after every other ride. And if I happen to break a spoke, I have at least 3 local shops that carry double butted spokes and one shop that has a Phil Wood machine and can thread any length you need.
I have not seen the BWW Blackset and I have not ridden the A23, but the fit and finish on my HEDs is far superior to the Ultegras (just my opinion, of course). But the OP seemed to be looking for some personal experience on the Ultegras so that's what I offered. Obviously your experience differed.
Lastly, I found the 23mm rim width of the HEDs to give a far superior ride to the thinner Ultegras or OpenPros. They corner better and offer a much more comfortable ride.
Lots of people love the Ultegras as evident by the positive reviews on many websites. My personal experience did not bear that out.
 

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I guess where I'm "coming from" is my own personal experience. Maybe I just got a bad set. Luckily I bought them from Nashbar and they took them back. In my opinion, truing the bladed spokes with two wrenches (and the one that Shimano provided to hold the bladed was at least 5 times wider than the blade) is more of an aggravation than using a simple Park wrench on a double butted spoke. Personally, I have had no problems with wind up on my new wheels. Then again, unlike the 6700s, I don't have to true them after every other ride. And if I happen to break a spoke, I have at least 3 local shops that carry double butted spokes and one shop that has a Phil Wood machine and can thread any length you need.
I have not seen the BWW Blackset and I have not ridden the A23, but the fit and finish on my HEDs is far superior to the Ultegras (just my opinion, of course). But the OP seemed to be looking for some personal experience on the Ultegras so that's what I offered. Obviously your experience differed.
Lastly, I found the 23mm rim width of the HEDs to give a far superior ride to the thinner Ultegras or OpenPros. They corner better and offer a much more comfortable ride.
Lots of people love the Ultegras as evident by the positive reviews on many websites. My personal experience did not bear that out.
I'm a bit surprised with the "far superior ride to the thinner Ultegra's" comment. You do realize the Ultegra's are 21mm wide, right? So, 2mm difference.

Did you notice a "far superior ride" going from a 18m or 19mm rim, to the 21mm Ultegra? Just asking.

You clearly had a jacked up set of wheels, because your experience is the exact opposite of everyone else .. including an entire team of riders abusing them for upwards of two years now.
 

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You clearly had a jacked up set of wheels, because your experience is the exact opposite of everyone else .. including an entire team of riders abusing them for upwards of two years now.
Yup. That MUST be it.
To the OP: You asked for an opinion and I provided one. My apologies if this got off track. Didn't mean to insult anyone's personal choices - but this is why we all have choices, right? Because chances are slim to none that I will agree with every one of yours and vice-verse.
Best of luck with your new build.
 

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I rode the WH-6700 for quite a time.
Out of the box I had to true them, after the first ride I had to true them again and since then they stayed true. I also had to recalibrate the bearings, they were a bit too tight out of the factory.
When punching up a steep climb out of the saddle the rear wheel lacks a bit in stiffness (I'm 154 lbs).

Aside these issues the WH-6700 are fine wheels, well made, easy to spin up and to hold speed and they are unaffected by side winds.
 
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