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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help me with a choice I'm making. Upgrading from Open Pro/Ultegra on a Seven Axiom Ti. 3000mi/yr. recreational rider. My weight is 210lbs (for now-don't we all say that). I want the usual: up hills faster and some more speed on flats. Choice is new 2003 Ksyerium SSC SL with the 2 year Mavic warranty program ($650+8% for the warranty) or Dave Thomas' new SpeedDream model with Arrowhead velocity, White Industry hubs and a new Wheelsmith spoke (XE14A?) (20 front/28 back) for $549. SpeedDream is a bit lighter. But what will I feel in stiffness change from my current wheel and performance? Thanks for the help. :confused:
 

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speeddreams

I can't comment on the K's since I've never ridden them. I do have two sets of wheels: OP/record and speedreams. Personally, I've given up on the speedreams. Dave is great with warranty, but I've spent an extra $200+ on these wheels since I bought them 3 years ago. The extra costs were in shipping the wheels back to Dave four times: defective rim on the rear, then the same on the front, then I hit road debris twice which cost the price of the rim. In fairness to the speeddreams, I've been unlucky with them. If I was going to hit a boulder, a pothole, get run off the road, etc...it always happend with the speeddreams. I am 6'1" 195 but usually ride a ten pounds lighter. They can handle a guy your size but don't hit anything. You will damage them if you hit something.

After my rear wheel was destroyed when I went down in a rainy day crash - thanks to some Billy-Bob who thought it would be cool to run over a cyclist - I said to heck with the shipping costs. I went to my LBS for a rebuild. He said the wheels were toast. So he built me up a light rear wheel with round (not bladed) spokes that looks very similiar to the speedreams but probably 100grams (who cares?) heavier. 3000 miles later - no probs. But if I do, his shop is five miles from home. I still use the speeddream as the front wheel.

I use my OP's as the primary wheelset on my raindy day bike and as a backup on my primary ride. Will you notice a difference?? Probably yes. I dropped nearly 500g of rotating weight by going to the speeddreams and/or their replacement. In all fairness - from one big guy to another - you'll notice WAY more difference if you drop 10 lbs off of you vs a few grams off of the wheels. IMHO.

Good luck. Let us know what you decided.

Paul
 

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I've been buying wheels from Dave for around 5 years and about 6 wheels (mtb wheels 5 years ago, aerolites 2 years ago and a set of commuting/cross wheels recently). The only problem I ever had with his wheels was that the front american classic hub on the aerolites had one spoke hole that was somehow bad and it was causing that same spoke to break near the spoke hole every 5 months or so. Dave sent me some washers and extra spokes (free of charge - not cheap for Sapim CX-Rays) and that fixed the problem.

I generally weigh about 180 but have varied from 175 to 190 over the life of the aerolites. They are still running strong. The first year I put about 7000 miles on them (the mtb wheels saw very little that year). Last year was maybe half that because of family medical problems and a new baby boy. I never have run over anything bigger than a good size rock, or big potholes. It's true that if you had to send them back to Dave the shipping could add up. I would recommend you tell him about yourself, the way you ride and what you want in a wheel. My guess is he'll tweak the "stock" setup you quoted just for your needs and come up with something cheaper and lighter than the Mavics.

The other option is to find a similarly skilled local wheelbuilder and do the same thing with them.
 

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risky at your weight...

Any low spoke count wheel is going to be a risky proposition for someone of your weight. The advantages of these wheels over a more common handbuilt will be totally unnoticeable for a recreational rider who probably averages 18-20mph.

I use Ksyriums and Campy Eurus and just ordered a pair of the new Ksyriums, but I don't kid myself. I know that the difference in speed is not measureable. I like the looks of the wheels and at 135lbs, I won't damage them.
 

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pjkad said:
Help me with a choice I'm making. Upgrading from Open Pro/Ultegra on a Seven Axiom Ti. 3000mi/yr. recreational rider. My weight is 210lbs (for now-don't we all say that). I want the usual: up hills faster and some more speed on flats. Choice is new 2003 Ksyerium SSC SL with the 2 year Mavic warranty program ($650+8% for the warranty) or Dave Thomas' new SpeedDream model with Arrowhead velocity, White Industry hubs and a new Wheelsmith spoke (XE14A?) (20 front/28 back) for $549. SpeedDream is a bit lighter. But what will I feel in stiffness change from my current wheel and performance? Thanks for the help. :confused:
the Ksyriums are not aero or light; a set of 32 bladed spoke OPs and light hubs will perform almost identically in terms of weight and aerodynamics according to a test done by the German Tour magazine. however, the Ks are durable and many heavier riders use them.
if you want to save some money, call a custom wheelbuilder (like Dave Thomas @ Speeddream, or Mike Garcia @ Odds and Endos - www.oddsandendos.com), give him your specifications, and have something built. I got a pair of wheels from Mike that I am very happy with: Ritchey WCS/Pro rims, Am classic hubs, 16f/24r bladed spokes. you, of course, would need more spokes.
 

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Imho-

pjkad said:
Help me with a choice I'm making. Upgrading from Open Pro/Ultegra on a Seven Axiom Ti. 3000mi/yr. recreational rider. My weight is 210lbs (for now-don't we all say that). I want the usual: up hills faster and some more speed on flats. Choice is new 2003 Ksyerium SSC SL with the 2 year Mavic warranty program ($650+8% for the warranty) or Dave Thomas' new SpeedDream model with Arrowhead velocity, White Industry hubs and a new Wheelsmith spoke (XE14A?) (20 front/28 back) for $549. SpeedDream is a bit lighter. But what will I feel in stiffness change from my current wheel and performance? Thanks for the help. :confused:

I don't think changing your wheels will add appreciably to your speed. We are almost the same size and type of rider, and I will give you my take on the issue. I have had four wheelsets and including the original open pros the bike came with, Ksyriums, and American Classic 420's. After trying them all, I am now back on the open pros and loving them, without any appreciable change in speed. For guys like you and me, working harder on improving the weight and power of the motor will do us much more good in terms of improving our speed, than any changes in equipment. My .02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Perception Vs. Reality

pjkad said:
Help me with a choice I'm making. Upgrading from Open Pro/Ultegra on a Seven Axiom Ti. 3000mi/yr. recreational rider. My weight is 210lbs (for now-don't we all say that). I want the usual: up hills faster and some more speed on flats. Choice is new 2003 Ksyerium SSC SL with the 2 year Mavic warranty program ($650+8% for the warranty) or Dave Thomas' new SpeedDream model with Arrowhead velocity, White Industry hubs and a new Wheelsmith spoke (XE14A?) (20 front/28 back) for $549. SpeedDream is a bit lighter. But what will I feel in stiffness change from my current wheel and performance? Thanks for the help. :confused:
There is no question for me that loosing a few pounds will help, but the role of the wheelset in my enjoyment is the question. Its amazing me the range of opinions on whether the K's are marketing hype and resulting perception...or whether they really are a good step up from Open P's. The naysayers come out with their comments when the question is asked. But there are a lot of these sold, and lots of good reviews. I'm still torn...any other opinions from happy K owners or Speed Dreamers?
 

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one final suggestion

Go to your LBS and ask him how much he would charge to build up a wheelset on sun venus rims (like Dave) Sapim X-Ray spokes onto the hub of your choice. I really would go for a few more spokes than the 20/28 combo of the speeddreams. I know riding a set of handbuilt LBS wheels may not be as sexy as the K's or speeddreams but I think you would be happier in the long run. And have a few extra bucks in your pocket.

I'll never buy boutique wheels again. If you have a problem, the hassle of returning them is too much. IMHO.

Paul
 

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Exactly my point.

pjkad said:
There is no question for me that loosing a few pounds will help, but the role of the wheelset in my enjoyment is the question. Its amazing me the range of opinions on whether the K's are marketing hype and resulting perception...or whether they really are a good step up from Open P's. The naysayers come out with their comments when the question is asked. But there are a lot of these sold, and lots of good reviews. I'm still torn...any other opinions from happy K owners or Speed Dreamers?
The point of my reply to your original post is to warn you that you think K's or speed dreams will increase your "toy" factor..."enjoyment" of your avocation, but I'm trying to tell you that my own experience of doing exactly the same thing resulted in me going back to where I started.
NOW, having said all that I will say that the K's are very cool looking and almost bomb proof. Lot's of recreational riders here in Houston have them and love them. For me they were just too stiff...with Vittoria Open Corsa tires filled to 120psi,it is like riding on stone wheels. They are very responsive in accelerations, but again very stiff. I like the Open Pro/Record Hub wheels better because they are just as strong, but more compliant...so they give a more comfortable ride. I probably lose a little on accelerations but it isn't a big deal, at least not to me.
 

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This seems to be the standard line on this site.

Note the original poster asked about Ksyrium SLs, not Ksyriums.

The SLs are a whole lot lighter than the regular Ks. While not super aero they should be more aero than standard OP + light hubs. They might be lighter too?

Ben

weiwentg said:
the Ksyriums are not aero or light; a set of 32 bladed spoke OPs and light hubs will perform almost identically in terms of weight and aerodynamics according to a test done by the German Tour magazine. however, the Ks are durable and many heavier riders use them.
if you want to save some money, call a custom wheelbuilder (like Dave Thomas @ Speeddream, or Mike Garcia @ Odds and Endos - www.oddsandendos.com), give him your specifications, and have something built. I got a pair of wheels from Mike that I am very happy with: Ritchey WCS/Pro rims, Am classic hubs, 16f/24r bladed spokes. you, of course, would need more spokes.
 

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why not the campy eurus?

pjkad said:
There is no question for me that loosing a few pounds will help, but the role of the wheelset in my enjoyment is the question. Its amazing me the range of opinions on whether the K's are marketing hype and resulting perception...or whether they really are a good step up from Open P's. The naysayers come out with their comments when the question is asked. But there are a lot of these sold, and lots of good reviews. I'm still torn...any other opinions from happy K owners or Speed Dreamers?
i am thinking about the same type upgrade and i weigh a little less (190 and dropping to 185ish), but i am still a heavyweight around this board. since i don't know much about the speed dreams, i had narrowed it down to either the eurus, the Ksyriums SLs, the Bontrager race x lites, or just getting new OP 32 spoke rims laced up on a pair of DA 7700 hubs.

i wonder if you looked at the camp and bontrage and eliminated them and if so why? also, i have been told (by guys who want to sell me new wheels) that any of the lower spoke count new wheels would be WAY lighter, especially uphill, than the DA/OP 32 spoke option. does anyone know what the DA/OP 32 spokes wheels actually weigh? the campy eurus are suposed to be 690/860.
 

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lostrancosrd said:
i am thinking about the same type upgrade and i weigh a little less (190 and dropping to 185ish), but i am still a heavyweight around this board. since i don't know much about the speed dreams, i had narrowed it down to either the eurus, the Ksyriums SLs, the Bontrager race x lites, or just getting new OP 32 spoke rims laced up on a pair of DA 7700 hubs.

i wonder if you looked at the camp and bontrage and eliminated them and if so why? also, i have been told (by guys who want to sell me new wheels) that any of the lower spoke count new wheels would be WAY lighter, especially uphill, than the DA/OP 32 spoke option. does anyone know what the DA/OP 32 spokes wheels actually weigh? the campy eurus are suposed to be 690/860.
I think the DA/OP's 3x DB spokes and brass nipples will run you about 775/975 without skewers or rim tape give or take.
 

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PaulCL said:
Go to your LBS and ask him how much he would charge to build up a wheelset on sun venus rims (like Dave) Sapim X-Ray spokes onto the hub of your choice. I really would go for a few more spokes than the 20/28 combo of the speeddreams. I know riding a set of handbuilt LBS wheels may not be as sexy as the K's or speeddreams but I think you would be happier in the long run. And have a few extra bucks in your pocket.

I'll never buy boutique wheels again. If you have a problem, the hassle of returning them is too much. IMHO.

Paul
(Dave quit using Venus rims a while back due to quality issues).
I wouldn't trust an LBS hack to build a set of wheels for me if they were free. I have yet to see one who had the time or knowledge to build a good wheel. The closer to the edge you try to get with performance the more important the build and materials become. I know people will likely say they got great wheels built at whatever shop, but unless you are lucky enough to live near one of that half dozen shops you are going to get complete crap.

I think Ksyriums are overweight and overhyped, but that doesn't mean they aren't nice wheels, just with a little research you can do better for less. I think Ksyrium are a good wheel for heavy or wheel basher type riders, but if you go for them I would look at buying overseas since they are usually less expensive that way (although the gap has closed rapidly with the demolition of the dollar).
 

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Quality issues with Venus??

That's no surprise. My venus/speedream problems:
8 months old: nipple eyelets crack on rear wheel. Replaced both wheels. $40 shipping
2 years old: front wheel nipple eyelet pulls all the way through the rim. Of course, I'm 35 miles from home. Crawl home. $40 shipping plus shop charge plus rim cost since out of warranty.

Hit "boulder" that killed rear wheel. cost of shipping plus build plus rim cost.

Got run off road by hillbilly...trash my 4th rear wheel. Screw it. Had LBS build great rear wheel. I guess I have one of those great LBS's near me. For the record its "Soul Ride" in Taylor Mill, KY just outside of Cincinnati. Rick builds a great wheel. I'm thinking about paying him to build up a second set just to have around.

To say the least...Dave hated to hear my voice on the phone. Fault?? Who cares? I'd say that the rims were a problem. They are too fragile. Maybe my riding weight of 185+ was too big. I don't know. A couple of compliments though: Dave is great to work with. Great warranty. Fast turnaround. The wheels worked when I NEEDED them too - on two trips to Colorado and a couple of other major riding vacations. I just got tired of sending them to Dave and paying through the a** for shipping. Not his fault, just a pain.

Paul
 

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What do DA/OP's weigh?

lostrancosrd said:
i have been told (by guys who want to sell me new wheels) that any of the lower spoke count new wheels would be WAY lighter, especially uphill, than the DA/OP 32 spoke option. does anyone know what the DA/OP 32 spokes wheels actually weigh? the campy eurus are suposed to be 690/860.
Custom wheels are just that - custom. The problem is that since you can get a reasonably light, somewhat sturdy set of wheels already built out of a box, people have gotten lazy. So the majority of regular Shimano/Campy hub on OP wheelsets are pretty unimaginative and end up being heavier than they need to be.

The regular set you are referring to, using DA 7700 hubs, 14/15 DB spokes, brass nips and 32 hole OP's would weigh in at about 1740 grams without the skewers. Not bad, but not as light as super-set out of the box (at least the claimed weight).

Now if you start working with a real custom builder, things get interesting. If I was going to make a set like that, I would use Sapim Laser 14/17 spokes, alloy nipples, and bring the spoke count on the front wheel down to 28, leaving the rear wheel at 32 spokes. Now you are looking at 1590 grams. Swap out the Mavics for some Velocity Aeroheads, or DT R 1.1's and you have it down to about 1570 grams. These would still be ok for everyday use.

Try the IRD Cadence rims, and you're down to 1530 grams, although I'm not sure they are as reliable as the DT's or Velocity's. Using Campy? You're in luck - their rear hubs are significantly lighter - the same pair with the Velocity or DT rims on Record hubs would weigh in at 1510 grams, or 1470 grams with the IRD's!!

Want fewer spokes? Well that means you'll have to go outside Shimano/Campy for the hubs. Put the Velocity's on some American Classic hubs with 24f/28r spokes, and you are looking at 1420 grams. But of course, now you are talking about a "special occasion" wheel and not something for everyday training.

What I am basically saying is that you can have your "normal" wheelset without having it weigh as much as an anchor. It just takes a good builder and not buying the cheapest wheels you can find with the hubs and rims you want.
 

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dave,

thanks for all of the info. i took a look at the listed weight of the DAs + OPs and come up with 1400 plus nipples and spokes - so if the spokes and nipples could be had for less than 200 gms, i get to the same 1590 that you do. what i don't get is why everyone seems to think that the DA/OP is such an inferior & heavier option thatn the Ks, race x lights? in fact, it seems to me that the lower spoke count wheels might have heavier rims and thus the weight is distributed farther from the center of the wheel which would be worse.

am i missing something or is the big advantage to the Ks and x-lites mainly the coolness/new-toy factor (which i completely understand since these bikes are toys anyway).

lastly anyone know a good wheel builder in the SF/Palo alto area that they would recommend?
 

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My $.02

I've used a pair of Dave's wheels for about 30K miles now. I had them built up in 2000. Apart from a nipple coming loose (which he fixed FOC) they've been flawless. I've written a review on them on this site if you'd like to check it out.

FWIW, other posters have pointed out that neither of these will necessarily affect your ability to go faster per se, what you'll get when you have a second set of wheels is the easy ability to grap one pair (with a certain cassette ratio) for one type of ride while the other (with a second/different cassette ratio) for a different type of ride. I have multiple wheel sets just for that purpose and I love it. I'm also a bit of a wheel junkie.

Dave is a good guy with great cust. service. I'd buy his stuff again, but the more that I see of the factory stuff, the more I realize that it's pretty comprable to the hand-built stuff.

BT
 

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The numbers..

lostrancosrd said:
dave,

thanks for all of the info. i took a look at the listed weight of the DAs + OPs and come up with 1400 plus nipples and spokes - so if the spokes and nipples could be had for less than 200 gms, i get to the same 1590 that you do. what i don't get is why everyone seems to think that the DA/OP is such an inferior & heavier option thatn the Ks, race x lights? in fact, it seems to me that the lower spoke count wheels might have heavier rims and thus the weight is distributed farther from the center of the wheel which would be worse.

am i missing something or is the big advantage to the Ks and x-lites mainly the coolness/new-toy factor (which i completely understand since these bikes are toys anyway).

lastly anyone know a good wheel builder in the SF/Palo alto area that they would recommend?
Here's how I came up with the 1590 gram figure: DA 7700 hubs are 312g rear and 118g front (WITHOUT skewers). Sapim Lazer Spokes (similar to DT revolutions, but better) are about 155g in groups of 32, and around 135g in groups of 28, in normal 700c road bike lengths. Alloy nips are about 10g per wheel. The rims weigh right in at Mavic's claimed weight of 425g each (the same can't be said about Mavic's wheels). Add it all up, and you come up with 1590g.

I have personally weighed each of the components I listed on an electronic gram scale (with the exception of the IRD rims, which I haven't used). I also weigh all of the wheels I build to see how accurate this method is, and the wheels are usually within 10 grams of what I calculated before starting.

As far as the popularity of K's, etc., I think people either don't know any better or are just lazy. To get the wheels I am talking about, you need to contact a builder, decide what you want, etc., or learn to build 'em yourself. To get a pair of K's, you just call Performance and give them your AMEX number.

As far as a builder in SF, you might want to contact White Industries and see who builds their wheels. If you don't mind working with someone out of the area, Mike Garcia at Odds and Endos does great work here in FL.
 

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Don't forget to add in the weight of the rim strips, which you don't need with the Ksyrium SLs.

The 2004 SLs come in at 1500g with the Skewers if you believe Mavic.

How much do the custom wheels cost? All of this doesn't matter if you can get a discount on one and not the other though, and none of the wheels are really going to make you a hell of a lot faster. Silly argument, get whatever floats your boat and you can get a deal on.

Ben
 

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don't know a good bay area builder but would love to. i recently moved back here and though i'm 100% satisfied with dave thomas, it wouldn't hurt to know a local builder that i trusted as much as dave.
 
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