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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The title really says it all, but to expand upon it…

I have 2 bikes plus 1 extra wheelset (Mavic Aksiums (3k miles), FSA RD60 (2k miles), and Deore/Delgado Cross(6k miles)), and am wondering if I should drop some wheel weight and get something nicer to go on my better bike.

I don’t race, so the wheels would mainly be used for my longer weekend rides (60-120mi) and the occasional commute. I tend to ride dirt roads when I can, solo, and am seeking something fairly sturdy, probably 28/32h front and back. I’m 6’0”, 175# and can manage to flex the FSA wheels fairly easily. The Aksiums are a good bit stiffer, but heavier as well (I weighed them at about 2400g including rim tape, skewers, cassette.)

I know Ultegra/Open Pro is the default answer around these parts, but I’m wondering if they would provide that noticeable of a difference at around $275, or if I should be thinking more about savings my dollars a bit longer and getting something like White Industries or Chris King’s built up- if that could be done in the $600 range? I’m thinking this may give me a wheelset that will last a long time, and be worthy to put on any better frame I may get within the next 5 years.

Any “stock” wheels I should be looking at- like the Williams 30x, Hed Kermesse, etc?

As to rims, how many miles are people getting out of Open Pro’s, assuming not too much riding in nasty weather?

Thanks for all advice in advance.

Unsafe at Any Speed
456 Posts
I changed my Aksiums to Alexrims R400 on Ultegra hubs, 32 x3 spokes, homebuilt.
I have now done 3,000km on each of the two wheelsets.

The upgrade came to about an even exchange, price-wise. I decided to do it because running my commuter's old Alexrims DR13 (410 gram) - equipped wheels on my newer bike felt so good.

Total mass is down by some 200 grams. The rims are at least 250g lighter, the rest much the same. More but lighter spokes, maybe slightly heavier hubs.

200g is nothing to get very excited about, but the lighter rims (lower rotational mass) are definitely felt as a generally more responsive ride. Especially in the steering. Otherwise the bike is quieter at speed in wind, might ride a bit more comfortably, and does not feel more aerodynamically challenged.

A few months before switching to the homebuilt wheels, I tried Easton Orion's for a 20km trip. There was, again, a lighter and more responsive feel to the bike.

So I would say, yes even at the relatively modest price point of a set of OP's you will already find a noticeably different feel to your bike. An 'improvement' ? Depends - on how much it will cost, how you would perceive the change in terms of your personal taste, and so on. Try to borrow a pair of OP-equipped handbuilts for a trial run.

It is a subtle thing, but I tend to ride the bike more readily in the drops. Something to do with steering feel - wheels can modify the character of a bike sufficiently to have more far-reaching effects than that of purely lower mass.

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