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Old 09-06-07, 10:29 AM   #1
cmyke
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The Big Boys (Mavic, Fulcrum, Zipp, etc.) vs. Everyone Else

I recently stumbled upon these Niobium 30 wheels, which don't look very impressive, but the weight savings are UNBEATABLE! Are these wheels as good, or better than Mavic, etc. etc? They're obviously much lighter (and cheaper!), but I haven't seen anything besides big names on any group rides I've been on. Is there a reason people steer away from the little guys?

The Niobium 30s alone save a full pound over my morbidly obese Ksyrium Equipes.
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Old 09-06-07, 10:44 AM   #2
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No first hand experience, but lots of guys swear by Mike Garcia wheels.
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Old 09-06-07, 11:02 AM   #3
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...lots of guys swear by Mike Garcia wheels.
Here's one guy that swears by them so far. I probably have 800 miles or so on mine now, but they are rock solid, lightweight and cheap (relatively speaking). I've done a number of crits on them and lots of extended team ride hammerfests. FWIW, I'm a pretty big guy (195lbs at 6'4"). Mike built me up a nice set of 1500 gram wheels using triple butted spokes and brass nips on the drive side. Be prepared to talk to him a long time on the phone to discuss riding style and options.
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Old 09-06-07, 11:07 AM   #4
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I am about to pull the trigger (pending approval by my financial adviser (my wife)) on a set from Mike Garcia, Niobium 30, Serenity Hubs, and Triple Butted spokes, weighing in at about 1450g and costing $480 shipped.

So I don't see how that can be worse than other $500 wheelsets... And I even get to pick the colors...

All black except for alternating Black/Blue nipples.
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Old 09-06-07, 11:21 AM   #5
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I recently stumbled upon these Niobium 30 wheels, which don't look very impressive, but the weight savings are UNBEATABLE! Are these wheels as good, or better than Mavic, etc. etc? They're obviously much lighter (and cheaper!), but I haven't seen anything besides big names on any group rides I've been on. Is there a reason people steer away from the little guys?

The Niobium 30s alone save a full pound over my morbidly obese Ksyrium Equipes.
Most of the guys I see on my occasional dive into group rides are riding Ultegra/OP's or Eastons...
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Old 09-06-07, 11:23 AM   #6
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I guess I should add, the reason they go for the big names is advertising and the LBS. They go with what they either sold or just comes on the bike...
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Old 09-06-07, 11:46 AM   #7
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I have just shy of 14K on my Garcia wheels (DT Swiss build). The front wheel has had one spoke replaced and has been trued once. Centuries, RR, crits, you name it. I only have one set of wheels.
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Old 09-06-07, 11:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cmyke View Post
I recently stumbled upon these Niobium 30 wheels, which don't look very impressive, but the weight savings are UNBEATABLE! Are these wheels as good, or better than Mavic, etc. etc? They're obviously much lighter (and cheaper!), but I haven't seen anything besides big names on any group rides I've been on. Is there a reason people steer away from the little guys?

The Niobium 30s alone save a full pound over my morbidly obese Ksyrium Equipes.
I've had a set for a couple of years. No problems. They are still completely true and straight.
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Old 09-06-07, 12:17 PM   #9
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I guess I should add, the reason they go for the big names is advertising and the LBS. They go with what they either sold or just comes on the bike...
Why did I have a Dr. Pepper with my lunch instead of Coke?
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Old 09-06-07, 12:30 PM   #10
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I am about to pull the trigger (pending approval by my financial adviser (my wife)) on a set from Mike Garcia, Niobium 30, Serenity Hubs, and Triple Butted spokes, weighing in at about 1450g and costing $480 shipped.

So I don't see how that can be worse than other $500 wheelsets... And I even get to pick the colors...

All black except for alternating Black/Blue nipples.
I don't see how that's worse than other $1000 wheelsets! That's what's confusing me... these things weigh 100g less than Fulcrum Racing 1s, but they cost $1000 less! What's the catch?
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Old 09-06-07, 12:52 PM   #11
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I don't see how that's worse than other $1000 wheelsets! That's what's confusing me... these things weigh 100g less than Fulcrum Racing 1s, but they cost $1000 less! What's the catch?
Mike Garcia isn't paying ProTour, Continental and Domestic Pro teams to use his wheels. That, and marketing costs, which raise the percieved value of the wheels. So he isn't losing any money through marketing his products the first way, and he isn't raising their profile by having Boonen ride on them either.
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Old 09-06-07, 01:05 PM   #12
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Yeah, if you have a similar profile with similar weight and materials, at 1/2 the price, there's really no comparison. Handbuilts are going to generally last much longer and are easier to maintain.

The point off the curve is CF, because they can be lighter and stronger, but the cost of entry is rough. The benefit is still really small anyway.

I think wheels are to cycling what clubs are to golfing. "OMG Fulcrum Zero is coming out in RED!!!" shaddup and ride
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Old 09-06-07, 02:00 PM   #13
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I think wheels are to cycling what clubs are to golfing. "OMG Fulcrum Zero is coming out in RED!!!" shaddup and ride
Hee hee, so true.

So, I've done a ton of research on these and a few other handbuilts. It seems a few people had their Mike Garcia's come out of true after a while, and a few others had to get their spokes re-tensioned after 100 miles. Is this commonplace, or are they still able to hold true "forever," like Mavic, etc. are known for?

I'm no clydesdale, weighing in at 145, so I'm not too worried about these things collapsing under me
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Old 09-06-07, 02:17 PM   #14
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Though I didn't find the thread with a quick search, I recall reading that some have had trouble getting in contact with Mike Garcia both before and after placing their orders. As fall approaches, I imagine wheel builders are not as busy as the late spring / early summer, however.
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Old 09-06-07, 02:27 PM   #15
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That would be JayC
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Old 09-06-07, 02:29 PM   #16
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So I just call him and say "make the wheels go!" and then they arrive in the mail?
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Old 09-06-07, 02:46 PM   #17
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Let us know how they work out. I have been looking for a racing clinchers.
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Old 09-06-07, 02:57 PM   #18
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I've never ridden any but I'm almost positive they're laterally stiff and vertically compliant.
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Old 09-06-07, 03:01 PM   #19
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I've never ridden any but I'm almost positive they're laterally stiff and vertically compliant.
And they climb like a monkey in a set of crampons, descend like a monkey in a set of crampons being dropped from a helicopter, handle corners like a prostitute, and accelerate like a particle in a particle accelerator that itself is just a tiny particle in a giant particle accelerator.
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Old 09-06-07, 03:19 PM   #20
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a few others had to get their spokes re-tensioned after 100 miles. Is this commonplace, or are they still able to hold true "forever," like Mavic, etc. are known for?
When I build my wheels, you don't need to touch them for thousands of miles. I've brought them back to my shop to check them over, and haven't had any problems with true or tension. I just use oil on the threads (no prep or lock). Everything is happy.
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Old 09-06-07, 04:00 PM   #21
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And they climb like a monkey in a set of crampons, descend like a monkey in a set of crampons being dropped from a helicopter, handle corners like a prostitute, and accelerate like a particle in a particle accelerator that itself is just a tiny particle in a giant particle accelerator.
I don't know what a crampon is, but that had me laughing quite loudly in a coffee shop
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Old 09-06-07, 04:03 PM   #22
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Me, with my superior styling experience (see here) says to get 'Big Boy' wheels because the stickers are prettier, and more people will recognize you, which will make you faster.

Plus, that's what I have, and you want to be like me.
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Old 09-06-07, 04:13 PM   #23
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I don't know what a crampon is, but that had me laughing quite loudly in a coffee shop
http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2007...-shootout.html
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