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  1. #1
    Senior Member RoboIsGod's Avatar
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    Non-carbon tubular race wheels?

    I'm planning on building a set of alloy tubulars to race on for next season and I'd like to explore all of my options. HED Belgium's look to be the best choice as far as I can tell. Only drawback is they don't come in lower than 24h, and ideally I'd like a 20h for the front. I was also looking at the Velocity Major Tom's, but it seems like people only ride these for cross.
    Any suggestions/advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    zipp 404's
    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

  3. #3
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    I contacted psimet with a similar request earlier this fall and he steered me in the direction of clinchers with nice tires/latex tubes. He said ride quality is very comparable. I ended up going with pacenti sl23s laced to WI hubs.
    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    it depends

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    Not sure of your motivation for aluminum rims so I'm taking a guess here.

    If you're spending some significant coin you could get a set of used carbon wheels. Street price on a normal width rim wheel set is pretty low last time I checked, especially light, stiff wheels like the Reynolds DV46 or similar (Assault? Too many Reynolds wheels for me to keep track of). DV46 tubulars are so low valued that I lent mine to a teammate instead of selling them for the $400 or so I could get for them, and he's still on them (they're 8 years old now). I sold a set of DV46 clinchers for $450. Those are some light wheels, pretty fast, just not as aero as the latest tall/wide wheels, but significantly more responsive than box or semi-aero aluminum wheels. Back in the DV46 days I had a slew of box alum tubulars as well as box alum clinchers and finally other aero wheels (Spinergy Rev-X, Specialized TriSpoke aka HED3, older Zipp 440).

    If you want aluminum for some other reason then ignore what I just said
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  5. #5
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    is "lending" how you define T never paying you?
    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    it depends

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    Senior Member RoboIsGod's Avatar
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    My motivation for aluminum over carbon is mainly price. I can build up a nice set of wheels for a fraction of what it would cost for a carbon set. Ease of repair/replacement is also a factor. If I crash and need to re-build a wheel it will be way, way cheaper. The only thing I'm really losing here is some possible aerodynamics, which even at the elite amatuer level isn't going to be winning you any races.
    Oh yeah, and descending in the rain on carbon wheels is f'ing terrifying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
    is "lending" how you define T never paying you?
    Haha! No, T paid me for the clinchers, he was good.

    SOC races the DV46 tubulars. Ironically I borrowed back the front wheel twice when I flatted or had problems with my front wheel just before races and I only had my training wheels as spares (which is why I bring two sets of race wheels to races now).
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  8. #8
    formerly dnuzzomueller dz_nuzz's Avatar
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    What happened with getting 303s!?
    I don't like cats.

  9. #9
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboIsGod View Post
    The only thing I'm really losing here is some possible aerodynamics, which even at the elite amatuer level isn't going to be winning you any races.
    Careful now. Think about that the next time you expend too much effort bridging and don't have enough for the finish, or you get nipped at the line at 38mph, or the pack finally catches you in the last 100m.

  10. #10
    In the Pain Cave thechemist's Avatar
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    Unless you need 11speed I would hunt around for some carbon tubulars. The price really has plummeted and you may shocked at what you can afford.

  11. #11
    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    In the past two years, I've bought two sets of carbon tubulars for less than what you would pay for some aluminums.

    $500 for a set of Zipp 404s used by a triathlete that are in great shape. Came with Vittoria tires and an Ultegra cassette with many miles left in them.

    $600 for a set of Reynolds DV46 with a box of Mastic tubes, two brand new, uninstalled GP4000 tires, two lightly used GP4000 tires glued on and a new, pre-glued Conti Sprinter to carry as an emergency replacement on training rides.

    Both sets of wheels were in great shape and had seen little use when I got them. In fact, I'm riding the Reynolds full time now.

  12. #12
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboIsGod View Post
    The only thing I'm really losing here is some possible aerodynamics, which even at the elite amatuer level isn't going to be winning you any races.
    I wouldn't be so blasé about it. Do you think it would hold you back if you had to have your handlebars six inches above your saddle? Of course it would. The difference from wheels is obviously waaaay smaller, but bike races are routinely won or lost by inches. There are higher priorities (I'm not on very aero wheels), but it's not something to sneer at.

  13. #13
    coffee-stained punk hammy56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    I wouldn't be so blasé about it. Do you think it would hold you back if you had to have your handlebars six inches above your saddle? Of course it would. The difference from wheels is obviously waaaay smaller, but bike races are routinely won or lost by inches. There are higher priorities (I'm not on very aero wheels), but it's not something to sneer at.
    this is bf.

  14. #14
    In the Pain Cave thechemist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    I wouldn't be so blasé about it. Do you think it would hold you back if you had to have your handlebars six inches above your saddle? Of course it would. The difference from wheels is obviously waaaay smaller, but bike races are routinely won or lost by inches. There are higher priorities (I'm not on very aero wheels), but it's not something to sneer at.
    Nice

  15. #15
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechemist View Post
    Nice
    One big win for autocorrect on iOS devices: you get diacritic marks so easily!

  16. #16
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Non-carbon tubular race wheels? Is it the 1980's again? I have a set of Mavic GEL280s with Campy C-Record hubs. Unfortunately it is hard to find race worthy freewheels to screw onto the rear wheel.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  17. #17
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    I have non-carbon tubular race wheels for cyclo-cross, but the performance delta between tubulars and clinchers is much larger in that discipline. On the road, I don't know. I might splurge on some latex tubes this year.

  18. #18
    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    I have non-carbon tubular race wheels for cyclo-cross, but the performance delta between tubulars and clinchers is much larger in that discipline. On the road, I don't know. I might splurge on some latex tubes this year.
    I think I'm going to rip a set of cross tires off and glue up the widest tires i can fit on my road bike for a gravel road race or 2, but I've done it with 25 mm clinchers and it was fine. Well, my hands were completely numb at the end, but I didn't flat. Running at 85 psi sounds like a much better plan.

    It doesn't seem like this is really in line with what the op is looking for though. And if it is, you can find used sets of 32 spoke box section mediocre hubbed wheels for under 250 on ebay all day long.
    Do you think we're gonna make it? / I don't know unless we try \ you could sit here scared to move / or we could take them by surprise

  19. #19
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    First question is why do you want to move to tubulars?

    Other options can hit some of the marks you might be looking for.

    Building a set of aluminum tubular wheels will probably cost more than buying a set of generic carbon. Dollar per dollar you're going to get better performance out of the carbon.

    In the rain change pads to Kool Stop salmon. Carbon rims aren't much better or worse in the wet than some aluminum rims. Pads make a huge difference.

  20. #20
    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    First question is why do you want to move to tubulars?

    Other options can hit some of the marks you might be looking for.
    In before tubeless wheel plug.
    Do you think we're gonna make it? / I don't know unless we try \ you could sit here scared to move / or we could take them by surprise

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    i'm just here, as a super huge wheel & tire geek, to say that of many wheel sets i am lucky to have the one that puts the biggest smile on my face is a set of old school ambrosio nemesis tubular rims with a set of 28c paris-roubaix tires glued on.

    they used to be the pro-tour choice for the cobbled classics.

    magic carpet.

    probably not so pertinent to the OP's question ('cept that they ARE aluminum tubulars and can be considered race wheels....which is a coho that is not so easy to find these days), but i just had to bring 'em up.

  22. #22
    Senior Member RoboIsGod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    First question is why do you want to move to tubulars?

    Other options can hit some of the marks you might be looking for.

    Building a set of aluminum tubular wheels will probably cost more than buying a set of generic carbon. Dollar per dollar you're going to get better performance out of the carbon.

    In the rain change pads to Kool Stop salmon. Carbon rims aren't much better or worse in the wet than some aluminum rims. Pads make a huge difference.
    I raced on a set of Amer. Classic 44mm tubulars last season. I train and do all of my normal riding on clinchers. There is definitely a noticeable difference on the tubulars, which I feel is worth it enough to use them for racing again.

    I work at a bike shop and therefore get good deals on gear. Let me tell you, the cheapest set of race worthy carbon tub's I can get cost about $1000. On the other hand, a nice set of alloy tubular wheels that I can build by hand would cost around half of that.

    KS Salmon's are great. That is if you're using alloy rims. Carbon rims need specific pads, but regardless will still break poorly in wet conditions. This is ubiquitous, even something experienced in the pro peleton.

  23. #23
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Had a set of Nemisis, and built up some Crono's on AC hub with Sapim spokes. 1200g. Still have some Mavic Reflex stuff for the track.

    I had cars with carburetors too

    Robo, you can get 50mm Gigantex rims on Novatec hubs all day long for $500 or less. They will be lighter, stiffer, and have better aerodynamics then any alloy tubular you can build for that price.

    And salmon pads work well on carbon in the rain. I sort of know this because I sort of won a crit in the rain on them, and did a lot of descending on wet carbon rims in races over the years. I even got snowed on once.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 12-14-13 at 12:33 AM.

  24. #24
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wens View Post
    In before tubeless wheel plug.
    Yeah, there's that too.

    But WTF do I know. I only have 500+ races and have owned prolly 40-50 different wheel sets in that time, some of which I built from scratch. I need to hang around a bike shop and get me some learnin.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
    i'm just here, as a super huge wheel & tire geek, to say that of many wheel sets i am lucky to have the one that puts the biggest smile on my face is a set of old school ambrosio nemesis tubular rims with a set of 28c paris-roubaix tires glued on.

    they used to be the pro-tour choice for the cobbled classics.

    magic carpet.

    probably not so pertinent to the OP's question ('cept that they ARE aluminum tubulars and can be considered race wheels....which is a coho that is not so easy to find these days), but i just had to bring 'em up.
    A couple of months back in the road cycling marketplace subforum, someone had a set of Ambrosio Nemesis/DA7800 wheels for sale for $300 w/tires. I almost bought them just to have them.
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

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