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Old 11-20-05, 03:22 PM   #1
TallRider
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which rim to build up with Campy rear 9-spd hub?

My brother has a Campy Mirage-equipped bike, and has 15,000 miles on the thing and his rear rim is cracking all over the place. The bearings in the Mirage hub, however, are perfect. Honestly.
So over Christmas I'm going to build him up a new rear wheel. I'm going with DT 14/15/14 spokes and brass nipples, but am still trying to settle on rims.

Campy rear hubs result in a more highly-dished rear wheel than Shimano rear hubs of the same spacing.
My brother likes to go fast, but he doesn't race and he's hard on equipment, even though he's only 160 pounds or so.

My first thought was a Mavic MA3 - relatively inexpensive, supposedly durable and aimed toward touring/cyclocross/training. I'd get the non-anodized version. But I've heard lots of bad things about the MA3 - high failure rate with the single eyelets just cracking through. This might be compounded by the drive side on a Campy hubbed-wheel needing to be pretty tight.
Also, the machined braking surface isn't as durable as smooth aluminum, though this would be irrelevant if the rim cracked at an eyelet first.

My second thought is a Sun M13II - technically OEM rims, but can be found pretty cheap in many places. The word is that they're very durable, with classic polished aluminum design, pinned (not welded) construction and no machining of the braking surface. They're also a bit lower on the quality control end, not in ways that affect the durability, but the rim joint can pick up brake-pad residue. Overall perhaps a better choice for my brother.

Other options would be off-center rims, such as those from Ritchey or Velocity's Aerohead. These would make sense with a Campy rear hub, but might be overkill if the Sun M13II would do the trick. What do you knowledgeable people think?

Last edited by TallRider; 05-10-06 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 11-20-05, 03:32 PM   #2
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I've used sun rims, and they are quite durable, though a pin to build due to hops at the seam.
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Old 11-20-05, 03:58 PM   #3
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My first pick would be a Mavic Open Pro. I feel like that's the standard rim to which everything else is compared.

If you're looking for a less costly rim, I'd try a Sun ME14A. It's a reasonably priced welded seam rim.
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Old 11-20-05, 04:43 PM   #4
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I'd pick the Open Pro ahead of Ma3; I've not heard bad things about the OP's durability. But it's a fair bit more expensive. A welded rim seam isn't necessary, but it does add to cost. Which isn't to say that the OP is a bad rim, but it costs more than it needs to. I don't think that the OP is the gold standard - it's good, but its ubiquity is what makes people think it's the best. I don't think that its ubiquity is due to its being the best, however.

As an aside, I wouldn't expect a Retro Grouch to espouse a rim with welded seam and machined sidewalls... what gives?
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Old 11-20-05, 05:07 PM   #5
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What about a CPX33? Welded, machined, blah blah, V-profile for good strength, eyelets to spread out the stress.

If he turns in 15000 miles at a go on that bike, I'd tend not to look at the up-front cost of the "right" rim for the job, whatever it might be. One wheel rebuild from using a poorly-suited rim will negate the savings.
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Old 11-20-05, 05:51 PM   #6
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A second on the CXP33. I had a pair of wheels with CXP33 rims on Dura Ace Hubs and Wheelsmith XL14 spokes, 32 hole 3X, that were over 28,000 miles old when I retired them because I was worried that the rims were going to crack from brake track wear. Note that I was concerned they "were going to fail". They didn't actually fail in all that time and needed no truing. Good rims.
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Old 11-20-05, 07:08 PM   #7
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Here is a vote for the Velocity Aerohead OC. If you shop around, you can find them for a good price, and definitely cheaper than Mavic Open Pros. Quite a durable rim and the OC makes for a nice build with the dishing.
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Old 11-20-05, 08:20 PM   #8
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It's hard to go wrong with just about any Sun, Velocity, or Mavic rim. Considering your brothers weight, there is no reason to go killer strong (and heavy) such as the CXP33 or Velocity Deep V. I'm a fan of the OC Aerohead, assuming you can find one for a reasonable price. They weigh a true 405 grams unlike the non-offset version which weighs almost 460 grams. For spokes, 14/15's are great on the drive side rear but are too heavy for the non-drive side where the tension is much lower. I actually think that a stronger wheel will result using thinner 15/16 spokes on the non-drive side since low tension there will stretch them more than 14/15's - stretching the spokes keeps tension on the nipples so they don't loosen.

Hope this helps.

Good luck.

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Last edited by Nessism; 11-20-05 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 11-20-05, 09:35 PM   #9
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Then, would the MA3 likely not be a problem for a 160# rider, on a highly dished rear wheel? I like the Aerohead OC, but part of me is thinking of the probability that my brother crashes and trashes his wheels, which is pretty high (he was voted by his high school class as the "most likely to die by 25") and don't want to put too much money into the wheel - I'm leaning toward just going with the Sun M13II for that reason - I trust their durability more than the Mavic MA3, plus they're not very expensive.

When I build nice wheels for myself eventually, I may go with the Mavic CXP33, though part of me would like to go with an OC rear rim. I looked over the reviews of the CXP33 at roadbikereview.com and they were consistently praising the rim, which isn't the case with either the Open Pro or the MA3. Thanks to all who commented on the CXP33 here, putting it on my radar screen.

It's interesting that the OC aerohead is so much ligher than the centered version of the rim, given that the OC will only be used on the rear wheel, which experiences much higher stresses.

Last edited by TallRider; 11-20-05 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 11-20-05, 10:03 PM   #10
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I've only built one set of wheels with MA3's myself, but they didn't impress me during building. "Soft" is the word that comes to mind.
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