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  1. #1
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    quality of road rims

    I am thinking of building some more road wheels and wonder if there is a general consensus on what are the best rims. I have used Velocity they seem to have a great reputation others like Kinlin and even DT Swiss how do they stack up, and are there other rims? I never really thought much about all the rims around but wonder what the considered the best. I am thinking in terms of solid aluminum rims going for a standard wheelset. Nothing huge for aero or the opposite trying to build something so light that it may not hold well. I guess an all around rim for training and even racing. What are the top choices?

  2. #2
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    it's a little tough to say what's best, but i can say that i have built and ridden (2000 miles) on a couple sets of kinlin xr-200 rims. both sets built up nicely with 28 hole shimano 600 hubs, wheelsmith DB 15/18ga spokes abd alloy nipples. about 1500gm. surprisingly stiff. note that the V portion of the rim is very, very thin. not surprising as how they are among the lightest alloy clincher rims out there. i've found them great for climbing.

    i wouldn't be surprised if they are NOT the highest quality rims available, but they ARE inexpensive and so far i am satisfied.

    note: i weigh 150 and run SS.

  3. #3
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    There is no concensus as to which rim is best or there would be only one model being sold. MY preference is for Mavic CXP-33. They aren't the lightest rim available but they are very durable (like 30,000 miles on one pair) reasonably light, extremely strong and modestly aero. An excellent compromise.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Mavic, DT and KinLin make excellent super lightweights...

    My ranking:

    1. DT Swiss (RR 415 and R 450) Their quality control is superbe!!!
    1a. Mavic (Open Pro and CXP-33) They slip once in awhile...
    1b. KinLin (XR-300, XR-19W) They also slip once in awhile...

    2. Velocity (Aerohead) Just as good as Mavic and KinLin
    3. Many others...

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

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  5. #5
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Mavic, DT and KinLin make excellent super lightweights...

    My ranking:

    1. DT Swiss (RR 415 and R 450) Their quality control is superbe!!!
    1a. Mavic (Open Pro and CXP-33) They slip once in awhile...
    1b. KinLin (XR-300, XR-19W) They also slip once in awhile...

    2. Velocity (Aerohead) Just as good as Mavic and KinLin
    3. Many others...

    =8-)
    I'm with you on DT. If you're going to go to all the trouble to build a wheel, it might as well be a fine one. Built a number of the new HED Belgiums and they have been perfect so far, as well.

  6. #6
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    All of these mentioned are good rims. It comes down to what you want, and even then there is a lot of overlap between brands. I myself rebuilt an Easton Ascent rear about 3 years ago with a Velocity Aerohead OC rim (just like the original rim) and I haven't had to give it another thought. Light, stiff, and a smooth hub. And not a wobble in the three years either, which is amazing considering the skill of the builder (that would be me). All the others would give you the same.

  7. #7
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    I hope this doesn't hi-jack the OP's thread, but while we're on the topic of light rims... Anyone know of some of the lightest readily available clincher rims? I weigh 135 and I feel like most of my wheels are way overbuilt.

    I've had good luck with Kinlin XR-200s (390g) and I have an old Araya CTL-370 (380g?) laced up to the original Suntour GPX hub which also makes for a rather light wheel. I haven't really found any other sub-400g clincher rims.
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  8. #8
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    Another vote for Mavics. I have the CXP-21's that came with my bike when it was new. They've been holding up great under a clyde for 12 years now.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  9. #9
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    for the OP, I have put tons of miles on my dt 415 (used to be 1.1's until i crashed in a race and rebuilt) over the past 3 years and love them. the 465 is good too, but heavier. The mavic open pro is also an awesome rim which i have built for a few customers, and they seem to love them. either way you cant go wrong.

  10. #10
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    The question is meaningless without your weight.

    If you seek to optimise the mass/durability tradeoff, where do you think the lion's share can come from?

    A lot of bike stuff is engineered for a rider up to 100kg or so.

    Oh yeah, off-centre spoke holes on the rear makes for a free lunch.

  11. #11
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    I am 6'2 and 175 with current Velocity OCR for the rear works great. I just got to looking at the Dt Swiss and the 415 looks like a nice rim.

  12. #12
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    If you're talking Aeroheads I'd say you're pretty much there already, at 175lbs... depending on spoke count. I'd want something like 32/24 if I was you, I reckon. A 32h Aerohead OC seems spot-on for a hi-po all-round rear under that weight; that rim is pretty light.

    But for the front, where aerodynamics matter, I'm not sure a low spoke count counts nearly as much as a rim that gives you a 3:1 profile. And folks say you want a rim as wide as your tyre to be aero these days...

    So the best advice I can give is forget about a matched wheelset, and just integrate as many worthwhile features as lightly as you can afford. I suspect bladed and/or straight pull spokes are firmly in the realm of diminishing returns, but it might be worth having blades on the front.

  13. #13
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    Strength/lightness/price.

    Pick the two you absolutely need and sacrifice the 3rd quality . All life is compromise.
    '74 Raleigh Carlton Competition w/ Ultegra | '97 Trek 720 Singletrack CX-er w/ 105 | '64 Raleigh LTD-3 modernized w/ all alloy components |'69 Raleigh Twenty | '54 Raleigh Sports

  14. #14
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    The thing to remember though, is there are other sources of compromise you can seek to eliminate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    I hope this doesn't hi-jack the OP's thread, but while we're on the topic of light rims... Anyone know of some of the lightest readily available clincher rims? I weigh 135 and I feel like most of my wheels are way overbuilt.

    I've had good luck with Kinlin XR-200s (390g) and I have an old Araya CTL-370 (380g?) laced up to the original Suntour GPX hub which also makes for a rather light wheel. I haven't really found any other sub-400g clincher rims.
    Stans Alpha 340's are advertised at 359g. Lightest clincher I've seen but I don't have any experience with them. Probably won't either as they are a bit over $100. With my somewhat limited experience the XR-200s are doing the job very well so far.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I've always had good experiences with Sun rims.

    As for lightweight clinchers, it's difficult to maintain strength below 400gm. I've had much better weight-reductions using tubulars. Saavedra tubular rims (heat-treated 7000-series aluminium) can be had in the 180-240gm range and are stronger than 400gm clinchers. Laced with 24/28h hubs and sub-200gm slick tyres and you're at 1-lb lighter per wheel than equivalent clinchers of similar strength. That's like saving 4-lbs off the bike or rider. The lightweight front-end steers telepathically, I almost crashed off the inside of the 1st turn in a crit because it turned in so quickly and sharply.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 05-15-12 at 04:15 PM.

  17. #17
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Saavedra tubular rims (heat-treated 7000-series aluminium) can be had in the 180-240gm range and are stronger than 400gm clinchers.
    O_o

    I ran tubulars on the street for a while... not keen to ever consider it again.

    /remembers

    Hmm, wait... how's the puncture resistance these days?

  18. #18
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    Just get some lew palermo carbon tubular rims. No compromise right?
    '74 Raleigh Carlton Competition w/ Ultegra | '97 Trek 720 Singletrack CX-er w/ 105 | '64 Raleigh LTD-3 modernized w/ all alloy components |'69 Raleigh Twenty | '54 Raleigh Sports

  19. #19
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    stans suck! too much $$$ for a very flexy (yes they are light) rim- trust the guys who have been doing it for decades and who win pro races. id say while your not a "big guy" by most standards you do weigh more than the little guy who can ride whatever he wants. The 415 from dt is probably still a good choice ( i have built 2 sets of 28h 3x for a guy your size and he loves them, and they have lasted for 4+ years) but the 465 (i routinely beat the crap out of it as its my training rim) is also light and probably more durable for a larger rider IMO.

  20. #20
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    465g seems like a good weight for an all-round rear rim for someone around 80-90kg... and 415g would be good on the front.

    The lack of front-rear specific rim sets says to me there's room for improvement there, both for companies to lift their game, and folks building custom wheelsets to spec less compromise.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Some of us have had Mavic OpenPros crack around the eyelets, so they are off my list.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  22. #22
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    I seem to be seeing some folks lately saying eyelets don't really do the job they're meant to...

    Having brass on brass (or whatever) instead of ally must still be nice on high-tension wheels, but the eyelets don't seem to do a real flash job spreading the load; the slightly larger holes in the rim probably aren't a good thing too.

  23. #23
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    What?
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  24. #24
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    I seem to be seeing some folks lately saying eyelets don't really do the job they're meant to...

    Having brass on brass (or whatever) instead of ally must still be nice on high-tension wheels, but the eyelets don't seem to do a real flash job spreading the load; the slightly larger holes in the rim probably aren't a good thing too.
    Eyelets do do the job they're intended to do...just that for the super lightweights with very thin walls - they're a time buying measure...nothing more...

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

    Disclaimer:

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    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
    I am thinking of building some more road wheels and wonder if there is a general consensus on what are the best rims. I have used Velocity they seem to have a great reputation others like Kinlin and even DT Swiss how do they stack up, and are there other rims?
    Kinlin ERD is all over the map - I measured three XR300s at 578mm round, 579.5 round, and 578 x 579.5 oval; I've never had a tighter rim (it wasn't possible to combine Kinlin XR300s, Continental GP4 Seasons, and Velox rim tape without using tire levers to get them on); and they don't build with as uniform tension as other rims.

    I guess an all around rim for training and even racing. What are the top choices?
    I'll probably try a set of Velocity Fusions next.

    The HED C2s look nice but only come in black and I wonder if they'll remain available when wheel fashions change like rims from companies which do more component sales.

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