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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 12-07-11, 03:01 PM   #1
Seattle Forrest
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Spendy vs affordable wheels ... and weight limits?

I need to replace my wheels pretty soon. The brake tracks are getting pretty concave. They're cheap wheels, and it doesn't make sense to rebuild them. I have a rain bike now, so I'm looking for "every dry day" wheels. I'm looking at two opposite ends of the spectrum, and hope people can share some useful advice.

Zipp 303 wheels are ideal except for their price. They're light weight, aero, fast, comfortable in terms of smoothing out the road buzz, and they felt comforting somehow, when I was using a borrowed pair. It was good to have them spinning underneath me. If I get the CX build, I'm very comfortably below their weight limit.

Boyd makes wheels with 24 and 38 mm rims; these are lighter than and about the same as the Zipps. A set of either is 1/3 the price of the Zipps. I'm over the weight limit of the 24s and just barely over the limit of the 38s, and realistically may gain a bit more before that trend reverses in the spring. Boyd suggested not buying their wheels because he can't guarantee they'll be trouble free for years. Of course, I could replace them twice and break even...

So how do I make up my mind? Apart from my weight, I do a lot of climbing, which stresses the rear wheel. Otherwise I mostly ride gently. How can I get some idea how long a wheel set would last me? (I know that Zipp has better aerodynamics, but I don't think the difference will be huge for my purposes.) What types of issues might I face? How much risk is there of a crash from a wheel failure, vs something that would force me to retire them?
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Old 12-07-11, 04:22 PM   #2
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At just over 200 pounds our wheels will definitely last. We do have the 24/28 spoke count option which will increase the weight limit to right around 230 pounds for the 38mm tubulars. Above that and you really should be looking at a higher spoke count and for every day wheels an alloy set.

I believe we have emailed, but I did want to clear this up in case other people around the listed weight limit for the 20/24 option happened to be looking.
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Old 12-07-11, 04:28 PM   #3
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A friend of mine has a pair of the 303's and he really likes them. For what you are doing they sound like a really good compromise between light weight and aero. I've never used them so can't give you a real opinion of them. You might want to check out ENVE. They have no weight restrictions at all. I've heard a lot of great things about them and am pondering buying a set in the future.

I've crash more times than I care to remember and only broken one wheel. I've broken more wheels hitting pot-holes or rocks at high speed than from crashing. I broke a 30mm aluminum rim on a rock and a 40mm carbon rim on a pothole and one carbon rim in a crash. I'm not really sure you can attribute the last one to the crash. It was really destroyed when the tire rolled off the rim and it ground on the asphalt. Whether you destroy a wheel in a crash or not mostly just luck.
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Old 12-07-11, 09:41 PM   #4
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My LBS told me, based on my cycling desires (long rides, hills, not a racer), and my weight (210), they felt like they could build me a good set of wheels for $350 or so. Not with sexy King hubs or anything like that, but functional and long-lived. I am looking that way when I kill off the cheap wheelset I have on my BMC - not in a hurry, have a kid I'm paying tuition for that is walking up and down those Queen Anne and Ballard hills....

Maybe your LBS or someone local could do same?
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Old 12-08-11, 12:31 AM   #5
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Mavic Aksium Race 20 spoke/blades 830 grams front/980 grams rear

I've had them three years - 5000 miles with not a single problem - had them trued at 500 miles and have not had to adjust them since

235 to 210 pounds - strong rider - lots of climbing - lot of rough roads in Pierce and King county and San Diego County
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Old 12-08-11, 03:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by coachboyd View Post
At just over 200 pounds our wheels will definitely last. We do have the 24/28 spoke count option which will increase the weight limit to right around 230 pounds for the 38mm tubulars. Above that and you really should be looking at a higher spoke count and for every day wheels an alloy set.

I believe we have emailed, but I did want to clear this up in case other people around the listed weight limit for the 20/24 option happened to be looking.
Off topic, but a question to you if I may? You can reply or PM me - whichever?

I weigh 317lbs - trending downwards. On a trike with a 20" rear wheel (weight is 35% on rear) - for custom? how many spokes, etc to build it strong? Then, another rear wheel, on a bent, bout 65% weight on rear (TE clone) 700C, again the need for strong. Not worried about areo, or weight - I ride to ride, and for exercise - so the goal is built to really last for me - thoughts by chance?

No desire to hijack this good thread - couldn't resist~!
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Old 12-08-11, 08:05 AM   #7
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For 700c wheels, you can't go wrong with Velocity wheels - deep Vs, Dyads, or Chukkers would all do the job. I'm very happy with my Deep Vs. I'm 350 and went with 36 spokes Nd White Industries Cyclocross hubs. Tough as nails!
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Old 12-08-11, 11:14 AM   #8
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If you've got to have aero, I'll suggest that you should be looking at the Zipp 404 or something with a similar depth. I have 30mm deep wheels and can't tell that they make a bit of difference. Neither can my PowerTap. Perpetual BF curmudgeon PCad tried Williams System 38 carbon clinchers and, as I recall, didn't think they had as much aero benefit as he expected. I believe he recommended the System 58s or used Zipp 404s as a better alternative for those looking for aero benefits...

I do a decent amount of climbing, which is one of the reasons I haven't bothered to buy a set of carbon clinchers. Grinding uphill at 6-7mph just doesn't seem like the value proposition for an expensive wheel that's designed to be pace-lining at 20+mph. If I were you, I'd get someone to hand-build wheels. Go for a 27-30mm rim depth and Sapim CX-Ray spokes, so you can tell yourself you're getting some aero benefit. Go 20/24 or 24/28 so you're not constantly worried about breaking spokes. Pick reasonably light hubs and you could come in quite a bit lighter than the 303s. Or add a PowerTap hub and Garmin computer, and you're still way below the cost of the 303s and not too much heavier.
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Old 12-08-11, 11:20 AM   #9
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You might want to check out ENVE. They have no weight restrictions at all. I've heard a lot of great things about them and am pondering buying a set in the future.
I would love to have three different sets of Enve wheels. But not so much to pay for them, and I can't get anyone else to buy the wheels for me... Their spoke holes are part of the mold, so they aren't drilled in to the rim, which is pretty cool, and apparently part of their durability. Plus they're nice and aero, and all that. And $2,500 to more than $3,000!

On the other hand, the 24 mm Boyd wheels are 1,072 grams (front + rear) in tubular for $800. That's a fantastic value.

And the thought of spending so much (as Zipp or Enve charge) on rims bothers me when you wear them down with your brakes; they're long term disposables, but they're still like chains. I say this having eaten the brake track on my current wheels in a year and a half. Whichever I get should last longer because I won't ride these in the rain ... but the lower price is one I'll be happier with, for something I slowly destroy by using.
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Old 12-08-11, 09:08 PM   #10
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It's only money. I'd love three sets too. I don't know too much about the Boyd wheels. If you go that route you'll have to give us all some feedback. If you are worried about rim wear (even if you don't ride them in the rain) you might want to look at something like the Zipp 404 clincher with the aluminum brake strips. I would imagine they will last longer than a carbon brake surface.
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Old 12-09-11, 12:02 AM   #11
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I have campy Zondas 2 way fit on my new bike and older Zonda cliinchers on my rain bike at 6'4" 245. Can be had for about the price of the alloy Boyd's (that look nice). 1580g and I love the tubeless.
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Old 12-09-11, 09:59 AM   #12
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If you are worried about rim wear (even if you don't ride them in the rain) you might want to look at something like the Zipp 404 clincher with the aluminum brake strips. I would imagine they will last longer than a carbon brake surface.
I'm not really worried that one rim will wear (braking surface) faster than others ... but knowing they all wear out makes me not want to pay too much for rims.

My LBS recommended that I steer away from the Zipps with carbon rims and alu brake tracks. They tell me these are older wheels, from the era when Zipp was still figuring things out. They said that you can't just replace the alu strip and keep the rims. And they said the newer ones that are one piece are probably better for larger riders - although the guy was guessing about this part. ( Also, I want tubulars. )
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Old 12-09-11, 11:09 AM   #13
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My LBS recommended that I steer away from the Zipps with carbon rims and alu brake tracks. They tell me these are older wheels, from the era when Zipp was still figuring things out.
That era would be: last year. The Firecrest may be the hot aero shape these days, but it isn't that much better than Zipp's recent pre-Firecrest designs. Unless you're a top-level criterium racer, my guess is that you won't notice the difference...
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Old 12-09-11, 12:13 PM   #14
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I borrowed a set of 303s from LBS that were a few years old. They were entirely carbon, including the brake surface. Unless clinchers had a different history, I don't think it's just last year that they made the change over. But it's kind of a moot point, since I'll be getting whatever I wind up on from the friendly local bike shop. I don't know that they could get the older alu braking wheels even if I wanted them.
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Old 12-09-11, 01:52 PM   #15
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I borrowed a set of 303s from LBS that were a few years old. They were entirely carbon, including the brake surface. Unless clinchers had a different history, I don't think it's just last year that they made the change over.
They must have been tubulars? My understanding, based on reading Zipp's website, is that the Firecrest wheels were the first all-carbon clinchers they've offered. To quote the 404 Firecrest page:

Quote:
Our first full-carbon clincher wheelset, the 404 Carbon Clincher has been described as the most heavily anticipated wheelset of all time.
Prior to the Firecrest launch (mid-2010?), all of their carbon clinchers used aluminum brake tracks I believe. I've never been interested in dealing with the hassles of tubulars, so I'll admit I haven't paid attention to what Zipp has been doing with them...
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