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  1. #1
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Campy Vento wheels for Clydesdales

    Just a report - My red racer came with Campy Vento wheels. I had SERIOUS doubts about their suitability to my 260# stature because of the wheel's skimpy spoke count and some radial lacing. So far, I've been putting a steady 20 miles/day on them (and my 55 mile "ride your age" sortie). Despite potholes, occasional off-pavement detours, and one curb-hop (unexpected, but necessary) the wheels are true and round!!! I'm not ready to say that Jobst Brandt was wrong, but Campagnolo has certainly found a way to make the Ventos much stronger than they look!

    The original 23 mm Continental tires had to go, though - one had the wire bead poke through the rubber molding and puncture the tube. The other Continental pulled a section of bead out of the rim hook - although the tire didn't blow, it could have... I replaced the tires with some Specialized stuff from the LBS (same 23 mm width). So far so good!

    Although the Campy Ventos are over four pounds (too heavy for "serious" racers), they seem to be both cool looking and sturdy enough for me!

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    Jobst knows what he'd talking about and I've tested it many times just to throw it back in his face if he's wrong so I KNOW he's right.

    Wheels such as the Campy Ventos don't fail by bending or anything like that. They fail by having insufficient spoke tension for the weight of the rider. Each revolution the spoke is loosened at the bottom as the ground side of the wheel accepts the weight load and deforms. If the spoke is tensioned sufficiently it shrinks slightly with the deformation and never gets completely loose. More of a tightening and loosening of high tension.

    With the small spoke counts you can't load the wheel up enough to hold the wheel more or less round and that flattening at the bottom of the wheel gets to be enough that the bottom spoke gets actually loose. Then it almost immediately is tightened again as the wheels revolve.

    The loosening and tightening of each spoke puts a repetitive strain on each spoke and they generally fail at their weakest points. For wheels with a 90 degree bend in the end they usually develop a stress fracture at the elbow. For straight spokes they usually develop stress fractures at the top of the nipple in the first thread or near the peaned end.

    So the usual failure mode is that spokes start breaking. And with the advent of the first breakage you can then know that they are ALL close to failure.

    With a low spoke count wheel the loss of two spokes near each other can cause the wheel to fold over. So out on a ride in the boondocks you'll be trying to think of someone you can call if anyone happens past with a cell phone that has a connection.

    Believe me, Jobst has put a great deal of thought into his theories and they are proven over and over again. And even at his advanced age he climbs away from me like I'm glued to the ground. But visions of broom handles in spokes keeps me happy.

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    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    You're probably right - the question of pertinence to me, though, is: What is the usable service life of the Campy Ventos?

    As per your (and Jobst's) explanation, the spokes are probably the weak point of the wheel (specifically, at their attachment point to the hub). If I can expect a year's worth of reliable service without spoke failures, I'm more than willing to respoke annually. If the spokes remain reliable for two years, even better.

    I agree that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" in this circumstance, so it would behoove me to inspect the spoke heads regularly. Should even a single spoke fail, it would be time to respoke the entire wheel.

    Is there any way (other than obvious spoke head elongation or visible wear) to predict spoke failure? Thanks for the interesting feedback!

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    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    I agree that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" in this circumstance, so it would behoove me to inspect the spoke heads regularly. Should even a single spoke fail, it would be time to respoke the entire wheel.
    The thing with low spoke-count wheels is that should even a single spoke fail, you end up with a taco --pretty instantly. If one pops while you're riding (would it break at any other time?), you're done (and possibly the rim). So yeah, inspect those spoke heads regularly

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdex
    The thing with low spoke-count wheels is that should even a single spoke fail, you end up with a taco --pretty instantly. If one pops while you're riding (would it break at any other time?), you're done (and possibly the rim). So yeah, inspect those spoke heads regularly
    Another thing I would add, and that is not just for the Clydesdales, or the low spoke count wheels. Get them retrued and tensioned before they need it. If you have a wobble in the wheel, or a spoke or two that are looser than the rest, or if you twang the spokes and do not get a clear ring- then get your wheels into a shop and let them work their magic on them.

    A well built set of wheels is probably the best improvement you can add to your bike. Not necessarily a new set of wheels, but get them retrued and retensioned and you are well on the way to extra mph on your ride average, and the ride will be safer aswell.

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    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    ...wheels...get them retrued and retensioned...
    For almost every wheel on the market, this is good advice. The Campy Ventos, however, are specifically designed for much lower than normal spoke tension (according to Campagnolo's catalog). I fear that if I tension the wheels tighter than what Campy intended, I'll precipitate premature failure.

    Although I don't understand the engineering of the Campy Vento wheels, they're obviously NOT in the mold of the traditional bicycle wheel! For the time being, I'm just going to assume that Campagnolo knew what they were doing when they designed these and continue to use them. If they fail, I'll let y'all know.

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    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Got a wobble on my utility bike front wheel last Sunday. Took it to the shop on Monday. They trued it free (I am a good customer). I went over a curb thinking it was a "soft curb" (like a driveway) - but it was a straight-down drop. That is likely what did it in. (oh, and I weigh 212 lbs)

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    Senior Member biker7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    You're probably right - the question of pertinence to me, though, is: What is the usable service life of the Campy Ventos?

    As per your (and Jobst's) explanation, the spokes are probably the weak point of the wheel (specifically, at their attachment point to the hub). If I can expect a year's worth of reliable service without spoke failures, I'm more than willing to respoke annually. If the spokes remain reliable for two years, even better.

    I agree that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" in this circumstance, so it would behoove me to inspect the spoke heads regularly. Should even a single spoke fail, it would be time to respoke the entire wheel.

    Is there any way (other than obvious spoke head elongation or visible wear) to predict spoke failure? Thanks for the interesting feedback!
    First off, the Vento is not a low spoke count wheel at 24F and 27R respectively. Second the Vento maybe the best bargain training wheel out there in spite of 2000g weight which is mostly in the Veloce hubs which contribute little to increased angular momentum due to distance from centroid and low moment of inertia. I ride the Vento. They have a very high approval rating and virtually never go out of true for all review them ncluding me. I can write volumes about the merits front and back relative to spoke configuration for the Vento but will cut to what matters for you.
    You are an exceptional rider with respect to your weight at 260#...in the top 2% perhaps 1% of road bikers. You fit outside the demographic for virtually all machine built wheels...particularly a lower but not low spoke count wheel like the Vento. At 178#'s my Vento's may not go out of true for the next 2 years of riding 4K miles a year. Personally...I would look into hand built wheels with high spoke count for your weight if you ride big miles. The Vento's may serve you well but that is my advice,
    Good Luck,
    George
    Last edited by biker7; 10-05-05 at 11:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    You're probably right - the question of pertinence to me, though, is: What is the usable service life of the Campy Ventos?

    As per your (and Jobst's) explanation, the spokes are probably the weak point of the wheel (specifically, at their attachment point to the hub). If I can expect a year's worth of reliable service without spoke failures, I'm more than willing to respoke annually. If the spokes remain reliable for two years, even better.

    Is there any way (other than obvious spoke head elongation or visible wear) to predict spoke failure? Thanks for the interesting feedback!
    The Vento rims are VERY stiff and strong. If the spokes on the latest Vento's are better than my old set then you probably don't have any problems.

    I weigh 200 lbs and my set of original Ventos break spokes about once every 500 miles or so. Remember that these wheels are something like 7 years old now and neither I nor the guy who owned them before me used them much because of the spoke breaking problem

    Ventos were meant to be RACING WHEELS and not something you ride around on the street and so it wasn't a problem.

    The ONLY set of 'light' wheels I would trust on the street are Mavic Ksyriums. (any model)

    What would lead people to think that they could abuse racing equipment and expect to get long life and reliability?

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    Quote Originally Posted by superdex
    The thing with low spoke-count wheels is that should even a single spoke fail, you end up with a taco --pretty instantly. If one pops while you're riding (would it break at any other time?), you're done (and possibly the rim). So yeah, inspect those spoke heads regularly
    When my Ventos broke a spoke they didn't come out of true. The rims are very sturdy. Nevertheless I don't ride on broken spokes on low spoke count wheels.

    On 32 spoke wheels if the wheel didn't come too far out of true I'd complete the ride.

  11. #11
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    ...Ventos were meant to be RACING WHEELS and not something you ride around on the street...What would lead people to think that they could abuse racing equipment and expect to get long life and reliability?
    Actually, the Ventos are marketed as TRAINING wheels (intended specifically for long life and reliability). At 4.4 pounds per wheel, nobody but nobody is going to be racing on Ventos! In fact, the Vento threads that I've found by searching bikeforums all seem to concur that Ventos are extremely reliable.

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    Senior Member biker7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Actually, the Ventos are marketed as TRAINING wheels (intended specifically for long life and reliability). At 4.4 pounds per wheel, nobody but nobody is going to be racing on Ventos! In fact, the Vento threads that I've found by searching bikeforums all seem to concur that Ventos are extremely reliable.
    Yup...very reliable for training or high speed cruising. They really hold their speed well once spooled up and they descend nicely....fast and rock steady. You can pick up a new set on E-bay for $200-250 and are hard to beat for the money. If racing...you want something around 1500 grams...Racers aren't going to race on Vento's unless its amateur club stuff.
    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Actually, the Ventos are marketed as TRAINING wheels (intended specifically for long life and reliability). At 4.4 pounds per wheel, nobody but nobody is going to be racing on Ventos! In fact, the Vento threads that I've found by searching bikeforums all seem to concur that Ventos are extremely reliable.
    Well, lets get it straight - the Ventos that are presently being made are substantially different than the ones I have. In fact, the rims on the present Ventos do not look nearly as strong and rigid as mine and hence I wouldn't ride them on the street with low spoke count. As I stated, my Ventos break spokes about every 500 miles. Of course I'm 200 lbs.

    Secondly, I'd forgotten that these wheels had the latest Campy spoke pattern which I would consider to be unacceptable since a broken 'odd' side spoke will really pull the (less rigid) rim out of alignment.

    Thirdly, Campy's catalog states that the Ventos are 3.8 lbs per set and that is only .8 lbs heavier than the Eurus. That's what, 13 ounces PER SET? Your tires will vary more than that between manufacturers.

    I will reiterate - these are racing wheels regardless of some marketing hype about them being "training" wheels.

    If you prefer to put them on your bike that's up to you but I'd stick with Mavic Ksysrium Equipe or Elite for road.

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    Senior Member biker7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    Well, lets get it straight - the Ventos that are presently being made are substantially different than the ones I have. In fact, the rims on the present Ventos do not look nearly as strong and rigid as mine and hence I wouldn't ride them on the street with low spoke count. As I stated, my Ventos break spokes about every 500 miles. Of course I'm 200 lbs.

    Secondly, I'd forgotten that these wheels had the latest Campy spoke pattern which I would consider to be unacceptable since a broken 'odd' side spoke will really pull the (less rigid) rim out of alignment.

    Thirdly, Campy's catalog states that the Ventos are 3.8 lbs per set and that is only .8 lbs heavier than the Eurus. That's what, 13 ounces PER SET? Your tires will vary more than that between manufacturers.

    I will reiterate - these are racing wheels regardless of some marketing hype about them being "training" wheels.

    If you prefer to put them on your bike that's up to you but I'd stick with Mavic Ksysrium Equipe or Elite for road.
    Well...with respect....yeah, lets get it straight. I know a lot of riders of Ventos that weigh 200 lbs and ride their Vento's everywhere like I do, including hitting a lot of pot holes. The latter Vento's with G3 spoke pattern literally never go out of true...they are bombproof. I could care less whether you want to ride a Vento on potholed streets...everybody else does. Serious racers race on wheels 3/4's of the weight of Ventos because weight matters to racers...more so than whether they can take a big pothole hit or not which the Vento time after time demonstrates the abillity to do. The Vento is a training wheel and not a racing wheel. You can race on them if you wish but will give up acceleration in particular and speed in climbing. Vento's are not embraced in racing circles and club riders love them including me.
    George

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    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    I don't doubt that the Vento line has changed over time. The set I have is relatively old (and probably the more sturdy ones). The 4.4# weight I got was out of a Bicycling mag review (probably not a very reliable source..).

    If I were buying wheels, instead of the Mavics I'd probably buy some 36-spoke Alex rims with strong hubs with a three or four cross spoke pattern - but I'm not buying.

    Since I've got the Ventos, I plan to ride them. So far, they've been bullet proof.

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    Looking it up on http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/wh...6_2490crx.aspx

    I notice that everyone seems to have the same experience as biker7 and FarHorizon.

    This says it all I guess, "These wheels are bulletproof. I have raced and trained on these wheels and they are still true after 3 years. They survived several crashes and even have a small dent on the front wheel but they remain true.
    But more importantly they are fast. Hidden nipples and bladed spokes. Top speed with these puppies is noticably faster than ondinary wheels and even other aero wheels."

    The Campy wheelset I have are deep aero so I must be mistaken as to model I have. Now I'll have to look them up when I get home.

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    A couple of points here:

    1) Turns out my Campy wheels are '98 Zondas. Very sleek and beautiful but I'm not all that happy with them breaking special spokes.

    2) I've been using Ksyrium SSL's on my Eddy Merckx EX and Equipes on my Raleigh Team CX. These wheels are VERY good. However, the reports on the Ventos seem to be that they are very reliable.

    3) The price on Ventos seems to be about the same or slightly less expensive as the Mavic Ksyrium Equipes which are also bombproof.

    But one thing I'll have to maintain is that they ARE racing wheels. Anyone that believes that 8 ounces on a wheel makes any detectable difference outside of a professional level races simply doesn't know what he's talking about.

    Think about this: The rear wheel weight difference is about 6 ounces. During acceleration if it was ALL on the rim of the wheel it would be about the same as accelerating an addition 12 ounces on the bike. A bike and rider weighs 200 lbs. Therefore 12 ounces is some .4% difference. Human beings typically can't detect anything closer than 2% and for physical efforts can't tell the differences until more like 5%.

    The guy who is using Ventos and the guy who is using Zipps can't tell the difference except in their own heads. (Well when you spend that much money on a set of wheels I suppose you feel obligated to tell a difference.)

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    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    ...Well when you spend that much money on a set of wheels I suppose you feel obligated to tell a difference.
    Well said!

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    I'm also a Vento rider and I consider them heavy, beefy, strong and reliable. I ride them exclusively on rough country roads. They are excellent for that. I wouldn't recommend them to a racer but I would recommend them to a fitness rider like me.

    But my point is that I have studied the way Bianchi chooses components for their bicycles. They don't fall into the trap of picking whatever is a bargain this year. They choose what they view as best for the intended rider of the particular model. The 2006 Veloce comes stock with Ventos. The Veloce is not intended as a racing bike. It has a compact double (used to have a triple) and weighs over 20 lbs. It is high quality steel road bike for recreational and fitness riders. It is designed to be a reliable and trouble free mount - not twitchy and finicky. I have a great amount of faith in their product people and I know they wouldn't put Ventos on a Veloce if they thought they were anything other than bombproof. Mine appear to be bombproof.

  20. #20
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cyclintom...Well when you spend that much money on a set of wheels I suppose you feel obligated to tell a difference.

    We may be a bit different in the UK but we have specialist wheel builders that can build better wheels than any other company, and they are cheaper. If I were going to buy a high priced set of wheels, I would not go to Mavic, or Shimano or to Campy or any of the trade name Builders. I would go to the Man that I personally trust, and has a reputation to lose from just one set of badly built wheels. Good Reputaions are hard to get, and one bit of badworkmanship and he will lose it.

    In that way, First of all I could take their advice, I could choose the hub, the spokes, the rim, the spoke count and the weight and strength of the things. They are still not going to be cheap, but the quality I get from my wheel builder is top notch, and the price is exceptionally good. Then on the other hand- from the same wheelbuilder I can buy a pair of wheels for training or winter use or for wrecking, that will be down to a price level that I would pay for just the rear wheel at my LBS, and the build quality will still be higher than I would expect for the price.

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    Senior Member biker7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Originally Posted by cyclintom...Well when you spend that much money on a set of wheels I suppose you feel obligated to tell a difference.

    We may be a bit different in the UK but we have specialist wheel builders that can build better wheels than any other company, and they are cheaper. If I were going to buy a high priced set of wheels, I would not go to Mavic, or Shimano or to Campy or any of the trade name Builders. I would go to the Man that I personally trust, and has a reputation to lose from just one set of badly built wheels. Good Reputaions are hard to get, and one bit of badworkmanship and he will lose it.

    In that way, First of all I could take their advice, I could choose the hub, the spokes, the rim, the spoke count and the weight and strength of the things. They are still not going to be cheap, but the quality I get from my wheel builder is top notch, and the price is exceptionally good. Then on the other hand- from the same wheelbuilder I can buy a pair of wheels for training or winter use or for wrecking, that will be down to a price level that I would pay for just the rear wheel at my LBS, and the build quality will still be higher than I would expect for the price.
    Not necessarily a distinct advantage to custom made wheels. We have similar wheel builders in the US and in fact one in particular enjoys tremendous popularity amoung BF members. Who can chose better components...you?...the single wheel builder or say venerable Campagnolo with teams of their fine engineers? How about interactions? Components you choose do not perform in the same harmony as Campy wheelsets that have been tested much more rigorously. Then there is resale...won't be much for your wheels but will be good resale with Campagnolo due to name recognition. Campy makes great wheels...from their modest Vento's all the way up to their elite wheels and in between. Are your wheels better? Maybe...but not much if they are and the cost differential will easily be negated by resale. Big factor is hand tensioned wheels are very reliable versus wheels that are tensioned by robot. But biggest overall factor is personalization and support...what you get from your wheel builder provided he is timely and supportive in the event of an incident...some are too busy for spontaneous support. Both approaches to wheel selection are effective....more a matter of choice than actual advantage.
    George
    Last edited by biker7; 10-07-05 at 02:43 PM.

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    7 reads it correctly. I have build many sets of wheels myself and always repair my own wheels. But I know my own limitations.

    A custom wheel builder has a repertoir - he has spokes, hubs and rims that he prefers to use because he's gotten his best results with those.

    He doesn't generally have time to go looking for the best hubs, the best rims and the best spokes. He uses what is generally considered to be the best.

    Certainly you as a provate owner have little or no idea of what constitutes a good hub.

    But Campy employs degreed engineers whose entire lives are spent gaining experience in these sorts of problems. Same with Mavic.

    I have several really nice sets of custom wheels built by the best wheelbuilder I know. But within 100 yards of riding my Mavic Ksyrium SSL's I could tell that they were special.

    I can't say that about any other wheelset no matter how expensive it was.

  23. #23
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Just an update - I've been riding the Ventos (HARD) for up to two hours per day lately. Today, I did some gravel, some broken pavement, and over a couple of curbs. The Ventos are still straight and round!

    The Ventos' performance is doubly astounding as they're shod with 23 mm tires and I still weigh 260#. The spoke heads show no signs of wear, and the wheels are some of the best I've ever owned.

    I don't like the severe rear wheel dish needed for the (wretchedly excessive) 10-speed cassette, but that's what I've got.

    In summary: BRAVO CAMPAGNOLO!!!

  24. #24
    Member uMP2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Just an update - I've been riding the Ventos (HARD) for up to two hours per day lately. Today, I did some gravel, some broken pavement, and over a couple of curbs. The Ventos are still straight and round!

    The Ventos' performance is doubly astounding as they're shod with 23 mm tires and I still weigh 260#. The spoke heads show no signs of wear, and the wheels are some of the best I've ever owned.

    I don't like the severe rear wheel dish needed for the (wretchedly excessive) 10-speed cassette, but that's what I've got.

    In summary: BRAVO CAMPAGNOLO!!!
    Dragging up a very old topic I know, but I am curious if you are still riding the Ventos and, if so, how they fare?

    I am looking at getting a pair for my newly acquired Masil - the Ksyrium Equipes it came with are too flexy for my currently 115kg (about 250 pounds) frame!

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    I have a 2006 veloce. the rear hub on the ventos had a chunk of it just break right off . less than a year of maybe 100 mile per week riding this happened on mile 50 of the second day of an ms150 ride. I weight just over 200 pounds. I've never fixed it because I 'm still 200 pounds. and I just dont' know why I should trust them again. I have kysrium 'race' wheels on there now and they feel much stiffer to me.

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