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  1. #1
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    Good Wheels for 235 pound Man on Trek 4.5?

    Hello, all!

    I'm getting back into bicycling and I've gotten up to 50 miles which was a goal of mine. I'm super slow and ride a triple-crank Trek 4.5. I just went to the triple crank to make rides in hillier areas more enjoyable / longer for me, and that was a great move (for me).

    I would like to reward myself with a bike upgrade. Any thoughts on wheels? The wheels I have are listed as "Bontrager approved third party," which doesn't sound particularly good. Any thoughts on the value of upgrading my wheels and whether I would notice a difference?

    If it might be worth doing, what would you recommend upgrading to? I care about safety / strength first (since I'm 235), but I am happy to pay for light and strong (if that exists). I would be willing to pay $1,000 more or less for something I would notice.

    Thank you all for your time.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Right now you need to work on improving the motor.
    Get some miles on the bike. Lose some weight.
    You will be stronger after 1500-2000 miles, then look at some new wheels.
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  3. #3
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    I appreciate the sentiment, but the question is being asked precisely when you would recommend. That is, I've lost considerable weight and ridden almost twice the distance you note already.

    I suppose your reply would be the same if I asked the question after losing 25 more pounds and riding another 3,000 miles.

    I think "diet and exercise" is a superb answer to a question I didn't ask, but thanks for taking the time to respond.
    Last edited by jffielde; 01-03-12 at 09:19 AM.

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I'll agree that the trek 4.5 is good enough for the time being but wheels are one of those upgrades that can be transferred onto the next bike. Many of us here have a Training wheel. Not the lightest around- not the Prettiest but they work and are better than most Off the shelf wheels. And nowhere near your $1k limit either.

    A Mavic Open Pro rim with an Ultegra hub is the start point and is probably around the best value you would put into your riding. 32 or 36 spokes but I would always opt for the 36 for a "Bit" of extra strength--And I am a lightweight at 150 lbs. I personally have 105 hubs- Mavic CXP 33 rims and 36 double butted spokes. Bought them in 2007 and they have lasted 3 bikes now. Price and Over here I would pay about 200--$300? and the awkward bit is finding the wheel builder that is worth paying. I am lucky in that my LBS has a top rate wheel builder. .

    Edit---Didn't realise that you have done mileage and probably time So N+1 is now on the cards. You won't find many bikes that have a handbuilt wheel on them so they are an investment for future riding. I have a pair of OM wheels that I use for Foul/winter riding. The handbuilts are on the TCR for most rides. As to a new bike--Choice is down to you but with your weight (At present) stay away from funny spoke patterns or those that have a low spoke count.
    Last edited by stapfam; 01-03-12 at 09:20 AM.
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    For clarification, I am 6' 6" tall and run daily. I am overweight, but not obese.

  6. #6
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Are the wheels going out of true? If you are having problems (usually it's the rear wheel)
    then it makes a lot of sense to get a strong rear wheel.

    If you want to go faster.... you have a problem.

    Your bike wasn't designed to go fast.

    Most of us have been in this position.

    What you are going to want is a bike that better suits what you want to do.
    Which is a whole new question, do you want a lively group ride bike, or one for
    touring (lite or regular) or something else entirely.

    I think traditional geometry works well for most people.
    If a salesman says plush, you're in that ballpark.
    One easy way to tell is chainstay length. As a rule, the longer, the slower.
    My bike is 425, and this sort of bike will be 425-430. Hybrid and touring bike
    chainstays are usually longer.

    So what I'd suggest is that you set the wheel money aside, and start saving for that new bike.
    Last edited by late; 01-03-12 at 09:23 AM.
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  7. #7
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jffielde View Post
    Hello, all!

    I'm getting back into bicycling and I've gotten up to 50 miles which was a goal of mine. I'm super slow and ride a triple-crank Trek 4.5. I just went to the triple crank to make rides in hillier areas more enjoyable / longer for me, and that was a great move (for me).

    I would like to reward myself with a bike upgrade. Any thoughts on wheels? The wheels I have are listed as "Bontrager approved third party," which doesn't sound particularly good. Any thoughts on the value of upgrading my wheels and whether I would notice a difference?

    If it might be worth doing, what would you recommend upgrading to? I care about safety / strength first (since I'm 235), but I am happy to pay for light and strong (if that exists). I would be willing to pay $1,000 more or less for something I would notice.

    Thank you all for your time.
    Welcome and glad you are back in bicycling. Sounds like you are doing GREAT!!

    The Clydesdale forum is where you might also ask your question, as you definitely qualify. Lots of nice folks there.

    FWIW I have been 235, and just rode stock wheels. Works for me, but then, I am more of a recreational rider.
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

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    Thanks for the replies.

    To "late" above: I have no interest in going faster. I would, however, like to be able to rider longer distances (especially easier hill climbing), but it sounds like upgrades won't do me much good in that regard.

    To "Dnvrfox" above: Thanks. I'll check out the Clydesdale forum.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jffielde View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    To "late" above: I have no interest in going faster. I would, however, like to be able to rider longer distances (especially easier hill climbing), but it sounds like upgrades won't do me much good in that regard.

    To "Dnvrfox" above: Thanks. I'll check out the Clydesdale forum.
    Don't get too discouraged. Upgrades always help to some degree. Wheels are often the best upgrade you you can make. Here is a good site for just what you are looking for. http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com.../prod_156.html Many stock wheels are not only heavy they tend to flex more than upgraded wheels. Picture flex as a side to side motion when torque is applied. If you get a wheel that flexes just a bit less more of the limited power a cyclist produces goes into forward power and less is lost in that side to side flex. This statement may cause great debate but I started out on a stock wheel and rode it for more than a year before upgrading to a bit stiffer wheel. The very first group ride after getting the new wheels I could feel the difference in my climbing. I also weigh over two bucks and spend a lot of time looking at and thinking about new wheels. I finally ended up with Dura Ace Tubless Clinchers. A bit pricey but I got a deal. However there is an Ultegra wheelset on sale that is pretty close at Performance that has the same option. You have choices.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  10. #10
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    Mobile 155: Thanks, that's what I'm looking for.

  11. #11
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    At 235 pounds you do want a wheel that will be reliable. As an upgrade you are probably looking at two things which will make a difference. (I recognize this assumes performance, not comfort is the key factor.) The first is weight and the second stiffness. At your price point the Mavic Ksyrium SL wheel-set might be a viable upgrade. Trek doesn't list the weight of the wheels on the 4.5, so I'm just guessing that the Mavics are lighter. From personal experience, I know they are plenty strong enough and stiff too. I might also look at the Easton EA90 SLX wheel-set, also in your price range. Before taking the plunge, however, I might recommend that you see if you can borrow a few different sets of wheels from either friends or your LBS to take 20 to 30 mile rides. This way, you'll start to notice differences between wheels and perhaps develop a better idea of the qualities you want in an upgrade. Sometimes wheels can be too stiff, depending on what the rider is seeking.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  12. #12
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The Bicycle Wheel Warehouse suggestion by Mobile 155 is a good one. They make good wheels for a nice price. Look around the site for several options which they group by rider weight recommendation. http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com...0c/cat_43.html

    Another forum where you can get good info is http://forums.roadbikereview.com/wheels-tires/. Many good amatuer and pro wheel builders will offer great advice if you ask, including specific recommendations of rims, hubs and spoke type/count based on your budget, your weight and intended riding style and conditions. The BWW site mentioned above is a sponsor and participant there.

    Whether you would realize significantly easier climbing from a new set of wheels is debatable (I don't think so), but a well built wheelset can make a big improvement in how the bike feels and looks. And you could get that for well under the $1K you mentioned.

    Not sure what bike late thinks you are riding, but the Trek Madone 4.5 sure looks to me like a bike suitable for riding fast.
    Last edited by BluesDawg; 01-04-12 at 04:35 AM.
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  13. #13
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    jffielde
    I am your size and would like some lighter wheels however my rear triangle spacing is for a 7 speed hub and cassette so I am out of luck. The stock wheels have been stone reliable. They are Mavic clinchers on Shimano RSX 36H hubs with double butted stainless steel spokes (not sure of their gauge) and at my 245 # weight I want the strength they offer. I am shopping around and want to find someone that will build me a modern wheelset that has a proper width hub even if it takes some NOS hubs, My r500 frame is aluminum and cannot be coldset to a wider width. I agree with asking the Clydesdale forum here for recommendations, they are a great group too.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  14. #14
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    The average person hears 230+ and thinks F A T. Especially the 5'8" guys with a Napoleonic complex. I'm 220-225 and no one would venture to say I'm fat . i have the stock wheels that came on my Specialized Allez and have had zero problems with them. That's not to say a better wheel set wouldn't be nice though.

    To help prove the point:
    Well, not THAT fat anyway

    Last edited by bigbadwullf; 01-03-12 at 02:57 PM.

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  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    One wheel I used to recommend is the Mavic Aksium. A known strong wheel that is fitted to some of the higher end CX bikes so it must be pretty strong. How wrong can I be? They are a good wheel but my Son-in-Law has my set. He has wrecked them. 10 mile commute that he does at speed over bad roads and they will not stand up to his 200lbs weight. For a normal rider then I can recommend these as a strong wheel that can take some knocks but they will not take abuse. They have a bit of Bling about them aswell- but not as much as the Mavic Krysiums. I personally have Shimano Ultegras that I would not even suggest to any one that cannot look after wheels.

    And on OM wheels--I had a Giant OCR with cheap wheels and it was (In hindsight) not a good ride. Fitted the handbuilts to it and rolling speed went up- acceleration went up- enjoyment went up- Downhill and cornering speed went up- average speed on a 30 mile ride went up. Good wheels do work.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jffielde View Post
    Hello, all!

    I'm getting back into bicycling and I've gotten up to 50 miles which was a goal of mine. I'm super slow and ride a triple-crank Trek 4.5. I just went to the triple crank to make rides in hillier areas more enjoyable / longer for me, and that was a great move (for me).

    I would like to reward myself with a bike upgrade. Any thoughts on wheels? The wheels I have are listed as "Bontrager approved third party," which doesn't sound particularly good. Any thoughts on the value of upgrading my wheels and whether I would notice a difference?

    If it might be worth doing, what would you recommend upgrading to? I care about safety / strength first (since I'm 235), but I am happy to pay for light and strong (if that exists). I would be willing to pay $1,000 more or less for something I would notice.

    Thank you all for your time.
    If you really want to buy a set of new wheels, call a guy like Peter White and have him make you a set of wheels, let the builder recommend the components that go into the wheel, based on your weight. Remember one thing, light and strong are at opposite ends of the spectrum, when you reduce weight you reduce strength, when you increase strength, you increase weight at the same time. Personally I think your better off saving your money, the wheels on your bike should be fine, if one of them fails, replace it with something better. Otherwise save your money for a new bike next year

  17. #17
    Retired USAF, C-130 Guy M_Wales's Avatar
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    Contact PSImet and request a quote from his site and see what he can do for you..

    http://www.psimet.com/

  18. #18
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I just read an interesting blog about wheels and weight limits. You might want to take the five or six minutes needed read it.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...Y0BwMGKdaqi_9A
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  19. #19
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    1. Ksyrium SL
    2. Psimet build per his recommendation... those White Ind. hubs are nice!
    3. Mavic Open Pro/Ultegra hub (possibly from BW Warehouse)

    All of these are a pretty good idea...Psimet will take more time. I agree that they probably won't make you noticeably faster uphill. But heck it is fun to get new stuff and with the right choice your bike will look snazzier and you might be more motivated to keep going. Extra wheels also allows you to mount a different cassette on one set, perhaps for climbing or whatever. Congrats on your progress so far!

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  20. #20
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    I just read an interesting blog about wheels and weight limits. You might want to take the five or six minutes needed read it.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...Y0BwMGKdaqi_9A
    Good read.
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  21. #21
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    Unless you weight 160 pounds or less, I am not a fan of low spoke count wheels. Simple as that with me. If you are willing to pay $1000 for a really good set of wheels (and they won't cost that much) I have no hesitation to recommend Joe Young Wheels.

    http://youngwheels.com/

    Check his pedigree. Fill out his questionnaire, then give him a call. He'll build you a set of wheels that will fit you, your bike, and last you for thousands of miles.

    I'm not a shill, I'm not his cousin, but I am a very satisfied customer who has ridden several thousand tandem miles on one set of wheels, and toured across several states on another set, and they're both as true as the day I got them.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    I just read an interesting blog about wheels and weight limits. You might want to take the five or six minutes needed read it.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...Y0BwMGKdaqi_9A
    Interesting article. However I don't know the person making the blog any more than I know Stapfam but by following his advice on a better wheelset I did notice an improvement on my climbing and how long my wheels stayed true. As they said in Fiddler on the Roof "He is right and he is right? They can't both be right."

    I might have learned to ride "light" as they say but I know how my new wheels feel "by the seat of the pants dynometer", quicker and easier to climb with. I am not sure the OP will not discover the same results as I did and as Stapfam indicates he did as well.

    Still the OP asked a good question and there have been many good answers. I have found that one place where many manufacturers cut to meet a price point is in the Wheels. I believe the OP will see if that is true simply by trying new, stronger, wheels as has been suggested.

    As an aside before I got my Dura Ace wheels I searched many of the custom hand built sites. One responded to my question that I was on the wrong bike. I should give up on a CF road bike and get a steel touring bike with a touring wheelset. That wsn't the question I had asked and now I wouldn't buy a set of wheels from the guy if his mother needed a heart transplant.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  23. #23
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I've only had my 60 cm 4.5 Madone since July. I'm 230. 1500 miles and no trueing needed. I ride fairly rough oil and chip roads. I'm going to give the stock wheels a good chance to see how well they do. I have other bikes so if I have downtime in season so be it. I bought it from the LBS with by far the busiest shop in the area. They said the stock wheels should be fine.
    Last edited by jethro56; 01-04-12 at 04:02 AM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    For that price, go custom build. You can get a nice rim/ hub combo that will perform well and last years. Any good quality, experienced wheel builder can do a fine job, it doesn't have to be one of BF fame.

    At that weight, I would stick to 32 spoke and use Ultegra hubs as a minimum but probably lean to Chris King R45's. I really like Open Pro's and have used them formany years without issue although many on the road forum have had issues. This may be a builder issue more than a component issue.

    My only issue issue with Mavic hubs has been plastic components. This has been an issue for many of the Ksyrium owners in my club. They are easy enough to rebuild but at that price point, you shouldn't have to so quickly.

    Disclaimer: I own several sets of Open Pro rims and CK standard and R45 hubs. Biased- yes, but through experience with the products.
    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
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  25. #25
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    +1 on PSIMet wheelsets. Everyone I have ever talked with or read a post from liked them. I emailed Rob about my problem and he answered me within 2 hours. Use the link for a quote.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

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