1999 Fat Chance Ti
1998 Rhygin SS road
Argon 18 is taking a modular approach with their bikes, in that in Canada several different wheelsets are available to choose from. Each bike / wheelset combination is considered a seperate build kit and priced differently.
I think "Expensive" wheels are over rated.
I don't find wheels to be any more or less important than the other structural elements of the bike.
Cheap wheels suck , so do cheap frames and any other 'cheap' parts.
Very high end wheels are equally beyond the ability of 99% of the bike buying public (and this forum) as any other parts of the bike at the end of the spectrum.
The reason why they put the wheels they do on most production bikes? Because they work just fine. This is different from a company having poor quality control whether it be wheels or drive train or whatever. Mechanical parts on most bikes fail more often due to poor QC during manufacture and assembly than 'cheap' parts simply failing. These are 2 different issues IMO. A well built/assembled entry level wheel will easily suit the vast majority of the buying and riding public no problem.
The biggest difference between high tensile steel frames, cromoly frames, aluminum frames and carbon fiber frames is WEIGHT. Structurally they are all strong enough to do the job, and as passive structures with no moving parts, don't have the same durability issues as something like a wheelset or bottombracket.
1970s AMF Roadmaster 3-speed
2012 GT Zum City
Joking aside, I'll tell ya, learning to build and building my wheels might be the most valuable time I've spent when it comes to enjoying my bikes. It got to the point where I had to start stripping down wheels built by pros at the LBS then rebuilding them myself. Breaking point was after a handbuilt wheel failed after 40 miles. I could squeeze the spokes nearly touching one another. I took the wheel back to the shop and the pro builder said, "it's supposed to be that way. bring it back after 300 miles and I'll true it" I gave him a piece of my mind said screw you, I can do a better job myself!
I invested in a few inexpensive tools and did it myself. I completely tore it apart, relaced it, built it and that was my wheel that gave me 20,000+ miles.
40 miles vs 20,000? I'd have to say my time was pretty valuable!
I do understand what the OP is talking about though. 2 of my last bike purchases never made it to the first ride with stock wheels. I had wheels built for them before the purchases. The stock rims were either tossed or given away knowing they would be nothing but a hassle.
If you ever get a chance to build your own wheels, do it. It's fun and less expensive in the long run!
Wheels I have built:
I built all of these front and rear
The rear on Gina's bike
Had to tear down, replace a few spokes and rebuild the rear on the tandem after a shoddy build by a "PRO".
and I just built this one a couple weeks ago
IMG_4076 by gulpxtreme, on Flickr
Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 02-22-13 at 12:49 PM.
Mr Beanz you have my respect for taking the initiative to not settle for less than you want. But I think that we both agree that the effort you put into those wheels was 'value added' even if you didn't charge yourself.
Point being - if you were asked to build a 100 wheels like that for someone else - you'd have no problem asigning a dollar value to it and so realistically leaving out that part is a little misleading.
I do a little custom building myself. My opinion? It's as expensive as @$&#! If there was any alternative I'd rather just buy some of this stuff but exactly what I want is often just not on the market.
The frame affects handling and ride. Wheels affect ride to some degree (tires a lot more) but wheels also affect performance - very light wheels make climbing and sprinting quicker and and aero wheels makes you go faster. Frames don't do that.
You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.
After I build my first wheel I wondered about those that never kept true. $20 in spokes and I tore them apart and rebuilt them (same spokes front, figured it was the build and tension that sucked). They were flawless for 10,000 miles. My frame broke so I gave them to a ride partner that had some very annoying wheels. I could afford to give him the wheels just to get rid of that annoying noise his bike made whiel riding with us, like someone constantly playing maracas!.
Other wheels I have re used hubs. I bought one 9 speed Ultegra hub for $50. After the rim wore out (20,000 miles) I bought another rim on sale $60, used the same hub and $20 for spokes. That's like a new handbuilt Ultegra wheel for $80-$90!
The pic I posted earlier of the new hubs form Ribbledotcom, $136 for front and rear Ultegra hubs. The front alone in a shop or elsewhere online is $74 only for the front hub ONLY! So the newly built wheel pictured sitting on the couch only cost me about $180 to build. That's cheap vs a shop and many online prices! A shop would have charged me $100 for the rim, $35 for spokes, $130 for the hub and $65 for the build.
That's $320+ vs the $180 I spent
So when it comes down to it, I save a lot of money. I paid $30 for my truing stand, $10 for a spoke wrench, $20 for a dishing tool and borrow my buddy's tension meter. I asked to order one thru his shop, he told me no, I could borrow his any time.
Heck, after it pays for itself, I can afford to give away wheels. Those are the wheels that were on my Lemond before the frame broke. It was worth it to get rid of that nasty noise!
He did give me the hubs from his rims so if I ever need and emergency cheap build......
My low end Allez has Aksiums. The wheels cost half the price of the entire bike. Completely worth it. (In fact, ti's my third set of those same wheels due to various incidents etc).
Having said that, I recently bought a supersix which also has Askium wheels. And I've had a change of heart... the frame makes a huge difference, as do the wheels. The S6 with Aksiums on 23mm 120psi tires, rolls SMOOTHER than Allez with Aksiums on 25mm 100psi tires. I would never have believed it until I tried it for myself.
I've always fancied learning how to build wheels, and after reading Mr Beanz's post, and my desire to have a goal for 2013, maybe wheel building is it.
Last edited by mustang1; 02-22-13 at 03:00 PM. Reason: more info
1 cx bike, commuter (light off road), 2 road bikes (sportives and fair weather commuter), 1 mtb (off road fun and antics)
Man, I got pictures for everything!
Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 02-22-13 at 03:05 PM.
You, on the other hand, seem to have lots of free time and prefer to use that instead of your bank account. That doesn't make the item 'no cost'. But if you think it does - I'm sure there are lots of people on this forum that would be happy to have you build wheels for them on a 'no cost' basis.
I also expected a little rationale. The wheelset on a $500 bike isn't the same as the wheelset on a $5,000 bike and neither is the frame. But in both cases - the wheelset is well underspeced relative to the frame.
You apparently want to take this in an entirely different direction for some reason. Nothing you're riding on has stock wheels. Why do you want to insist thats somehow pertinent here - it really just confirms the post. And that I could understand.
Last edited by Burton; 02-23-13 at 11:23 AM.
I think what happens is after we have been at this cycling thing for a while we look at the weels on a new bike in two different ways. If we are going to get the bike for a great price we might overlook a stock set of Alex DC 19s or figure we can live with Shimano 550s till we can pop a set of our spare aftermarket wheels on it. If however we are "stuck" on a particular bike we will push for higher rated wheels than we did for our first bike. Nothing I have ever done has had a bigger impact on my bicycles than better wheels that the average stock wheels. I still have a stock front wheel in my shed from my first road bike after coming back to cycling five years ago. But I also have two sets of hand builts, on my bikes, and three sets of upgraded machine builts in the shed.
That being said my stock wheels on my old MTB worked fine on the street as long as I was using it as a utility bike. If I took it out cross country they need trueing once a month.
Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.
Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(
ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.
"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"_Nicodemus
"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"_krazygluon
I use steel frames and have never had one that break. The weakest area of a steel frame is often where the seat tube attaches to the seat stays. If the wheel is properly tensioned (minimum 32 spokes), then it should handle most minor potholes. The tire has a much greater influence on handling than the rim/spokes/hub. Going from 19 mm to 24 mm wide rim will affect handling, mainly due to a rounder contact patch.
Self built wheels will always be better than purchased wheels ... because you don't have a deadline or a quota to meet! A little OCD and free time is all you need.
The only guy here that regularly does in frames is a world class downhiller, and he only goes through one swingarm a year.
I can't tell whether we're comparing decent wheels (the kind that come stock on a typical $1500 bike) with WalMart-level junk, or if we are comparing the $1500-bike-wheels with four-figure "boutique" wheels.
If the former, then sure, there's a real difference. If the latter, then I'll need to see some numbers. I suspect that dropping a few grand on the latest carbon/ceramic/titanium wonder wheels results in plenty of perceived speed but not very much actual speed - the rich boys on my local club ride don't seem to be riding away from the rest of us when they trot out their latest mortgaged-the-house wheel bling.
I certainly agree you get a better wheelset on a $1,500 bike than you do on a $500 bike, and an even better one on a $9,000 bike. Just seems to me that a new wheelset is a real common upgrade. In fact I've NEVER heard anyone say "I'm OK with the wheels - I really need a better frame!"
Just haven't figured out if its 'room to grow' or simply because bikes are being marketed by framebuilders and not wheel manufacturers.