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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 01-11-08, 02:04 PM   #1
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Budget wheels. Which would you choose?

I've been looking around for a spare set of wheels for my cross bike. The stock shimano ones are lightish for the price but I'm concerned about durability. I will be using the new wheels for cross/off road use, and the stock wheels will get a set of road tires.

Thing is, I'm very much on a budget, so I'd like to keep the wheelset down around 200 dollars. I have no unreasonable expectations about how a wheelset at this price will perform, but I do want something reasonably durable, as I like to take my cross bike on longer trail rides.

REI has a bit of a sale right now, and I can order Mavic Aksiums for about 180. All the reviews say these are heavy but durable, so pretty much what I'm looking for. I also have a 40 dollar gift certificate to REI, meaning I could get the wheels and cassette for well under 200 dollars, though it's not like I won't spend the 40 dollars on something else later if I don't use it on the wheels.

A local bike shop (River City), however, has Ultegra Hubs laced to Mavic CXP 23 rims for 200 bucks. I'm drawn to these by the lack of proprietary spokes. They are slightly heavier than the aksiums, I think.

Also, if anyone has any pointers to good deals by any shop in the Portland area I'd very much appreciate it.

Finally though, am I better off not spending any money on a wheelset on this pricepoint and saving up for a few months?
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Old 01-11-08, 02:48 PM   #2
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I'd go to Performance Bikes in Beaverton for their Forte/Nuevation wheels. My buddy's got a set (they were like $125 on sale) and reasonably light and strong.
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Old 01-11-08, 02:50 PM   #3
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Here. $119.99

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...TOKEN=15739170
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Old 01-11-08, 03:38 PM   #4
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Awesome price. Are the Fortes something else rebranded?
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Old 01-11-08, 03:48 PM   #5
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Internet message board rumor has it that they are Nuevations. But Forte in general is the the Performance in-house brand. I've had good experience with Forte in the past...

For budget wheels, I'd skip the bling and go for cheap cheap cheap. I have 2006 Ksyriums (similar to Aksiums) and they developed lateral play in the hubs and the rear wheels died on me twice due to uneven spoke tension. i had to get it relaced both times and it went back to the factory under warranty.
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Old 01-11-08, 03:57 PM   #6
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Awesome price. Are the Fortes something else rebranded?
What Min said. I used a Forte wheel set in two races this season. I was amazed how well they held up. In fact, they worked better than the "big name" wheel set I was having fixed.

For 120 bucks, you can't go wrong.
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Old 01-11-08, 05:48 PM   #7
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I haven't tried the Forte wheels but the Road Cycling forum gives them pretty good reviews for the price. Better yet, pick up the Forte wheels, thn spend afew extra bucks to have your LBS re-true/tension the wheels. It's the next best thing to hand built wheels.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:16 PM   #8
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Ultegra/Open Pro all the way. Or, if you're really budgeting go 105/MA3.

As bomber as it gets. I got my Ultegra/Open Pros at Performance for $175 brand new.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:18 PM   #9
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Here: http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...TOKEN=11725566

Use this code: 0001400000001601 for 10% off

Have 'em ship it to store for free shipping. They don't honor this coupon in-store.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:20 PM   #10
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I'd rather get Ultegra/OP for $175 than the Forte for $125 now that you mention it.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:29 PM   #11
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I too would rather have the Ultegra/OP.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:32 PM   #12
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The link I gave, with 10% off, is $180 before taxes. That's not too shabby, either. Thinking back on it, and I don't even know why I said $175, but I bought them listed at $200 with a 20% discount which means I really paid $160.

I bought like half a bike that day, though, so I didn't even do the math until now.

Pretty cool, eh?
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Old 01-11-08, 07:48 PM   #13
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Easton Vista SL, I can't say how they perform yet because they just arrived yesterday but the reviews have been good, 4.5 out of 5 (roadbikereview.com). Performance has them for $229 but jensonusa.com has them for $160 so I had performance price match them. Reviews say they are durable without too much of a weight penalty and they stay true
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Old 01-12-08, 12:07 AM   #14
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REI has the Vista SL wheelset for 200 on sale, good to know about Jenson, thanks.

Right now I'm leaning towards the Ultegra Open pro if there's a big difference between the CXP and Open Pro rims. If there isn't I guess I'd rather support the local business than Performance or REI.
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Old 01-12-08, 05:48 PM   #15
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Mavic Aksiums!

They're just over $200 in a shop and they are incredibly durable. PLUS! you can sign up for the Mavic MP3 program and they'll replace any wheel that you break.

Also, Campy and Shimano compatible.
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Old 01-12-08, 06:56 PM   #16
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^^^
Um, they were mentioned as one of two options in my original post, and in several subsequent posts. Thanks for your thoughts on them though.
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Old 01-12-08, 10:20 PM   #17
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REI has the Vista SL wheelset for 200 on sale, good to know about Jenson, thanks.

Right now I'm leaning towards the Ultegra Open pro if there's a big difference between the CXP and Open Pro rims. If there isn't I guess I'd rather support the local business than Performance or REI.
If you get any wheel from Performance, you'll be best served to take it and have it tensioned. I got the Open Pros/Ultegra from them and the rear wheel went out of true in less than 50 miles.
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Old 01-12-08, 10:51 PM   #18
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If you want cheap and rugged, get entry level cross wheels like these. Your LBS should be able to get them as well.
http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking/c/WECRDIM
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Old 01-13-08, 12:44 AM   #19
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If you want cheap and rugged, get entry level cross wheels like these. Your LBS should be able to get them as well.
http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking/c/WECRDIM
Good deals but I need a 130 rear hub and I can't respace the aluminum frame. Thanks for everyone's tips so far! I knew you guys wouldn't let me down
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Old 01-13-08, 08:01 AM   #20
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I cant tell you what to buy, Ive had really good luck with a cuople of sets of bontrager selects, I own 2 sets. Ive toured on them raced on them. fast rode club rides club rosss rides ect and have never had a problem with them. One set came stock on my xo1 and one st came of ebay for 100 bucks shipped.

I can tell you that going to cheap and flimsy will get you never ever mount a set of M muds on a set of ALEXRIMS 450's. Ugly things will happen. You will go down when that rear wheel tacos so bad in a muddy corner that it jams your brakes on. You will cary your bike a half lap back to where you have another set of wheels. your pride will be hurt as you watch jr's passin you as you jog in shame.

That said I am most likely going with a set of open pros with ultegra hubs. The seem to co for a little less then 200 on line.
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Old 01-13-08, 08:21 AM   #21
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^^^
Um, they were mentioned as one of two options in my original post, and in several subsequent posts. Thanks for your thoughts on them though.
Whoops!
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Old 01-13-08, 08:35 AM   #22
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I too would rather have the Ultegra/OP.
+1
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Old 01-13-08, 08:44 AM   #23
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Ultegra or Centaur with Sapim Race spokes and Mavic Reflex rims. Light enough, strong enough and cheap enough. Gomitalia 32mm tubes and you've got yourself a great alround set of wheels.
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Old 01-13-08, 10:26 AM   #24
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If you get any wheel from Performance, you'll be best served to take it and have it tensioned. I got the Open Pros/Ultegra from them and the rear wheel went out of true in less than 50 miles.

I was worried about that for a while with mine. I babied them, even.

Then, one night after many snows I was riding along and I hit the biggest damned ice-block I've ever seen. This happened, subsequently, at least once on each leg of my commute. I hit them HARD, too, no pansy little deflection.

My commute also takes me over 1 mile of stutter bump two track with rocks, holes and anything else you can imagine. I take this slower than the MUP where I hit the ice, but it's bumpy no matter what.

I weigh 200+, FWIW. Guess what? The rims stayed perfectly true. I have probably 500+ miles on mine and they're perfectly true.

Maybe I was lucky and got a good set. I dunno, but I will be buying this pair again. Just like Oryx brakes will go on every build I do a set of Ultegra/Open Pros will go on every build I do.
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Old 01-13-08, 01:03 PM   #25
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I guess I'm leaning towards the open pros, but can anyone tell me if there's a significant difference between the CXP 23s and the Open pro rims? Like I said I can get the former with Ultegra hubs for the same price as the performance ones, and the shop will have done a thorough tensioning of them.
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