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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 02-24-08, 10:04 PM   #1
marcusbandito
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Which wheels suck?

There are tons of threads about which wheels we all love and why. I'm curious which wheels have failed you all in cross racing/ training. Which ones to avoid.
thanks
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Old 02-24-08, 10:32 PM   #2
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xaero x1 or something. Cheap, but terrrrrible wheels spokes detensioned multiple times
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Old 02-24-08, 11:16 PM   #3
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This may be obvious, but Performance Titans suck. Flexy like overcooked pasta.
I bought a pair in a rush when the stock wheels on my Kona Jake blew, and I returned them about 4 commutes and 90 miles later- could not have managed another week on them.
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Old 02-25-08, 12:24 AM   #4
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Bontrager Select wheels suck. They didn't fail me, but they certainly disappointed. Clearly they were just designed to look fast, because they flex like hell and weigh more than a regular 36-spoke wheel.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:31 AM   #5
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Any wheelset that hasn't been properly stress relieved, tension-balanced (at as high a tension as the rim will allow) and trued is going to "suck" and have repeated issues. A lot of ****e wheels can actually hold up quite well if a competent wheel builder spends an hour or two on them before they're ridden.

That being said, I think paired spoke wheels are a ******* to true.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:04 PM   #6
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Exactly. I have a set of Performance Titans that have been just fine... but I had a friend with hundreds of wheels under his belt de-tension and re-tension the wheels. He said they were very uneven to start with, but they've been fine since then... one slight re-true after a rocky singletrack episode.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:57 PM   #7
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I have a set Easton Vistas that came stock on my road bike, that seem to flex allot in the front and they are heavy compared to my other wheel sets. They have pretty much stayed true on Houston city streets. I wouldn't trust them on my cross rig though. The flex was so bad I took them to the shop I thought something was wrong with them but they said tension was even.
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Old 02-25-08, 02:17 PM   #8
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Shimano R500s. They hold up ok, only went out of true once (stick caught in the rear derailleur and the whole mess go tthrown into the spokes, so not the wheel's fault) I really can't see what their purpose is other than to look fast and light. They are not particularly light, especially for a 20/24 spoke count wheelset.
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Old 02-25-08, 03:36 PM   #9
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Shimano R500s. They hold up ok, only went out of true once (stick caught in the rear derailleur and the whole mess go tthrown into the spokes, so not the wheel's fault) I really can't see what their purpose is other than to look fast and light. They are not particularly light, especially for a 20/24 spoke count wheelset.
There are three basic quality measures for a wheel: durability, aerodynamics, and weight. For a budget wheelset, two out of three ain't bad. The rim shape and low spoke count make for a more aerodynamic wheel, but the hefty rim adds weight.

Unless you can afford carbon rims, I think the better choice for cross is a wheel with a light rim and many spokes, because lightness is relatively more important than aerodynamics in cross.
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Old 02-25-08, 05:25 PM   #10
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novice question

I wasn't sure what was meant by wheel flex so I just googled it... It doesn't explain what the symptoms are though. So why is it bad if a wheel flexes - what happens if it does? Is handling worse? Slower? I just bought a pair of Easton Vistas, but I figured for $145 they wouldn't be that bad. At that price pretty much the only other thing available were the titans.


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I have a set Easton Vistas that came stock on my road bike, that seem to flex allot in the front and they are heavy compared to my other wheel sets. They have pretty much stayed true on Houston city streets. I wouldn't trust them on my cross rig though. The flex was so bad I took them to the shop I thought something was wrong with them but they said tension was even.
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Old 02-25-08, 05:39 PM   #11
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We're talking lateral flex. Hard accelerations or cranking out of the saddle that make the brakes rub the rim both front & rear. Taking tight corners and the bike seems sluggish or unstable because the wheels are flexing and not holding a good line. Probably more examples out there.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:58 PM   #12
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This may be obvious, but Performance Titans suck. Flexy like overcooked pasta.
I bought a pair in a rush when the stock wheels on my Kona Jake blew, and I returned them about 4 commutes and 90 miles later- could not have managed another week on them.
Mine held up as a spare race set, and a road set for over a year. I guess I was either lucky, or you were unlucky.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:16 AM   #13
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Mine held up as a spare race set, and a road set for over a year. I guess I was either lucky, or you were unlucky.

I've read that the Titans are essentially the same as some Neuvations (M28?) that are just subject to less stringent quality control, so they can be hit or miss.
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Old 02-26-08, 10:08 AM   #14
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There are three basic quality measures for a wheel: durability, aerodynamics, and weight. For a budget wheelset, two out of three ain't bad. The rim shape and low spoke count make for a more aerodynamic wheel, but the hefty rim adds weight.

Unless you can afford carbon rims, I think the better choice for cross is a wheel with a light rim and many spokes, because lightness is relatively more important than aerodynamics in cross.
I agree, but not necessarily with the assumption that the Shimano wheels are aerodynamic. yes, they have a slightly raised profile, and not a ton of spokes. Does that really translate into any benefit in real world circumstances? I do realize I'm opening a whole 'nother can of worms here .

Anyways, my number one priority is durability, so I'm saving up for a good set of handbuilt wheels. I willl say I've been surprised at the durability of the Shimano wheels, but I've also babied them more than I do 32 or 36 spoke wheels, and I haven't done much serious trail riding with them either.
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Old 02-26-08, 10:34 AM   #15
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I wasn't sure what was meant by wheel flex so I just googled it... It doesn't explain what the symptoms are though. So why is it bad if a wheel flexes - what happens if it does? Is handling worse? Slower? I just bought a pair of Easton Vistas, but I figured for $145 they wouldn't be that bad. At that price pretty much the only other thing available were the titans.
You know, other than looking really strange when it happens and the occasional brake rub. I have always assumed it was a bad thing. Mine (front wheel only) seems to flex side to side when sprinting very hard or when hitting a nasty bump, maybe this good since it's taking some of the impact, don't really know? Out of the four wheel sets I have though this wheel does it the most. Though I will admit it's not enough to replace the wheel. Does your vista do the same?
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Old 02-26-08, 10:51 AM   #16
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I agree, but not necessarily with the assumption that the Shimano wheels are aerodynamic. yes, they have a slightly raised profile, and not a ton of spokes. Does that really translate into any benefit in real world circumstances? I do realize I'm opening a whole 'nother can of worms here
Well, obviously it goes down to tradeoffs. If you were competing in, say, a time trial, crit, or triathlon, aerodynamic differences between wheels could very well be non-negligible. Or even say a century or brevet, the small percentages add up to even more time.

Since this is the 'cross forum, let's assume that aerodynamics are relatively less important than durability and light weight. Then for certain, a wheel with a light rim and more spokes is the way to go, all else being equal. If I were building a strictly road bike (i.e. not touring, nothing tougher than the occasional gravel road or grass), I would go with something with a more aero rim and fewer spokes.
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Old 02-26-08, 10:52 AM   #17
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P.S. Here is an interesting study in the weight/aero tradeoff, not 100% relevant in this case but IMO interesting:
http://www.cervelo.com/content.aspx?...=WhitePapers#2
("Col de la Tipping Point")
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Old 02-26-08, 03:05 PM   #18
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I've read that the Titans are essentially the same as some Neuvations (M28?) that are just subject to less stringent quality control, so they can be hit or miss.
I have both Titans and Neuvation M28 Aeros. I agree that the wheels look very similar. The bladed spoke may be a bit wider on the M28s. I also feel like the Neuvations roll a little easier, but this is pretty negligible, highly subjective, and may be because I've had the Titans for longer. I've heard similar stories of hit or miss with the Titans, and as I wrote above, mine would be a mess without a complete retension by a competent wheelman. The Neuvations (both the M28s and a set of R28's I have) arrived perfectly true and have held up quite well, though to be fair they've seen mostly road training miles and not cross race miles.
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