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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 07-12-16, 07:38 PM   #1
Steelerfan14
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Opinions on Bontrager paradigm Elite Road wheel upgrade

Just wanted some opinions as to whether or not the Bontrager Paradigm elite road wheel set is a worth while upgrade to the stock wheels on a new Trek Emanda ALR5. It's basially a $1000 wheel set vs the $500 set that comes stock on the bike. I'm not racing or anything and bought the bike for fitness and I just am not sure if that is money well spent. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

If I don't go with a wheel set I'm debating picking up a hybrid that is easier to tool around with when my 5 year old son wants to ride his new bike
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Old 07-12-16, 08:11 PM   #2
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It is only worthwhile if it accomplishes something you are trying to do. Do you want lighter? Are those wheels lighter? Do you want more aero? Are those wheels more aero? Are you lookng for more durable? Are thise wheels more durable? Do you see how this works.
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Old 07-12-16, 09:39 PM   #3
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You could do better than those for $500 or less
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Old 07-12-16, 10:53 PM   #4
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The Paradigms are indeed nice wheels. Long term reliability will be the question. My wife picked up a brand new pair of Shimano R281's for under $500, and those seem like a nice set of wheels. She previously had the Bontrager Race that came stock on her bike.

So far so good on the R281's. I previously had a set of Bontrager RL's, unfortunately after 2 seasons the rear wheel started developing cracks near the spoke nipples. I would have hoped they would have lasted longer.
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Old 07-13-16, 05:56 AM   #5
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My goal was something lighter that has less rolling resistance.
I'll check out the Shimano's. I hadn't seen those before so I will look into them. A buddy of mine who rides with a club said he didn't feel as though an upgraded wheel set is worth the money if your just out for fitness or group rides, versus racing and doing time trial stuff
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Old 07-19-16, 01:48 PM   #6
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I almost went for the Paradigm's this weekend, one of the guys at the shop has them on his SL6. The hubs are DT Swiss which are good hubs. Good reviews on the wheelset. I opted though for the Aura 5, aluminum box wheel with a carbon fairing that really does improve the aero performance.
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Old 07-19-16, 03:32 PM   #7
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If you want lighter and less rolling resistance, upgrade your tires. You know how much the wire beads weigh alone?

You're only going to find a significant reduction in rolling resistance if the hubs are incredibly bad, or the bearings were poorly installed or adjusted. If it's a cartridge bearing hub, then most of them roll about the same, unless the bearings were not pressed in properly. If it's a cup and cone hub, it probably came poorly adjusted from the factory and should be rebuilt.
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Old 07-19-16, 04:43 PM   #8
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Well, they're pretty wide at 19.5mm internal width, and they're tubeless ready. I don't think there are very many sub-1500g wheel sets out there that are that wide, tubeless ready, with DT Swiss hubs, and ~$900.
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Old 07-19-16, 04:51 PM   #9
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^Agreed with RNAV. A lot of people here don't know what they're talking about when they look at those aluminum wheels. If the question is whether or not you should upgrade wheels in the first place, that is up to you. But if you are going to upgrade, the paradigm elites are awesome. Hubs are DT internals, 19.5 inside width, and sub 1400g for the wheelset is awesome.

I have a set with schwalbe pro ones set up tubeless, and they are some of the best riding wheels I have ever ridden. For under $1000 they are a great wheel, and you won't be disappointed. (If you do end up getting them, I also urge you to try tubeless, and the pro ones are a great tire.)
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Old 07-19-16, 07:37 PM   #10
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The guy at the bike shop recommended I go tubeless as well if I do the wheel upgrade. The tires he showed me were $99 a piece. So it brings the retail price of wheels and tires to right at $1200.

Regarding the comment a few above about just upgrading the tires..… I'm a rookie to this but I wasn't aware that simply changing tires would greatly help to reduce rolling resistance. I have the stock 23 tires that came on the bike. Can you recommend a tire that will reduce resistance??
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Old 07-19-16, 07:50 PM   #11
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The guy at the bike shop recommended I go tubeless as well if I do the wheel upgrade. The tires he showed me were $99 a piece. So it brings the retail price of wheels and tires to right at $1200.

Regarding the comment a few above about just upgrading the tires..… I'm a rookie to this but I wasn't aware that simply changing tires would greatly help to reduce rolling resistance. I have the stock 23 tires that came on the bike. Can you recommend a tire that will reduce resistance??
Most rolling resistance is due to the tires. From the wheels only hub bearings contribute to rolling resistance. And that is relatively small.
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Old 07-20-16, 03:11 PM   #12
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Aren't the wheels that came stock on your bike already tubeless ready? The only thing it seems like you might get from the pricier wheels is less weight and possibly a wider rim. This may or may not really be worth it if you're just riding to enjoy the ride.

I personally would choose the hybrid bike to ride with my son over those wheels under these circumstances.
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Old 07-20-16, 04:35 PM   #13
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How does one derive that the stock wheelset is $500? The whole bike is $1380 on Trek's own site, which makes frame, 105 groupset and the rest all only worth $800 ? Would a bike store give you $500 off if you opted for no wheels installed?
I'm with RMS in thinking that you could do a lot lower price than the Bontrager Elite wheels for the same quality. Eg. perhaps Campy Eurus at under $600
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Old 07-20-16, 07:51 PM   #14
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The full non sale retail price of the bike is $1679. As far as the wheels go if you look at the wheel section on treks site it appears the retail cost of the wheels eat that comes stock is $500.
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Old 07-20-16, 07:53 PM   #15
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I think I've decided on the hybrid for family riding instead of investing on a new wheel set.

Honestly after a close call with a car today I kinda wish I had just done a really nice fitness/hybrid bike instead of the road bike and just stuck to rail trails and other bike paths for fitness riding.
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Old 07-20-16, 07:56 PM   #16
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Then $500 is the full non-sale retail price of the wheelset that they probably don't sell very many of when it's not included with a complete bike.
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Old 07-27-16, 04:47 PM   #17
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The full non sale retail price of the bike is $1679. As far as the wheels go if you look at the wheel section on treks site it appears the retail cost of the wheels eat that comes stock is $500.
It's not though.... MSRP on the ALR5 wheels is $218 ($99 front and $119 rear). The ALR 6, the next level up, comes with a higher level wheelset - that one still come in under the $500 mark ($438).
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