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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-06-05, 07:41 AM   #1
mattface
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MA3 or Open Pros?

I'm buying rims for my soma frame. Aside from price, I'm not really sure what the practical differences between these two rims might be. MA3s are less expensive, and my sense is a little heavier and a little more durable. I might go with open pros for lighter weight, but not at the expense of durability. I'm planning on lacing 32 3x on both with 14/15 double butted spokes, and probably running 25s at first. I weigh 190, and ride pretty rough roads with little regard for potholes, and curbs. My sense is eitherither rim would probably hold up, but I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts on the pros and cons of one or the other.
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Old 12-06-05, 08:05 AM   #2
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I've got a set of MA3's on surly hubs and I don't think I'm going to have a problem. I think the open pros look better and I'd really like to run cpx 33's. But with that all said they seems to be built really strong and I've had no problems.
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Old 12-06-05, 08:05 AM   #3
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I think you're right, there's not much of a difference between these rims. They both build up nicely, both are old, proven designs, and both are very durable.

The MA3's are a bit heavier, and I think that's because they have slightly thicker sidewalls. If you're going to have brakes on your bike, that could be a good thing, as the sidewalls may last longer. If you're building a brakeless fixed gear, then you might want the lighter Open Pros. The difference is pretty small, though.

I've got a pair of 36 hole MA3's laced to Suzue Promax hubs with 14/15 db spokes, and the wheels are absolutely fantastic for city riding.
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Old 12-06-05, 10:52 AM   #4
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MA3's are prone to spoke hole cracking. do a search on usenet for a lot of info on this. they crack because of poor design. I know several builders that won't even sell them anymore. http://groups.google.com/groups?q=MA...al&sa=N&tab=wg
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Old 12-06-05, 11:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknight
MA3's are prone to spoke hole cracking. do a search on usenet for a lot of info on this. they crack because of poor design. I know several builders that won't even sell them anymore. http://groups.google.com/groups?q=MA...al&sa=N&tab=wg
My fatazz (190) has been riding MA3's on and off for a few years through
bad streets and even worse weather, not a crack in sight (on the rim, that is).
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Old 12-06-05, 11:35 AM   #6
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some people don't get cracks but enough do to give the rim a bad rep. check out my link I posted.
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Old 12-06-05, 12:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknight
some people don't get cracks but enough do to give the rim a bad rep. check out my link I posted.

Wow, I'm surprised to learn that people have had problems with these rims. I built my wheels up to the highest tension recommended, and abuse the heck out of them, and have had no cracks. I guess I got lucky.

I see also that Mavic has stopped making the MA3, and now makes an "Open Sport" in its place.
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Old 12-06-05, 12:13 PM   #8
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glad to see they stopped making it. took them long ehough though.
the problem was it only had a single eyelet and that was weaker then no eyelet. plus hte hard annodizing made it brittle.
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Old 12-06-05, 12:19 PM   #9
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I've had problems with keeping MA3s in true/round. The OpenPro I have hasn't had that problem so far. I would *not* buy another MA3, ever, because of this. The set I have was built by American (a reputable shop in SF), two cross front, three cross rear, 32H on high flange hubs and they went out of true (quite a bit) twice in the first six months I used them. Streets are bad, I hop curbs and I weigh 175lbs, so take that into consideration.
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Old 12-06-05, 12:32 PM   #10
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I run two cxp33s for a while now I think they cost somewhere in between the two they seem to be a little stronger than the open pros but they weigh in @ 470 grams as opposed to 430
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Old 12-06-05, 12:37 PM   #11
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You make a good point that many problems have been reported for the MA3's, and that it makes more sense to make this decision based on a large sample size rather than a few personal anecdotes. That said, I'm going to chime in with my pro-MA3 experience (to be taken for what it's worth):

I've got 32h MA3's on my commuter and 32h Open Pro's on my cyclocross bike which sees mostly road riding. Both rims have held up well, but to me the MA3's have been a better value: I think they were $20 cheaper per rim. I've only been using them for a year so I may change my tune if cracks start to show up. However, I ride them daily and often with a heavy load (I weigh 175 and carry lots of books and sometimes groceries) and have yet to see any damage at all. I debated between the Open Pro's and MA3's quite a bit before choosing the MA3's, and so far have no regrets.

My experience has been that the quality of the wheel build is more important than the parts used (assuming reasonable quality). An imporperly tensioned wheel will break spokes and crack rim eyelets even on the best rims, yet a well-built wheel with middle of the road components will last a very long time. For example, if buying complete wheels and similar prices, I would definitely buy hand built wheels with lesser components from a good wheel builder than better component wheels from a large distributor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknight
MA3's are prone to spoke hole cracking. do a search on usenet for a lot of info on this. they crack because of poor design. I know several builders that won't even sell them anymore. http://groups.google.com/groups?q=MA...al&sa=N&tab=wg
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Old 12-06-05, 02:12 PM   #12
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if you're not going to build your own you should check out the nashbar cxp22/formula wheelset for $150. Cheap.
If you're going to build your own, go with the open pros.
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Old 12-06-05, 02:13 PM   #13
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open pro +1
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Old 12-06-05, 02:30 PM   #14
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I've been running a Kogswell/MA3 combo for maybe a thousand miles, heavy rider, loads, bad roads, going down curbs etc and ain't seen a problem yet.

If you search reviews of Open Pros, you'll find lots of complaints of the pins from the joint rattling loose and causing.

There's also the possibility of the cracking being caused by factors that have nothing to do with the manufacture of the rim itself, but are believed to be this by the users. Not saying anyone's not right, just that we can't know for sure. Since they're the cheapest Mavic rim, I'd guess that there are tens of thousands of them out there with no problems at all.

Me, I managed to bend a D521 (extremely heavy downhill mtb rim) with a simple derailleur in the spokes problem, and I probably wouldn't run them again, not because they're not quality, but because I'd rather bend 30$ rims than $100 ones if I'm not racing.
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Old 12-06-05, 02:42 PM   #15
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no problems with my open pros,but then iv'e only rode the bike two times so far
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Old 12-06-05, 03:14 PM   #16
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great discussion. Exactly the same topic I was pondering about too. MA-3's are 1/2 the price of Open-Pro's and that does mean quite a few beers. However, I've had MA-3 36H rim on the back of my bike for a few years, and it was my second wheel build ever. It is straight and true. Recently, I fitted a new wheel set with nicer hubs and Open-Pros. Everything is running fine (knock on alloy). Right now I am trying to decided on MA-3 or an Open Pro front rim on a retro bike (which got the older MA-3 rear wheel). The difference is $30 for years of good fun!
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Old 12-06-05, 04:45 PM   #17
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I built a Phil/MA3 wheelset earlier this year that I have been very pleased with. I ride them pretty hard on crappy roads, and they have remained perfectly true with no adjustment. They have an older look to them that I think is appropriate on the vintage frame I have them on.

I have a new Open Sport at home that I think may be the same thing as the MA3 with just a new name. Not certain of that, though. I will take a closer look later in the week.
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Old 12-06-05, 04:47 PM   #18
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Get some good hubs, a pair of CXP33 rims, and fahgettaboutit.
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Old 12-06-05, 06:09 PM   #19
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MA3's are good rims but the open pro's are well knowen among wheel builders for being the roundest most precise rim to build with. Both rims have machined sidewalls for a great brakeing surface, both have almos an identical profile. The Open pro has double eyelet witch lets you run higher tention and have a stiffer wheel. Spend the extra and get the Open Pro's unless you fear your city streets may kill them.
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Old 12-06-05, 10:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spider-man
They have an older look to them that I think is appropriate on the vintage frame I have them on.

I have a new Open Sport at home that I think may be the same thing as the MA3 with just a new name.
The "vintage" look is very appealling on the older classy (non racer X) frames indeed (IMHO)

Rumor has it as only a name change.... perhaps they may have improved the eyelids? Maybe?
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