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Old 03-13-12, 11:03 AM
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Informal Reviews on Track Wheels

In an effort to consolidate some information on the board and to create some threads to reference, I'll start this Track Wheel Review thread.

I've owned and borrowed several track wheels over the past few years and have some thoughts on them.

Please add your thoughts and experiences to this thread.

Velocity Deep V clincher with Velocity/Formula hubs (and the like):
- Great beginner wheelset for racing and training.
- Very strong.
- Even when the beginner graduates to fancy wheels, these will likely remain in the stable as daily training wheels.
- The bearings are easy for a shop to replace after a few years of service.
- 32 or 36 spokes on the rear will make a great wheel for sprinters training standing starts.
- Easy to find online or at a local fixed gear shop for $200 or less. Even cheaper used from ebay or craigslist.
- Bomb proof
- Sealed bearings don't require service or attention.
- Lots of colors
- Stickers are removable

- Lots of colors (hahaha)
- High spoke count will create turbulence and therefore not be very aero.
- Probably weigh more than others in this list.
- Track nuts could be replace with Dura Ace nuts

I highly recommend these type wheels for new racers.

Velocity Deep V clincher laced to Dura Ace 7600 hub:
- Same as above
- Higher quality hub with nice bearings and track nuts.
- Fully serviceable. You can order rebuild kits for it.
- Stickers are removable

- The DA hub does sometimes need bearing adjustment. It will get tight to the point of seizing if you don't check it regularly.
- Ball bearings require maintenance. I keep cone wrenches in my track sack.

The DA hub is just a really nice high quality hub. If you have the extra coin, why not?

Zipp 404 tubular + DA hubs wheelset
- Light-sh race wheel
- DA Hubs
- Great for racing in windy conditions, especially for lighter riders or ladies that would get blown around using a deeper front wheel like a 808.
- Spin up quickly
- Good aero benefits (sorry that I can't quantify this)
- Zipp hubs are awesome (if you choose to get a stock setup). The axles are removable which is great for packing for travel.
- Stickers are removable

- Pricey, but worth it.

Great track race setup either with stock hubs or custom hubs. The stock Zipp hubs are freaking amazing works of art. Probably the best hubs ever. Great for all-around riders. Great for weekly racing. Probably the best bang-for-the-buck aero setup for all-around or endurance riders.

Zipp 808 Track tubular wheelset
- REALLY aero. I can feel the air splitting around the front wheel. It was really noticeable on the very first ride even during warmup.
- Handles really well at high speed and in the turns.
- Cool sound
- Very stiff for standing starts.
- One Aeronautical Engineer and elite national champ says that the 808 track wheelset is just as fast as the 808/disc setup but the rear spins up faster.
- Stickers are removable
- Probably the best bang-for-the-buck aero setup for sprinters.

- Lighter riders will hate the front wheel on a windy day. I'm a huge rider and I've gotten the willies when a gust comes by.
- Pricey but worth it

Great for weekly racing. Great for big sprinters who lay down lots of torque. Leave the front at home on windy days.

Zipp 1080 laced to low flange DA hubs (custom build)
- Very, very aero.
- The 1080 wheels are as light as the 808.
- Stickers are removable

- It's pretty much like riding a front disc. Not fun on outdoor tracks.
- The walls of the 1080 are thin, which makes them not as stiff and you feel them getting mushy in the turns when you are pulling Gs.
- Expensive
- Not for heavier guys. Not for lighter riders riding outdoors either.

This setup isn't popular for a reason. That being said, I watch Dan Holt use the 1080 front with a Zipp 900 disc and win the 2010 Elite Points Race where he spent a lot of time riding solo as he lapped the field. Of course, he's a lighter rider and this was an indoor track.

Zipp 900 tubular disc
- Great moderately priced disc.
- Very stiff and strong.
- Very resilient. It's solid foam. I've seen several with dents, divots, and dings that work just fine
- The axle is removable for packing for travel.
- Great wooosh-whooosh sound!
- Fast.
- Andy Coggan has remarked that in his tests, the Zipp 900 with an 808 front is just as fast as the much more expensive Mavic Io/Comete setup.

- Stickers are not removable (minor gripe)

Conclusion: Great for weekly racing, time trials, big events. Best bang for the buck disc that I can think of.

Mavic Ellipse clincher
- Great double-duty training and weekly race wheel set
- 20 bladed spokes make the wheels noticeably less turbulent than the training wheels mentioned above.
- Stickers are removable
- These are VERY strong despite having only 20 spokes. At 250lbs, I rode a set daily through the streets of Baltimore on a commuter bike. Never had to true them. I know a 300lb guy that did the same on a set.

- The rear wheel (20 spokes) isn't as stiff for standing starts by big sprinters as a disc or 32 spoke wheel will be. Some may notice some torque twisting.
- More expensive than a standard track training wheelset. MSRP is $500 when a standard track setup is maybe $200.

This is a GREAT wheelset. If a racer could only afford one wheelset, this is what I'd suggest. Great for weekly racing, too when you want to save the mileage on your fancy race tires on your race wheelset. Good for time trials, too.

Mavic Io + Comete
- This is a badass wheelset. When you put these on, you better be flying.
- The front wheel is fast. Period.
- The narrow rim bed of the front wheel combined with the right tire feels very nimble.
- These wheels have been proven to be very strong and resilient, surviving crashes.
- Stickers are removable
- Did I mention that these were badass?...because they are.

- You'll need to bring your big wallet to buy them.
- Very rare on the used market, and even if they do turn up, you'll likely pay the same or more than a new set of Zipps will cost.
- Very rare to buy new. Only a handful come into the US every year. I know guys with cash-in-hand that have trouble buying a set.
- Not for weekly racing. Many people (including pros) save these for very special races. So, as far as actually getting use out of them, this is probably the worst bang-for-the-buck purchase you could make.

These are just my experiences. Your experiences will probably vary. Please comment and let us know what you think.

Last edited by carleton; 03-13-12 at 11:12 AM.
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