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custom wheels under $500? options

Old 06-17-10, 11:06 AM
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custom wheels under $500? options

ok, so I have been scouting the intraweb for my best options for all around wheels and have come to the conclusion that custom might be the way to go.

here are the constraints:
less than $500
under 1500g
must be fairly strong (support 160lbs in bumpy/pot hole roads)
use KinLin xr-300 rims (cheap, light, and the right profile)

pluses:
color choices on hub/spokes
the stiffer, the better (I'm young and don't care about comfort)
even lighter

these will go on a 2007 look 595, which is primarily black with some red and white decals with "LOOK" logos splashed on the frame a million times. I am afraid decals on wheels would just make the bike look WAY too busy and if i remove the stickers, then what is the point of paying another $200 for a name brand?

I would like to be able to afford the dt swiss 240 or tune hubs but unless someone has an awesome hook-up, i simply can't. With that said, what are my next best alternatives on hubs and spokes.

These will be used for training, some racing, and lots of climbing. However, there may be crits in the near future. Like I have stated before I am 6' 2" weigh 160lbs (recommended hole patterns?) and these will be used in not the smoothest roads of massachusetts! I know I said they will be used for training but I would like a quality wheelset. It's a shame to put cheapo wheels on a high end frame.

On a side note, if anyone can recommend good wheel-builders near Boston, MA please let me know.

THANK YOU ALL

Last edited by 3chnalava; 06-17-10 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 06-17-10, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 3chnalava
would like to be able to afford the dt swiss 240 or tune hubs but unless someone has an awesome hook-up, i simply can't. With that said, what are my next best alternatives on hubs and spokes.
Campy or Shimano/SRAM compatible? For Shimano, Ultegra hubs are a bargain and very smooth and durable. If the extra cost isn't too bad, go for Dura Ace and save a little weight but avoid the 7800 version with the Al 10-speed only freehub body.

For Campy, the only hubs they sell as individual components are "Record" and these are still good. Try to find some NOS Chorus hubs if you can.

All of the above are cup-and-cone bearing hubs and will require occasional maintainance and overhauling. Done right they will last for decades.

I prefer 32H laced 3X with DT or Wheelsmith 2.0/1.8/2.0 spokes.

As to wheelbuilders in your area, Harris Cyclery does so many things well that I think they would be a good choice.
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Old 06-17-10, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 3chnalava
ok, so I have been scouting the intraweb for my best options for all around wheels and have come to the conclusion that custom might be the way to go.

here are the constraints:
less than $500
under 1500g
must be fairly strong (support 160lbs in bumpy/pot hole roads)
use KinLin xr-300 rims (cheap, light, and the right profile)

pluses:
color choices on hub/spokes
the stiffer, the better (I'm young and don't care about comfort)
even lighter
Good luck hitting that 1500 gram target.

You can get some pretty nice, quite strong wheels for $500...however, something's going to have to give in order for you to hit that weight.

I just built a 1600 gram set with Kinlin XR-300 on the rear, XR-270 front, with white industries hubs and DT swiss Comp spokes and just the parts (from a very competitive source ) cost me $500 shipped to my door. I had to do the building.

A less proven light weight hub set that's MUCH cheaper is offered by Novatec. ( https://www.bdopcycling.com/Hubs-Road.asp ) I think PSIMET builds with them and has had good luck. That could bring your weight down a bit, and perhaps allow you to afford sapim CX-Ray spokes to lose a few more grams. Not sure how that would shake out for weight exactly, but you'd be putting some super high end spokes, and quality rims onto some comparably cheap hubs to make it happen. It would be up to you.

I'd suggest doing a bit more research, and also think hard about how important that 1500gr limit is to you. Personally I prefer a wheel that I can trust to last a long time and be relatively (if not perfectly) trouble free. In most cases (I'm not trying to start a fight here) the lighter weight wheel sets do come at a cost to convenience and reliability.

-Jeremy
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Old 06-17-10, 03:25 PM
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Under 1500 grams (a true "under" not some advertising lie) is the Bicycle Wheel Warehouse Blackset Race at 1451g and $350. That's really tough to beat but they don't spend a king's ransom on expensive advertising like some do. They make that weight with 24/28 spokes too - not silly spoke numbers like some heavier wheels use.

That's with their house-brand hub and a 383 gram rim. There aren't many clincher rims that light; if any. Mine have been perfect for the first half of this season. A friend has 1.5 seasons on hers.

You can spec CX-Ray spokes (mine has them) or different hubs if you look at their customizable version.
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Old 06-17-10, 05:31 PM
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I'd spend more time training your legs and cardiovascular system than worrying about a 1500 g wheel. If you're concerned about potholes, then the mass of the wheel should be near the bottom of your wish list.
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Old 06-17-10, 05:50 PM
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Bicycle Wheel Warehouse

I want to second the emotion about Bicycle Wheel Warehouse. The prices are low and they really build the wheels well. I've had mine for over a year and haven't trued them once!
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Old 06-17-10, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 3chnalava
These will be used for training, some racing, and lots of climbing.



thanks for reading. The weight is important. I would rather break out the piggy bank then sacrifice weight. Now I know a climbing wheel will not be bulletproof but that is ok. Some servicing / truingg every once a year or so is swallowable. There are plenty strong clinchers sub 1500g out there so its not impossible (ksyriums, rolf primas etc)
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Old 06-17-10, 06:44 PM
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I have a set of Neuvation Aero 4's. Total weight: 1580 grams. Total price: $314.00 shipped. I am very pleased with them. Not available in "colors", but quite frankly that is not a big deal for me. These wheels rock.
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Old 06-17-10, 06:58 PM
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I commute on a 1430 gram wheelset that I built for around $600. IRD Cadence VSR rims (basically a Kinlin XR-200 but eyeleted and offset spoke holes), American Classic Disc 130 front hub (you can shed almost 70 grams using the Micro 58 though), AC RD 205 rear hub, 32 DT Revolution spokes up front, 16 DT Competition spokes rear DS, and 16 DT Revolution spokes rear NDS, DT aluminum nipples. 4000+ miles and they haven't needed a single tweak.

I built a very similar set of wheels for a friend using the Micro 58 front hub, and 24 spokes up front and 28 rear. They weighed a little over 1300 grams for under $550.
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Old 06-17-10, 09:15 PM
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I built a light rear wheel with a Velomax hub and spokes (from the original Easton wheel, double butted but not sure of size). I put a Velocity Aerohead OC rim on it. If I built a matching from it would come in under 1500g easily. I think this is the equivalent of an Easton EA90 SLX and it cost around $120 - 130 altogether with hub and spokes from eBay at a grand total of $35. Rim, nipples and rim tape were the rest. A matching front from Wheelbuilder. com would cost around $250-300, and it wouldn't be a Velomax hub, instead it would use a White Industries hub. You can't just buy Easton hubs.
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Old 06-17-10, 09:25 PM
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I don't think it's possible to build a strong sub 1500g wheelset with XR-300...

I barely got under 1600 with XR-270 and decently light hubs.
To be decently strong, precludes the use of aluminum nipples.
XR-200 rims need a high spoke count to be strong, since they're very flimsy.

it's under $400, I think it's closer to $300, so obviously for $500 you can do better.
XR-270 20h rim, novatec A291SB, 2.0/1.7/1.8 DT super comp spokes, brass nipples. 658g


XR-270 24h rim, DA FH-7801, 2.0/1.8 DT comp spokes drive side, 2.0/1.7/1.8 DT super comp NDS, brass nipples. 884g
triplet laced so it's 16 drive side and 8 non-drive side, which makes it pretty strong, despite the low spoke count.
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