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80's vs. New Wheelset?

Old 06-12-20, 04:13 PM
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cyclic_eric
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80's vs. New Wheelset?

Hello,

My wheels have seen better days. They are Araya gold anodized rims, with Suntour (hard to read, maybe Superbee) hubs. Can I get a livelier, perhaps significantly lighter wheelset by going with something more modern? Which ones?

I'd probably opt for tubular or clincher. Currently I have 126mm spacing with a 7-speed freewheel and would prefer to keep that setup.


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Old 06-12-20, 04:52 PM
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One way is to keep your hubs (126mm rear with freewheel) and rebuild them with new rims and spokes. For me, a vintage 32-hole hub spoke count is plenty for front and rear.
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Old 06-12-20, 05:26 PM
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Those are LePree hubs. VeloBase.com - Component: SunTour LePree

While there were better models available (Cyclone, Superbe), pretty much any of these hubs made by Sansin were very good quality. Are the Araya rims worn? If not, then that's actually a pretty good wheelset already, considering you would stay with 126mm, 7sp, and freewheel.
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Old 06-12-20, 05:35 PM
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measured brake track wear?
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Old 06-12-20, 06:00 PM
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That rim looks great. You won't save much rim weight by going modern: 25 grams for going Open Pro. A little less for Velocity A23. Modern often means going to 23mm width which might be fun. Then with double butted spokes, you could save a few grams. Try spending some money on really nice tires and latex inner tubes and see if you can feel the difference. If you decide to go tubular, modern rims aren't light so you would have to stay vintage for maximum effect. I know nothing about carbon rims other than "warranty".
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Old 06-12-20, 06:09 PM
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Vintage-looking modern? I'd build with H PlusSon TB14. Pacenti Brevet, or less expensive Sun 19mm box rims, and use Sapim Laser or DT Revolution spokes with any of them. Use some current skin wall tires and light tubes and your bike will look vintage but ride better. Other than hubs, all wheel products have improved massively since the 1980's.
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Old 06-12-20, 06:14 PM
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It's pretty easy to spread 126mm rear dropouts to 130mm. Then you can upgrade your drivetrain to a 7 speed cassette or bump it up to 8 or 9 speed stuff. Pop a set of these on your bike w/some 23mm tires pumped up to 110psi & I guarantee that you will be rolling a lot faster .........

FREE SHIP 48 STATES* Vuelta Team SL Aluminum Rims, Vuelta Hub Road Bike Wheelsets
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Old 06-13-20, 02:50 PM
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Agreed on newer wheels, 130bcd, with 8 or higher cassette. Your non indexed shifters will work fine, and the shifting with ramped cassettes will be much smoother.
What kind of wheels depends on your budget but there's lots of good quality 10 speed capable Shimano available cheap as many have moved to 11.
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Old 06-13-20, 03:09 PM
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You will gain weight by going to something modern. Your Araya rims are very light for clinchers, particular by current standards.

Modern wheels feature fewer spokes and more rear wheel dish than vintage wheels. Fewer spokes mean larger unsupported spans between spokes, which mean that the rims have to be bulked up. Greater dish in current wheels (due to the ongoing and pointless arms race with the number of cogs) also mean that the rims have to be more laterally stiff, again translating into more material and weight.

Finally, there has been a multi-decade trend for deeper rim sections, as they are more 'aero'. Despite that this adds significant rim mass, with a breakeven performance point requiring that you consistently cycle at >20mph. But: low-spoke count, deep section rims look 'kewl', and this sells.

Vintage tubular wheels (low profile) will allow you to shed significant amount of rotating mass over any clinchers, past or current, but unless you are good at gluing, stay with what you have.
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Old 06-13-20, 03:50 PM
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From all of the above comments, you should conclude that you won’t feel any difference (except maybe the opposite of your goal) going to a different 7-speed clincher wheel set. Tubulars, on the other hand, will feel substantially nicer if you’re willing to deal with them.

Going to 8+ speeds in back with a 130mm rear hub will give you gains in gearing options, as well as the benefits of a cassette hub.

What are your current tires and tubes? I’d be one of those who disagree that 23mm tires at high pressure roll faster. They might feel faster because of more vibration, but many recent tests show that light supple tires like those from Rene Herse, Soma, Challenge or similar, as wide as will fit your frame and inflated to appropriate 15% drop pressures (look up the Frank Berto tire pressure chart) roll faster and smoother with significantly more comfort. If you combine an Extralight version with EL or latex tubes (plan on pumping up every day for the latter), you are most likely to get you what you want.

Last edited by Dfrost; 06-13-20 at 04:14 PM. Reason: Added inflation pressure note
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Old 06-13-20, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
You will gain weight by going to something modern. Your Araya rims are very light for clinchers, particular by current standards.

Modern wheels feature fewer spokes and more rear wheel dish than vintage wheels. Fewer spokes mean larger unsupported spans between spokes, which mean that the rims have to be bulked up. Greater dish in current wheels (due to the ongoing and pointless arms race with the number of cogs) also mean that the rims have to be more laterally stiff, again translating into more material and weight.

Finally, there has been a multi-decade trend for deeper rim sections, as they are more 'aero'. Despite that this adds significant rim mass, with a breakeven performance point requiring that you consistently cycle at >20mph. But: low-spoke count, deep section rims look 'kewl', and this sells.

Vintage tubular wheels (low profile) will allow you to shed significant amount of rotating mass over any clinchers, past or current, but unless you are good at gluing, stay with what you have.
+1 to all of this. Vintage rims were lighter. Modern cassette hubs and cassettes tend to be lighter, and overall wheel weight is more of a wash. However, it's the low rotating mass that makes the wheels and bike feel lighter, not overall weight.

To improve performance, get some new tires. Vintage clinchers were terrible. Modern performance clinchers are light years ahead, and rival or beat tubulars in rolling resistance.
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Old 06-13-20, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclic_eric View Post
Hello,

My wheels have seen better days. They are Araya gold anodized rims, with Suntour (hard to read, maybe Superbee) hubs. Can I get a livelier, perhaps significantly lighter wheelset by going with something more modern? Which ones?

I'd probably opt for tubular or clincher. Currently I have 126mm spacing with a 7-speed freewheel and would prefer to keep that setup.


If you were close to me I'd be most likely quite willing to buy those wheels. All I'd do is put a straight edge vertically across the rim to check for concavity, No concavity means lots of life left in the rims.

Or I'd trade you tubular wheels for those.

Cheers

Last edited by Miele Man; 06-13-20 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Added comment
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Old 06-13-20, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Feldman View Post
Vintage-looking modern? I'd build with H PlusSon TB14. Pacenti Brevet, or less expensive Sun 19mm box rims, and use Sapim Laser or DT Revolution spokes with any of them. Use some current skin wall tires and light tubes and your bike will look vintage but ride better. Other than hubs, all wheel products have improved massively since the 1980's.

My H+Sons TB14/Campagnolo Record Hubs w/Sapim Race double butted spokes with secure lock nipples.

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Old 06-13-20, 10:01 PM
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While a modern rim may weigh a bit more than that Araya rim, it will be wider for a better tire profile and it will be stiffer, which I like.
A modern double walled rim with a 23mm outer width and 28mm depth is not heavy and I think builds up easier(since it is inherently stiffer). I haven't built many wheels, but even my limited experience was able to tell the difference.
Also, modern wheels neednt be low spoke count. A 28h wheelset with butted spokes and modern rims can be very reasonably light while still being quite strong.


...but the 126mm issue means not using modern hubs.
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Old 06-13-20, 10:28 PM
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A related question: What bike is using these wheels?
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Old 06-14-20, 03:28 AM
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Apart from high quality modern tires, what also makes a big difference is ensuring that the spokes are properly tensioned.
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Old 06-14-20, 11:38 PM
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Fascinating. I didn't know that modern rims are heavier. It makes complete sense, as Dave Mayer so clearly explained. Many thanks to him, Feldman, SurferRosa, noobinsf, mstateglfr, et al. Thanks everyone!

The Araya and Suntour LePree's are currently on my 1984 Gitane TdF. Currently with Ofmega derailleurs and Simplex downtube shifters. If I were to go to 8 speeds or more, I'd probably opt for Ergo levers. But then, where do you stop updating?
It seems more reasonable to stay close to the bike's era. The 52/42, 14-28 can be a challenge in the hills, but what the hey.

I will probably try sew-ups/tubulars soon. It's been more than 30 years since I had a bike with them, but I loved the feel. I understand the tape makes things easier these days. Currently the Gitane has rather slow Panaracer Paselas mounted, 25mm. My other bikes run GP4000s, which are a standard favorite of mine. Certainly latex tubes and perhaps some Vittoria Corsa's in skinwall would be an improvement.

A buddy of mine offered a good price on these tubulars, but I'm not familiar with the rims. The hubs are Specialized, without any markings on them. What's your opinion?
(Sorry for the bad photos!)






This picture is a few months old. I've changed the seatpost, pedals and shifter since then, and put on bar tape. It's dark now, or I'd get you a better picture.
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Old 06-15-20, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
While a modern rim may weigh a bit more than that Araya rim, it will be wider for a better tire profile and it will be stiffer, which I like.
A modern double walled rim with a 23mm outer width and 28mm depth is not heavy and I think builds up easier(since it is inherently stiffer). I haven't built many wheels, but even my limited experience was able to tell the difference.
Also, modern wheels neednt be low spoke count. A 28h wheelset with butted spokes and modern rims can be very reasonably light while still being quite strong.


...but the 126mm issue means not using modern hubs.

Vintage geezer rolls over laughing at 28h being called not low spoke count....

Aluminum alloys are not any stiffer now than they were in the 70s or 80s. A variety of rim widths have always been available. Nothing new there. Deeper cross section aero rims are stiffer, at least vertically.
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Old 06-15-20, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclic_eric View Post
Fascinating. I didn't know that modern rims are heavier. It makes complete sense, as Dave Mayer so clearly explained. Many thanks to him, Feldman, SurferRosa, noobinsf, mstateglfr, et al. Thanks everyone!

The Araya and Suntour LePree's are currently on my 1984 Gitane TdF. Currently with Ofmega derailleurs and Simplex downtube shifters. If I were to go to 8 speeds or more, I'd probably opt for Ergo levers. But then, where do you stop updating?
It seems more reasonable to stay close to the bike's era. The 52/42, 14-28 can be a challenge in the hills, but what the hey.

I will probably try sew-ups/tubulars soon. It's been more than 30 years since I had a bike with them, but I loved the feel. I understand the tape makes things easier these days. Currently the Gitane has rather slow Panaracer Paselas mounted, 25mm. My other bikes run GP4000s, which are a standard favorite of mine. Certainly latex tubes and perhaps some Vittoria Corsa's in skinwall would be an improvement.

A buddy of mine offered a good price on these tubulars, but I'm not familiar with the rims. The hubs are Specialized, without any markings on them. What's your opinion?
(Sorry for the bad photos!)






This picture is a few months old. I've changed the seatpost, pedals and shifter since then, and put on bar tape. It's dark now, or I'd get you a better picture.
I googled the model name for this rim, and this entry came up, which says this wheelset was apparently the set used by the 1984 US Olympic race team. VeloBase.com - Component: Saturn HT-C21

Huh, pretty neat provenance. I know nothing of the rims, but I know those hubs are some of the best vintage hubs you can find if they are in good shape. The sealed cartridge bearings are replaceable, though I'm not sure how complicated that is.
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Old 06-15-20, 12:09 PM
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The Specialized hubs were made by Sansin, who also made hubs for Suntour. Good stuff. Coincidentally, I've been riding on a Suntour Superbe Pro hub laced to a Mavic GEL 280 rim for the last few weeks, since the roads were swept. These hubs should accept 6001 cartridge bearings, which are the most common cart bearing in the bike universe, and will cost less than a beer to replace. 30 minute job, with simple tools.

I have ridden on Saturne tubular rims, cannot remember much, so they must have been OK. Heavy? Anyway, for reference: vintage 400 gram tubular rims are heavy and bulletproof. 400 gram alu clincher rims are fragile and irresponsibly light.

So I am back on tubulars, and life is good. Whenever I get back on these wheels, it is a revelation and a realization that clinchers just suck: plain and simple. They are heavy and susceptible to pinch flats, and terrifying if you have a sudden deflation. There is a reason why elite-level cycling is done on tubulars, past, present and forever: they are just better. It is not the tires, but the rim profile; look at a rim cross-section for tubulars versus clinchers, and it becomes immediately obvious whey tubular rims are lighter, stronger, less fragile, and safer. And they have more effective air volume for the same tire size, hence they ride like a larger tire.

Recommendation: get the tubulars and try them out. They should cost you say $50 for the wheelset. The most I have ever paid for a vintage set of tubular wheels is $100, and these had Campagnolo C-Record hubs, and Campagnolo Record Strada tubular rims, and DT Revolution spokes. The best of the best, and they were new. Inject 20cc of Orange Seal in the rear tire through a removable valve core. Your tire will now be almost impenetrable. Enjoy.
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Old 06-15-20, 12:23 PM
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Some unsolicited advice:

For an optimized ride experience, I recommend you going to brifters (integrated brake/shift levers). I've recently been riding a Pinarello with Campagnolo 8-speed Ergopower levers over a 7-speed Shimano freewheel. You have to hand it to Campy, but they got brifters right almost immediately. The shifting is as crisp and accurate as anything in my fleet, right up to Shimano and Campy 11-speed. You will need the shifters (Veloce to Record) and a matching rear derailleur from the era: 1992-2000. Front derailleur: almost any road derailleur will work with the left shifter. I use modern Shimano 7/8 speed chains and Hyperglide 7-speed freewheels. These are a vast improvement over any vintage drivetrain stuff.

Modolo brakes and levers? Trash them. Poor mechanical advantage, overly stiff springs, flexy arms, cheap awkward hardware. Any dual pivot brakeset (Shimano, Campy, even Tektro) will be a vast improvement. No, it's not the brake pads and cable housings: you can replace all of these and these brakes will still only be 'speed modulators' at best.
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Old 06-15-20, 03:22 PM
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we're in the VINTAGE section. it makes me laugh when people think something from the 80s is old!
as others have said your rims are VERY good. what the marketing people and the bike shops don't
tell you is that you have to ride like a pro (35mph average speed) to get the advantage of aero rims
all us regular folk get is heavy rotational mass and vertical ridigity.
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Old 06-15-20, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Vintage geezer rolls over laughing at 28h being called not low spoke count....

Aluminum alloys are not any stiffer now than they were in the 70s or 80s. A variety of rim widths have always been available. Nothing new there. Deeper cross section aero rims are stiffer, at least vertically.
I certainly didn't mean to imply that current alloys are somehow stiffer now compared to 30 and 40 years ago.
When I say modern rims are stiffer, its because the designs allow them to be. This is just observation based on my size, experiences with older and modern wheels, and reading up on the effects of rim shape.

As for 28h being low spokenor not, its perspective i guess. With so many wheels being 16h/20h, 28h isn't low spoke.
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Old 06-15-20, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by steve sumner View Post
we're in the VINTAGE section. it makes me laugh when people think something from the 80s is old!
as others have said your rims are VERY good. what the marketing people and the bike shops don't tell you is that you have to ride like a pro (35mph average speed) to get the advantage of aero rims all us regular folk get is heavy rotational mass and vertical ridigity.
ok, well this needs to be called out as completely false for when someone visits the site 1 week, 1 month, months year from now and stumbles on this thread.
this is incorrect. It has been shown many times through wind tunnel testing that aero benefits can be measured even at 10mph. In fact, the slower you ride, the more aero benefit there is overall since you are on the bike longer(when riding the same course as someone faster).

Laugh away at people thing the 80s is old, but bikes from 1980 are no 4 decades old. That is an eternity in cycling and by basically any other measure of product age- its old. Cars, stereos, refrigerators, etc from 1980 would at best be considered vintage and more likely considered worthless.
4 decades is very much c&v.
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Old 06-15-20, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
ok, well this needs to be called out as completely false for when someone visits the site 1 week, 1 month, months year from now and stumbles on this thread.
this is incorrect. It has been shown many times through wind tunnel testing that aero benefits can be measured even at 10mph. In fact, the slower you ride, the more aero benefit there is overall since you are on the bike longer(when riding the same course as someone faster).
Deep section wheels are more aero, but in the real world of riding, but the weight penalty is more of a handicap than the wind resistance watts saved. When I am riding with the fast boys, the highest priority is to keep up with the pack. If you lose contact even for a moment, then you'll face many miles of suffering into the wind solo trying to catch up.

When do you get shelled off of the back? Stiff climbs and fast accelerations out of corners, when the strong guys decide to put the hammer down. This is where you need wheels with as low a mass (particularly rotating) as possible. For most of the 4 hour ride, you are getting pulled along at 25mph while yakking with your pals about the movie you saw last night. Aero wheels then mean the difference between an required output of 100 watts versus 120 watts. So who cares?

The other type of riding I do involves long lazy exploration in the country. There, I do not care about time or watts or anything.
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