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Need new wheels for a 35 mile round trip commute.

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Need new wheels for a 35 mile round trip commute.

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Old 11-27-18, 04:07 PM
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Need new wheels for a 35 mile round trip commute.

Hi everyone. I've got a somewhat abused Specialized Tricross that I'm fixing up to start riding to work. Absolutely needs new wheels first though. I'm fairly new to all this, so I was hoping to get some advice. I'd also love to build them myself, but I haven't found any place to by the individual components cheaper than just getting the preassembled set.

Some details - I'm about 160 lbs and would probably carry up to 20 lbs with me. Roads on the route are in decent condition and have some mild hills. Planning on riding in the rain - we'll see about the snow. Don't do much off the pavement so I don't want to sacrifice much for that ability, but I want to choose something that can get through it on the rare occasion. Budget is... I don't know, maybe $600 max, but less is better of course.

I'm also thinking about trying out some tubeless tires. I love riding, but 35 miles a day is more than I'll have time for regularly unfortunately. The more time I can cut off the ride, the more I can convince myself not to drive! So I'm willing to put in a bit extra for efficiency.

Here's what I've come up with for building my own. It's about $680 for individual parts or $635 preassembled from Colorado Cyclist, plus 10% off.

Hubs: Shimano Ultegra HB-6800/FH-6800
Rims: Mavic Open Pro UST
Tires: Mavic Yksion Pro UST 28 mm
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition 2.0/1.8
Nipples: DT Swiss Black Brass 12 mm
Rim Tape: Stan's NoTubes 21 mm
Valves: Mavic UST Valve 35 mm
Sealant: Stan's Orange Seal Endurance

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Old 11-27-18, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Hatsuwr View Post
I'd also love to build them myself, but I haven't found any place to by the individual components cheaper than just getting the preassembled set.
It seldom is, especially if you use common components like Ultegra hubs. I tell my wheel building classes that you should only build something that you can't buy off the rack. Make it special and dream big. You aren't going to do it cheaper than "the Man"!

Originally Posted by Hatsuwr View Post
Some details - I'm about 160 lbs and would probably carry up to 20 lbs with me. Roads on the route are in decent condition and have some mild hills. Planning on riding in the rain - we'll see about the snow. Don't do much off the pavement so I don't want to sacrifice much for that ability, but I want to choose something that can get through it on the rare occasion. Budget is... I don't know, maybe $600 max, but less is better of course.

I'm also thinking about trying out some tubeless tires. I love riding, but 35 miles a day is more than I'll have time for regularly unfortunately. The more time I can cut off the ride, the more I can convince myself not to drive! So I'm willing to put in a bit extra for efficiency.

Here's what I've come up with for building my own. It's about $680 for individual parts or $635 preassembled from Colorado Cyclist, plus 10% off.

Hubs: Shimano Ultegra HB-6800/FH-6800
Rims: Mavic Open Pro UST
Wheels: Mavic Yksion Pro UST 28 mm
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition 2.0/1.8
Nipples: DT Swiss Black Brass 12 mm
Rim Tape: Stan's NoTubes 21 mm
Valves: Mavic UST Valve 35 mm
Sealant: Stan's Orange Seal Endurance
I think by "wheels" you mean "tires". But, yes, that is about what I've found on wheels. I could build something "better" but not cheaper. In fact, if I were to build something like that, it would be way "better" and way more expensive. I'd start with some White Industries T11s, maybe in some cool color. But I would never try to fool myself into thinking that I can build them cheaper.
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Old 11-27-18, 07:04 PM
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Yup, meant tires, thanks! Prebuilt it is then.
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Old 11-28-18, 04:31 AM
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Doing a little more research, the Mavic Ksyrium USTs are looking like they might be better. Could get the Elite's for $525 or the Pro's for $750.
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Old 11-28-18, 06:39 AM
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Your tires and wheel choice depends on your road conditions. If you are going up and down steep hills, you might want some light wheels. If there is a lot of cross wind, you don't want deep dish wheels.

28mm is a good choice for getting decent speed. GCN is recommending that size wheel now for road bikes because of the lower roll resistance and greater comfort.

If you are going to ride in the rain, you want some tread on your tires. Slick tires are dangerous in the rain. If you look at a painted line funny you will be going down on slicks.

If there is a lot of glass or other things that can slash your tires, do not go tubeless unless the tire has treads. Smooth tubeless tires are get slashed easily. Tubeless tires are great against punctures but are actually worse than clinchers against slashes because you can't use a tire liner with tubeless. Also, if a tubeless tire gets a slash, you need to buy a new one which can get expensive. To get a tire with tread on it, you might have to go thicker than 28mm. Also, the roll resistance and weight will go up which will slow you down.
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Old 11-28-18, 12:25 PM
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With daily 35 mike Commutes wheels are a consumable ..
why go High End when the rim will wear and be damaged ,
and you have to replace it soon enough..

Isuggest a spare bike to get there if your primary bike is DNF in the morning..
get fired if you are late , better be prepared for flats on the way, start early..

Go durable Rather than light..
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Old 11-28-18, 07:14 PM
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Thankfully no steep hills on my route, and there are so many trees that most wind is parallel to the road. And I definitely agree on the slicks in the rain - those painted lines become fun haha. Route is also relatively clear of glass and other debris - haven't ever had a hole that sealant wouldn't cover.

As for as lifespan of the wheels... I tend to look at riding miles/hours rather than time since purchasing. I get your point though, and am leaning toward the Ksyrium Elite's.
Also, probably don't need the spare bike. Will always have the car, and am fortunate enough to have a job that's understanding of and prepared for the occasional delay.
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Old 11-28-18, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
With daily 35 mike Commutes wheels are a consumable ..
why go High End when the rim will wear and be damaged ,
and you have to replace it soon enough..

Isuggest a spare bike to get there if your primary bike is DNF in the morning..
get fired if you are late , better be prepared for flats on the way, start early..

Go durable Rather than light..
Agreed. I don't think there's any reason to spend $600 on a commuting wheelset. I bought this set as a training/commuting wheels earlier this summer. Not the lightest, but they are well-built and true. https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod112038
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Old 11-29-18, 10:10 AM
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I would normally advise against expensive wheels, but it's a long commute, and it's long enough where speed and weight count. And more miles can justify more money spent.
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Old 11-29-18, 10:41 AM
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can someone enlighten me on how a wheel "wears out"? why would a bike absolutely need new wheels? not challenging anyone, just curious/ignorant. I understand upgrading to better wheels
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Old 11-29-18, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
can someone enlighten me on how a wheel "wears out"? why would a bike absolutely need new wheels? not challenging anyone, just curious/ignorant. I understand upgrading to better wheels
Bearings do wear out.

Rims lose material from braking.

Rims get dented and can't be brought back into shape through truing.

Spokes fail from metal fatigue.
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Old 11-29-18, 05:39 PM
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Ah got it thanks makes perfect sense
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Old 11-29-18, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
Ah got it thanks makes perfect sense
Of course all those things can be fixed, with the possible exception of the fatigued spokes. Bearings can be replaced. Rims can be replaced. Even spokes can be replaced in small doses.

Bearings are the easiest to replace even if they are cartridge, although cartridge bearings outlast loose bearings by a factor of 1000 to 10,000 so they don’t need to be replaced that often. The replacement is a bit more involved but not impossible.

Rims aren’t usually replaced because you have to have the same ERD. If you can use the same model of rim, that’s best but since rims can last a long time, it may be hard to find the same model. You can look through catalogs to find the same ERD but that’s usually too much work and/or the information might not be available or may be incorrect.

You can avoid spoke fatigue by using a 2.3/1.8/2.0mm spoke like the DT Alpine III. It’s a tough spoke and provides about 50% more strength (and durability) over a “normal” 2.0mm spoke.
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Old 11-30-18, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
can someone enlighten me on how a wheel "wears out"? why would a bike absolutely need new wheels? not challenging anyone, just curious/ignorant. I understand upgrading to better wheels
Getting run over by a White Van Man* necessitates wheel replacement. Maybe I should've went with DT Swiss Alpines and it woulda saved my wheels.



for those not in the UK:


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Old 11-30-18, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post


Of course all those things can be fixed, with the possible exception of the fatigued spokes. Bearings can be replaced. Rims can be replaced. Even spokes can be replaced in small doses.

Bearings are the easiest to replace even if they are cartridge, although cartridge bearings outlast loose bearings by a factor of 1000 to 10,000 so they don’t need to be replaced that often. The replacement is a bit more involved but not impossible.

Rims aren’t usually replaced because you have to have the same ERD. If you can use the same model of rim, that’s best but since rims can last a long time, it may be hard to find the same model. You can look through catalogs to find the same ERD but that’s usually too much work and/or the information might not be available or may be incorrect.

You can avoid spoke fatigue by using a 2.3/1.8/2.0mm spoke like the DT Alpine III. It’s a tough spoke and provides about 50% more strength (and durability) over a “normal” 2.0mm spoke.
I had to have a freehub replaced because of water intrusion. This was on the stock Fulcrums that came on my Tarmac. When I got the bill from the LBS, with parts and labor (even with a team discount) it would have been cheaper to buy a new entry level set on one of the UK websites. Which I ended up doing the next season after trashing the front rim on a parallel crack in the asphalt I didn't see.
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Old 11-30-18, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I had to have a freehub replaced because of water intrusion. This was on the stock Fulcrums that came on my Tarmac. When I got the bill from the LBS, with parts and labor (even with a team discount) it would have been cheaper to buy a new entry level set on one of the UK websites. Which I ended up doing the next season after trashing the front rim on a parallel crack in the asphalt I didn't see.
Of course there is a limit to how much you want to spend on a wheel. Sometimes replacement is the better option. On the other hand, replacing a freehub is something that isn’t all the difficult if you can get the freehub...which can a big “if”. You can save a lot on labor if you do it yourself.

Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Getting run over by a White Van Man* necessitates wheel replacement. Maybe I should've went with DT Swiss Alpines and it woulda saved my wheels.
Don’t be a wanker. We are discussing wear and tear, not catastrophic failure.
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Old 11-30-18, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post


Of course there is a limit to how much you want to spend on a wheel. Sometimes replacement is the better option. On the other hand, replacing a freehub is something that isn’t all the difficult if you can get the freehub...which can a big “if”. You can save a lot on labor if you do it yourself.



Don’t be a wanker. We are discussing wear and tear, not catastrophic failure.
I find that with "commuting" rigs over here. They usually die by catastrophic failure (damage) or theft rather than getting worn out as the distances are so short! Not being a wanker at all.
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Old 11-30-18, 12:44 PM
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Velocity Aero rims make really good commuter wheels, Very strong and stiff. You can build them up with light spokes with no issues (at your weight; I weight 155). I run 2.0-1.8 for the right rear and 2.0/1.8-1.6 for the rest. Spokes last three rims. (Here in the NW, my commuter rims die in two winters - very abrasive lava dust.) They are heavier than the Open Pros but more aero so it is close to a toss speed-wise and far more durable. They also build up beautifully. (They do require a nipple installer since they have no ferrules and nipples lost in the rim will get very old, very fast! A way to make a really simple installer is take a spoke, thread a nipple down all the way backwards so a few threads show and tighten up with the spoke wench. Cut to a nice length and bend a handle into the other end. This will make starting the nipples child's play.)

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Old 11-30-18, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I find that with "commuting" rigs over here. They usually die by catastrophic failure (damage) or theft rather than getting worn out as the distances are so short! Not being a wanker at all.
The wanker bit is about the spokes. On the other hand, maybe you all-ya-all need to learn how to ride over there. I got 100,000 miles of mostly urban commuting miles under my belt without having broken a lot of bikes or even that many bike parts. I have been hit by a car but that happened only once.
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Old 11-30-18, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
can someone enlighten me on how a wheel "wears out"? why would a bike absolutely need new wheels?
I had a head on collision with another cyclist few years ago and my front wheel cracked in half. I needed a new front wheel.
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Old 11-30-18, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I find that with "commuting" rigs over here. They usually die by catastrophic failure (damage) or theft rather than getting worn out as the distances are so short! Not being a wanker at all.
I've worn out bottom brackets, pedal bearings, chains, brake pads, worn out tires, worn out chain rings. The only catastrophic failure I had was my drive side crank arm snapped on my fixed gear bike after many years and a lot of hard miles.
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Old 12-01-18, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I've worn out bottom brackets, pedal bearings, chains, brake pads, worn out tires, worn out chain rings. The only catastrophic failure I had was my drive side crank arm snapped on my fixed gear bike after many years and a lot of hard miles.
One thing I'm noticing where lot of people cycle (CPH or any large metro area or here) is that the risk for collision and/or theft is what does a bike in. In most cases, the bikes just get beat up in the bike rack and/or stolen rather than having a mechanical failure as the average commuter distances are very short.

I mean, I'm still on my first chain over 5 years as I can't get enough miles in with commuting only. I did walk to work for about 24 months (as I lived so close to work that cycling didn't make sense and I was once hit by a car.)
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Old 12-01-18, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post


The wanker bit is about the spokes. On the other hand, maybe you all-ya-all need to learn how to ride over there. I got 100,000 miles of mostly urban commuting miles under my belt without having broken a lot of bikes or even that many bike parts. I have been hit by a car but that happened only once.
We'll to be honest, Denver is quite sprawling endless suburbia and it's much easier to rack up miles. Also, the traffic density is much lower than over here.
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Old 12-01-18, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
cartridge bearings outlast loose bearings by a factor of 1000 to 10,000
What causes this to be true?
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Old 12-01-18, 09:42 AM
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It's true that theft does a lot of bikes in. This is one reason people like so-called bike share programs. It's one big problem completely lifted away. Bike shares also let you take one-way trips, which I do a lot, so even though I find the bikes themselves to be unpleasant, I love Citi Bike as an experience.

Crime has come way down in most American cities, except that the worst cities for bike theft are still as bad as they used to be.

Maybe cartridge bearings are durabler in hubs, but not in bottom brackets, in my observation. They need replacement fairly frequently. That's offset by the fact that replacing is a whole lot easier than it is with cup and cone bearings, and before the cartridge wears out, it needs no preventive maintenance or adjustment. They're also cheaper.
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