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Another wheel thread! Cheap and tough

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Another wheel thread! Cheap and tough

Old 02-16-15, 04:19 PM
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Another wheel thread! Cheap and tough

I'm thinking of getting a cheap but not too cheap wheel set. This would likely be traded between two bikes with 32c tires, in the short term, and might get used later for a CX-commuter build. So I want it to be forward-compatible, so to speak, with an 11-speed hub.

The Vuelta Corsa HD's are handbuilt, 36h, ~2400 grams, very inexpensive, and look to be built like a brick s---house. With Nashbar's President's Day sale the price is very right. I'm not skinny and one of the bikes would be my Super Sport full-dress commuter, so the weight rating is something I'm keeping in mind. But it's basically a store brand, right? I'd love to try the much lighter - like nearly two pounds lighter - Veulta Corsa Lites, and they're in my budget, but I'm not sure how smart it would be. They have no published weight rating.

I also found a set at Niagara made of name brands parts - CXP22 rims and 5800 hubs, 32H. They would be a couple hundred grams lighter. But they're from Wheel Smith which I believe means they'll be machine built, with little guarantee.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-16-15, 04:45 PM
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I don't have any experience with the wheels that you mentioned.... I've build a set of wheels few years ago using Sun CR-18 rims, and I am very impressed with them. Cheap and tough. Maybe a little heavier then some more expensive wheels, but durability is more important to me then saving few grams of weight....My cheap Sun CR-18 rims are holding up just as well as my other more expensive DT Swiss rims.
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Old 02-16-15, 05:27 PM
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I would love to take a stab at building a wheel, but when the prices of the individual parts add up higher than a wheelset, it's hard to justify, especially since I can assume the first attempt won't come out right.
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Old 02-16-15, 06:32 PM
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Nothing wrong with machine built wheels if you have access to a truing stand. Same thing with making a set. You likely won't ruin anything as lomg as ypu don't break any spokes in the process.
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Old 02-17-15, 07:25 AM
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Much of the quality of a wheel is in the build.
You can find some machine built wheels with rather decent components and then have the spokes properly tensioned and end up with a decent wheel.

Build your own and you can pick your own parts, such as a thinner gauge spoke on the NDS to help equalize spoke elongation.
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Old 02-17-15, 11:51 AM
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I'm using 36 hole Performance rims on my bike, and they've held up fine. They were pretty basic too.
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Old 02-17-15, 12:39 PM
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I've got the Vuelta Corsa Pro's and I'd do it again, completely satisfied with them. I'd have gone for either of the others - HD or Lite - but for the fact that the HD is overkill at my weight and it was the Pro on sale instead of Lite.
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Old 02-17-15, 12:41 PM
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Machine built wheels are irresistibly inexpensive, and you can finish them by hand. And you should.
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Old 02-17-15, 01:13 PM
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My training/commuting wheels are 32h Weinmann Sec 16 rims on Tiagra hubs. They were OEM wheels I bought from a guy on craigslist for $100. Tensioned and trued them myself and they have been absolutely rock solid. Of course, they're as heavy as rocks, but they make my carbon tubulars feel like feathers on race day.
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Old 02-19-15, 12:05 AM
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I watched a video a while back about a wheel truing machine, made in Denmark, I think. It took a loosely assembled wheel and it does all the things - all of them! - that a human would, in pretty much the same way. Turning the wheel to feel for high or low spots and adjusting, unwinding, squeezing spokes, etc. except I wasn't clear if maybe that it worked by feeling torque on the nipple rather than measuring spoke tension. The nipples were turned from the channel of the rim with a driver, not at the flats with a wrench. Which conceptually should work pretty well for a human too if he had such a tool. It was clear to me that the only thing limiting such a machine is how much time you gave it to work, and that if you gave it enough time, it could absolutely be better than anything a human could do.

I was sort of surprised by that. There are clear limits on the approach - how fast can you turn it and grab a spoke nipple without marring it? Knowing nothing before watching, I imagined it would take some different, faster approach, - like maybe clamping down wheel and hub very hard, and doing them all at once with a motor on each spoke to the same torque.
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Old 02-19-15, 07:57 AM
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I bought a cheap ($35?) front wheel for a CL flipper.
As delivered, it was quite true, with the expected slight flat spot at the rim joint.
However, every alternating spoke was about 1/2 the proper tension, with the other at 1/2 proper tension.
The spokes were 2mm short of the nipple flat.
It tensioned up quite easily, but short spokes can likely cause problems in the future with the nipples breaking.
It's kind of a shame that a factory that probably uses tens of thousands spoke per week couldn't use the correct length!
Else, it could have been a very "serviceable" wheel when tensioned properly.

Forgot to add- The bearings were nearly "dry" with what appeared to be a thin coating of a semi-hardening spray lube and too tight.
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Old 02-19-15, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I watched a video a while back about a wheel truing machine, made in Denmark, I think. It took a loosely assembled wheel and it does all the things - all of them! - that a human would, in pretty much the same way. Turning the wheel to feel for high or low spots and adjusting, unwinding, squeezing spokes, etc. except I wasn't clear if maybe that it worked by feeling torque on the nipple rather than measuring spoke tension. The nipples were turned from the channel of the rim with a driver, not at the flats with a wrench. Which conceptually should work pretty well for a human too if he had such a tool. It was clear to me that the only thing limiting such a machine is how much time you gave it to work, and that if you gave it enough time, it could absolutely be better than anything a human could do.

I was sort of surprised by that. There are clear limits on the approach - how fast can you turn it and grab a spoke nipple without marring it? Knowing nothing before watching, I imagined it would take some different, faster approach, - like maybe clamping down wheel and hub very hard, and doing them all at once with a motor on each spoke to the same torque.
Sounds good in theory, but not in the real world.
If a human measures the tension, a human can adjust the tension.
I've yet to run into a wheel that would have "perfect tension" AND "perfect true".
Rims aren't perfect, even high quality ones, although they tend to be less bad.
As a test, just take your caliper and run it around the entire rim to measure the outside width. On the rim I mentioned in my other post, the difference between widest/narrowest was .035". That's nearly 1mm.
A human will "see" that, whereas a machine likely doesn't.

Often, when building a wheel, you have to fudge a bit between even tension and perfect true. One has to decide how much to compromise to make the "best" wheel overall, with the parts you have.

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Old 02-19-15, 08:46 AM
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You know the rule: cheap, light, strong - pick two.

Universal has good wheels that you can get for a decent price if you have a discount code.
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Old 02-19-15, 08:26 PM
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I guess I don't want to argue about what a machine can or can't do with a person emotionally invested in the ideals of craftsmanship, but the wheel machine works from the same basic robotics as any NC machine and can absolutely measure any dimension to any precision and accuracy the engineer specified. An algorithm and program does the fudging. The machine in the video started by spinning the axle once while holding the rim to measure any wobble in the axle, then sent the wheel around once to measure the rim, which would catch any wideness tolerance as well as a baseline for starting to true it.

For what it's worth I bought the "handbuilt" Nashbar wheels although who knows if that means they were handbuilt by prisoners like wheels were before machines.
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Old 02-19-15, 08:40 PM
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Heh. Let us know how they are.
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Old 02-19-15, 09:07 PM
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Any "tough" wheel i could ever suggest starts with a 36 hole double wall eyeletted rim, with 36 sapim strong spokes in the middle, and a dyno or dyno + roller brake hub to finish it out. For rear i'd go with an 8 speed 36 hole IGH with integrated coaster brake OR a 9 speed cassette & whatever 36 hole freewheel works with your budget.

3x lacing front & rear rounds out the package.

As far as branding & such, the strong spokes are the only really product specific thing id suggest by name, as i have them on my bike & they rock.

- Andy
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Old 02-20-15, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I guess I don't want to argue about what a machine can or can't do with a person emotionally invested in the ideals of craftsmanship, but the wheel machine works from the same basic robotics as any NC machine and can absolutely measure any dimension to any precision and accuracy the engineer specified. An algorithm and program does the fudging. The machine in the video started by spinning the axle once while holding the rim to measure any wobble in the axle, then sent the wheel around once to measure the rim, which would catch any wideness tolerance as well as a baseline for starting to true it.

For what it's worth I bought the "handbuilt" Nashbar wheels although who knows if that means they were handbuilt by prisoners like wheels were before machines.
I use both hand built and machine built wheels...To be honest with you, I never had problems with any of my machine build wheels and I ride them pretty hard. It all depends on the quality control at the factory where the wheel was built.
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Old 02-20-15, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TransitBiker View Post
Any "tough" wheel i could ever suggest starts with a 36 hole double wall eyeletted rim, with 36 sapim strong spokes in the middle
Why sapim spokes ??...I've used Wheelsmith and DT Swiss and never had any issues. I prefer Wheelsmith because they are cheaper then DT.
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Old 02-20-15, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Why sapim spokes ??...I've used Wheelsmith and DT Swiss and never had any issues. I prefer Wheelsmith because they are cheaper then DT.


Well, since you asked..... just seems the strong spokes paired with their secure lock nipples and the eyelets in the rim create a really robust structure you can rely on. Sometimes more is more. Sapim also is about 10 cents cheaper a spoke from what ive seen online (shops may be different). On the more technical side they use a "stretch" forging technique that doesnt disturb the molecular structure of the metal vs some kind of "squeeze" forging used by most other companies (have seen vids of various production lines). From what i have learned searching the internet before the mechanic swapped the spokes out, is that they are a go-to spoke for tandems and can be found on many OEM electric bikes I have a few spare spokes from when they rebuilt the rear wheel few months ago, and i can see that the heads are a more conical shape vs so many that have a more T shape to the head. This fills out the holes in the hub more, tucks the elbow up next to the hub flange... which reduces or eliminates strain on the elbow. That last bit is important, because i lost 2 spokes at the thread and a third broke at the elbow before getting them all replaced with the strong spoke & secure lock nipples. Lastly, the thicker part towards the head seems to extend down toward the thread a bit farther vs other ones ive seen.

- Andy
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Old 02-20-15, 11:25 PM
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Replacing all your spokes sounds like as much fun as replacing all the pins in your chain
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Old 02-21-15, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by TransitBiker View Post
Well, since you asked..... just seems the strong spokes paired with their secure lock nipples and the eyelets in the rim create a really robust structure you can rely on. Sometimes more is more. Sapim also is about 10 cents cheaper a spoke from what ive seen online (shops may be different). On the more technical side they use a "stretch" forging technique that doesnt disturb the molecular structure of the metal vs some kind of "squeeze" forging used by most other companies (have seen vids of various production lines). From what i have learned searching the internet before the mechanic swapped the spokes out, is that they are a go-to spoke for tandems and can be found on many OEM electric bikes I have a few spare spokes from when they rebuilt the rear wheel few months ago, and i can see that the heads are a more conical shape vs so many that have a more T shape to the head. This fills out the holes in the hub more, tucks the elbow up next to the hub flange... which reduces or eliminates strain on the elbow. That last bit is important, because i lost 2 spokes at the thread and a third broke at the elbow before getting them all replaced with the strong spoke & secure lock nipples. Lastly, the thicker part towards the head seems to extend down toward the thread a bit farther vs other ones ive seen.

- Andy
A properly built wheel doesn't need any kind of "lock" nipple.

Spokes start out as "wire". Wire is drawn through a die, or "stretched".
Impact or "squeeze" is used to shape the piece of "wire".

A longer than necessary "thick" section is just more weight.

A wheel is a "system" of hub, spokes, rims & nipples.
It's only as strong as the weakest link.
Strong doesn't always equate to longest lasting.
Quality of the build is the biggest factor, assuming reasonable quality parts.
The only place I'd use a Sapin Strong (13/14 SB) spoke is on the rear DS.
Using one on the NDS, with its lower tension is counter productive, since the spoke is under very little elongation at those tensions.
On a front wheel, it's just unneeded weight, since thinner guage spokes are beyond "strong enough" for symmetrical hubs.
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Old 02-21-15, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
A properly built wheel doesn't need any kind of "lock" nipple.

Spokes start out as "wire". Wire is drawn through a die, or "stretched".
Impact or "squeeze" is used to shape the piece of "wire".

A longer than necessary "thick" section is just more weight.

A wheel is a "system" of hub, spokes, rims & nipples.
It's only as strong as the weakest link.
Strong doesn't always equate to longest lasting.
Quality of the build is the biggest factor, assuming reasonable quality parts.
The only place I'd use a Sapin Strong (13/14 SB) spoke is on the rear DS.
Using one on the NDS, with its lower tension is counter productive, since the spoke is under very little elongation at those tensions.
On a front wheel, it's just unneeded weight, since thinner guage spokes are beyond "strong enough" for symmetrical hubs.
Ok, thanks for your opinion.

- Andy
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Old 02-26-15, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Machine built wheels are irresistibly inexpensive, and you can finish them by hand. And you should.
Yup. OP, FSA Omegas are cheap and have been good to my commuter. Maybe you're looking for higher spoke count though. Barring uncommon failures, it's generally hard to go wrong when you get to the $200+ mark, as long as you ensure that the spokes are properly tensioned. Nashbar has a Reynolds wheelset for $180 right now...pay a bike shop $50 to set them up for you, and you've got a solid $230 wheelset.
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Old 02-26-15, 09:59 AM
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@Darth Lefty which Nashbar wheels did you get?

Wish I had seen this sooner. I've been running the Vuelta Corsa Lites on my Felt Z85 road bike commuter for over a year now and they have been nothing short of awesome! Super-light at only ~1,550 grams on my scale for the entire wheelset (no cassette, tubes or tires). They are 20/24 hole, but I hover around 200 lbs or just under and have never had a problem with them in well over 3,000 miles of commuting and riding. They were DEAD true straight out of the box, and they spin for far longer than my stock Mavic CXP22's. They also cured a problem of the cassette wobbling slightly, which apparently was an issue with the stock Felt-branded rear freehub.

I think I bought mine with a 20% off single item deal, and they were on sale at the same time, so I got them for under $200 shipped.


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Old 02-26-15, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
@Darth Lefty which Nashbar wheels did you get?
The Corsa HD's. I couldn't find any weight rating for the Lites. I'm a schlub, and I might want to swap wheels around to my full dress commuter which is a tank, and so I didn't want to risk it. They're about two pounds up from yours for the set. Ouch! :-D They've arrived, I haven't unboxed them.

I was ->thisclose<- to getting the A23/5800 32h set just so I could play with tubeless later someday, but changed my mind. The price of those was par with the Corsa Lites and the weight with the Corsa Pro's.
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