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Which wheels would be best? Upgrading my base 2019 Allez to 11-spd

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Which wheels would be best? Upgrading my base 2019 Allez to 11-spd

Old 12-02-20, 08:12 PM
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keepon
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Which wheels would be best? Upgrading my base 2019 Allez to 11-spd

First time posting, so please let me know if anything about this post is out of line with expectations for the forum. I look forward to learning from you all.

Like so many other people, I developed a bit of a cycling obsession this year. After spending about 6 months biking everywhere on my old 40lb/18kg+ pound mountain bike (and losing about 40 pounds off my person in the process), I finally found and bought a used road bike. It's a modified 2019 Allez and I love it but I'm looking to upgrade it to 11-speed (105).

The previous owner installed a 4iiii power meter, 105 53/39 crankset, and a round bottom bracket, but the bike is currently otherwise identical to the specs listed at 99spokes (Google "99 spokes 2019 allez"). The forum prevented me from including the full link.

Since the current Axis Sport wheels won't accommodate an 11-spd cassette, I will have to buy new wheels as well. I'm currently looking at three options but I'm open to other suggestions.

The three options I'm currently considering are Campagnolo Calima, Campagnolo Scirocco, and Mavic Aksium. Calima is the budget option, but I'm open to spending a little more if doing so would make sense in the long run. That said, I'd like to keep the cost under $275 for the wheels themselves. I know weight is relevant to wheel selection, so although I'm still losing weight, I should note I weigh 192lbs (~87kg).

That's the gist of my question. Which wheels would you recommend?

Other info for context follows the break.
----------------------------------------------------------

I'm going to use the bike to train, but in time I'd like to also use it to race (hence the upgrades). I've listed the other upgrades that I plan to add to the bike below, in case these might be relevant to wheel recommendations or in case anyone might notice compatibility issues. All told, I expect the final bike to be similar to the 2021 Allez Elite in terms of geometry, but with better wheels, tires, crankset, brakes, etc.

List of upgrades:
Continental Grand Prix 5000 Tires (Clincher 700x25c) -- $70
105 ST-R7000 Shifter/Brake Lever Set -- $200
105 Fd-R7000 Front Derailleur (34.9mm, clamp) -- $33
105 RD-R7000 Rear Derailleur (SS) -- $42
105 BR-R7000 Brake Caliper Set -- $78
105 11-speed 12-25 CS-R7000 Cassette (yes, it's really that flat where I live) -- $48
Dura-Ace 11-speed Cn-Hg901 Quick Link Chain -- $40 (actually cheaper than the cheapest 105 11-speed chain I found)

All told, these upgrades will cost me ~$511 (minus the cost of various parts that will be Christmas gifts), plus the cost of the wheels and the LBS shop install costs (which have been quoted at ~$100-$125). All told, I believe upgrading will end up costing around $800-$900. I'm hoping to recover some of that by selling the used parts.

My LBS (and the internet) inform me that new road bikes in the mid-range ($1300-$1600) likely won't be in stock for many more months, so I decided to upgrade my Allez instead of wait. Please let me know if you think this is reasonable or completely insane. Any advice is welcome!
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Old 12-02-20, 09:00 PM
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are you talking about this wheel? These accept 11 speed.

The Campy wheels unless you get a Shimano/SRAM based hub body, you can't run Shimano/SRAM cassettes, so just be careful of that. The Aksium in my view are really flexy and as a heavier rider, you will get some flex.....I know of which I speak. I had some from an old bike that I just gave away with another frame I sold as I knew I would never use them. I would peruse your local market or even some of the online avenues, you might find something better for not a whole lot more money.



Such as these.....https://www.theproscloset.com/products/hed-jet-5-carbon-clincher-700c-wheelset-2
https://www.theproscloset.com/produc...-700c-wheelset
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Old 12-02-20, 10:34 PM
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I haven't been able to find precise information on the Axis Sport wheels listed in the specs I linked. Discussion on another forum led me to conclude the wheels were not 11-speed compatible. I presume Specialized wouldn't pair an 8-speed drivetrain with a 10/11 speed freehub, so my initial guess is that the wheels in your link are another variation of the wheels that came standard on this Allez. Alternatively, I suppose they could add a freehub spacer to make the 8-speed cassette fit properly. Does that make sense and would that be something Specialized might do? That would provide the customer with an easier path to upgrade an entry-level bike, so it makes sense. I'm going to take the bike to my LBS soon to discuss a few issues, so I'll ask them about the wheels and whether they could be made to be compatible with 11-speed. Maybe it is as simple as removing a spacer. Thanks for the idea!

As for the campy wheel options, I've seen them on websites like Cicli Mattio with an option to choose the Shimano hub available. They label it as the "HG11" option for the Calima set, which only costs about $150 (before tax, ship, etc.). Given that the Calima set isn't very expensive, do you think it would be a worthwhile upgrade even assuming the Axis Sport wheels are 10/11 speed compatible?

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 12-02-20, 11:15 PM
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My bad, I did not look at the link and I just assumed a 2019 based bike would have been 10/11 speed. Did not even think about the Claris option. I personally would go with better wheels if you are going to go through the expense of a putting on a 105 system. Something you can also look into is getting some built. Check with your LBS to see if they have a good wheel builder. I've had a set built for around 400 rim\hubs included in that price.

My opinion is not to low ball the wheels when you are a heavier rider or you just end up with issues down the road if you they are not built right. I started riding a drop bar road bike when I was about 275, now range 190 to 200. The last time I had wheel issue (broken spoke, out of true, hub issue) was in 2006 or 2007 when I broke 3 spokes on a ride. After that, I had some wheels built, and had 7 years of easy riding on those wheels and never had to touch them. I eventually sold that bike those wheels were on but they brake surface was still in great shape. I generally ride 24 spoke wheels now and have had no problems on them as the build quality is there.
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Old 12-03-20, 10:47 AM
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Take a look at Craigslist and OfferUp for wheels; you're likely to get a much better product for the money.

Like another poster noted, you generally want to spend more on the wheels; I'd recommend increasing the budget if possible. I'd look for something like a Mavic Kysrium over an entry-level pair as they'd serve you better in the long run.
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Old 12-03-20, 06:48 PM
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Thank you both for your advice. Unfortunately, I've already spent most of my budget on the 105 components and the return policy isn't generous for some of the sites I purchased from (read: I can't return some of the 105 parts at all). With that said, I visited my LBS today to ask their advice and they suggested looking for an 11-speed freehub that would be compatible with my current Axis Sport wheels. I'll upgrade wheels later on when I have additional funds available, but adding an 11-speed freehub to make the wheels compatible with 105 seems like an affordable alternative in the meantime.

The LBS owner helped me research the Axis Sport wheels on my 2019 Specialized Allez and determined that the same Axis Sport wheels are used as stock wheels by Specialized across a range of bikes, only using different freehubs depending on whether the drivetrain is 8-speed (like mine) all the way up to 11-speed. This is the 11-speed freehub that is compatible with my Axis Sport wheels: Specialized Formula Freehub (2014 Axis 2.0) (Shimano) (11 Speed) (Fh-04K). This freehub can be viewed on amaincycling . com if you google it; sorry I still can't post links.

Unfortunately, the freehub is out of stock on that site and I haven't been able to find it elsewhere. Do you all know how to determine whether another 11-speed Shimano freehub would be compatible with my Axis Sport wheels? If you happen to know a better way to locate this specific freehub on more websites, that would also be a huge help. Thanks!
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Old 12-03-20, 08:24 PM
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Multiple kmc, Shimano, fsa, and SRAM 11sp chains are $20-30. Just an FYI since you are not limited to Shimano brand chains.
and a 12-25 cassette at rei is $40, so its likely cheaper elsewhere since rei is rarely a price leader.

If you look around for each item you are buying, you could save a good bit and apply that to the wheels to get something a bit higher up.

https://www.velomine.com/index.php?m...oducts_id=3396
These are not lightweight due to the hubs, but they wpuld continue your 105 theme and are put together with quality parts. The rim is very well respected, good spokes, well designed hubs, and smartly used brass nipples.

Another place to look is merlin. Just select 'in stock' for the filter. There are some Alex wheelsets, Mavic Kywhatever, Campy Scirwhatever, etc.
https://www.merlincycles.com/en-us/f...e_or_pair=pair

At the $200 price point, you can get wheels that look expensive and light but perhaps not the most durable, or wheels that are made with quality parts but heavy.
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Old 12-03-20, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by keepon View Post
Thank you both for your advice. Unfortunately, I've already spent most of my budget on the 105 components and the return policy isn't generous for some of the sites I purchased from (read: I can't return some of the 105 parts at all). With that said, I visited my LBS today to ask their advice and they suggested looking for an 11-speed freehub that would be compatible with my current Axis Sport wheels. I'll upgrade wheels later on when I have additional funds available, but adding an 11-speed freehub to make the wheels compatible with 105 seems like an affordable alternative in the meantime.

The LBS owner helped me research the Axis Sport wheels on my 2019 Specialized Allez and determined that the same Axis Sport wheels are used as stock wheels by Specialized across a range of bikes, only using different freehubs depending on whether the drivetrain is 8-speed (like mine) all the way up to 11-speed. This is the 11-speed freehub that is compatible with my Axis Sport wheels: Specialized Formula Freehub (2014 Axis 2.0) (Shimano) (11 Speed) (Fh-04K). This freehub can be viewed on amaincycling . com if you google it; sorry I still can't post links.

Unfortunately, the freehub is out of stock on that site and I haven't been able to find it elsewhere. Do you all know how to determine whether another 11-speed Shimano freehub would be compatible with my Axis Sport wheels? If you happen to know a better way to locate this specific freehub on more websites, that would also be a huge help. Thanks!
If you just need a freehub body, Amazon has them in stock.....just make sure it will fit your hub

105 free hub

or Ultegra:
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Old 12-03-20, 09:12 PM
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I overlooked REI and it does appear they have better offers for both the cassette and chain than I found elsewhere. Together, I might save $20 by purchasing those components there instead. I don't suppose I need that Dura-Ace chain, after all.

More impressive, though, is the fact that Merlin appears to be offering the Mavic Aksium wheelset for US$167, which is nearly US$100 cheaper than I have seen that wheelset offered anywhere else. Unfortunately, their shipping options are rather limited. The cheapest option is 2-3 day shipping at about $70. Regardless, even with that excessive shipping cost the offer is still better than what I've found elsewhere. Thank you for bringing that merchant to my attention.

I've already ordered all the components other than the cassette and chain, so I'm a bit limited regarding my options to save by shopping around. I made the best available purchases I could find during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Perhaps there is a better strategy to apply when looking for deals on bike components in the future. If there are sites that track deals across the many cycling specialty sites, please let me know.

Thanks, mstateglfr.
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Old 12-03-20, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
If you just need a freehub body, Amazon has them in stock.....just make sure it will fit your hub
105 free hub or Ultegra (sorry had to remove the links...again)
I searched these earlier, but I wasn't sure they would be compatible. Are these freehubs universally compatible with all wheels that support Shimano hubs? The LBS owner left me with the impression that I might need the very specific freehub that I linked in my earlier post for the Axis Sport rear wheel. If this isn't a concern, that would be a great relief.
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Old 12-03-20, 09:18 PM
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If they aren't universally compatible, which specs on the wheels and hub bodies should I check to ensure they will fit?
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Old 12-03-20, 09:37 PM
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These look to be in your price range and will be great wheels for the interim until you can get something lighter. These are strong and great rims and the hubs will last a lifetime if maintain properly. I had a set of Shimano 600's from the 90's I just got rid of on ebay that were smooth as silk. I actually have a Mavic Open Pro with an Ultegra hub I used for a wheel on Trainer I had. .

https://www.amazon.com/Mavic-Open-Si...7052875&sr=8-3

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mavic-Open-...UAAOSwGAxfqrHK
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Old 12-04-20, 07:00 AM
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I have years of experience with Aksiums. I think that you will find them to be totally bullet-proof and a bit heavy. I switched to Mavic Ksyrium Elite tubeless two years ago and I'm not going back. Faster, smoother, lighter and no flats yet.
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Old 12-04-20, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by keepon View Post
I overlooked REI and it does appear they have better offers for both the cassette and chain than I found elsewhere. Together, I might save $20 by purchasing those components there instead. I don't suppose I need that Dura-Ace chain, after all.

More impressive, though, is the fact that Merlin appears to be offering the Mavic Aksium wheelset for US$167, which is nearly US$100 cheaper than I have seen that wheelset offered anywhere else. Unfortunately, their shipping options are rather limited. The cheapest option is 2-3 day shipping at about $70. Regardless, even with that excessive shipping cost the offer is still better than what I've found elsewhere. Thank you for bringing that merchant to my attention.

I've already ordered all the components other than the cassette and chain, so I'm a bit limited regarding my options to save by shopping around. I made the best available purchases I could find during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Perhaps there is a better strategy to apply when looking for deals on bike components in the future. If there are sites that track deals across the many cycling specialty sites, please let me know.

Thanks, mstateglfr.
Interesting, To see shipping, I threw a bunch of random stuff in my basket and it went down to $54 shipping- the wheelset, a cassette, 4 tires, a couple of brake calipers, and a chain. Shipping has always been free from Merlin for me, but ive never purchased a wheelset.
Just over a year ago, I came close to buying a Hope wheelset from Merlin and shipping was free at the time. Just checked- it isnt now.
Shipping costs are at record high, for small parcel and truckload, so them finally charging is understandable. Still sucks.

Good luck on the build. Maybe google around for costs on the products you already purchased and return some of them if you can save enough elsewhere to make it worthwhile. The only real benefit to buying online vs in a store is buying at the lowest price, so if you dont get that...
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Old 12-04-20, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I have years of experience with Aksiums. I think that you will find them to be totally bullet-proof and a bit heavy. I switched to Mavic Ksyrium Elite tubeless two years ago and I'm not going back. Faster, smoother, lighter and no flats yet.
I am leaning toward buying the Aksium wheelset now. I've heard the same about them from multiple people, in terms of durability and performance. Despite being relatively heavy compared to higher-end racing wheels, they would still be about 260g lighter than my current wheels. I can't find the freehub I need to convert my current wheels to 11-spd, so I may just have to scrape up enough to buy the Aksium wheels. I feel a bit better about making the purchase each time I hear from people who have had good experiences with the Aksium wheels, so thank you.
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Old 12-04-20, 03:58 PM
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If you run the 11-34 sp cassette, you can use the 10sp wheels. You don't need the brakes or Front Derailleur. Going with black chainring bolts would be a visual improvement. Spending $100 on the 105 R7000 crank and rings would be a 300gr weight loss and have better front shifting
Otherwise, I'd buy these these - https://www.merlincycles.com/dt-swis...0c-108395.html or the https://www.merlincycles.com/campagn...set-76092.html

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Old 12-04-20, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Interesting, To see shipping, I threw a bunch of random stuff in my basket and it went down to $54 shipping- the wheelset, a cassette, 4 tires, a couple of brake calipers, and a chain. Shipping has always been free from Merlin for me, but ive never purchased a wheelset.
Just over a year ago, I came close to buying a Hope wheelset from Merlin and shipping was free at the time. Just checked- it isnt now.
Shipping costs are at record high, for small parcel and truckload, so them finally charging is understandable. Still sucks.

Good luck on the build. Maybe google around for costs on the products you already purchased and return some of them if you can save enough elsewhere to make it worthwhile. The only real benefit to buying online vs in a store is buying at the lowest price, so if you dont get that...
Thank you. I imagine the build will end up being unconventional regardless since it's unusual to upgrade a base Allez like this. I know it's an entry-level bike that most people would usually just sell or trade in when they want to upgrade to mid-range or better. It was an odd first road bike when I bought it since the previous owner had already installed a 105 53/39T crank and power meter, but for what I'm doing with it now I mostly credit/blame the "Great Bike Shortage of 2020." Under normal circumstances, I'd probably just sell or trade it in and buy a better bike. With that said, I'm hoping after these upgrades the bike will work for all my purposes for many years to come.

As for shopping around, I haven't found R7000 105 brifters for less than what I paid (US$200), but I have seen slightly better deals for the brakes and derailleurs. Unfortunately, the derailleur seller only permits returns for store credit, and the brakes seller charges enough return shipping to mostly negate slightly lower prices I've seen elsewhere. I regret buying some of the components without looking for better deals, but I was excited about the upgrade and moved a bit too fast when I saw what I thought were good deals (and, to be fair, they mostly were). Now, I'll likely have to scrape together enough for a new wheelset. I should have addressed the wheelset issue first. Live and learn, I guess.

Thanks for the advice and for introducing me to Merlin. It appears they offer better prices on many components than competitors, despite the high shipping cost. It's odd that they don't offer longer shipping times (e.g., 5-7 days instead of 2-3 days) at a lower rate, but I can't argue with their product prices. In any case, it looks like I either need to find that freehub somewhere or cave and buy the Aksium wheels. I'll likely end up doing the latter after checking a few more places for the freehub. My local Specialized dealer confirmed that only the freehub I linked up top is compatible with my Axis Sport wheels, so unless I get lucky and find that hub I'll end up having to buy new wheels.

----------------
Regarding wheel alternatives:

For those advocating more expensive wheelsets than the ~$170 deal (plus shipping) on the Aksium set on Merlin: I am curious about your opinions regarding what makes these other wheelsets 1.5x-3x more valuable than the Aksium set. Do these more expensive wheelsets provide that much more value in terms of improved weight and aerodynamics? Or is there something else that sets them apart?

Out of curiosity, are Mavic Aksium wheels inferior to the wheels that come stock on a mid-level 105-equipped bike like the 2021 Allez Elite (i.e., DT R460, sealed cartridge hubs, 14g spokes, 20h)?

Sorry for adding unrelated questions to a single post. As I found out earlier today, the forum currently limits me to 5 posts/24 hours.

Thanks!
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