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Best road bike wheeset for around 500 - 750

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Best road bike wheeset for around 500 - 750

Old 07-19-22, 03:10 AM
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maartendc
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Best road bike wheeset for around 500 - 1000

Hello all,

I am looking for a new rim brake, clincher wheelset for my road bike, an older BMC. It doesnt have the most clearance, so a 19mm internal, 24 mm external on the rim is about the max. I am coming from a custom wheelset with White industries hubs and DT swiss box section rims. The rim is getting worn, so looking for a replacement.

I weigh about 65 kg, so low spoke count is OK.

I am OK investing in something a bit nicer and more aero. I am OK rasing my budget to 750 or 1000 usd/eur. My dream wheelset is the Shimano Dura Ace r9100-c40. But that is around 1600 eur and I cannot justify the cost. The rim brake version is getting hard to find as well.

Ideally I want:
- rim brake
- Clincher
- weight around 1500g
- rim depth 35 or 40 mm would be ideal.
- good quality hubs
- ideally alloy brake track, not a fan of full carbon clinchers. Carbon fairing OK.

I am considering:
- Hunt aero race wide - about 500 eur. These seem like a good balance of features.
- Campagnolo Zonda c17: about 375 eur. Great value, but mixed reviews of harsh ride quality, unsure.
- Hed Jet 4: afforBle alloy with carbon fairing, but I think they are too wide for my frame.
- Vision SC40: about 1000. These seem like a solid full carbon option, but I am hesitant about carbon clinchers for durability.

I am really struggling to find good options between 500 bucks and 1000. It seems there are tons of options around 500, and then the prices jump to 1200+ in the carbon options.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Last edited by maartendc; 07-19-22 at 03:32 AM.
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Old 07-19-22, 04:31 AM
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I can only give you my experience. About 3 years ago I saw a Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST (tubeless) wheelset on line for about $500. It comes with tires. It was myfirst experience with tubeless.I am never going back and now have 3 wheelsets for my bikes. They are lighter, more comfortable, quicker and have less rolling resistance than my clinchers. And, in 3 seasons I've never had a flat.
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Old 07-19-22, 05:30 AM
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Handbuilts from Psimet2001


(PS USA bias here, If not in USA shipping may be prohibitive, but seek a good local wheel builder in your area as an option)
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Old 07-19-22, 05:47 AM
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On the Campy side, the alloy Shamals or Fulcrum Zero is still around and would be closer to the $1k mark.
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Old 07-19-22, 05:48 AM
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Fulcrum racing 3 wheels are comparable to zondas. The idea that either wheel creates a rough ride is false. Narrow tires with high pressure do that. I'm surprised that these wheels haven't been updated to 19mm internal width and 2-way to run tubeless. I have the racing 3 wheels with 28mm tubeless tires on two disc brake bikes.
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Old 07-19-22, 07:38 AM
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maartendc you may want to check in with Boyd regarding release of the new Altamont. It was a really nice, 30mm deep, aluminum, aero wheel before, but new rim manufacturer and some other cool update are supposed to up quality further and that new version is due to be available soon.
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Old 07-19-22, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Fulcrum racing 3 wheels are comparable to zondas. The idea that either wheel creates a rough ride is false. Narrow tires with high pressure do that. I'm surprised that these wheels haven't been updated to 19mm internal width and 2-way to run tubeless. I have the racing 3 wheels with 28mm tubeless tires on two disc brake bikes.
Virtually all modern rims make for vertically stiff wheels so now it is a difference between "pretty darn stiff" and very stiff. BITD we rode shallow sewup rims that were not vertically stiff. Ride those old rims side by side with modern wheels and you will see that your statement is not true. (I raced poor New England roads on perhaps 21c sewups and ~110 psi and never recall feeling beat up by the road after.)

I'm now alternating rides between GP4s and 28c sewups and Open Pro/Velocity Aeros and Vittoria Open Paves. Same spokes (well the GP4s have a gauge heavier). Real difference in feel! As I procure more hubs and spokes, all my good wheels are going low profile tubular for, among other reasons, the "ride". In the 90s, I put thousands of miles on a pair of GP4s for my Mooney. Went to clincher and progressively deeper rims. Haven't had a ride like that since. Not until a couple of weeks ago. The "ride" is back.

Sadly, no one makes low profile rims amy more so your statement is becoming true by default.

Edit: to the topic - worn rims? Are the hubs OK and worth keeping? Consider having a local build new wheels around those hubs. If the new rims are nice, maybe even get four (now, before the manufacturer changes the ERD). Set aside that pair so when these wear out, you can simply re-rim the wheel. Fast, easy and a very good introduction to wheel building! (Tape new rim to old. Swap the spokes over to the new rim. Tighten and true.)

Last edited by 79pmooney; 07-19-22 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 07-19-22, 11:15 AM
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I'm old school. How about a custom built Mavic CXP Pro or something, 28 front, 32 rear, DT double butted spokes, on 105 hubs. Bomb proof. Ive nearly 6,000 miles on a set of these, Universal Cycles would build tor about $450 or so.

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Old 07-21-22, 12:21 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far.

So I get the feeling people recommend custom
built wheels. I dont know of a wheelbuilder in my area (Belgium), and I'd really rather just buy something off the shelf from a reputable brand instead of having to look for one. What is the rationale for getting a custom wheelbuild? Cheaper? Better quality? There are so many types commercial wheels out there that I dont see the need for custom.

I have been looking at the DT Swiss PR 1400 wheels. Expensive for alloy wheels (around 700 eur), but the DT swiss 240 hub is supposed to be excellent, as well as the spokes and rims.

They come in 23mm shallow depth at 1450g, or 32mm depth at 1630g. I dont know which would be better for me. I live in a mostly flat area, but I do take my bike into hilly terrain (Ardennes) several times of year, and high mountains (Alps or Pyrenees) on vacation once a year.

Would the aero gains of 32mm vs 23mm be significant at all? Or would the lower weight and rotational weight of the lighter wheels provide a nicer, more responsive ride? Which would you choose for this type of riding?

Thanks!
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Old 07-21-22, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
I have been looking at the DT Swiss PR 1400 wheels. Expensive for alloy wheels (around 700 eur), but the DT swiss 240 hub is supposed to be excellent, as well as the spokes and rims.
These are some of the nicest alloy wheels!

Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
They come in 23mm shallow depth at 1450g, or 32mm depth at 1630g. I dont know which would be better for me. I live in a mostly flat area, but I do take my bike into hilly terrain (Ardennes) several times of year, and high mountains (Alps or Pyrenees) on vacation once a year.

Would the aero gains of 32mm vs 23mm be significant at all? Or would the lower weight and rotational weight of the lighter wheels provide a nicer, more responsive ride? Which would you choose for this type of riding?
Between these two sets I would choose the 23 mm model. While a 1,630 g wheelset is not heavy, you can feel the 180 g difference every time you accelerate, and I would take that over the minimal aero gains from the extra 9 mm in wheel depth. (But is it 21 mm vs.32 mm?)
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Old 07-21-22, 01:57 PM
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If you like your hubs, you can get a set of Light Bicycle rims for ~400 for the pair, spend less than $200 on spokes and nipples and either learn to build it yourself or find someone to do it for you. You'd stay in your budget and get exactly what you wanted.
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Old 07-21-22, 02:27 PM
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White Industry hubs are fantastic and should last a very long time. I'd agree with others that lacing up some new rims/spokes to those WI hubs would be the way I'd go. Spend the money on spokes and rims, reuse your current hubs, and have a top-shelf wheelset that will be light and durable.

The only downside is finding a wheel builder in your area, or sending your hubs to some online shop and waiting while they get built. I have to think Belgium is overflowing with options, but maybe I spend too much time watching UCI Cyclocross.
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Old 07-21-22, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
If you like your hubs, you can get a set of Light Bicycle rims for ~400 for the pair, spend less than $200 on spokes and nipples and either learn to build it yourself or find someone to do it for you. You'd stay in your budget and get exactly what you wanted.
You are right, but the more I think about it, I dont like the prospect of carbon clinchers. The durability on long descents and the idea of bad braking performance on rim brakes is not appealing. I think I will go for high end alloy.

I could get a new wheel built around my current hubs, but I will keep my current wheelset (as long as I can) as a winter training set, so rather have a second new wheelset. I am also not sure about my current hubs, White Industries H2, they are quite old at this point, and there is some play in the hub that is finicky to manage. Not sure if I want to invest in a new build around these. I am going to replace the bearings soon, see if that helps a bit.
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Old 07-21-22, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
These are some of the nicest alloy wheels!



Between these two sets I would choose the 23 mm model. While a 1,630 g wheelset is not heavy, you can feel the 180 g difference every time you accelerate, and I would take that over the minimal aero gains from the extra 9 mm in wheel depth. (But is it 21 mm vs.32 mm?)
Thanks for the feedback. Yeah I think you are right. I dont ride at speeds where the aero gains would be noticeable I think. At about 30 kph I think the difference between 21 and 32mm would be less than 10 watts. I read online that at 40kph the watts saved on a 40mm rim over box section is 10 watts. Id better work on my position on the bike or get an aero helmet for being more aero.

Anything that would improve the ride feel of the bike would probably be more beneficial to me.
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Old 07-21-22, 02:49 PM
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American Classic 420 seems to meet your requirements. All aluminum, 34mm deep, and under 1500g. They don't make them anymore, but I see a brand new set on ebay for $600 and multiple used sets for $350-400.
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Old 07-21-22, 11:06 PM
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Play around with the wheel builder on Prowheelbuilder.com. You can put anything you want together and see what it costs and weighs, and I believe their prices are reasonably competitive compared to off the shelf wheels, especially given you can change parts to suit your criteria.

For excellent off the shelf wheels, but maybe a bit more than the high end of your budget (shipped), check out Boyd.
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Old 07-22-22, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Thanks for the feedback. Yeah I think you are right. I dont ride at speeds where the aero gains would be noticeable I think. At about 30 kph I think the difference between 21 and 32mm would be less than 10 watts. I read online that at 40kph the watts saved on a 40mm rim over box section is 10 watts. Id better work on my position on the bike or get an aero helmet for being more aero.

Anything that would improve the ride feel of the bike would probably be more beneficial to me.
Given that, you should probably grab a pair of Spinergy Z-Lite wheels.

They’re only 24mm deep, but spec’d at only 1415g and fiber spoked.

I run their GX wheelset on my gravel bike, and the PBO fiber spokes are plainly smoother and more comfy than any metal spoked wheel I’ve run on gravel. They’ve also been really good wheels in every sense: reliable, durable, good handling, and true.

https://www.spinergy.com/products/z-lite
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Old 07-22-22, 12:43 AM
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Linking together the American Classic mention and the aero vs. weight question, it is really a shame that AC folded, taking their Argent wheelset off the market. At sub-1400g and 30mm aero depth, they were unique, but they were also very special for their design and engineering, making them my pick as the greatest aluminum road wheels ever.

When I got my first pair in ‘13, they were a performance revelation, and even that same wheelset today remains true and untouched, despite my +230lbs putting some heavy demands on them, not just in terms of weight, but aggressive, high watt, high stress riding. I got a second pair in ‘17, luckily, as they closed up shop shortly thereafter. The Argent has spoiled me for alu rim brake wheels, that’s for sure, as every other wheelset I’ve seen comes up short in comparison.

AC’s old national sales manager did buy the brand and started releasing tires about a year or so ago, and has plans to launch wheels soon, so there is reason to hope the Argent may be reborn! I don’t have a ton of hope because the hubs were key to the wheels, and are also the most complicated and expensive part of the wheels.
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Old 07-22-22, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
I live in a mostly flat area, but I do take my bike into hilly terrain (Ardennes) several times of year, and high mountains (Alps or Pyrenees) on vacation once a year.
Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
... I dont like the prospect of carbon clinchers. The durability on long descents and the idea of bad braking performance on rim brakes is not appealing. I think I will go for high end alloy.
Given the varied terrain you will ride on, the only viable long term solution is to buy two wheelsets: (1) an aero carbon clincher wheelset (< 50 mm depth to keep them at a reasonable weight), and (2) a lightweight alloy climbing wheelset which should also allay your concerns about braking during long descents.

For wheelset #2, at your budget, the Mavic Ksyriuum SL (Ksyrium SL | Mavic) maybe a good fit. It is the successor to the Mavic Ksyrium Elite recommended by bruce19 (and me), except the Ksyrium SL has a wider internal width 622 x 19C.
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Old 07-24-22, 01:03 AM
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Another place to look - Bicycle Wheel Warehouse. I have a set of their "Pure Race" wheels, which at the time were, IIRC, their second tier 700c, rim brake, aluminum wheels. I got them on a closeout for around $350 and they weigh about 1600 gm. I think they're very nice wheels: strong and smooth as any others I have. I believe their higher end wheels, Blackset Race, might be close to your weight and price criteria, if not right on.
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Old 07-24-22, 09:36 AM
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Pacenti does the Forza, a 25mm deep, 20mm IW wheelset starting at $700 w/ Bitex hubs and a weight of 1550g. You can spec different hubs, like King, DT Swiss, White Ind. or Hope, if you want.

I don’t think they’re anything special, just an option.

https://pacenticycledesign.com/colle...rim-brake-700c
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Old 07-25-22, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
Given the varied terrain you will ride on, the only viable long term solution is to buy two wheelsets: (1) an aero carbon clincher wheelset (< 50 mm depth to keep them at a reasonable weight), and (2) a lightweight alloy climbing wheelset which should also allay your concerns about braking during long descents.

For wheelset #2, at your budget, the Mavic Ksyriuum SL (Ksyrium SL | Mavic) maybe a good fit. It is the successor to the Mavic Ksyrium Elite recommended by bruce19 (and me), except the Ksyrium SL has a wider internal width 622 x 19C.
Haha, yes I had come to that conclusion as well, but my wallet did not like that solution ;D.

I'm guessing I'll opt for the lightweight alloy wheelset for now, and perhaps treat myself to a carbon wheelset in the future. I think the lightweight alloy will benefit me more on hilly or rolling terrain, and I don't really care how fast I go on the flat since I don't race.

Mavic Ksyrium SL (527 EUR) seems like a good wheelset as well. Not too far in price and weight from the DT Swiss PR 1400 (700 EUR). The only option that is significantly cheaper is the Campagnolo Zonda C17 (400 EUR). But I read mixed reviews on the Campagnolo and Mavic wheels, while the DT Swiss seem universally praised. The DT Swiss 240 seems like a hub worth keeping for a long time.

Thanks!
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Old 08-01-22, 02:24 PM
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I'm a pretty big fan of Hed Belgium/Ardennes wheels and the mid-range Campagnolo/Fulcrum wheels in that price range. Pretty good bang for the buck, when prices are a bit more stable (ie, not sure what a good price/value wheel is at the moment). Usually there are pretty good sales online from the usual sources.

If you're not opposed to used, I've seen sets go on Ebay for about half of what you're looking to spend, in very nice condition.
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Old 08-03-22, 08:01 AM
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I would get a pair of Campy Zondas to tide you over for the moment - smooth rolling, reasonably lightweight and quick, and come in at about $350-400. I have a set on my Cannondale, and am considering if I should get a set to replace the old Mavic Ksyrium Equipes on my Bianchi (rear hub has been acting up, and shop says that the rims, while still usable, are probably on their last chapter).

I would then find a good shop that has a wheel builder - or maybe a shop that has a good wheel builder, and take your White Industry hubs to be evaluated and overhauled. If the hubs themselves are still good, ask for the wheel builder's recommendation for new rims and spokes. Offhand, I would consider HED Belgiums or DT Swiss RR511 if you're looking for a bit more aero. Then I'd lace up using bladed spokes, and alloy nipples (if on smooth roads), or brass nipples (if on bad roads/truing is a concern).

If that's not an option, I'd probably look at something like the HED Ardennes or a DT Swiss set. I think most people would have the opinion that Hunt's Novatec hubs probably aren't as nice as your WI hubs. If deciding between Campy/Fulcrum's options, the Zonda's only slightly heavier than the Shamal for half the price, so that's what I'd go with.
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