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Is it worth it to upgrade wheelset

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View Poll Results: Should I upgrade wheelset
Yes, it will help a lot
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62.22%
No, it will only help marginally
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28.89%
No, it will help but not worth it
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8.89%
Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

Is it worth it to upgrade wheelset

Old 07-16-10, 02:48 PM
  #1  
kittysacattack
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Is it worth it to upgrade wheelset

Ive been using an entry level Jamis road bicycle (700$) for about 2 years, and just recently got into longer rides (30 miles) with a group of coworkers at my new job. I got clipless pedals, shoes, new tires, and a new seat (to drow weight and add comfort). All relatively cheap upgrades, which have made a big difference. If i were to upgrade the wheelset, what set would you recommend, and how much money would I be looking to spend for it to even make a difference. I currently have AKX R1.0 A Class rims (stock) The reason I ask is if its gonna cost 800 dollars for it to even matter, I would either just not upgrade, or get a few more years out of my bike and get a new bike.

Thanks.
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Old 07-16-10, 03:11 PM
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welcome to the forum. from your post, I am going to assume you have a Jamis Ventura Comp
I've debated this question for a long long time and still do this day have not had overwhelming drive to upgrade wheelset.
as it is, the wheelset is something like a 28H/32H wheelset, primarily one that is bombproof and not so much light weight. I would recommend, as an upgrade to try some Aksium wheels. Maybe the board will disagree with me, but I don't think going to Ksyrium or something Williams will matter much for you.

as an aside, keep in mind that wheel weights are always more once you are on the bike, since you have the rotational force of the wheel. Some heavier wheels will allow you to keep the momentum once you get going, but for the most part, heavy wheels will slow you down, this is quite easy to imagine.

in any case, good luck with your hunt!
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Old 07-16-10, 03:16 PM
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get a pair of lightwieghts. and for your training/rainy day wheels campy boras ought to do the trick.
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Old 07-16-10, 03:21 PM
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I am biased.
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Old 07-16-10, 03:29 PM
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Consider a wheel purchase not as part of an upgrade to your existing bike but as an upgrade to your equipment.

You can keep the wheels and swap them onto a new bike and keep the wheels that come with the new bike as spares or visa-versa.

You can swap the wheels onto a new bike and sell the new wheels.

You can keep the wheels as spares in case another wheel is damaged.

Any way you slice it having a spare set of wheels is never a bad thing.

FWIW go hand built and you will get a better value in the end as opposed to most boutique wheels.
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Old 07-16-10, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
I am biased.
Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post

FWIW go hand built and you will get a better value in the end as opposed to most boutique wheels.
It almost looks like you two are working in tandem
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Old 07-16-10, 03:40 PM
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I also ride an entry level bike (Giant OCR3) that had pretty crappy Alex wheels. I debated upgrading, and spotted a pretty cheap set of Ultegra\Open Pro's on Cragislist used. I don't think they saved me a lot in weight, but the massive difference in hub quality made it feel like a whole new bike.
One day soon Psimet, when I have a few extra bucks in my wallet and a better bike to put your wheels on, I'm giving you a call.
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Old 07-16-10, 03:42 PM
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That was my main upgrade years ago. Had a local wheel builder make me a set. I don't remember what I paid, but it was worth it.
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Old 07-16-10, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by JTinDenver View Post
I also ride an entry level bike (Giant OCR3) that had pretty crappy Alex wheels. I debated upgrading, and spotted a pretty cheap set of Ultegra\Open Pro's on Cragislist used. I don't think they saved me a lot in weight, but the massive difference in hub quality made it feel like a whole new bike.
One day soon Psimet, when I have a few extra bucks in my wallet and a better bike to put your wheels on, I'm giving you a call.
The Ultegra-OP's were a great upgrade. forget about the weight. the alex were a time bomb waiting to happen. I guarantee that the OPU set is lighter than carrying the bike on a walk home from a ride.
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Old 07-17-10, 12:04 AM
  #10  
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many think of the frame and the equipment and the wheels are part of the equipment. as Bob D has pointed out, the wheels are something you can take with you to a new bike. with that said, you should not limit the amount you spend on wheels thinking that you only spent x for the bike. the key is not the cost but the weight of the rim. the weight of the rims will count twice as much as weight on the bike. weight of the hubs are rotating weight but the weight of the rims are like a lever. it requires a lot of power to turn the weight of heavy rim. even with aero rims, light rims are still important, when you stand on light rims, you will fly!

many lbs will let you test ride wheels check with yours.
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Old 07-17-10, 08:01 AM
  #11  
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+1 to the thinking that wheels are a long-use upgrade...

My first "real road bike" when I was in college was a Schwinn Super Le Tour. I think I paid $300 for it in 1982/3. I quickly discovered just how much I loved cycling and wanted to do some amateur racing. Within six months I had ordered a set of wheels from a "pro/am" cycling shop about 100 miles from me. They were Mavic clinchers with Campy Super Record hubs. IIRC, the cost of those wheels was about what I paid for my bike. I later moved them over to a Rossin with Campy SR in 1984 as my all-purpose wheels.

Forward to 1989. Married with a kid on the way. Working a full-time 9-5 (or more) job. Rossin's been hanging in the garage for a couple of years. I bought a Specialized Sequoia sport-tourer. Put those Mavics on it...made it ride so much better. Do a couple of thousand miles on them over the next year or so.

Fast forward to 2010. Overweight with Diabetes, high blood pressure. Need to get some exercise. Decide that I've really missed riding these past 20 years. I bought a Raleigh hybrid to "get back into cycling". I still love riding but as I get fitter, I need to ride drop bars. I go into the garage and get that Sequoia down from the ceiling and the LBS gets it back in shape. Guess which wheels are on it - those Mavics.

Obviously I can't put those wheels on any new frames due to the width, but good wheels aren't just an upgrade...they're an investment in your bike, your riding, and yourself. My advice would be to buy the best wheels you can. If you keep riding, you'll likely never regret it.

Charles
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Old 07-17-10, 09:56 AM
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definitely.

I have a specialized tricross that came with Alex rims and 32c tires. I went with Soul 3.0SL wheelset with 23c gatorskins and my bike is a whole new machine.

Rims to my door for under $400 (about a 6 week wait though) - but fantastic dealings with Sean @ Soul.
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Old 07-17-10, 10:06 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by kittysacattack View Post
Ive been using an entry level Jamis road bicycle (700$) for about 2 years, and just recently got into longer rides (30 miles) with a group of coworkers at my new job. I got clipless pedals, shoes, new tires, and a new seat (to drow weight and add comfort). All relatively cheap upgrades, which have made a big difference. If i were to upgrade the wheelset, what set would you recommend, and how much money would I be looking to spend for it to even make a difference. I currently have AKX R1.0 A Class rims (stock) The reason I ask is if its gonna cost 800 dollars for it to even matter, I would either just not upgrade, or get a few more years out of my bike and get a new bike.

Thanks.
You'll be surprised at how inexpensive it can be.
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Old 07-17-10, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
Consider a wheel purchase not as part of an upgrade to your existing bike but as an upgrade to your equipment.

You can keep the wheels and swap them onto a new bike and keep the wheels that come with the new bike as spares or visa-versa.

You can swap the wheels onto a new bike and sell the new wheels.

You can keep the wheels as spares in case another wheel is damaged.

Any way you slice it having a spare set of wheels is never a bad thing.

FWIW go hand built and you will get a better value in the end as opposed to most boutique wheels.
Sort of like upgrading girlfriends.
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Old 07-17-10, 10:37 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Uni-Vibe View Post
Sort of like upgrading girlfriends.
but still keeping the old girlfriend around for training rides
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Old 07-17-10, 10:44 AM
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I think that unless you've got a lot of money to spend or are racing, you should just look for a good reliable wheelset.

With that being said, handbuilt wheels make reliable wheelsets.
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Old 07-17-10, 03:33 PM
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A wheelset is the best upgrade you can make on a bicycle.
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Old 07-18-10, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Danielle View Post
A wheelset is the best upgrade you can make on a bicycle.

In terms of actual performance gain from a wheelset, I'm always amazed with how much money you need to spend for how little time-gain you get via wheels.

Compared to the low-end stock wheels that came on my intro-level road bike, $2000+ top-end deep-dish racing wheels (actually, a Zipp rear disc wheel alone will cost $2000 alone!) will probably shave off no more than 1-1.5 minutes per HOUR of racing that you're doing.


You will gain more than 1 minute per hour just by wearing a tighter shirt that doesn't flap as much, and there is data out there to suggest that just wearing booties over your shoes will shave off 45sec-1minute per hour (not sure I believe this, but the data from 2 studies were posted on Slowtwitch.com fairly recently.)


For me at least, there are only 3 reasons for me to upgrade my wheelset, and one of them does not even apply to me.
1) Heavy rider requiring a especially bombproof designed wheel to avoid breakage. (Not me.)
2) Someone willing to pay $$$$ for that extra minute per hour of racing. (Also not me, and I train with competitive roadies where speed is really, really important.)
3) BLING factor. <===== Probably the least mentioned, but most common factor for upgrading to deep-dish aero wheels.

I totally disagree that the wheelset is the best upgrade you can make on the bicycle. One could definitely argue that spending that $500-$1000 on a coach would be a far, far better investment. Or even taking the hours you'd have to work to earn that money and spending that time cycling would be a better investment in terms of performance.
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Old 07-18-10, 10:24 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
In terms of actual performance gain from a wheelset, I'm always amazed with how much money you need to spend for how little time-gain you get via wheels.

Compared to the low-end stock wheels that came on my intro-level road bike, $2000+ top-end deep-dish racing wheels (actually, a Zipp rear disc wheel alone will cost $2000 alone!) will probably shave off no more than 1-1.5 minutes per HOUR of racing that you're doing.


You will gain more than 1 minute per hour just by wearing a tighter shirt that doesn't flap as much, and there is data out there to suggest that just wearing booties over your shoes will shave off 45sec-1minute per hour (not sure I believe this, but the data from 2 studies were posted on Slowtwitch.com fairly recently.)


For me at least, there are only 3 reasons for me to upgrade my wheelset, and one of them does not even apply to me.
1) Heavy rider requiring a especially bombproof designed wheel to avoid breakage. (Not me.)
2) Someone willing to pay $$$$ for that extra minute per hour of racing. (Also not me, and I train with competitive roadies where speed is really, really important.)
3) BLING factor. <===== Probably the least mentioned, but most common factor for upgrading to deep-dish aero wheels.

I totally disagree that the wheelset is the best upgrade you can make on the bicycle. One could definitely argue that spending that $500-$1000 on a coach would be a far, far better investment. Or even taking the hours you'd have to work to earn that money and spending that time cycling would be a better investment in terms of performance.
OK, I will chime in on this one. I have a new set of wheels in transit by UPS right now. They are scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday. They are a manufacturer’s upgrade from my previous wheels set that have been sitting broken in my garage for two years.

They are Topolino wheels which are different from any other bikes wheels made. They have carbon fiber spoke that stretch from one side of the rim to the other with no termination point at the hub. When I took off my Mavic CXP33s and put on the Topolino wheels, it was a dramatic difference. The Topolinos accelerated much faster and were the smoothest wheels I had ever experienced. I loved the ride quality—it is like riding on glass.

I had reliability problems with these wheels but again loved the ride quality. So, when Topolino came out with a new spoke compound that is 50% stiffer I decided to upgrade. The replacement wheels will have 30mm deep rims rather than 19mm rims like my old wheels so they should be much stronger.

For me, upgrading components on my bike isn't just about making me faster, but about improving my experience on the bike. I ride to improve my fitness and health, not to win races. Anything that will help make me want to ride more and longer is worth a consideration.
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Old 07-18-10, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
In terms of actual performance gain from a wheelset, I'm always amazed with how much money you need to spend for how little time-gain you get via wheels.

Compared to the low-end stock wheels that came on my intro-level road bike, $2000+ top-end deep-dish racing wheels (actually, a Zipp rear disc wheel alone will cost $2000 alone!) will probably shave off no more than 1-1.5 minutes per HOUR of racing that you're doing.


You will gain more than 1 minute per hour just by wearing a tighter shirt that doesn't flap as much, and there is data out there to suggest that just wearing booties over your shoes will shave off 45sec-1minute per hour (not sure I believe this, but the data from 2 studies were posted on Slowtwitch.com fairly recently.)


For me at least, there are only 3 reasons for me to upgrade my wheelset, and one of them does not even apply to me.
1) Heavy rider requiring a especially bombproof designed wheel to avoid breakage. (Not me.)
2) Someone willing to pay $$$$ for that extra minute per hour of racing. (Also not me, and I train with competitive roadies where speed is really, really important.)
3) BLING factor. <===== Probably the least mentioned, but most common factor for upgrading to deep-dish aero wheels.

I totally disagree that the wheelset is the best upgrade you can make on the bicycle. One could definitely argue that spending that $500-$1000 on a coach would be a far, far better investment. Or even taking the hours you'd have to work to earn that money and spending that time cycling would be a better investment in terms of performance.
How about stiffness, ride quality and not breaking? You can get a nice pair of hand built rims built with something along the lines of open pro rims/ultegra hubs that will ride better and are stiffer than most stock wheels for about 250-300. That's about the best bang for your buck you're going to get.
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Old 07-18-10, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbon Unit View Post
OK, I will chime in on this one. I have a new set of wheels in transit by UPS right now. They are scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday. They are a manufacturer’s upgrade from my previous wheels set that have been sitting broken in my garage for two years.

They are Topolino wheels which are different from any other bikes wheels made. They have carbon fiber spoke that stretch from one side of the rim to the other with no termination point at the hub. When I took off my Mavic CXP33s and put on the Topolino wheels, it was a dramatic difference. The Topolinos accelerated much faster and were the smoothest wheels I had ever experienced. I loved the ride quality—it is like riding on glass.

I had reliability problems with these wheels but again loved the ride quality. So, when Topolino came out with a new spoke compound that is 50% stiffer I decided to upgrade. The replacement wheels will have 30mm deep rims rather than 19mm rims like my old wheels so they should be much stronger.

For me, upgrading components on my bike isn't just about making me faster, but about improving my experience on the bike. I ride to improve my fitness and health, not to win races. Anything that will help make me want to ride more and longer is worth a consideration.
Shill.
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Old 07-18-10, 07:41 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by clink83 View Post
How about stiffness, ride quality and not breaking? You can get a nice pair of hand built rims built with something along the lines of open pro rims/ultegra hubs that will ride better and are stiffer than most stock wheels for about 250-300. That's about the best bang for your buck you're going to get.
But can you get them hand built by a good builder at that price?
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Old 07-18-10, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by clink83 View Post
Shill.
Nope, I have no association with Topolino. It is my honest assessment of a wheel that I like. If I like a product, I tell others about it. I am not forcing you to buy anything or even agree with me.
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Old 07-18-10, 08:15 PM
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Get some decent rubber first. GP4000s are a relatively cheap way to make a big difference.
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Old 07-18-10, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWise1 View Post
Get some decent rubber first. GP4000s are a relatively cheap way to make a big difference.
Agreed. When I first started riding I put Conti 4 Season tire on my bike. I replaced them with GP4000s and they made a huge difference in ride quality. Right now they are my tire of choice, until something else come along that is better.
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