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Decent upgrade from Alex R500 rims? Recommendations pls

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Decent upgrade from Alex R500 rims? Recommendations pls

Old 09-10-13, 10:41 AM
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Decent upgrade from Alex R500 rims? Recommendations pls

Apologies in advance if any of my questions seem obtuse. Of all the aspects of road cycling components, wheelsets are the part I know the least about!

So here I am with my lovely Felt ZW6 road bike that I bought a few years ago. I love it. It suits my budget, my cycling needs, and my size, and anyone I've spoken to has said "when the time comes to give it some more love, upgrade the wheelset first above all else".

Ok, great. I've come to the moment where I'd like to do so - but ack! No idea where to begin.

The wheels I have are the ones it came with: Alex R500 rims, Vittoria Zaffiro tires.
Here's where I got that info in case you want to get into the nitty gritty: https://2011.feltracing.com/USA/2011/...eries/ZW6.aspx

My budget right now is pretty conservative - $300 max. My question is, for that amount, can I get something that would be considered an "upgrade" from my current wheelset, or should I just save until I can actually purchase something a bit more expensive that would actually "feel" like an upgrade? I'm motivated to get something sooner rather than later but I could definitely hold out a few months, maybe wait until Black Friday sales in November/etc.

I've laid down about 2,000 miles on my current wheelset and never (knock on wood) had a flat. I ride usually sub 50 mile rides on pretty good condition pavement (not a ton of gravel/potholes/etc.) but would like something that shaves some weight off my bike.

Thanks in advance
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Old 09-10-13, 12:16 PM
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I have a R500 wheel for my trainer tire...stinking thing is a brick. I really don't care because moving mass is actually good on an indoor trainer but I can easily say they are so heavy, I wouldn't want to run them on the road.

My bike came with a set of Fulcrum Racing 6's that are ok but far lighter than the R500. I landed up replacing them with a set of ROL Race SL which are much lighter (but still heavy compared to other brands). The Fulcrum set is somewhere in the 1900 gram area...the ROL Race SL is in the 1500's. Like I said, I haven't weighed the R500 but it feels like a tank even when compared to the Fulcrum set.

Either way, I hate to break this to you...but wheels are expensive. I did a ton of reading about wheels last year and decided on a few brands. Eventually, for various reasons, the ROL won out. Even though I feel they offer great value for the $$, the still were over $600. Will I sit here and say they are $600 worth of better than the Fulcrum? probably not...but they do ride extremely well...better than the Fulcrums.

Sorry...not much help...
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Old 09-10-13, 12:26 PM
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Wait a while. I've got 17,000+ miles on my R500 wheels.
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Old 09-10-13, 12:27 PM
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Easton EA50
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Old 09-10-13, 12:31 PM
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Upgrade the engine first.
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Old 09-10-13, 12:38 PM
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were i in your shoes, i would wait until your budget was a little higher.

i'm no expert myself, but when i researched replacing my wheels, it seemed like you need to spend a little more than that to really make a jump in the quality, weight, aero-ness of a wheelset. maybe ride the ones you have through the winter and spring for some new ones next spring.
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Old 09-10-13, 12:50 PM
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I replaced the Alex S500 (Specialized version) with Easton EA50's and they were stiffer. They are in the $150-180 range if you are a good price shopper. Performance has Forte's for about $150, which are so similar to the Easton's that they may actually be them.

From Total Cycling, Campy Scirrocco's with Shimano hubs can be had for $225 shipped to the US. They may have Fulcrums as well in the same range.

I didn't do anything with the S500's until I started breaking spokes, and I can say that I was happy with the Eastons, and they felt like an upgrade, whether they made any performance difference is debatable.
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Old 09-10-13, 02:02 PM
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I'll assume you're not a big person, and may in fact be a smaller person...
so you have a huge variety of possible wheelsets/custom wheels you can choose from.

If the current set works ok, I would consider buying some nice tires and lighter tubes first - tires in the 200 to 220 g range. Tubes at 70g and lighter.

Ride them for a while as you 'shop'. Most of the wheelsets under $300 are gonna be not as heavy, but not much lightere either. And the ones which are lighter at that price scrimp in some area - most often the freehub.
A couple hundred or 2 more will get you wheels which are quality and 400+ g lighter (1 lb ish). That combined with some nice tires/tubes will make a noticeable difference, and you should be able to expect thousands of trouble free miles.
You might even be able to get some custom wheels, if you can go that bit higher...
Either way start with some nicer/lighter tires - you'll also notice that immediately. ZAffiro is an ok tire, but rides hard and is a bit heavy at 320+ g. Going with something quality 200g means saving 1/2 lb just on tire weight for a pair, livelier, faster spinup and more comfortable at the same pressure.
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Old 09-10-13, 02:03 PM
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Dura Ace 9000 C24's
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Old 09-10-13, 02:12 PM
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Vuelta corsa lites. 1500 ish grams for $200 with nice quality hubs that seem to roll real nice when I spin them.
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Old 09-11-13, 02:27 AM
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I am no expert but had a similar dilemma couldn't afford too much and thought cheap wheels will do me for now bought the campanola vento reaction for £140 and I find them definately an upgrade they roll so smooth and look fab my videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfzo46onepg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
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Old 09-11-13, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by buffalowings
Vuelta corsa lites. 1500 ish grams for $200 with nice quality hubs that seem to roll real nice when I spin them.
+1. I bought these when upgrading the Bontrager bricks on my Trek 2.1, and they have held up very nicely for ~1,000 miles already. Only a few *minor* truing adjustments after ~200 miles, and haven't touched them since. There are two other riders in my local bike club that have them too and love them. I emailed Vuelta when I bought them and asked about these compared to the Corsa SLR and the Corsa Super Lite, and they suggested this one since I ride longer distances and wanted a more reliable wheel. 1500g weight is no joke...I measured mine when I received them. The rim tape and skewers were nice too. Seriously, an amazing steal for the price and what you get.

BTW: Nashbar has a 20% off sale right now, ending today, and you can get them for $225 shipped, +tax if applicable. That's typically about the best price you'll get on these wheels unless you buy on eBay or Nashbar runs a 25% or 30% coupon (a couple times a year).
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Old 09-16-13, 05:22 AM
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Thanks everyone for your recommendations - they are really super appreciated.

I will look into some of the wheelsets you all suggested and will also take a look at simply upgrading to lighter tire and tubes. But will lighter tubes = more flats? I'm on the lighter side for sure - under 120lbs and I'd say my bike clocks in under 20lbs right now - (honestly have never weighed it - something I need to do!) so I think I'll wait a while until I can spend in the $300-400 range and see if that will get me something that is *noticeably* lighter.

Will also check around the LBS in my area. Recently moved so the fun part is finding a new "home" shop. If anyone has recommendations on Long Island, south shore, Nassau, I'd be pumped to hear about them.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-16-13, 07:17 AM
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I've never found lighter tubes directly leading to more flats. But they do tend to leak more air overnight so you need to be checking them before every ride to make sure they are filled.
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