La Ruota

All in a line; the wheels.

Its hard to say precisely where the line lays, but I’m certain I’m well on the wrong side of it. I never notice lines as I pass over them but I can usually tell after I have because it feels suddenly liberating to leave reason, sensibility, and convention behind. I find them very restrictive – claustrophobic, almost. They force me into the same old way of thinking, always within a set of parameters of what is accepted. Parameters are a good thing, to be sure – especially for everyone else – but since I wasn’t involved in defining The Universal Limits of Reason and Sensibility, I can’t be sure they’re calibrated correctly so I prefer to roam freely and am quite satisfied to be considered crazy for the time being.

Just like most of us, I started down La Vie Velominatus rolling along on the wheels my first bike arrived with. I trusted them to be indestructible and always carry me about safely. Then one day while racing my friend, I locked up the back wheel coming into a corner too hard and destroyed it, the illusion of The Indestructible Wheel riding up the road alongside the friend I had only moments earlier been locked in shoulder-to-shoulder battle with. It was also at this precise moment that I faced the reality that a wheel is not only destructible, but a basic element facilitating productive locomotion aboard a bicycle.

I spent the next month shingling the roof of my family’s cabin in Northern Minnesota earning the money to buy a replacement wheel. And, having recently shingled a roof, I was suddenly a Shingling Authority, discussing in depth the merits of choice in color, material, and shingle pattern of every roof I passed by. Similarly, upon having been subjected to the myriad choices of replacement wheel, after purchasing my replacement wheel, I was a new inductee into the The Order of the Wheel and noticed (and commented upon) every bicycle wheel that passed me by. Due more to the volume of by observations than their merit, I was soon thereafter indulged by my Cycling Senseimy father – to help him curate the wheels for his custom Eddy Merckx.

At the time, choices were more limited than they are today; quality of hub varied greatly, as did the rims, spokes, and tires. Everything was limited to an alloy of some kind, though you could have any spoke pattern you wanted, as long as it was 3-cross. At the time there was also a choice between tubular and clincher, which was a relatively new option. We labored over the choices and wound up having two wheelsets built – one clincher and aero; one box-section and tubular – a choice I stand by today.

That was my awakening, but nevertheless, I have throughout my life as a Velominatus had only one wheelset per bike. The lightest for Bike #1. Whenever Bike #n came into play, it received  its own wheelset; as with all the other parts on Bikes #2…n; a hand-me-down from Bike #n-1’s upgrade. (Using the Hand-Me-Down Upgrade Methodology, a single upgrade improves not just one bicycle, but several – with the added benefit of filling a longer period of time moving bits from one noble steed to the next.)

It was only recently, during preparation for the 2012 edition of Keepers Tour over the cobbles of Northern France and Vlaanderen, that I took my own place in the realm of the Specialty Wheelset – which also afforded me another of those moments when I was strangely aware of having crossed one of Those Lines. After all, a big, fat Dutchman can’t be expected to ride over the pavé of Paris-Roubaix – unleashing the awesome wattage of his artillery – on just any old wheelset; certainly not any of those wheels which I already owned. This called for a set of wheels purpose-built for the occasion. Rims, hubs, spokes, and tires were selected with great care and assembled (four times) in a wine-enhanced rite.

Riding these wheels is a pleasure highlighted by the fact that I don’t always ride them. They hang on the workshop wall in a wheel bag, waiting for the Right Occasion to ride them. Those occasions are often anticipated several days – if not weeks – in advance and deliberated over carefully. Then, when the choice is finally made to pop them in for the ride, I wrap myself in the delta between my regular wheels and these. This contrast, like the negative space in a great painting, is the area in which I dwell while riding them. The difference in tire type, width, spoke pattern, weight. The way the wheel feels when the pedal is engaged. The way the wheels and tires flex over a bump in the road or hug the pavement in a corner.

I’ve since embarked on a journey to get each road bike in the house – mine as well as the VMH’s – on the same drive train in order to be able to maximize the wheel-swapping effect. Each wheel is a new language, each tire a new dialect, and inner tube a new turn of phrase. To paraphrase the nursery rhyme: one for sorrow, two for joy, three for hills and four for stones.

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193 Replies to “La Ruota”

  1. @scaler911

    Something else interesting about this thread, that was brought up in the article: the technology of wheels these days is pretty astounding. My ‘training’ wheels on #1 are Mavic Aksium Race. Nothing too sexy about them, but after 1000″²s of K’s and some pretty bad pothole/ road hazard shots, they are as true and round as the day I got them. While inexpensive ($250 new)now, they would have been a $1000 wheel set 15 years ago.

    The out of the box hubs spin great too, and I’ve only had them apart once in 2 years, and as you know, it rains a lot here. Great multi purpose wheel.

    Yes sir! Thanks for this comment, as it has settled me down and given me a bit of peace o’ mind. My cross bike has some Ksyrium ESs that are second-hand. While higher up the food chain still kind of in the same family. They’ve been incredible wheels, can’t believe the abuse they put up with and are still in great shape. And they were already used! Nice! Yeah, already at this point, just a few months into marriage and having more work on my hands I can already feel myself wishing I simply had more time to ride, not necessarily wishing I had better gear.

    Very true that you can get quite solid, decent wheels for a good price. I have some Neuvations, I paid around $200 for the set, they’re right around 1500 grams, roll just fine, and in two years I’ve had a broken spoke or two. I think that’s pretty impressive.

  2. @Barracuda

    Unfamiliar with “handbuilt wheels” so I will plead ignorance or stupidity on the benefits.   Must track down a local wheelbuilder an get the finer points explained.

    Having said that whats the experience, good bad or ugly, with C24″²s v C35″²s from our generic SHimano boys ?

    Can’t go wrong with those wheels. They have avoided fashion of carbon clinchers and the 35s have an al braking track.If I was going to choose ANY wheel it would be tubular C35s. I think there’s a link embedded, dunno if it worked so

    http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/05/31/2013-shimano-road-wheels-new-aero-clincher-tubeless-tubular-options/

  3. @the Engine

    A timely piece Frank old chap.

    Out with the club on Sunday and broke my fourth spoke this year on the rear non-drive side whilst heading up a not particularly steep hill . Limped 40k’s home and noticed I’d lost another on the same side on the way back to the cafe.

    I got my Ridley Damocles back in April – my first “proper” bike in that I didn’t build it from salvaged parts. Me weighing 100kgs and relying on brute force and ignorance I needed a strong bike. Thus far (apart from the rear dropout failure which also happened to a friend of mine in the club who bought his Damocles this year too – check your bolts Ridley owners) its been a great ride and I’ve done some serious distance.

    I don’t race at the moment – I’m planning a comeback when I can get my carcass down to 85kgs or so – so absolute race performance is not the be all and end all for my wheelset and I reckoned the 4ZA’s the Damocles came with would do the job. But they seem to be struggling. The LBS is doing a rebuild and I’ll use that in Ullapool this weekend if its finished in time. If not I’ve got a pair of Easton 200″²s that were new about a year ago on the now scrapped alloy frame that I was using. They’re Group-san but the LBS can make them Grouppo compliant if needs be

    Apart from the Coagal that’s probably “it” for the road bike this year and I’ll focus exclusively on the mtb from the middle of October and come back to the road from the first of March or thereabouts.

    So all being well I’ve got a little thinking time – I’d like new wheels for the spring.

    They need to support someone who’s presently Too Fat To Climb and who likes to mash gears on road surfaces that are close to pave.

    They need to be reliable.

    Clinchers (sorry).

    Flattering to someone who descends like the Schleck’s great aunt – I suspect the 4ZA’s suffer from speed wobble but have never managed to go fast enough to prove it – I do seem to be slower downhill on the Damocles even though it’s a much better frame that the old bike.

    It can be very windy here and my experience of deep section rims in the past hasn’t been that comfortable.

    I intend doing at least one really serious ride next year when I’ll be 50 – maybe the Keeper’s Tour maybe something else awesome (a separate topic post Cogal when I have time to write it) so the wheelset has to be reliable and strong enough to take on a challenging classic route whether Belgian or Alpine.

    There’s an excellent wheel builder locally so if I know the best bits I can get them put together most expertly – the LBS is pretty good at wheel building too – I suck at it.

    I’m Scottish so price matters – but I’m really looking for value.

    OK time to own up…115kgs here, I climb like a sprinter but descend like a spanked rhino.  I have to say if you want budget and bulletproof you can’t go too far wrong from a set of Campag Khamsins.  I have two sets (just because they were so cheap) and the second set I picked up for £100 from Ribble.  They are bombproof, no issues in the first 1500kms although they are a little heavier than you might like at 1900gms per set.  I have a set of American classic 420’s for bike 2 that I am building and I did look at the 350s (much lower cross section) which are lovely wheels but probably not strong enough for my mass!

  4. Oh wow, Oli! Great looking wheels. Those are really sharp looking & very inspiring for build-up ideas. Nice!

    I have Veloflex tires on…my Casati. Didn’t know you had one as well! Very cool. Also have some Veloflex Records on my Tommasini.

    The Casati currently has black Record hubs, silver straight gauge spokes, and mismatched Open Pro rims, one black, one silver. (Got them used at a good price, I didn’t mismatch them.) Trying to decide what direction to go in with the wheels. Can’t do the silver hub, silver spoke, black rim option, as the hubs are black. Have considered all black, as the bike is silver/white. Might be a nice contrast. But black hub, silver spokes, black rim could be nice too. Ah, the choices I face!

  5. @graham d.m.

    @all: anyone have experience with some of the less costly rims like kinlin or velocity? Are they worth building with?

    Have Velocity set from last century. The front wheel/rim always gave me a flat the next day. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve looked for burrs around the spoke holes and valve hole even having velox rim tape. Checked tyre inside & out for any feel of glass, stones, nails, screws even putting on a new tyre! Ended up running a Mavic mavic open 4CD on the front and maybe in 15 years only trued no more than twice!

  6. @Ali McKee

    I was told aero only required if operating at an avg of 36kph and above?

    Looking for aero effect in wheels at the level most of us operate on is much the same as Rule #74 and power meters – like hiring an accountant to tell you how poor you are.

    It’s not just about speed. It’s that there are so many other things you can do to be more aero or more efficient before worrying too much about the choice between box-section, deep rim, carbon, aluminium, high flange and so on and so on… IIRC wheels are less than 30% of the aero resistance.

    So most people are spending an extra couple of thousand [dollars/pounds/dirhams/cowrie shells] to get a gain of 5-10% of 30% in their aero profile. And I have no idea how that translates into actual speed or power but it probably starts with a decimal point.

    As brett said above (in his new career as a Jobs Brandt impersonator) most people will benefit from having light, strong, low-profile, traditionally-laced wheels.

    I have to say I also come at this from a wheels-are-wheels-they-go-round perspective. It’s yet another area of obsession I just don’t quite get.

    While on the subject of wheels maybe y’all want to avoid these ones. It’s not often bike sites have such scathing reviews, but this one is worthy of a theater critic.

    http://road.cc/content/review/67169-spin-speed-metal-30-wheelset

  7. @graham d.m.

    @Buck Rogers NIce find! I like that you’re going to ride them daily. As Frank said above and I completely agree, ride what makes you happy!  I feel like if you get some awesome wheels like that, you may as well enjoy the crap out of them.

    Now trying to decide which sew-ups to glue on them?  I have a set of 24mm Vittoria Pave’s which would work really well for the rough road surface around here.  Would that be a crazy tire to put on carbon aero wheels?  I know it is a tougher tire, probably a bit heavier than some?  But I will be using them most days so I need some durability as well.  Any suggestions on this one?

  8. @Chris Hi, I love those Golden Ticket rims.  Can someone please post a link or a phone number to the shop where one may purchase such rims.  Thanks, Derek

  9. @Derek The pictured wheels are from Wheelsmith.com. If you are after Nemesis tubulars (which they also do) and are willing to go down the ebay route, there is a pair of wheelsmith built Nemeses on ebay at the moment.

    I can’t get the picture to post at the moment but the owner seems to have done an amazing job of de-gluing them.

  10. You know you guys make me so sad to be poor, you really do. I’m currently riding on Giant P-R2 stock wheels on my bike, and they are by far the weakest link of the bike.

    They are heavy and not very stiff considering the weight. And they are running Kendra Kriteriums which are by no means fast rollers.

    I’ve been trying to win some ebay auctions for Mavic Kyrium Elites but I can’t win an auction for my life.

  11. King, you are still a King, money or no money! Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with a poor Budgetatus at the moment. Just remember – it can only get better! Both in terms of getting nicer tools to utilize in pursuing the V & having the cash to do so! Chin up, bud!

    I’m trying to only pick up things for the “needs” side of my needs/wants bicycle purchase ledger these days. And, I’m counting my blessings for having stocked up the Steeds Shed prior to get hitched to the VMH; I think she is going to want to steer my money into things that have nothing to do with getting awesomer wheels, framesets, or kit.

  12. @King Clydesdale Yeah – I know how you feel.  A month or so ago I was able to score a 2010 or 2011 Campagnolo Zonda 2-way rear wheel for $140 + about $30 in shipping.  Try adhuntr.com and use the craigslist filter dropdown.  The guy was in Atlanta but was willing to ship as long as I paid for it.  A steal, even with shipping, IMO – and he even shipped the Campagnolo 9 spd cassette that was still attached.  I have a 10s, so it is of no use to me – anyone here need one?

    The wheel is a big upgrade over my cheapo Vuelta XRP Pro-Lites in terms of weight, more compliant ride, and less rolling resistance.  I really wanted the serviceable bearings, and am not disappointed.

    Just keep an eye out and deals to come along.  Now, does anyone have an Eurus or Zonda front wheel ………?

  13. @King Clydesdale

    You know you guys make me so sad to be poor, you really do. I’m currently riding on Giant P-R2 stock wheels on my bike, and they are by far the weakest link of the bike.

    They are heavy and not very stiff considering the weight. And they are running Kendra Kriteriums which are by no means fast rollers.

    I’ve been trying to win some ebay auctions for Mavic Kyrium Elites but I can’t win an auction for my life.

    I’m very much on a budget. Fortunately being on a team (and on the board of said team) gets me great deals. That said, I don’t know where you live, but your local group of racers will be unloading their gear about now. The kids that raced all summer are going to be selling off wheelsets (that they got for a great price) to pay for tuition and whatnot. Check around with your local clubs to see when they have swap meets.

    If you pay shipping you can get deals from our racing association. This site doesn’t have a “classified” section persay, but the chat link is us bitching, chatting and selling stuff: http://obra.org/mailing_lists/1/posts (you’ll have to sift thru the posts, but you’re a smart guy and will figure it out.

    Happy hunting!

  14. @King Clydesdale

    Don’t let the material aspect of this get you down, mate. You’re still riding and that’s what its about. Eventually you’ll get something better (awesome advice from @scaler911) and it will be all the sweeter for it.

    @brett@scaler911@torvid@Ali McKee@ChrisO (and anyone I might have missed)

    These are all the arguments that usually get laid down and what I am saying is I reject the fundamental premise of these arguments which is that there is a wheel or bike that rider x deserves or should ride based on a set of arbitrary parameters.

    Is the fat guy on the Venge with Record EPS and 90mm carbon rims who goes out for a 45 minute ride every two weeks a douchenozzle? Sure he is, but if that bike makes him happy and starts him down the path towards enlightenment, I say good on him. And if he doesn’t, he certainly didn’t do me any harm by riding it for a while. Does the Brian who rolls past on his rusty bike in baggies and hairy legs get my respect for dropping me on my plastic bike (never happen!!) – absolutely.

    Ride whatever inspires you to become a better Cyclist, and leave the elitism of what bikes and setups are deemed worthy to other people. Just make sure you Look Fantastic.

    On a side note, I find it ironic that there are such firm beliefs on what constitutes a racing wheelset and what is acceptable for group rides when most people I’ve ridden with are unable to distinguish between a group ride and a race.

  15. @frank

    @brett@scaler911@torvid@Ali McKee@ChrisO (and anyone I might have missed)

    …Is the fat guy on the Venge with Record EPS and 90mm carbon rims who goes out for a 45 minute ride every two weeks a douchenozzle? Sure he is, but if that bike makes him happy and starts him down the path towards enlightenment, I say good on him. And if he doesn’t, he certainly didn’t do me any harm by riding it for a while.

    Agreed. He certainly isn’t doing you any harm, more likely the opposite, if the market was limited to those who are truly deserving of the technology, the manufacturers would be dividing their development, tooling and overhead costs by much smaller numbers.

    Where would you draw the line anyway?

  16. @frank and all

    Thanks for the advice and support. Currently waiting prey on another wheelset, wish me luck.

  17. @King Clydesdale

    @frank and all

    Thanks for the advice and support. Currently waiting prey on another wheelset, wish me luck.

    You don’t bid ahead of time, do you? Decide on the absolute maximum you are willing to pay, and wait until 10-15 seconds to go on the auction before bidding.

    This works for a few reasons:

    1. You shouldn’t pay more than your pre-set maximum amount anyway, so that helps you stay in your budget and not get sucked into the competitive nature of an auction.
    2. Prices on auctions get driven up by people bidding early and getting into bidding wars; if you stay out of it until the last second, you can avoid this and keep the price down a bit.
    3. Bidding at the last second doesn’t give anyone else the chance to counter-bid you and drive the price up even more
    You might lose the auction, but you won’t overpay and you’ll pay the least possible amount for a set of wheels. I’ve been using this technique for years and its worked well for me.
     
    By the way, whenever I’m selling on eBay, I hate it when people do this, which says to me that it works.
  18. I operate on the b+2 principle: Each bike should have it’s “default wheelset”, and then a set of racing wheels and rain wheels that can be used wherever necessary. That default set obviously depends on the bike: The #1 gets a nice, medium-range wheel with higher-end tires, while the TT bike gets training wheels (Felt’s OEM, in this case) and thicker tyres. After all, the TT bike is used for training unless it’s being raced – with the racing wheelset. Meanwhile the #1 should be made as enjoyable as possible within reason – so it wears Schwalbe Ultremos on a set of Ultegra WH6700. Not a super-lightweight (1650g), but amazing hubs in gunmetal grey and very solid.

    What separates a racing-wheelset from a regular wheelset? I wouldn’t have a problem riding deep-section wheels every day (especially mine, just 50mm deep clinchers with an alu braking surface) but I’d rather keep them pristine, with latex tubes and Open Corsa CXs awaiting duty. Likewise, my step-dad’s sub-kilo ENVE/Dash set probably won’t survive a weekly pounding for too long. I run sealant in my tubes, so deflating to change to training tyres is something I’d rather not do. Also, if you train with heavier, less aero equipment, you’ll enjoy the race-day boost more (though of course, one should do at least a few late key sessions with all the bells and whistles to test for problems).

    My dream setup would be a HED Ardennes FR (or Zipp 101) on the #1, Velocity A23 3x to Ultegra as the training set, and a set of ENVE 8.9 or Zipp 808 Firecrest for race-day. I’m a big fan of wide rims, if it wasn’t noticed.

     

    @gaswepass@frank @Buck Rogers

    Always seperate your carbon pads from your alu pads. If only because it’s better to be safe than sorry (and a carbon wheelset is usually too expensive to be sorry for).

    Now, to the finer points:

    1. Yes, Swiss’ Yellows are designed for both (and not truly ideal for either). But the same pads shouldn’t be used on both. Change pads when you change wheels – it’s quicker and easier than changing a cassette. The shards are there, and once one gets into your carbon surface, it will either “shave” a ridge in it or get stuck in it, making for pulsing braking and, eventually, rim warp and failure (that’s what happened to my mother’s ENVE 45, replaced under warranty). It’s a self-amplifying problem, since once there’s an inconsistency that provokes pulsing, further braking causes the pulsing to warp the rim more.

    2. Cork pads are OK for generic carbon rims, but when manufacturers recommend specific pads, they do so for a reason.

    3. The surfaces on Zipp, Reynolds, Easton, etc. are not designed to enable use of regular pads, but to improve heat-dissipation (which is crap on carbon surfaces, regardless of brake-pad) to adequate levels in the first place (with carbon-specific pads). Even then, previous gen (pre-Firecrest Zipps, ENVE x5 series, etc) carbon surfaces brake half as well as an alu surface, and will, at best, slow you down gently if it’s wet. Sadly I haven’t had the luck of riding a Firecrest/ENVE SES yet.

    4. Pads not suited to a carbon rim will melt and stick to the surface. Bam! Rim is useless.

  19. @King Clydesdale it’s easy to get caught up in all that cycling has to offer.  one thing to keep in mind is many here have been on the road to V for years, and so have the garage of goodies to accompany said journey.  i thought my world was over when i was hit and my brand new r3 and deep carbon wheels went to synthetic materials heaven.  i can tell you with all honesty that after a summer of great rides, not one of them would have been improved had i still had that bicycle. more than anything, we should learn to appreciate the nuances, yet not make a wishlist based on them.

  20. @Derek

    @Chris Hi, I love those Golden Ticket rims.  Can someone please post a link or a phone number to the shop where one may purchase such rims.  Thanks, Derek

    Where are you?  They are quite hard to find in the US for instance.

  21. Thanks as always @frank

    I’m just winding up to buy some handmade Velocity rims on Novatech hubs for rainy days and all round trainers and …

    According to my LBS I am a lucky bastard.

    I got a set of Sram S30 AL Race clinchers on ebay for £420, no-one had bid and I didn’t expect to win them but did.  While using them on the Etape Caledonia a guy rode up to me with the same wheels and I said “Nice wheels”.  He said no they’re shit I’ve already blown the bearings and broken spokes which put me on a downer as they rode nicely.  Anyway 3 months ago I broke a spoke and asked the LBS if they would help.  They did and I got a brand new replacement wheel, Sram said they’d had some problems with them.  Four rides later at about 300km another spoke went (well the nipple stripped).  LBS sent it back but Sram are discontinuing them so send back the front as well and we will send you a set of the new Zipp 101s.

    I should get them by the end of the week.  Happy days.

  22. @ChrisO

    Fair points indeed.  I can’t justify aero wheels for my riding anyway.  But they do look good…. And I’m assuming obsessions about all aspects of the bike my riding will hit me at some stage (if this crazy website is anything to go by)

    @frank

    Agree entirely.  Still happens though.  Just depends on how much of a fuck you give about what other people think, I suppose.  I have to confess to finding cycling to be a strange sport in this respect

  23. Interesting timing… and my ride made me think of this write up today.

    During my last criterium, I knocked the shit out of my Bontrager RXL’s (swear I hit the same f’ing hole 6 laps in a row!) and have been putting off doing anything about it until the last few days it’s gotten bad enough that I don’t think I can delay getting them trued up any longer.

    I must point out that my delay wasn’t driven by the fact that I love my RXL’s and therefore would miss them, but rather the fact that I’ve never trued a wheel and I don’t trust the under-experienced LBS staff that my “A” wheels would certainly end up with (small town w/one shop).

    So anyway, I wasn’t too stressed out about it because I knew (or I thought I knew) that I had a nice set of Mavic Open Pro’s laced to Dura-Ace HB7700 32H hubs (Silver-Silver-Silver) sitting in the wings ready for their moment to once again shine (literally). There silky smooth (deadly silent) action is at times borderline creepy… but in a good way. It’s just that after riding the RXL’s and becoming accustomed to the roar of the bontrager (DT?) hubs, the impossibly silent Dura-Ace hubs take some getting used to at first. These things are so stinking silent, that I spent the first 15 minutes of my ride hearing noises that I’d never heard before (or forgotten even existed)… every bump I could hear this clanging-rattling noise that sounded annoyingly identical to that sound when something has worked it’s way loose and is now rattling its way deep into my psyche. Turns out it was my car keys that I casually tossed in the empty pocket of my jersey… who knew?

    None of this has anything to do with the point of my story… as it turns out, something that I had completely forgotten about over the last three months, has come back to bite me in the ass. Turns out my trusted Mavic’s are in worse shape than my RXL’s. Back in June I raced my Mavic’s in a particularly nasty (e.g. very rough surface) criterium because I didn’t want to chance destroying my RXL’s for the following day’s road race stage… of course, as expected, I knocked both front and back out of true (bad). Following that race, I stuffed ’em in the bag and for the same reasons mentioned above, delayed getting them fixed… over time, I had completely forgotten about the issue.

    Today’s anticipated ride with the Mavic’s ended up being somewhat of a disappointment… wobbly front and back wheels, making it hard to brake and clearly diminishing the ride quality was a deserved slap in the face. I was convinced that every rider I passed today was looking at me with disdain… shaking their head and waving their finger as if to suggest, you know better! My lack of mechanical skills (too lazy to learn) and apathy for the LBS caught up with me today and reminded me that I need to get serious about learning to wrench and maintain my own equipment… lesson learned!

  24. @frank “On a side note, I find it ironic that there are such firm beliefs on what constitutes a racing wheelset and what is acceptable for group rides when most people I’ve ridden with are unable to distinguish between a group ride and a race.”

    I agree ….  yet to go on a club “casual” ride that is quite clearly stated at the start that we should all keep together as a group and swap turns for the enjoyment of all, that doesnt turn into an all out smash fest at the first available opportunity ….  thoughts on how to turn this mentality around ….   surely we can all look pro and still stay together as a group and not race.

  25. @Nate Yes… Rule #65. It’s on my radar! I’ve been reading online wheel building and how to true a wheel articles for most of the night. I could very well dive into those Mavic’s as soon as tomorrow.

  26. @tessar Enve SES feel like the brake track / black block is made of sandpaper and sounds like it in the dry. A recent Rule #9 ride proved that they at best scrub off a little speed on fast descents but you would’nt want to stop in a hurry, now my Nemesis / Royce Spring Classic wheels have become my rain wheels, double bubble.

    But I do love the Enve SES (6.7), less noticeable than my previous 45’s in a cross wind (dunno how they do that). I’m running them on Veloflex Criyerium tubs and it is a match made in heaven.

    I may not race, be too fat to climb, but when i’m on the flat and rolling nicely along about 35kph (with a breeze up my arse) there is no other place I would rather be. A long while ago I used to listen to music on 4 hour plus rides, now I just listen to my rims !!!

    Also planning another home built wheel set for my upcoming N+1 as I need a set of clinchers that will hold a 33mm tyre for fire / gravel roads. Definitely H Plus Son Archetype Rims, 32 hole 3x (probably DT Comps or Sapim equivalent) but can’t decide between CK hubs of another set of Royce ??? If it helps the frame is British Steel (well Columbus, but fabbed in UK), gruppo will be Campag (naturally) with a smattering of 3T and Fizik. I have CK on my Enve SES 6.7 and love them, also have CK on my singlespeed monster / bastard cross. Head says stick with CK heart says Royce (Made in UK, 15 miles from where I live)

    Decisions decisions.

    Happiness in being sat on the floor of my lounge, watching re-runs of the Spring Classic, lacing, tightenning and truing a new set of wheels with a glass of Pinot Noir.

  27. @snoov

    Thanks as always @frank

    I’m just winding up to buy some handmade Velocity rims on Novatech hubs for rainy days and all round trainers and …

    According to my LBS I am a lucky bastard.

    I got a set of Sram S30 AL Race clinchers on ebay for £420, no-one had bid and I didn’t expect to win them but did.  While using them on the Etape Caledonia a guy rode up to me with the same wheels and I said “Nice wheels”.  He said no they’re shit I’ve already blown the bearings and broken spokes which put me on a downer as they rode nicely.  Anyway 3 months ago I broke a spoke and asked the LBS if they would help.  They did and I got a brand new replacement wheel, Sram said they’d had some problems with them.  Four rides later at about 300km another spoke went (well the nipple stripped).  LBS sent it back but Sram are discontinuing them so send back the front as well and we will send you a set of the new Zipp 101s.

    I should get them by the end of the week.  Happy days.

    Now here’s a thing – my LBS said that getting warranty on wheels for broken spokes just doesn’t happen. They’ve pushed the rep a bit though on my recent troubles and I seem to be getting some sort of goodwill on the rebuild. I suspect that the rebuild won’t cause me any problems at all.

    Also my Fulcrums now have a Gruppo freehub and fresh rubber for the weekend – so I’ve now got two sets of wheels. None of your carbone aero admittedly but two sets of wheels nevertheless.

    Only downside – I’ll be running red wheels on a black and white bike on Saturday.

  28. @the Engine I guess it is down to the manufacturer…some yrs ago I bought a Spesh Allez Elite (My first road bike since the age of about 10) and on the first ride a rear spoke on the Ritchey Wheels snapped on the first climb.  Took it back, they repaired it free of charge, next ride same again, they phone Specialized (the bike came as an all in one) they advised a free swap to Shimano 105 wheels but there were none in stock so they authorised a set of Mavic Cosmos wheels…bomb proof and lovely for such a budget wheel..This is a tricky area though, I play cricket and the problems are the same, with a bat you are using a piece of natural wood, nobody really knows how it will be until you use it.  The unwritten rule from real batmakers is, if it breaks in the first season you can have a free replacement.  After that you are on your own!

  29. @the Engine

    Spokes can have manufacturing failure like anything else. There was a bad run of spokes that got put on about a million (exaggerating) cheap wheels that got stuck on hybrids and cheap MTBs, and the spokes broke in the middle (not near the j bend or nipple which is where they normally break), I think it was something to do with the anodising of the spokes weakening the metal. Non typical break.

  30. @minion The infamous “rotten spokes” – most of them corroded from the inside out, so not sure if it was the colourisation process or just bad steel…

  31. @SimonH theres an ex racer here in boston and he opened up a wheelbuilding business.  ive seen him lace up quite a few of these h plus son rims, which say HED C2 in the tire bed.  ive tried googling it all but cant find much.  can you shed some light on this?

    last night i got to thinking about trying my hand at building a set of wheels, afterall i have all winter to learn.  ordered a set of ck r45 hubs in mango.  the frame is nato green, so this buildup will be my version of peas and carrots.  they will sit at the center of nemesis rims.  have not decided on spokes or nipples.  from what im reading, brass is the preferred material over alloy wrt nipples?  is that just more internet bs or a pretty accurate statement?

  32. @Oli

    @minion The infamous “rotten spokes” – most of them corroded from the inside out, so not sure if it was the colourisation process or just bad steel…

    Do you remember that short period of time in the early/ mid 90’s when plastic bladed spokes were all the rage? Of course that turned out to be a horrible idea because of catastrophic wheel failure, but I’m trying to restore a period bike that had them. Do you have any idea of what I’m talking about/ where I might source a set?

  33. @King Clydesdale

    @frank and all

    Thanks for the advice and support. Currently waiting prey on another wheelset, wish me luck.

    If it doesn’t work out I have some surplus-to-needs wheelsets I can set you up with cheap or for the cost of shipping which I’d guess to be $30ish.  Not as nice as Ksyrium Equipes but better than what you have now.  If you’re interested email @frank and ask him to forward to me.

  34. @roger@SimonH

    theres an ex racer here in boston and he opened up a wheelbuilding business.

    Got my nemesis from him.  His wheels are the tits.  He has great things to say about the H Plus Sons.

  35. @Nate Small world.  I’m looking at the Gallery now, you didnt get yours late July did you?  Seems like someone already did the nemesis with mango hubs.  At least I know it looks good.

  36. @roger

    @Nate Small world.  I’m looking at the Gallery now, you didnt get yours late July did you?  Seems like someone already did the nemesis with mango hubs.  At least I know it looks good.

    No, got mine in December last year — Christmas present for myself.  Silver Alchemy hubs — my personal style is to run silver hubs.  But I love your peas ‘n carrots idea.

  37. @SimonH I’ve heard enough stories to never trust carbon on a rainy day, regardless of hyped “new technologies”. For race-wheels, though… SES, Firecrests, HEDs and the latest Bontrager designs make a lot of sense when you think about it. I used to be into Formula 1 and used to pour over the details of every car – armchair aerodynamicist, so to speak – so lots of what’s “cutting-edge” and revolutionary in cycling seems so normal to me. Trek’s hype around the Speed Concept (and now Madone’s) kamm-tail is downright laughable – that’s ’30s tech in the car-world.

    Myself, I’m quite smitten with HED’s Flamme Rouge hubs – pretty light, very cool-looking and a buzz as divine as the Chris Kings. Either that, or the super-quiet whisper of a Dura-Ace.

  38. @roger That’s a new one on me, I thought H Plus Sons rims were made in the Far East thusly

    https://vimeo.com/20824379

    @Nate Justin Spinelli of Luxe Wheelworks ( http://luxewheelworks.com/ ) I could spend hours goings back through his blog / tumblr pages. 

    @tessar Yeah I learn that after a very unexpected ( or forecasted ) Rule #9 ride. Did a reverse loop of my usual 100k Sunday morning ride which involves a very twisty descent down a 20% hill ( normally a fucker to climb, hence tdies incision to do it in reverse ), I was stranding on the brakes with my arse over the back wheel and it was barely slowing me down, alu rims for wet rides in future.

    But when they hum there is nothing better for the soul, still secretly love my Nemesis / Royce wheel equally as its the first set I’ve ever built from scratch, and after 500k  of mixed beaten up surfaces, smashing into potholes they are still as true as the day I laced them. Time will tell is they are still true after 5000k?

  39. @scaler911 No, sorry, I don’t know what you mean! The only ones I can think of were from the first Burrows designed Giant TCRs, but they were late 90s so I imagine you mean something different. I was out of the trade between ’88 and ’92 so, while I tried to keep abreast of things cycling, perhaps I missed this trend to which you refer?

  40. Cheers fellas. Simple answer for simple question.  I’ll consider thta my Karl Pilkington moment for the week

  41. @tessar

    @SimonH I’ve heard enough stories to never trust carbon on a rainy day, regardless of hyped “new technologies”. For race-wheels, though… SES, Firecrests, HEDs and the latest Bontrager designs make a lot of sense when you think about it. I used to be into Formula 1 and used to pour over the details of every car – armchair aerodynamicist, so to speak – so lots of what’s “cutting-edge” and revolutionary in cycling seems so normal to me. Trek’s hype around the Speed Concept (and now Madone’s) kamm-tail is downright laughable – that’s ’30s tech in the car-world.

    A guy that Marko and I know from waaaaaaaaaay back used to be a pioneer in the competitieve canoe world, which is all about fluid dynamics. Air, of course, is a fluid, but it’s not nearly as viscous as water and design really, really, REALLY matters in boats because of that. I showed him a carbon bike once going “wow, isn’t this amazing that they can do this?!” He openly laughed and said he’d get fired for making something twice as good. It was partly for the carbon layup and part for the shape of the tubes. I think it was the first Cervelo P3 Carbon, but I don’t remember for sure.

    Myself, I’m quite smitten with HED’s Flamme Rouge hubs – pretty light, very cool-looking and a buzz as divine as the Chris Kings. Either that, or the super-quiet whisper of a Dura-Ace.

    I’ve got a set of Hopes. Talk about a sexy buzz. I almost don’t want to pedal.

  42. @oli

    I’m sure you’ve been asked and answerd this question 1000x on the site, but given my laziness and newfound distaste for carbon wheels (at least at a price i’m willing to part with), what wheelset would u deem “the ultimate” for cx racing(not trainers). Assume a basher, punchy rider of 75-80kg lacking finesse. Assume a budget under 700$ (us). Just curious. Tubular to be sure.

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