Advice on wheel upgrade for a road bike

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Postby avocom » 10 Nov 2014, 13:46

Following up on the success of the topic 'Advice on new road tyre' I'm hoping to get some advice on a new wheelset. To be honest, I find the options out there so many and a bit overwhelming.

I understand that different wheels serve different purposes and styles and I have heard that in selecting a wheel you can only elect 2 out of these 3 factors: weight, aero, cheap.

- Current wheels: Most Wildcat F3 (not 100% sure on the F3). These are the standard wheels that come in the entry level pinarellos. I couldn't find much about them online, but they have 27 and 20 round spokes (mix of J and straight) and someone in a post said they weigh 1895g/pair.
- Type of riding: Club riding and daily commute. No intention of racing.
- Expectations: I'm not a fast rider and I'm not interested in fast sprints. Since I'm relatively light (+/-70k) I'd like a wheel to help with climbs and the constant start/spot of commuting and our rides. If matters I normally ride with the C28s.
- The all important budget: $500 (can stretch it a bit for the perfect wheel capable of climbing itself). I know this could be a turn off to many, but apart from not having the money I couldn't justify an expensive wheel well above my riding abilities.

Things I'm considering:

- Custom. I know people say a custom wheel is the best option and value for money. But I have faced 2 issues. Firstly the cost appears to easily go over $1,000 or $1,500 + delivery + assembly. Ant the second problem is that I have no idea which components to select.
- Campagnolo Zonda. Read some good reviews and its under budget. Apparently these are the Fulcrum F3 with different stickers and a tad cheaper. ... -wheelset/
- Mavic Ksyrium Equipe. Note these are not the Elite which are more expensive. ... -prod87223
- Pro-Liteoz. This brand came out in my search... Has anyone tried their wheels? ... elset.html
- Ksyrium Elite, Campy Eurus and Neutron Ultra. These are all over budget, but at about $700 they could be considered if capable of some magic stuff.
- Forget about the upgrade, keeping on grinding with the Wildcats and buy a couple of cases of wine.

Your opinion is greatly appreciated.


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Postby Dougie » 10 Nov 2014, 17:17

- Forget about the upgrade, keeping on grinding with the Wildcats and buy a couple of cases of wine.

Your opinion is greatly appreciated.

that's a great option!

Campy or Shimano?

I ride a pair of Shimano RS80 C24's (I think they now RS81's) they are very good value and light at 1521 grams. Ribble has the best price on these that I have found. also seem to price very well and they are North Sydney based.

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Postby weiyun » 10 Nov 2014, 18:40

$500 won't get you anything worthwhile from an upgrade perspective. Further, lightness and commuter durability are contradictory. So, best to smile at your present Most and try to ride it to the ground. Unless it breaks or becomes unreliable, just recognise it's about the rider.

John Mason
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Postby John Mason » 10 Nov 2014, 20:33

Here is my view of the Fulcrum/Zonda option.

You are right that the Fulcrum racing 3 & the Zonda are the same wheel with different stickers. There are two versions of each though, which can account for the differing RRP, one version allows the running of tubeless clinchers i think.

i have a pair of each, and for their weight, at that price point, i'd recommend them highly.

The first pair i bought second hand, in excellent condition for about $350. I was so impressed i bought another pair. The second hand pair are on my bike all the time, commuting, club rides, training etc. the new pair are for good, mostly criteriums, & some road races. The training pair have been on the bike for well over two years. rim wear is acceptable, i have had one spoke break, and they haven't ever gone out of true (except when the spoke broke) i am heavier than you and while i don't go over gutters, i do cover plenty of rough tarmac.

The good pair are still like new after about 20 races, and some training rides. I do also have a good pair of more aerodynamic wheels, that are a bit lighter, but the F3s give me a little more confidence through the turns, especially if it is windy/gusty so that is why i often use them in crits.

so all up, one option is to keep commuting on the current wheels. get the new wheels for good, and when the current wheels fall apart, your good wheels will be fine for commuting.

like you i have considered custom wheels, but i have never seen any that represent value for money in terms of weight v strength v price. Unless of course you are building up a vintage bike, but then that is for another discussion.......

John M

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Postby jonboy » 10 Nov 2014, 21:29

Lightweight Meilenstein Clinchers. 'nuff said.

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Postby Dougie » 12 Nov 2014, 09:47

Lightweight Meilenstein Clinchers. 'nuff said.
He said $500 not $5,000!

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Postby JoTheBuilder » 12 Nov 2014, 13:20

I got a pair of Ksyrium's with my first roadie and had warranty issues twice. I'd never go back though I know Dougie had a pair and had no issues with them.

I ended up going a pair of custom wheels from Wheelworks for the Firefly. Amazing wheels. Don't climb themselves unfortunately but they're very comfortable and smooth. But not cheap.

BUT, I can recommend you emailing Tristan from Wheelworks and having a chat to him. Let him know your budget and am sure he can work with you on something. You might need to factor shipping into your budget.

Oh, also talk to Adrian Emilsen. Our resident wheel builder until he decided to go and sun himself in Fremantle.

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