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  1. #1
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    Madone 4.5 Wheels

    I've read several threads and am looking for some cut and dried advice. I have a 2012 Madone 4.5. I ride for fitness for the most part. My typical ride is between 20 and 30 miles. With hills, my average speed tends to be between 15 and 16 mph.

    While there might be a triathlon or two in my distant future, my immediate goal certainly isn't to be a competitive racer.

    With that said, the consensus on these forums seems to be that the stock wheels on the lower end Madone's are generally crap. What exactly would I be gaining if I shell out the coin to upgrade the wheel set? I mean, are my current wheels super heavy compared to other ones?

    Here's probably a dumb question but I'll ask anyhow since I have your attention. If a guy were to get new wheels, will I have to get new hubs, etc. too or will the ones on my current wheels be compatible and transfer over?

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
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    I saved a full pound off my wife's bike by changing wheels. Granted, I put my Rolf Prima Elans on her bike which are very light and on the higher end of alloy wheels.

    You could easily shave 1/2 pound + by going to a wheelset less than $400.

    The stock SSR wheels are Bontrager's lowest offering and were a good place for Trek to cheap out as many people replace wheels anyway.

    I sold the SSRs before she really had a chance to ride them, so I cannot give you much of a review other than weight. Check the review section on this site.

    The rim, hub and spokes make up a "wheel". By "hub" you might mean the gears, better known as the cassette. Odds are your bike has either Shimano or SRAM components. You will just want to check with whomever you buy the wheelset from to make sure your cassette will fit.

    Changing a cassette is easy, but requires a couple special tools. If you like to fix your own things, it is worth the $30 or so to pick up the socket and chain whip. If not, take it to your local bike shop. It's a 5 minute swap.
    Last edited by Blue CheeseHead; 07-05-2012 at 04:22 PM.

  3. #3
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    I have a set of bontrager race lites and race x lites. For me they are light and roll very smoothly. My race xlites have dt swiss hubs.

    Very nice wheels that you could find used or take-offs for a great price.

  4. #4
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    Wheels

    Besides the wheels, how do you like the 4.5? I'm considering a trek myself.

  5. #5
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    I love the Madone 4.5. However, I'm not a hardcore rider like some of the other people on here (No offense intended) so my opinion might differ from theirs. For me, it's a huge step up from my Trek 6500 mountain bike that I was plodding around with on the roads. I never thought I'd purchase a bike anywhere near the cost of the Madone but I'm glad I did. I have no regrets at all and love riding. The only part about the bike I found to suck is the seat. You'll definitely want to upgrade that if you get into a Madone. Then again, saddles are personal thing. What works for some, won't for others.

    So there it is... I'm a road noob, but I don't think you can go wrong with a Madone.

  6. #6
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    Sure, you can stay with your stock wheels and enjoy them like I did. After 3 years, the wheels kept on coming out of true. Then they were no longer able to straighten them at the LBS. Then a crack developed in them.
    I finally bought a good set of wheels for 1000 bucks. The LBS recommended them. The speed difference on the first descent I took really shocked me. The new wheels are way faster. It's scary fast now. So, buy wheelset now, or wait. The choice is yours.
    Simply shop for a wheelset that is compatible with whatever you use. Dura Ace, Sram, 105... you know
    With people like Peter P. around, I am done posting on this website. Mean people have driven me off after 9 plus years. Good luck newbies beware.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakrz View Post
    I've read several threads and am looking for some cut and dried advice. I have a 2012 Madone 4.5. I ride for fitness for the most part. My typical ride is between 20 and 30 miles. With hills, my average speed tends to be between 15 and 16 mph.

    While there might be a triathlon or two in my distant future, my immediate goal certainly isn't to be a competitive racer.

    With that said, the consensus on these forums seems to be that the stock wheels on the lower end Madone's are generally crap. What exactly would I be gaining if I shell out the coin to upgrade the wheel set? I mean, are my current wheels super heavy compared to other ones?

    Here's probably a dumb question but I'll ask anyhow since I have your attention. If a guy were to get new wheels, will I have to get new hubs, etc. too or will the ones on my current wheels be compatible and transfer over?

    Thanks for the help.
    I've got a 2011 Madone 4.5 where I upgraded the wheels. The stock Bontrager SSR wheels are quite heavy (~2000 grams), but durable. To answer your question, yes, they are super-heavy compared to other wheels.

    I upgraded to Shimano Dura-Ace 7850-C24 wheels, which are over 600 grams lighter, use better hubs, and actually fairly aero. The difference between the wheels is huge. The Dura-Ace wheels are noticeably lighter when you hold them. Ride wise, they spin up way faster, and roll better. You'll find it easier to maintain speeds, and you'll also be a bit faster going downhill due to the better hubs.

    If you get new wheels, you'll just need to make sure the freehub is Shimano/SRAM (assuming you're still using the 105 groupset). If you decide to switch to wheels with a Campy freehub (assuming you swap your groupset to Campy as well), the freehub can't be swapped on the SSR wheels, so you wouldn't be able to use them.

    If you're considering doing some triathalons, then you may want to look into wheels with a deeper profile (50mm+).

  8. #8
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    I have a 2008 Madone 4.5; I don't race and weight is not a huge concern for me; but they certainly seem light compare to some wheels I have used in the past. I am no light weight ~ 195 lbs; the stock Bontager Race Lites (I think) have been trouble free for the nearly 4 years I have owned the bike; they have stayed true the entire time and I have ridden on some rough surfaces at high speed. I am very happy with the wheels and would not consider replacing mine.

  9. #9
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    I put ROL's Race SL's on my 2012 Madone 4.5 two weeks ago replacing the stock SSR boat anchors after putting over 700 miles on the SSR's. The difference is night and day. Depending on what you find Googling, the SSR's are north of 2200 grams. The ROL Race SL's are 1520 grams, have an aero shape and flat spokes. They spin up fast, are much stiffer, and roll insanely easy. The best $625 you can spend and easily one of the best wheelset deals out there.

  10. #10
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    When you guys make comments such as "The difference is huge" or it's "night and day", what are we talking about exactly? The weight? Sustained speeds? Climbs? All of the above??

  11. #11
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    Great info

    All these replies are great! I too have a 2012 4.5 that for the most part I love w/ some seat and cockpit upgrades for fit and comfort. I've been researching wheels myself as I know the stock bontragers are quite heavy and a lot of weight can be saved there.

    Lots of good choices out their ROL, Boyd, Williams... I have even been tossing around the idea of tubulars.

    Ride safe!

  12. #12
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    No offense by I am thinking there may be a bit of hyperbole in some of those comments. In the end, get what makes you happy and gets you out on the bike but before spending a bunch of money on a bike that is new and works well, go check out the following thread:

    We really are a bunch of odd ducks

    Remember it is not all about the bike, below is a quote from Mike T. on that thread:

    "About 15 years ago, when I raced mountain bikes a lot, I drove to a large ski hill one hour from home to do some hill training on the access/maintenance road to the top of the hill. I planned to do the climb a 1/2 dozen times. I was riding my Kestrel carbon frame with all the fancy goodies on it. On one of my climbs I heard the crunching of gravel behind so I knew someone was going to pass me. That was fairly unusual as I was a fairly good climber. What happened next shook me up a lot.

    I was passed cleanly by a fellow on an early '80s Miele mountain bike that probably cost $150 when new. It had nice chorme bullmoose handlebars, a heavy steel frame, flat plastic pedals with no toe clips and the biggest insult of all was that the bike had a kickstand.

    The rider, obviously a much better athlete than me, was dressed in flappy nylon shorts, a white wife-beater t-shirt, sneakers and long white socks to his knees.

    And there was nothing I could do about his clean pass. To say I was rocked to the core was an understatement."
    Last edited by MoonHowl; 07-06-2012 at 01:34 PM.

  13. #13
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    I went from the SSR's with whatever the stock tires were to the ROL Race SL's with Conti GP 4000s tires so when I say "night and day difference" it incorporates a lot, I suppose. As anyone will remind us all, even if I had a $16,000 Dogma 2, any bike I'm on has a crappy motor. BUT, for me the difference is confidence on twisty downhills where the stiffer wheel and better tires are... noticeable. There is a better feel of the road from the handlebars, I'll give that to the Conti tires.

    On climbs, I'm pushing higher gears because the lighter, stiffer rear wheel would appear to transfer power more directly. My average speed is up and the bike feels better in a head/crosswind. Yes, much of this is subjective/anecdotal because I don't had a car of geeks following me reading sensor data. But I did put 730 miles on the bike since May 3 with the SSR's and the 165 miles since putting on the ROL's has me actually happy with the bike.

    There is also less creaking/noise.

    I'm not saying new wheels has turned me in to Lance or that Lance on my kids K-Mart fixie wouldn't kick my ass all day long. All I'm saying is that my ride is better, my bike is lighter, and I'm getting more of what I want out of my bike which is miles, peace, and good times with good people.

  14. #14
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    I have fulcrum 7s on my bike. They are the rims that came with my bike. They are pretty good whees with about 2500 km on them and 2 crashes and are still true. I do want to go up a level or two. One of the sets I am cosidering are the ROL SL. The $625 is about where my budget is. I can get shimano ultegra 6700 for about $450 from Nashbar but I don't know about durability.

  15. #15
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    Other rims and Ksyrium Elite. Does anybody know anything about Corsa vueltas.

  16. #16
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    @ MoonHowl - you make a great point. I am not expecting an appreciable or real measurable performance increase when I upgrade my wheels nor should anyone else.

    It would definitely lighten the bike and may make a slight comfort difference depending on the direction I go but, let's face it, it's mostly a bling upgrade. I'm on no hurry.

  17. #17
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    Sometimes a treat is nice. And everybody needs a little bling

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