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  1. #1
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    ~$500 wheel upgrade for Madone 3.1

    I am getting ready to purchase a 2012 Madone 3.1 Apex that my LBS has on sale. This purchase will my first road bike, and will also mark my return to cycling after a 10 year hiatus. I test rode a couple bikes, one with a 105 group and the other with Apex—personally I liked the Apex better, so I am going that route.

    My understanding is that the stock wheels on the 3.1 are not really anything to get excited about, so I am thinking about changing them out right away. I am more than certain that it will be my fitness rather than the wheels that are holding me back for the foreseeable future, but I was thinking if I sell the stock wheels before I use them I could get more for them—but maybe they're not worth much to begin with.

    My question is what to trade them out for, if anything at all. I am will to spend ~500 on a wheel set, but I don't really know if a ~500 wheel set is going to be significantly better than the stock wheels on the 3.1. Would it be worth the upgrade? If so are there some specific suggestions?

    If it helps to know, I plan on doing daily rides myself that are around 20 miles, and then do longer group rides once a week once I am in shape to do so.

    Thank you,
    Chris

  2. #2
    Dr. Buzz Killington
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    Are you looking for specific attributes of the new wheels such as lightweight, aero, wide rims, etc? Your intended use will help narrow the scope. In general I think it's more beneficial to spend in the $600-700 range to get the best performance-to-cost ratio if you're on a budget. You typically don't see many gains under $600, and you'll often see diminishing returns beyond $1500.

  3. #3
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    The stock wheels on the 3.1 (the 2011 at least) are heavy. Mine were 3312 g complete (wheels with tires, skewers, and cassette)

    I just upgraded to ROL Race SL wheels on mine ($625 from ROL) and I can really feel a difference, especially when climbing. The weight of the new wheel set is about 735 grams lower when compared to the stock wheels (tires, tubes, etc... may account for some differences since they are not identical).

    Before buying I spoke to ROL via email to verify that for my weight (around 185) and intended use (20 to 50 mile rides as many times a week as I can) that these would be a good choice versus something like their Race SLR wheels (with more spokes) or the lighter D'Huez and they said that the Race SL was likely best for me.

    I've only ridden them twice because the weather got friendly at the end of last week but I think they're a nice upgrade to the Madone 3.1.

    A bit more than you're looking to spend, but I figured I'd throw it out there since I have essentially the same bike.

  4. #4
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    At the end of the day, I am looking for wheels that will help me keep pace on group rides. So I assume attributes such as lightweight and aero will help me do that. My riding surface will almost always be some sort of asphalt or concrete.

    With regards to cost, I would be happy consider wheels in the $600-$700 range if there is a compelling reason to up the price range, which it sounds like there is. However, I'm not prepared to spend much beyond that.

  5. #5
    A wheelist
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    There's nothing tremendously bad or good about those wheels and unless you're really heavy then their (from what I can see) 24/24 spokes will be ok.
    You say "I don't really know if a ~500 wheel set is going to be significantly better than the stock wheels" and the answer is no. You can spend lots of money and the wheels you get will be better quality and probably (but not necessarily) a bit lighter. You don't define what you mean by "better" but no wheels will make you faster; not that you will notice anyway. You'd be better off running these wheels until you need another set and by then you will know exactly what to get.
    .
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

    I'm not cranky; I just have a violent reaction to stupid people.

  6. #6
    Dr. Buzz Killington
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    I also have a set of ROL Race SL's that I bought late December, and I've found them to be leagues beyond the stock Mavic Cosmic Elites. I've also read a lot of good reviews on the Boyd Vitesses, which appear to be very similar to the Race SL's (both have 23mm wide rims and use Sapim CX-Ray spokes). The customer service for both companies is top notch. They also include stallion builds(24/28 instead of 20/24 spoke counts) for slightly more money if you're a heavier rider (>200 lbs) with only a 30-40g weight addition.

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone for your replies. Right now, I'm tipping the scales into heavier rider territory at 200 lbs, but a healthy weight for me is closer to 185. Hopefully, by doing my 20 miles a day I can get back down 185 in fairly short order. But until then it sounds like my best option may be to put some miles on current wheel set and then consider something like ROL Race SL's. Again, thanks all for your replies.

  8. #8
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris400 View Post
    it sounds like my best option may be to put some miles on current wheel set
    Good idea. The wheels are not the thing holding you back at this time. Consider wheelsets from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse. They rate their wheels by rider weight and intended use, are assembled in the USA (not all wheelsets are) and usually come off best in the "weight versus price" category. They even have 25% off right now.

    Look at something like this - PURE Race
    .
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

    I'm not cranky; I just have a violent reaction to stupid people.

  9. #9
    Online Wheel Builder
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    You could always lace up the XC279 from Kinlin to White Industries T11 hubs. That rim would be more that rigid enough for your weight, and the T11 hubs are super easy to service.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris400 View Post
    Thanks everyone for your replies. Right now, I'm tipping the scales into heavier rider territory at 200 lbs, but a healthy weight for me is closer to 185. Hopefully, by doing my 20 miles a day I can get back down 185 in fairly short order. But until then it sounds like my best option may be to put some miles on current wheel set and then consider something like ROL Race SL's. Again, thanks all for your replies.
    Another good wheel option when you're ready to upgrade your stock wheels would be the November FSW's WHEEL LINK

    They are built on the 23mm Kinlin rim with a cost a little closer to you target price.
    Ride lots!
    Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    How about these:

    Shimano Ultegra 6700 Wheelset 2013 | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

    or

    Shimano RS80 C24 Wheelset 2013 | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

    I'm a fan of handbuilt wheels but both of these wheelsets are great off the shelf wheelsets. Hard to ignore Shimano wheels, especially at those prices. I've also seen the RS80s going for less at a few other places.

  12. #12
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    merlincycles.com has the rs80 for $437 shipped, if I had some fun money after buying my six I would scoop those right up

  13. #13
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    Bontrager aura 5.

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