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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Looking for wheel set info

    I have been looking at the Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels but I keep reading on here about custom made sets. Is there a real advantage with custom and do you really get more for your money with them. I am also a 210# rider does that change the equation? I will most likely be doing this in the fall so I have time for research. Are the custom makers easy to talk with and helpful?

    Thanks
    Brian

  2. #2
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    Yes, yes, and dunno, I went with a web site.

    I build my own wheels sometimes and buy them sometimes. I also maintain my own wheels. It's valuable to me to have wheels built from off-the-shelf components. While my wheels have all proven themselves pretty durable and I've had good luck with conventional, 32-spoke wheels built by other people, it does come up that rims, spokes and hubs wear and get damaged. It's easy to find replacement parts for Shimano hubs, and replacement bearings for sealed bearing hubs. Some random OEM freehub or axle can be harder to find, though. With off-the-shelf rims, it's easy to replace just the rim if it wears out. With standard spokes, it's easy to replace a broken one.

    I've only ever bought one set of wheels aftermarket. I got them from bicyclewheelwarehouse.com. Their prices are better than what I could do building the same wheels myself, and the build quality was great. For someone better funded than me, if you have some other hubs that you want you can probably find a wheel builder that carries them, and order some wheels built on those for less than what it would cost you to assemble the parts yourself. I'm very happy with my Shimano 105, Parallax and Tiagra, and DT 340 hubs on various bikes. Aftermarket, I'd probably spend a bit more and get Ultegra hubs - while it's a small mechanical differences, it's a small price difference too, so whatever. I've got over a decade on the 105s, and a few years on the Parallax and Tiagra, although the Parallax was already pretty old when I bought it.

    On the other hand, I put cracks in a 24-spoke rim not too long ago. I'm 170 lb, but between throwing the bike around some and paired spokes being a stupid design, that rim didn't have a chance.

    Heavier riders are better served choosing more conservative wheel builds - 32 spokes and be happy. A lot of heavier riders have been raving about wider rims lately. Like the Velocity A23. I've always been fine with skinny tires, so not motivated to investigate. And, I'd like to see 145 lb again next time I actually have a serious season.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, your local shop can probably build you some wheels too. As long as it's a reasonably experienced mechanic and not some kid who's never done it before, wheels aren't a terribly difficult thing to build well. However, it's likely to be more expensive than ordering from a specialty wheel builder on the 'net.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    There is a place called Prowheelbuilder.com that from what I've heard from other forum members does a great job at building wheels. They carry the Kinlin, IRD, Velocity and others, and can build to suit. The Kinlins are a great deal, you can build a strong Kinlin XR300 (deep dish) wheelset, using Velocity road hubs, Sapim CX Ray spokes, alloy nipples, 32F/36R, laced 3x, that weighs about 1570 grams and cost about $470 not including skewers and gear cluster. These wheels would be more then strong enough to hold your weight. There are other great wheelsets out their too, and you will hear about them here, nothing wrong with most if not all of them, in the end it's your decision. See: http://www.prowheelbuilder.com/ You can build almost any wheelset to your requirements; and with a wheel like I showed for an example, if the need should ever arise you can have a spoke replaced with off the shelf spokes found at any LBS whereas with factory made wheels you may have to wait for weeks to get the spoke in.

  4. #4
    A wheelist
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    Andrew and Froze have given great info. With custom wheels you get wheels matched to your weight, riding style, terrain and wallet. Pre-built factory wheels are the same whether you be 100lbs or 300lbs. Just who are they designed for?

    Custom wheels use readily available parts and reasonably priced (spokes, rims) and they can always be serviced and repaired either by yourself or any competent wheelbuilder. Try pricing a replacement rim and spokes for the K-word wheels. Ask about availability of the parts. Oh my! Last year, a friend of mine, against my suggestion, bought a used bike that had the K-word wheels. It wasn't long before they wanted me to true one of the wheels. I didn't have the non-standard spoke wrench needed and I wasn't about to go buy one either.

    We have seen a big upsurge in ready built mailorder wheels that use "normal" parts (places like BicycleWheelWarehouse.com) The prices on these wheelsets are usually much lower than we can buy just the component parts for. I guess by buying and selling in large volumes they can get the parts at great prices and sell very competitively priced wheelsets. Three or four years ago I bought a couple of sets of these wheels and for the first set (OpenPro rims/Ultegra hubs) the whole wheelset cost me $60 less than I could buy just the hubs, rims and spokes for at normal mailorder places and the 2nd set (OpenPro rims, DuraAce hubs) cost $200 less. And if I had bought just the parts I'd have to build them myself (not that it's a problem).

    And for local wheelbuilders, read Andrew's warning at the end of his post.

    Read my wheelbuilding info (and its links) to give you some idea what good wheels consist of.
    .
    Mike T'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.

  5. #5
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    In my opinion custom wheels are the only way to go. You can certainly buy a set of manufactured wheels and get great performance out of them but you dont have the luxury of the options available to you in a custom set. Do the research, read up on the differences in hubs and rims, figure out what kind of riding performance you want to get out of the wheels and then choose what parts you want. You can get as crazy or as conservative as you like.

  6. #6
    is super good looking.
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    I have an opinion! But it would be completely biased.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    So Pat do you work for BWW?

  8. #8
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    I think he is "BWW"!!!

    Hey, by the way, there is some discussion regarding the "K word" wheels above, and the points made are all valid. Having said that however I have a bike with the "K word" wheels, and I am on the northern side of the 200# mark.
    I'd say I have put over 2000 miles on them and have not had an issue.
    On the other hand I bought a GT Series 4 bike a couple of summers ago and had two rear spokes break on them. Now they were standard spokes so it was easy to get a replacement but I've never had to with the "K word" wheels.

    On the custom side I have also built a set of Velocity A23's with 105 hubs and Sapim spokes (all black with silver brass nipples) to replace the GT Series 4 standard equipment.

    I basically wanted the experience of building a set and to be able to say "I built those".

    It can be done - it takes patience and a little time, along with some of the excellent resources available both on the web and on this site (Thanks MikeT), and is extremely gratifying.
    Last edited by wotnoshoeseh; 05-02-2012 at 05:26 PM.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmach View Post
    I have been looking at the Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels but I keep reading on here about custom made sets. Is there a real advantage with custom and do you really get more for your money with them. I am also a 210# rider does that change the equation? I will most likely be doing this in the fall so I have time for research. Are the custom makers easy to talk with and helpful?

    Thanks
    Brian
    Nowadays people are fixated with the light, stiff and aero wheels so the "upgrades" from the 36/36 wheels of the past years have been the super light rims with 16/20 bladed spokes and some ultralight hubs and "of course" ceramic bearings! Now, if you are the weight of a malnourished chicken or a minute or 20 watts could made a difference between winning or loosing your 60 mile race then these "upgrades" may make a difference and serve you well.
    However for people like you and me, they mean more trouble than they worth. Wheels with 16 spokes do not belong underneath us. Light and stiff in the same sentence is just plain stupid. Furthermore, racing type wheels are pre-made to address racers and these guys are typically not more than 160 lbs on the heavy side. To be fair, the Mavic Ksyriums are robust. I have the SL and they have lasted. The rims are box and the spokes heavy bladed aluminum but the hubs are not so good; for the $1k they cost you could build HED C2 32/32, 28/32 or even 24/28 14-15 ga. spokes on CK R45 that, IMO, will be superior to the stock SL if they are build properly. Another, less expensive good choice would be DT 585 rims on Ultegra hubs which should run you about the cost of the Elites on sale and perform better.
    Deciding who the wheel builder is as crucial as choosing the components. Typically I would prefer a shop that only builds wheels and nothing else.
    Most of us have gone to the other side first and then came back; hopefully the above may save you the trip.
    The wheels I suggested, build with steel 14-15 ga double butted spokes, will serve you well and 28/32 or more should be reliable enough to ride back on them even if you break off a spoke.
    Last edited by dcgriz; 05-02-2012 at 08:37 PM.

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I wouldn't waste my money on Ceramic bearings. All my hubs use steel bearings and not one has ever failed including the Suntour Superbe hubs I have that have well over 150,000 miles and still will spin seemingly forever and do so ice smooth. So what the heck is ceramic bearings going to do except cost me another $300 to have them put into a pair of hubs? They can't do anything more then the Superbe hubs have done...or any of my other hubs for that matter.

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I was being sarcastic....

  12. #12
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    The Mavic Ksryium elite are really strong wheels to begin with (not too sure about their hub points of engagement...wish it had more).

    the way they are constructed, with the spoke going through only one side of the rim, does make them stronger.

    at the LBS, one of the mechanics (who used to be a crit racer) has higher end Ksyrium wheelset... it holds up under his weight somewhere above 200 lbs

    If I had something custom built... my eyes are a lot larger than my wallet
    2010 Specialized Secteur Elite upgraded with 32T cassette and does not have Stan's (yet)
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er upgraded with 36T cassette and Stan's Arch EX rims and tubeless. Considering a 1x10 upgrade
    2013 Cannondale CAADX-6 Tiagra upgraded to 32T cassette and Stan's Alpha 400 rims and tubeless
    2008/2009 Burton T6 156cm with Burton Triad Bindings & DC Judge boots

  13. #13
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    the wheels you show in the pic look like the Ksyrium SL. As I said on my previous post, you could do better for $1k.

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