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  1. #1
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    New Stans Alpha 400's ? Them or the 340 Comps ?

    Hi All,

    Stan's literally just release a new wheelset today..the Alpha 400 Comp wheelset.

    I am currently 175lbs down from 180...hope to get down to 170. I had my eye on a set of the Alpha 340 Comps later this Summer when I get bonus and running them tubeless. I am actually light enough for the Team wheelset but I had read some stories of them being flexy with their 24/28 spoke count. The 340's are 28/32. Stans is spec'ing their 2012 wheelsets with new & different house brand hubs. I am guessing that this is due to some of the reported problems in the past as well.

    The Alpha 400's come in at 1530 grams which puts them smack in the middle of a bunch of other wheelsets, ROL, Williams, etc. In contrast the 340 Comps @ 1435 grams @ $635 seemed a bit better and quite the buy.....

    Anyone have any experience with Stans road tubeless in general, the Alpha 340 Comp wheelset particular, or heard anything about the Alpha 400 Comps wheels ?

    Thanks,

    J.

  2. #2
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    Hmm, at that weight for the Alpha 400 they would drop nearly off my list of choices completely. For that price and weight range there are some fantastic choices out there -ROL as you've already mentioned - I've been please with their D'Huez as a 180 lb sprinter, and the Boyd Vitesse looks even more interesting.

    Part of me has really wanted to believe better things about the Alpha 340 rim as I'd love to have an aluminum clincher that light for climbing. A teammate of mine is 135 lbs and is running the Alpha 340 on American Classic hubs - strung 28/28. They've lost massive amounts of tension 3-4 times and in a crit race Friday night I was behind him and saw worse. The course was on a pretty poor surface so everyone was sliding and hitting bumps in the corners - I was following my teammate and saw his rear wheel flex so far to the right I thought it broke and he was going down - no joke. I told him after the race he should get rid of those things.
    I'm truly shocked to see the wheels THAT flimsy even with such a light rider.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response.....wow, I keep hearing "flexy" and Stans in the same sentence...not good. What year were your buddie's wheels ? I had hoped that Stans ironed out alot of their issues with their 2012 lineup....

    How do you like the D'Huez wheels ? I'm right at the edge of their weight limit myself.....
    Any other suggestions for a lightweight climbing aluminum clincher for approx. $600 ?
    Any thoughts on road tubeless ?

  4. #4
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    His were built this year but were not the rims with the new, thicker bedding.


    The D'Huez are a great wheel and roll very well - I can't say I've had any issue with them flexing.

    I'm about to build up a set of HED Belgiums with hubs from bikehubstore.com and call it good.

    I don't have any experience with road tubeless, sorry.

  5. #5
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    Stan's BST allows for the tire to reach its full volume potential.

    my tubeless experience is only with Stan's Arch EX on my 29-er mountain bike... which I love, except for the initial install.

    I'm personally, not quite convinced yet of road tubeless.

    I'm running Mavic Kysrium Elite, which its construction of the rim (the spoke holes are not fully drilled through... which increases its strength). (I'm 185+)

    Some people also like Shimano wheelsets
    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

  6. #6
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    I haven't gotten to build on the 400s yet, but on paper they sound pretty good. The 340 is definitely a soft hoop and even a little bit of extra material should help to stiffen it up a bit. Time will tell though..

  7. #7
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    To the original poster:
    I have built up several sets of the original Alpha 340 rims - including for a couple of racers in your weight range. One Cat 1 - now racing masters - has used them in Crits and Road Races - here in Northern California the roads are crap - zero problems for him in 2 seasons of racing. Unless you are very hard on wheels I would think the Comp wheels would work just fine.

    Imaking20:
    I would be curious to see what the specs are for the wheels your 135 lb riding friend has had the problem you described. I am close to that weight and use a very similar set of wheels as my "training" wheels 28/28 American Classic Hubs on the original Alpha 340 rims, radial front and 2x Rear DT Revo spokes. They absolutely needed to be re-tensioned once the tubeless tires were installed (known problem - hence the new Alpha 340 2.0), and they needed truing once after a very nasty crash. However, they are still working great after 2 years. I would be slightly suspect of your friends wheels and how they are built - either the tension is wrong, the spokes could have come loose (which could easily happen with these rims when built with the wrong hub/spoke pattern or tension). I think Stan's did some running changes to their factory built wheels over the last 2 seasons including rim washers, locktite and increased spoke tension without a tire. Part of this was to prevent the NDS spokes from going slack etc...

    The newer Alpha 340 rims should build into great wheels. The other wheels mentioned are also good options if you are still steering away from the Stan's.

    I have built tons of HED C2 rims into wheels and even converted them to run tubeless. They would be my choice for a more bombproof wheel. For a lightweight wheel I like to go with the Stan's rims.

  8. #8
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    Agreed, but @ 1530 grams they are up against some stiff(er) competition. I am reading & liking more & more about the Boyd Vitesse wheels.

    Boyd Vitesse anyone ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Zen Cyclery View Post
    I haven't gotten to build on the 400s yet, but on paper they sound pretty good. The 340 is definitely a soft hoop and even a little bit of extra material should help to stiffen it up a bit. Time will tell though..

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by worthcycle View Post
    I have built tons of HED C2 rims into wheels and even converted them to run tubeless. They would be my choice for a more bombproof wheel. For a lightweight wheel I like to go with the Stan's rims.
    Ok....so before I start a "best aluminum clincher for 180lbs rider in the $600 range", tell me what my best options are ? I do want lightweight to keep up with my lighter friends who seem to find more time to ride than me but I don't want high maintanance. I don't race...I do primarily group rides of 35-60 miles and centuries. How light can I go while still being mostly bombproof ?

    Thanks !

    J.

  10. #10
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    There are a lot of options - the HED C2 rim is just one that I like. For your weight I would build up a set 28/24, or even 24/24, with some good hubs. I like the current crop of Taiwan hubs like the BHS Hubs for their value and easily replaceable cartridge bearings, or for the best durability, a set of good old Shimano Dura-Ace or Ultegra hubs. There are more exotic choices in hubs like DT, Alchemy, Chris King, and White Industries that cost more.

    Spokes are DT or Sapim in most cases - you can improve wheel strength by using a heavier gage spoke for the drive side. I like to use 2X DT Competition spokes on the drive side, with brass nipples, and DT Revolution on the NDS laced 2x with the HED or Stan's rims.

    There are lots of other rim options like Kinlin, the new BHS C472w rim, and even Velocity A23 rims that could build a similar wheel for around $600. The new Alpha 400 also could be built for that amount.

    Some of the pre-built wheels would work as well - but they can get expensive pretty quickly.

    I would suggest you find a good local builder of wheels and see what he recommends - you could always run it back by here to see if everyone agrees.

    EDIT: Your earlier question about that Boyd Vitesse wheelset would also be a good option for a pre-built wheel. They are pretty much the same as getting BHS C472w Rims and BHS Hubs...A low cost ZIP 101...
    Last edited by worthcycle; 07-03-2012 at 08:41 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by worthcycle View Post
    To the original poster:
    I have built up several sets of the original Alpha 340 rims - including for a couple of racers in your weight range. One Cat 1 - now racing masters - has used them in Crits and Road Races - here in Northern California the roads are crap - zero problems for him in 2 seasons of racing. Unless you are very hard on wheels I would think the Comp wheels would work just fine.

    Imaking20:
    I would be curious to see what the specs are for the wheels your 135 lb riding friend has had the problem you described. I am close to that weight and use a very similar set of wheels as my "training" wheels 28/28 American Classic Hubs on the original Alpha 340 rims, radial front and 2x Rear DT Revo spokes. They absolutely needed to be re-tensioned once the tubeless tires were installed (known problem - hence the new Alpha 340 2.0), and they needed truing once after a very nasty crash. However, they are still working great after 2 years. I would be slightly suspect of your friends wheels and how they are built - either the tension is wrong, the spokes could have come loose (which could easily happen with these rims when built with the wrong hub/spoke pattern or tension). I think Stan's did some running changes to their factory built wheels over the last 2 seasons including rim washers, locktite and increased spoke tension without a tire. Part of this was to prevent the NDS spokes from going slack etc...

    The newer Alpha 340 rims should build into great wheels. The other wheels mentioned are also good options if you are still steering away from the Stan's.

    I have built tons of HED C2 rims into wheels and even converted them to run tubeless. They would be my choice for a more bombproof wheel. For a lightweight wheel I like to go with the Stan's rims.
    I'm not sure exactly what spokes (something DT double-butted, knowing the builder) or lacing - but I will make an inquiry. The guy who rides the wheels has never run them tubeless - he wanted to when he first bought them but they won't hold with his current tire choice.
    FWIW, he doesn't train on these wheels at all as he doesn't want to chew up his race rubber.
    I'm sure he and I would be happy to hear possible solutions to remedy his continous tension issues (after I report back with more info about his build).

    Quote Originally Posted by worthcycle View Post
    There are a lot of options - the HED C2 rim is just one that I like. For your weight I would build up a set 28/24, or even 24/24, with some good hubs. I like the current crop of Taiwan hubs like the BHS Hubs for their value and easily replaceable cartridge bearings, or for the best durability, a set of good old Shimano Dura-Ace or Ultegra hubs. There are more exotic choices in hubs like DT, Alchemy, Chris King, and White Industries that cost more.

    Spokes are DT or Sapim in most cases - you can improve wheel strength by using a heavier gage spoke for the drive side. I like to use 2X DT Competition spokes on the drive side, with brass nipples, and DT Revolution on the NDS laced 2x with the HED or Stan's rims.
    I'm going to take a crack at building some C2s myself in the next couple of weeks. I'm down to 172 lbs these days (will drift back towards 180 in the winter) and have some 24/24 hoops ordered. I'm planning on running those BHS hubs and Sapim Laser spokes (since they're also available at BHS). I had planned on using the Lasers all around - would you suggest Sapim Race spoke on the DS then? Planning 2x NDS and 3x DS, fyi.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imaking20 View Post
    I'm not sure exactly what spokes (something DT double-butted, knowing the builder) or lacing - but I will make an inquiry. The guy who rides the wheels has never run them tubeless - he wanted to when he first bought them but they won't hold with his current tire choice.
    FWIW, he doesn't train on these wheels at all as he doesn't want to chew up his race rubber.
    I'm sure he and I would be happy to hear possible solutions to remedy his continous tension issues (after I report back with more info about his build).



    I'm going to take a crack at building some C2s myself in the next couple of weeks. I'm down to 172 lbs these days (will drift back towards 180 in the winter) and have some 24/24 hoops ordered. I'm planning on running those BHS hubs and Sapim Laser spokes (since they're also available at BHS). I had planned on using the Lasers all around - would you suggest Sapim Race spoke on the DS then? Planning 2x NDS and 3x DS, fyi.
    I would be curious to see what your friend comes back with regarding his wheels - something is certainly going wrong. For your C2 build I would use the race spoke on the DS as they are pretty similar to the 14G DT Comps - however I would go with 2X both sides. I don't like to go 3X with tiny hub flanges and I also don't like to mix crossing patterns in the same wheel personally - just my own personal taste...

  13. #13
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    Just built up a 20/24 Alpha 340 V.2 wheelset with White Industrues hubs and they're great so far. I'm ~165#, and rode them on dirt/gravel roads this weekend for their initial shakedown ride...all spokes maintained original tension (post tubeless tires installation tension). I recommend them so far!

    Another thing with the Stans Alpha rims is that they're just as wide inside to inside as the HED C2 and wider than the Zipp carbon clinchers. This is what makes the tire sit wider and more comfy/tubular-like. That, along with the lower sidewall height (as mentioned before) also contributes to the tire's wider final shape.
    Last edited by boarder1995; 07-09-2012 at 01:59 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by deason359 View Post
    Any thoughts on road tubeless ?
    I am a fan of road tubeless, but some have been skeptical about running tubeless on the 340 due to a loss in tension though.
    Keep in mind that most 700c clincher rims are capable of running tubeless.

  15. #15
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    you do lose tension when set up as tubeless, which makes truing afterwards a little tricky

    but...you can still run the stan's alpha as a tube setup and you still benefit from BST:
    1) greater volume
    2) reduces pinch flats

    maybe down the road a year or so....I'll build a alpha 400 setup
    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

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