To wheel or not to wheel (upgrade) - The search for a good wheel set
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  1. #1
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    To wheel or not to wheel (upgrade) - The search for a good wheel set

    To wheel or not to wheel (upgrade) - The search for a good wheel set

    I am 6'3'' and weigh 220-225 lbs. I have been commuting on a hybrid for about 2 years. Recently, I got into a road biking and loved it. I bought a 63 cm frame cannondale evo red (2013) - See link for current bike specifications
    SUPERSIX EVO RED - SUPERSIX EVO - Elite Road - Road - Bikes - 2013

    I have been doing about 2 rides/week (65 miles) and noted that the bike respond and performs well on the flat and descents. Given my weight, I am struggling a bit on the climbs and was wondering if I upgrade the wheels to the following would make any sense/difference? I appreciate a any input!

    From current set-up
    RIMS MAVIC KSYRIUM EQUIPE S WTS (20 spokes)
    HUBS MAVIC KSYRIUM EQUIPE S
    TIRES MAVIC YKSION PRO 700X23

    To:
    Zipp X45 Firecrest Carbon Clincher 303 Rim: 20H 1 $912.50
    Zipp X45 Firecrest Carbon Clincher 303 Rim: 28H 1 $912.50
    Fat Swiss 240s Front Road Hub: 20H 1 $189.00
    DT Swiss 240s Road Rear Hub: 28H WHITE 1 $405.00
    DT Aerolite Bladed Spoke BLACK 42 $144.90
    DT Aerolite Bladed Spoke WHITE 6 $39.00
    WB 14mm Alloy Nipple BLUE 48 $21.60
    Zipp High Performance Rim Tape for Firecrest rims: 700c x 20mm $10.00
    Total including discount is $2518

    Or to
    HED Belgium Clincher C2 Alloy Rim: 28H 1 $130
    HED Belgium Clincher C2 Alloy Rim: 32H 1 $130
    DT Swiss 240s Front Road Hub: 28H 1 $189
    DT Swiss 240s Road Rear Hub: 32H 1 $395
    DT Aerolite Bladed Spoke BLACK 54 $186
    DT Aerolite Bladed Spoke WHITE 6 $39
    WB 14mm Alloy Nipple BLUE 60 $27
    Total including discount $ 1172

  2. #2
    A wheelist
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    There are no wheels that will make you into a climbing whizz unless you lose a pile of weight or get much stronger by climbing lots of hills. A combination of both would be best.

    With wheels, you have to decide whether you want to go with factory pre-builts and all their minuses and plusses (I can't think of any of the latter category) or custom-builts and all their plusses (and I can't think of any negatives). Opinions on factory pre-builts have been done to death around here over the years (do an advanced search!).

    IMO, arguably (as not everyone will agree) factory pre-builts will be flexy for you due to low spoke numbers. If I was to build wheels for you I would suggest 28/32 spokes. They are usually equipped with very expensive and much less easy to get proprietary spokes.

    From the choices you gave, the Hed would be my suggestion but that rim is way to over-priced IMO. The DT 240 hub, while being a great hub, is not the best choice due to flange spacing. A better choice would be Chris King, Shimano Dura-Ace (my fave and my recent personal hub) and White Industries.

    Look at these, pretty much what I built for myself, with the "Podium" spoke option (Sapim CX-Rays) and Dura-Ace hubs. I used a lighter rim as I'm 55lbs lighter than you -

    PURE Race + Shimano hubs
    .

  3. #3
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    The only thing that will help your climbing (assuming power/fitness stays the same) is less weight.

    I don't know if those wheel are heavier or lighter then your current wheels but do know that the difference isn't enough to help, or hurt, your climbing. As a percentage of total package (bike and body) it just won't make any difference for climbing. Even best case scenario you drop the weight of a full water bottle.....I'm guessing you already know you aren't a better climber if you leave on water bottle behind.

    Nothing wrong with new/better wheels but unless you drop a very significant percentage of total overall weight it won't help climbing in a meaningful way. And given your body weight and the strength of wheel you'll need you should probably just forget about helping climbing through dropping weight off of wheels. By all means get new/better wheels if you want just don't do so with the expectation of being a better climber as a result.

    On thing you might consider is new tires that are 25mm. I don't say that with regard to helping you climb but at your weight a bigger tire would probably give a ride you'll like more.

  4. #4
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    Good climbing wheels:

    balloon bike.jpg
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  5. #5
    Online Wheel Builder
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    Wheels aren't going to make you any faster on the climbs but they may make you enjoy getting out and riding that much more. Between those two wheelsets though I'd go with the C2/240 combo. For the price that's an outstanding wheelset and as far as a daily driver goes I think that would be hard to beat.

  6. #6
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    You might be able to buy some HED complete wheels for about the same price as the custom ones you've listed. The DT hubs are nice, but aren't the best in terms of flange spacing and thus in terms of lateral stiffness. King, Shimano Dura Ace or Ultegra, and White Industry would be better choices in terms of flange spacing.

    If it's hilly where you live or there are long descents, you might, given your weight, want to stay away from carbon clinchers. Newer carbon clinchers are better than those of even a year or two ago in terms of heat build up, but again given your weight as well as your experience level it's something to think about as you make a decision.

  7. #7
    Burnum Upus Quadricepus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zen Cyclery View Post
    Wheels aren't going to make you any faster on the climbs but they may make you enjoy getting out and riding that much more.
    Bingo.

    The engine's power-to-weight ratio is what determines how fast you are on climbs. But nice wheels feel... well... nicer and can make a differnce in the pleasure level.

    My budget is about half of yours, but still, I buy the nicest, lightest wheels I can afford simply because they feel nice. They don't make me an iota faster.

    I doubt that the wheels themselves help much, if at all, when the road points up, but I don't care, since there's a huge increase in the smile factor and that alone helps me over the climb.

    I don't know about you, but I cycle for fun. Whatever increases that is worth it to me. 1400 gram "climbing" wheels increase the fun for me, even if my overall performance stays the same.

  8. #8
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    Thank you all. This is really helpful! Here is what I'm going for based on your input:

    HED C2 clinchers
    25 mm tires (Currently have 23 on my Ksyrium Equipe)
    King 45 hubs
    28/32 front rear spokes

    As a newbie to road biking, I am hoping I will feel the upgrade translating into a more fun/comfortable ride. 2 quick follow-up questions

    - I am now convinced that It won't make a difference in the climb. Will I see improvement on the flat given the better

    - Please let me know if you recommend specific tires

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by samereid View Post
    Thank you all. This is really helpful! Here is what I'm going for based on your input:

    HED C2 clinchers
    25 mm tires (Currently have 23 on my Ksyrium Equipe)
    King 45 hubs
    28/32 front rear spokes

    As a newbie to road biking, I am hoping I will feel the upgrade translating into a more fun/comfortable ride. 2 quick follow-up questions

    - I am now convinced that It won't make a difference in the climb. Will I see improvement on the flat given the better

    - Please let me know if you recommend specific tires
    Just be aware that if you could shave off 450 grams with new wheels, you would be about 30 seconds faster for every HOUR of climbing on a 6% grade at 250 watts. That is 0.06 mph faster. Consider if spending this money is worth this improvement.

  10. #10
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by samereid View Post
    Thank you all. This is really helpful! Here is what I'm going for based on your input:
    HED C2 clinchers
    25 mm tires (Currently have 23 on my Ksyrium Equipe)
    King 45 hubs
    28/32 front rear spokes
    As a newbie to road biking, I am hoping I will feel the upgrade translating into a more fun/comfortable ride.
    I'm happy that you're choosing very sensible wheels. There are wheels that are right for you and there are wheels that are just unrealistic hopes & dreams. You chose the right ones.

    Please let me know if you recommend specific tires
    There are some really good tires and two of the very best are Vittoria Open Corsa CX and Continental Grand Prix 4000s. I have lots of experience with the former and it's so positive that I buy them in bulk (from UK mega onliners). I use 25mm wide ones (inflated to about 90psi) and I'm lots lighter than you.
    .

  11. #11
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Just be aware that if you could shave off 450 grams with new wheels, you would be about 30 seconds faster for every HOUR of climbing on a 6% grade at 250 watts. That is 0.06 mph faster. Consider if spending this money is worth this improvement.
    Probably very true. But it's more than that. It's the incentive to ride (more) that we get from buying new stuff. I just built myself (in August) the (to me anyway) epitome of wheels. I didn't need wheels as I have lots but I wanted what I considered the perfect wheels for me. Before the snow flew (and I put on my winter wheels) I had a new lease on riding. Was I faster? Nope. Did I expect to be faster? Nope. But did I feel better? You betcha. It was a few hundred dollars well spent. After all, you are dead a long time.
    .

  12. #12
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    If your bike came with a 12-26 go get an 11-28. That a 7.7% difference when the climbing gets tough at 225#. 4 Oz difference on wheel at 3-4 MPH will not help you turn the cranks as much as more gearing. Even look at Sram WIFI kits. Give your knees less strain. You will catch everyone back on the descent!

  13. #13
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    I did notice I am blazing fast on descenst:-) On rolling hills, I use my weight/momentum on descents and typically reach high speed up to the first quarter of the hill without even pedaling - Great feeling:-)

    Quote Originally Posted by calrider61 View Post
    If your bike came with a 12-26 go get an 11-28. That a 7.7% difference when the climbing gets tough at 225#. 4 Oz difference on wheel at 3-4 MPH will not help you turn the cranks as much as more gearing. Even look at Sram WIFI kits. Give your knees less strain. You will catch everyone back on the descent!

  14. #14
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    You can follow Zen's knowledgeable advice. I am enjoying HED C2 +, DT Swiss 240s. With Conti 4000s 23mm / Vredestein Latex. Interesting the Conti's are 3mm wider at same pressure with C2+. But run them 15/20psi less.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Good climbing wheels:
    Lol, I bet it's lightweight as well

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Good climbing wheels:

    balloon bike.jpg
    Too bad it's not red.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland44 View Post
    Lol, I bet it's lightweight as well
    It literally floats up hills, especially when inflated with He. It will also literally fire up the peloton when inflated with H.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by calrider61 View Post
    If your bike came with a 12-26 go get an 11-28. That a 7.7% difference when the climbing gets tough at 225#. 4 Oz difference on wheel at 3-4 MPH will not help you turn the cranks as much as more gearing. Even look at Sram WIFI kits. Give your knees less strain. You will catch everyone back on the descent!
    This is great advice. Get an 11-28 and then later when you're lighter and stronger throw on a different cassette if you feel the need. It makes a huge difference and enables you to maintain a higher cadence while climbing which makes it feel easier.

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