Wheel set recommendation for a light rider?
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  1. #1
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    Wheel set recommendation for a light rider?

    Looking to replace the stock wheels eventually that came with my bike, and read on these forums that the wheel is one of the better parts to upgrade first. I weigh 115 lbs and ride mainly for personal fitness, plan on doing some group rides too once I'm in better shape. I'm in NYC so mix of good and bad roads and varied terrain.

    I found quite a few threads on wheels for heavier riders but couldn't find much for lightweights. Is there anything in particular I should be looking for in a wheel that would affect light riders more? I read wind might be a larger factor which could impact how deep the wheel should be?

    I'm looking for an all-around wheel set and don't mind splurging a bit for something more sporty. Budget would be around $800, recommendations, advice, and feedback all welcome.

  2. #2
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    Ar your weight, you have quite a few options for hoops. If you wanted to build something a bit lighter, you could always go with a Stans 340 or whatnot. It would be a light option all though it wouldn't maintain average speeds quite as well as other options. For something a bit more flat oriented, the Kinlin XR270 or 300 could be a good option.
    With regards to the hubs, I think the White Industries T11 would be a standout option. They are consistently durable, relatively price, and easy to pull apart.
    For spoke count, it really does depend on the rim, but I think that a 20/24 or 20/28 would be a good option.

  3. #3
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    My take

    I'm 55kg and familiar with your terrain. I'd go with Zen's recommendation of White Industries Hubs and Kinlin 270 rims, 20/24, 2x NDS and DS on the rear and radial on the front with your choice of spokes. You're looking at basically flat, even if you do the 9W ride on the other side of the GW. The Kinlin is light enough and plenty strong with a small aero advantage. WI hubs needs little maintenance and it's a basic but light, set it and forget it build.

    If you're going to go the deeper rim, read carbon, route, you're not going to stay within your budget unless you go with a mainland China rim. I lived and worked there for four years and have been to Dongguan where most of the stuff is made. QC and consistency are not there yet. FWIW, the 45mm+rims with the rounder profile x-section are a lot easier to handle than the older designs.


    Quote Originally Posted by xinque View Post
    Looking to replace the stock wheels eventually that came with my bike, and read on these forums that the wheel is one of the better parts to upgrade first. I weigh 115 lbs and ride mainly for personal fitness, plan on doing some group rides too once I'm in better shape. I'm in NYC so mix of good and bad roads and varied terrain.

    I found quite a few threads on wheels for heavier riders but couldn't find much for lightweights. Is there anything in particular I should be looking for in a wheel that would affect light riders more? I read wind might be a larger factor which could impact how deep the wheel should be?

    I'm looking for an all-around wheel set and don't mind splurging a bit for something more sporty. Budget would be around $800, recommendations, advice, and feedback all welcome.
    i've got limited minutes left in life, don't waste my time

  4. #4
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    You might look at a set of 20/24 Kinlin XR-19s with your choice of hubs. You're 115 pounds - I see no reason why you shouldn't be shooting for the lightest possible wheelset - definitely something under 1400g, maybe closer to 1350.

  5. #5
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    I think the Kinlin 270 and 300 rims are way overkill in weight for your body weight unless your roads are bad. You're at the very low end of the rider weight scale, why not take advantage of that. Tires of correct width and pressure should keep the rims from harm.

    SBH suggested XR-19s from his BikeHubStore.com site (the modest fellow doesn't even give a site link in his sig) and only he will know why he didn't suggest the lighter XR200.

    There have been quite a few reports of cracked Stan's 340 rims on this forum.

    Low spoke (20/24?) should be fine and Sapim XC-Rays will be great as they're as light as anything. The same spoke, only round, is their Laser - and much cheaper too.

    Ready built light wheels will be tough to equal in the form of BWW's Blackset Race with the "Podium" build (CX-Rays) for $500, shipped free. They will be under 1500g -

    Road - Riders 198 or less - Blackset Race 11 Wheel Set 1495g* - Bicycle Wheel Warehouse

    Be careful as you can pay lots more for heavier wheels but I'll guarantee the decals will be flashier.
    .

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone for the feedback. So it sounds like for my budget and purposes, I should be aiming for the lightest wheelset that will support my weight. I'm guessing the differences in opinion between the Kinlin rims comes down to what people think each rim can support at a given spoke count, aero-tradeoff, and price?

    Finding good reviews for both the Kinlins and BWW Blackset Race. Will shop around and see what the estimates are. Couple of follow-up questions since it seems like you guys are in the know:

    1. Can BWW build a Blackset Race 11 Podium with the 20/24 spoke count? I'm guessing that will weigh less than 1405g 24/28 but will run me more since it's custom?

    2. Any idea what the Kinlin build would run around in terms of price and weight with the White Industries hubs? I think just about every Kinlin rim has been suggested so far so a little lost there. The XR200 does look the lightest but I'm guessing there's a trade-off there?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinque View Post
    2. Any idea what the Kinlin build would run around in terms of price and weight with the White Industries hubs? I think just about every Kinlin rim has been suggested so far so a little lost there. The XR200 does look the lightest but I'm guessing there's a trade-off there?
    Well it really depends on which Kinlin you go with, and also what type of spokes.
    For a rough estimate though, 270s laced to T11s via Sapim Lasers would be right around the $600 mark. You could lace those with Sapim Races or whatnot and defray the costs even further.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinque View Post
    1. Can BWW build a Blackset Race 11 Podium with the 20/24 spoke count?
    No they only go as low as 24/28 in any of their wheels. But what's the actual benefit from losing 8 spokes?

    The XR200 does look the lightest but I'm guessing there's a trade-off there?
    The trade off with any light rim is strength. But you're very light and as I said in my previous post - correct choice of tires and pressures will be the best defense against rim dings.
    .

  9. #9
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    Assuming my math is correct, it looks like I'll be able to cut around 535 - 620 grams off my current wheelset depending on which build I go with. What would the weight savings translate into real world?
    Improved handling, better acceleration, faster speeds, longer distances?

    Is there a downside to cutting weight?

    Also, and this might be a dumb question. I'm already pretty lean and just started cycling again about a month ago. As I get in better shape, am I more likely to gain or lose weight? Trying to figure out realistically if there will come a point where I get too heavy for these new wheels?

    Thanks again all !

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  11. #11
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    SBH suggested XR-19s from his BikeHubStore.com site (the modest fellow doesn't even give a site link in his sig) and only he will know why he didn't suggest the lighter XR200.


    Actually, the XR-200 is in many ways tailor-made for a rider this light - even at 20/24. I just think that the XR19w is a better all-around rim. It's more durable and the built-in eyelets make it easier to build. Still, XR200s are nice rims for light riders - and you're looking at around 1300g for the set depending on the hubs. Why not?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinque View Post
    Assuming my math is correct, it looks like I'll be able to cut around 535 - 620 grams off my current wheelset depending on which build I go with. What would the weight savings translate into real world?
    Improved handling, better acceleration, faster speeds, longer distances?
    Three years ago I knocked 450 grams off a wheelset and tire combo. The only place I noticed any difference was when accelerating away from a stop or a slow corner. There was no other noticeable improvement. I keep religious record of all my average speeds (plus many other things) and there was no averaged improvement at the end of the year when all the speeds were totaled. In fact this week I just went back to my heavier wheels & tires (fall/winter/spring wheels now) and my speeds haven't dropped.

    Heavier wheels & tires roll better (thank Mr. Newton for that) when up to speed and normally, the time we spend accelerating back up to speed is a small part of any ride. There might be some minor difference but it doesn't show up in timed ride times.

    New wheels are fine but make sure you choose them for the right reasons.
    .

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinque View Post
    Assuming my math is correct, it looks like I'll be able to cut around 535 - 620 grams off my current wheelset depending on which build I go with. What would the weight savings translate into real world?
    Improved handling, better acceleration, faster speeds, longer distances?

    Is there a downside to cutting weight?

    Also, and this might be a dumb question. I'm already pretty lean and just started cycling again about a month ago. As I get in better shape, am I more likely to gain or lose weight? Trying to figure out realistically if there will come a point where I get too heavy for these new wheels?

    Thanks again all !
    A lighter wheelset will give you slightly more reactive accelerations. It will feel a bit more lively and responsive.
    Realistically, light wheels won't make you faster, but they can improve ride quality and make you excited to ride your bike again.

  14. #14
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    Losing over a pound on the wheels (or bike or body) will make you a little faster up climbs. But unless you're racing up long extended climbs it won't be measureable and you definately won't feel it.

    Lighter rims feel faster. They make the bike feel more responsive because the flywheel effect is reduced.

    Unless you are doing uphill-only races, reasonably light aero wheels are faster than light non aero wheels.

    You may gain a little weight as you get fitter but that's unusual. Almost everyone loses weight.

    White hubs and xr270s would make a solid set of wheels. I have a couple sets of their hubs and a bunch of xr270s built in various wheels. They're all good. I have yet to try the XR200s but they should be good too. The aero difference between them and the 270s will be small and you're not going to stress them. You could go a little lighter and cheaper than the Whites using BikeHubStore hubs, or even lighter and over budget with weight weenie hubs such as Tune hubs.

  15. #15
    dirtroadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by xinque View Post
    2. Any idea what the Kinlin build would run around in terms of price and weight with the White Industries hubs? I think just about every Kinlin rim has been suggested so far so a little lost there. The XR200 does look the lightest but I'm guessing there's a trade-off there?
    I have a set of XR200's laced 20/24 to White Industries hubs built by Zen Cyclery and they are around 1350g. I weigh about the same as you, and the roads in my area are not very good, but I've put over 12000km on the wheels and they are still perfect. The only trade-off I guess would be that they are not super stiff when putting down a lot of power, but at my size I'm not about to win a sprint anyways.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the feedback everyone ! Was very informative and will help me decide.

  17. #17
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    So I decided to get in a bit better shape first before upgrading my wheels. Now it's a year later and I'm about ready to pull the trigger. Have it narrowed down to two wheels and wanted some input:

    Pacenti SL23 with Tune Mig 70/Mag 170 hubs
    Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 C24

    Both are comparable in price and weight, and are relatively 'bombproof' from what I've read. The Shimano rim is lighter by about 70g, while the SL23 is slightly deeper and wider. Anyone familiar with the wheels, rims, or hubs and know how they might stack up against each other? These will be my everyday wheels and for training.

  18. #18
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    @xinque- I like your idea of the SL23/Tune build. We've done a couple of those builds so far and considering the specs they're impressively light. You could always consider saving a couple bucks and going with the T11s from White instead. They're a bit heavier than the Tunes (about 100 grams) but they're just as durable.

    Admittedly the one thing I don't like about the Tune hubs is engagement. It's too loud for my tastes, but I guess thats just a good reason not to coast

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