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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Off-Season Sports & The Lighter Side › Cycling › Cheap, light, strong mountain training wheels for road bike....possible?
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Cheap, light, strong mountain training wheels for road bike....possible?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey fellas and ladies, I've got to send one of my Zipps in for a hub replacement, and unfortunately I sold my spare wheel sets last year, so I'm suddenly wheel shopping now.

 

Ideally, I'm trying to stay in the $450 or under price range and my preference would be to get a wheelset which is:

 

  • Fairly lightweight - under 1500g/set
  • Stiff and strong for climbing
  • Durable enough to handle fairly aggressive training duty

 

While shopping this week, I came across a new take-off set of Giant Propel OE wheels for a pretty low price, so I grabbed them. Probably not a great wheel, but wanted to have something in case I didn't find exactly what I'm looking for and the cash outlay was such that if I sell them, I'll break even, so it's good as a fall-back (hopefully).

 

Just for reference, here is my wheel history in the past year:

 

  • Ritchey Zeta Comp - comfortable but too flexy for a 180 lb strong rider
  • Mavic Ksyrium Elite S - great, stiff, fairly light wheels, but spokes too noisy, drove me nuts, sold after 6 weeks
  • Zipp 404 - fantastic wheels, stiff, durable, bomb proof, decent weight, not too heavy
  • Giant PA2 - Propel aero road bike take-offs, haven't used yet, purchased as possible spare set

 

One riding friend suggested I look for a set of Reynolds Stratus Pro (that's what he uses), but he's been having cracking around the nipples (yes, sounds like a personal problem to me too). :D

 

I don't think the Reynolds is going to be an option if they crack easily.

 

What would make your wheel short list if you were in my position? 

 

Thanks all, hope you're having a nice Springtime. :)

post #2 of 14
At that price point I think you're really better off having someone local to you build a set instead of shopping built wheels. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super D View Post
 

 

Ideally, I'm trying to stay in the $450 or under price range 

post #3 of 14

You do know that Keith Bontrager, long ago said "cheap, light and strong, pick two."

 

What you're looking for won't exist unless you buy used. You can easily build up a strong wheelset in your budget, but it will probably be a bit heavier than you're hoping for.

 

If it's a training wheel, the heavier set will only make you stronger anyway.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

@cantunamunch I think I could definitely get a set built for $500-ish, but for that price range it'd be tough to build with really high quality lightweight/strong rims, at least not new ones. Used is okay for me as long as they're from someone who's not a clydesdale and haven't been hammered for 10k mi. :)

 

@RatherPlayThanWork It's funny how we all claim derivations of the old "good, fast or cheap, pick two" quote as our own, cycling in this case. I've seen variations of it in software development, project management, Carroll Shelby said it while building race cars decades ago, and I'm guessing some caveman said it while building shelters for customers trading furs or mastadon tusks. :D

In any case, I hear you. Used is fine, I've purchased used gear before and it's worked out with no problems. In one case, I eventually had to re-lace a wheel, but that's a good learning experience instead of an expense. Spokes are cheap, and the ability to replace a spoke or rebuild a wheel is valuable.

 

Anyone try the Vuelta Corsa SLR by any chance? 1450g for around $300 on nashbar seems pretty interesting. It all comes down to how strong they are. Cheap and light, but not strong would not be good. I saw some forum posts from users in other areas, but I can's say I've seen them on the road in my area. Any experience w/any Vuelta wheels?

 

A couple of guys in my cycling club mentioned Fulcrum wheels, and I just noticed the Fulcrum 3's can be had for about $400. That's a 1500-ish gram wheelset which I'm penciling in on my short list. Ever tried Fulcrums?


Edited by Super D - 4/8/15 at 8:00am
post #5 of 14

True enough, but you're saving on shipping what is usually an oversize package, you get to spec spokes that won't bug you for noise/flex/nonreplaceability, and you can get some wicked good hubs for small money.     Machine built wheels at that pricepoint are *not* particularly consistent on things like spoke tension - there's a decent chance you'd have to go to your local wheel guy anyway. 


Quote:

Originally Posted by Super D View Post
 

@cantunamunch I think I could definitely get a set built for $500-ish, but for that price range it'd be tough to build with really high quality lightweight/strong rims, at least not new ones. Used is okay for me as long as they're from someone who's not a clydesdale and haven't been hammered for 10k mi. :)

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post
 

You do know that Keith Bontrager, long ago said "cheap, light and strong, pick two."

 

 

 

^^^ this ^^^^  :)

post #7 of 14

Well, yeah, but that only speaks to technological limits within a given technological envelope - it doesn't help one, or even give a useful guide to make tradeoffs within those limits. 

 

That said, I have two sets of Vuelta wheels - strong, yes.   They don't  feel particularly light, tho.   Pretty comparable to my semi antique Open Pros on Shimano hubs.  


Edited by cantunamunch - 4/8/15 at 12:51pm
post #8 of 14

I try not to get too into recommending products for people as components can be somewhat religious.  I will echo the comment that a well-built wheel will likely be longer-lasting.  Straight-pull spokes are better if you can find them in your price point, although there's nothing wrong with elbow spokes if you stress-relieve the bend at the hub sufficiently.  I wouldn't pay extra for black spokes, plain stainless is usually cheaper.  Alu nipples are probably not a good choice for a training rim.  Did you say if they were clinchers or tubs? 

 

My go-to for training rims has always been Mavic Open Pros, stainless spokes either DT Revolution or 1.8/2.0 swaging.  Pick a hub..hard to beat Shimano hubs though. 

 

Rim cracking around nipples can be caused by too much spoke tension as well.  A good builder can tell you if the tension is appropriate.

 

For climbing rims, you often trade depth for weight if you're trying to go cheap..alu deep rims are heavier and not as good for climbing.  But on the flat they are faster and stronger. 

 

Also, what do you define as training wheels?  Wheels you beat up?   Or wheels you put 10k miles on?

post #9 of 14

Campy Zonda.  Best kept secret around.

 

They're right on your 1500g limit and can easily hit your budget.  Very strong (I'm 185 lbs), smooth rolling hubs (a bit loud though), and the G3 spoke pattern is a rare bonus.  Good in crosswinds, alu brake track, alu construction, good for descents.  Not quite as low profile/light as the Eurus but half the price. LOVE the Zondas for training wheels.  

 

Side note: @Scott43 the Zondas are great for Caledon, Milton, and escarpment rides where my Campy Boras get too much of a workout with the hard breaking and squeal like a stuck pig  ;) 

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post
 

Campy Zonda.  Best kept secret around.

 

They're right on your 1500g limit and can easily hit your budget.  Very strong (I'm 185 lbs), smooth rolling hubs (a bit loud though), and the G3 spoke pattern is a rare bonus.  Good in crosswinds, alu brake track, alu construction, good for descents.  Not quite as low profile/light as the Eurus but half the price. LOVE the Zondas for training wheels.  

 

Side note: @Scott43 the Zondas are great for Caledon, Milton, and escarpment rides where my Campy Boras get too much of a workout with the hard breaking and squeal like a stuck pig  ;) 


Are teh Zondas Campy only, or can you put a Shimano cassette on them. If not, Fulcrums are nice too. I have as et on my DH bike, I'd buy their roadie stuff for sure.

 

I don't think it meets your cost or weight criteria, but if I wanted a new training wheel I'd get a tubeless Ultegra wheelset.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post
Side note: @Scott43 the Zondas are great for Caledon, Milton, and escarpment rides where my Campy Boras get too much of a workout with the hard breaking and squeal like a stuck pig  ;) 

 

The Zondas are a great wheel for the money.  Honestly though, for most people who are really training and have a budget, I always recommend Open Pro's and a conventional spoke-cross build.  I don't recommend radial spoking although bladed spokes are ok.  That simple setup is pretty cheap, takes a beating, is easy to maintain and you don't feel bad when you ding a rim.  The deeper carbon rims are pretty cool though..tough and light..with good aero. 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 


Are teh Zondas Campy only, or can you put a Shimano cassette on them. If not, Fulcrums are nice too. I have as et on my DH bike, I'd buy their roadie stuff for sure.

 

I don't think it meets your cost or weight criteria, but if I wanted a new training wheel I'd get a tubeless Ultegra wheelset.

Yep, you can get a Shimano hub on the Campy wheels no problem.  Ultegra wheelset is a good alternative, not as nice as the Zondas, but I wouldn't complain with Ultegras for training.

 

Scott, ya when I got my Boras, HOLY CRAP did they take some getting used to, compared to my alu Zondas.  Totally locked in, wow.  Very different feel, but dayum they're fast.

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post
 

Yep, you can get a Shimano hub on the Campy wheels no problem.  Ultegra wheelset is a good alternative, not as nice as the Zondas, but I wouldn't complain with Ultegras for training.

 

Scott, ya when I got my Boras, HOLY CRAP did they take some getting used to, compared to my alu Zondas.  Totally locked in, wow.  Very different feel, but dayum they're fast.


They're ridic expensive..but the best of all worlds..stiff, light, strong..the perfect construction.  I still in the back of my mind don't trust some carbon parts..but they've come a long way.  I find the same with tubulars and clinchers..tubulars just feel better and faster. 

 

As for tough wheels though, a lot of teams until fairly recently would use Ambrosio rims, old-school stylez, at Paris-Roubaix just because they're so tough.  Only a few teams doing that now but for a long time, 32 spoke 3x ambrosios were the wheel of choice there.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 

...Did you say if they were clinchers or tubs? 

 

...

Also, what do you define as training wheels?  Wheels you beat up?   Or wheels you put 10k miles on?

 

 

Sorry, I dropped off the grid unexpectedly for a few days, business swallowed me up and I wasn't able to reply to answers in the thread (thanks to all you guys, really appreciated that input). 

 

@Scott43 Clinchers for me, haven't run tubulars for many years (not that they're bad at all, just switched to clinchers and didn't return). 

 

Training wheels to me need to be strong, durable, not delicate, and ready for lots of miles without fuss. Reasonably light weight as well, as I don't see the need to ride on tanks. Sure it makes you stronger to push more weight, but one can always just add more miles if you feel you haven't worked hard enough with lighter weight wheels. My Zipp 404s (w/alu brake track, new model is called the Zipp 60, very similar) have been a great combination wheel for me. Not too heavy, durable as heck, solid product. 

 

Since in reality I'm a humble hobbyist, club rider and learning racer, I really don't differentiate much between a good training wheel, and a good racing wheel. Ideally, I should be able to train and race on the same (or similar) set of wheels. That's what I've been doing, in fact. I may only own two sets at a time, and it'd be best to be used to the handling of the wheels through training and apply the experience in a race without introducing new variables. Pros are a different story, they can ride the fine line between super light weight, and perhaps not super durable, because A) they have support with spare wheels nearby and more in reserves as well, and B) those guys are built like birds. I'm nothing like a pro, and I'm not a little bird either, so I really can't choose wheels based on what a serious racer rides. I need my wheels to be able to handle racing and training similarly, and since I don't have unlimited funds, it's an exercise in finding the best compromise I can.

 

Btw, after researching Fulcrums, custom wheels, Stans, some Mavics and a few others, I came across a barely used 2015 Zipp 30 wheelset and grabbed them today. Alu rims, steel spokes, a little aero, 1650-ish grams, and I've been told by several club racers similar in size to me in my area that they're tough as heck. So, it's a compromise, but it appears a good one. http://zipp.com/wheels/30-clincher/

 

Thank you again, guys, really appreciated your replies. If anyone's in San Diego with your bike at any point, please PM me ahead of time, so we can go for a cruise up the coast and watch the waves from our bikes. :)

 

Happy riding, all. 

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