Winter-proof wheels

Airmiles
Airmiles Posts: 101
edited February 2009 in Workshop
Welll, this winter has finally seen off my (admittedly old) MA3s on 9sp 105s.

So, looking for new handbuilts that'll handle London commuting including the third-world potholes of Islington and Hackney (with panniers), and also winter training, audaxes and credit-card touring. Usually used with 28mm tyres for commuting and 25 for Audax, and holding up 10 1/2 stone.

Priority 1 is hubs - I was thinking Ambrosio? They're supposed to be well-sealed but are they corrosion-proof as well?

Otherwise Hope Pro 3 but they're more than twice the price. Either way, 36h or 36r/32f. I need them to handle 9sp Shimano and ideally 10sp as well.

Then rims - one of the big problems with commuting is rim wear (and pad wear) - but not sure I want to take the risk of going ceramic - reports seem mixed at best. If I do - which pads - Swisstop blue?

Otherwise Ambrosio again (Evolution or Excellence)?


Thanks
Miles
I'm not saying pedestrians in Hackney are stupid.. but a fixed bayonet would be more use than a fixed gear...

Comments

  • djaeggi
    djaeggi Posts: 107
    My fixed-wheel winter/commuter bike has 36h Ambrosio Evolution rims on ambrosio (fixed) hubs. They're not particularly light but it makes a very solid wheel. The rims are relatively cheap and sturdy (and thus ideal for general abuse!), and it may be worth looking at the Excursion, which I think is the same rim section as the evolution, minus the machined braking surface for a little less money. I've just bought some Ambrosio road hubs on the back of my experience with the fixed and they seem very nice, but no miles on them to speak of yet - if they're anything like the fixed, you should have no problems and the bearings look easy to change as and when that's required. Basically I don't think you'd go wrong with Excursion/Evolution on Ambrosio hubs - solid, cheap, and dependable.
  • maddog 2
    maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    I'm a big fan of the ceramics. Pricey but they do last much better than machined surfaces IME.

    As for hubs - not used Ambrosio but the Hope Monos (now Pro3 I think) are robust and fully rebuildable.

    I run Mavic A319 rims on my commuter. Not light but sturdy and cheap. On 105 hubs. Again, cheap and I re-grease tham every couple of months or so.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • terongi
    terongi Posts: 318
    maddog 2 wrote:
    I'm a big fan of the ceramics. Pricey but they do last much better than machined surfaces IME.

    Ceramic ruims are not worth the money. Three reasons:

    (1) They are a lot more expensive that alu rims and you need to use special expensive brake pads. So the fact they last longer does not save you money. Ie you can buy 2 alu rims and sets of regular bads for about the same money

    (2) They are a lot more expensive to replace in a crash.

    (3) They don't brake any more efficiently.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I've never understood the benefits of ceramic rims except for improved braking when laden touring in the wet - for normal road use, a standard rim is more than adequate IME - the wheel starts skidding first. The Ambrosio Zenith hubs feature cartridge bearings - replacement is easy and cheap - better quality stainless ones available on ebay for a few quid. BTW don't confuse Ambrosio rims with the hubs - the rims are made in Italy by Ambrosio Spa and the hubs come from Taiwan, made by Formula and are branded Ambrosio - AFAIK the hubs go nowhere near Italy.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • maddog 2
    maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    terongi wrote:
    Ceramic ruims are not worth the money. Three reasons:
    Don't you just love it when people comment on issues of value and worth as if they are facts....:wink:

    (1) They are a lot more expensive that alu rims and you need to use special expensive brake pads. So the fact they last longer does not save you money. Ie you can buy 2 alu rims and sets of regular bads for about the same money

    You don't have to run special blocks. Regular blocks work okay too. They wear faster but it's not a massive difference in reality.
    (2) They are a lot more expensive to replace in a crash.

    Same could apply to anything expensive - your point? My ti frame was reasonably expensive. If I stacked it and bent it I would be out of pocket by about a grand. Does this mean my frame wasn't good value?
    (3) They don't brake any more efficiently.

    They are markedly superior to standard rims on my bike, compared to alu rims, especially in the wet, without a doubt, In my opinion.

    Sure they are more expensive, but they perform better IMO, and don't forget you need to factor in the rebuild cost and hassle when comparing them to alu rims. In other words, if they last twice as long, then they are better value at twice the price
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • eh
    eh Posts: 4,854
    I know I'll get slagged for this but nothing wrong with Shimano hubs. Heck I even ran a pair pretty much dry and pitted for years commuting no problems, and they are still running 15 years later (still dry!!). I'd expect Campag equivalents to be equally robust. However, I've never seen "flash" hubs like Hope last well at all, but then thats not what they are built for.

    Ceramic rims IMO are just a waste of good cash.
  • Wappygixer
    Wappygixer Posts: 1,396
    I've got Ambrosio hubs for my winter bike.Not the best sealing but bearings are cheap and easy to replace.As for rims I've got some Rigida rims again not sure of model as Rigida are always understated.A very nice light set of wheels on their second winter with only a bit of rim wear.
  • Airmiles
    Airmiles Posts: 101
    Thanks all - Evolutions on Ambrosios it is then.....
    I'm not saying pedestrians in Hackney are stupid.. but a fixed bayonet would be more use than a fixed gear...
  • eh wrote:
    I know I'll get slagged for this but nothing wrong with Shimano hubs. Heck I even ran a pair pretty much dry and pitted for years commuting no problems, and they are still running 15 years later (still dry!!). I'd expect Campag equivalents to be equally robust. However, I've never seen "flash" hubs like Hope last well at all, but then thats not what they are built for.

    I'd agree with the first statement, they don't like ss much as I seem to get through a freehub every 6-8months, although they are only deore ones.

    As for flash hubs like the hope ones... they are very well made, occasionally the flanges crack or the shell breaks, but then they get really quite severely abused. The advantage comes from the full re-buildability. When I snapped a pawl spring (the hub hadn't been greased enough when assembled) i phoned up hope and they posted me the springs overnight for free.
  • croggy
    croggy Posts: 116
    [quote="eh" I've never seen "flash" hubs like Hope last well at all, but then that's not what they are built for.

    [/quote]

    So what are they built for?
    I've done 4000 miles on my 1 year old Pro3s over some sh!tty roads without any problems.
    I love the loud freewheel.It scares the sh!t out of dozy peds :twisted:
  • eh
    eh Posts: 4,854
    Hope are designed to be fast and light, nothing wrong with that but don't expect them to be fit and forget, they need to be looked after.
  • maddog 2
    maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    mmm not sure about that last comment

    Hope run cartridge bearings so there's nothing you can really do with them except fit them and ride them. Until the bearings wear and then you whack them out and replace them. Not like a cup-and-cone setup where you can clean and regrease them every now and again. I'd say they are as fit and forget as any other cartridge bearing hub out there using stainless bearings, in my experience.

    The freehub can be regreased though, but it doesn't need doing that often in reality.

    And they aren't that light either....
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • acorn_user
    acorn_user Posts: 1,137
    It sounds like the OP is set on the Ambrosio hubs. I'm sure they will turn out fine. But for this kind of job, it's hard to beat Shimano mtb hubs. They are cheap, well sealed and easy to service.

    The problem with Hope/Goldtec/DT/Edco etc hubs is that if you can afford them, you can also afford Campagnolo Record or Shimano Dura Ace.