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Wheelsmith vs Strada Wheelset help.

Weston FlyerWeston Flyer Posts: 22
edited October 2013 in Road buying advice
Hi Folks,

After soaking up all your advice anonymously for the last few months, this is my first real post, so please go easy on me :)
I'm looking for a little assistance if possible please? I've been a runner for some years, and have recently started taking on a few duathlon's. (Sprint distance only at this stage). The bike I have only cost £1k (Giant Defy 1) so I'm conscious of spending a huge amount, but would be happy around the £500 (including tyres!) for a wheelset upgrade. Bearing in mind that the bike is multi purpose and gets used for rides out with the kids as well!
Other useful info:
Weight: 78 kg and falling, under 75 kg is the target.
Average speed: 10 mile TT currently 22mph, longer distances 16-20mph depending how hilly but getting faster all the time :D
After reading these forums at length I've pretty much decided to go down the hand built route rather just buying a set of Ksyrium Elites. I've approached both Strada and Wheelsmith for advice and have been provided with the following recommendations/quotes:
Wheelsmith: IRD Aero rims/Wheelsmith hubs/CX-Ray spokes/schwalbe ultremo ZX tyres/20-24 drilling - £498
Strada: H Plus Son Archetype rims/Novatec Superlight Hubs/CX-Ray spokes/Continental GP4000s tyres/24-28 drilling -£490
I'm now stuck and don't know which way to go :oops: so would be interested in any thoughts on which would be preferable and why? Please no more alternatives though it's taken long enough to get to this stage, and don't want to confuse things again :lol:

Thanks in advance for your help and advice.

Posts

  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,990
    Having had a few wheels off Wheelsmith I'd go for that but I'm sure the strada ones are fine.
    IRD rims are superb.
    Insta: ATEnduranceCoaching
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • Or maybe you can suggest to leave the CX ray spokes where they are and upgrade the frankly censored hubs they suggest to something a lot better and ... hear this... spend less! :shock:
  • Or maybe you can suggest to leave the CX ray spokes where they are and upgrade the frankly censored hubs they suggest to something a lot better and ... hear this... spend less! :shock:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond guys, I appreciate it. You'll need to excuse my ignorance though, why are the hubs they've suggested so bad? Within my price range Strada seems to offer either their own hubs or Hope Pro 3's. Whereas at Wheelsmith my only options seems to be their own (as quoted) or Ambrosio's. Are any of these better at all?
    Cheers.
  • Or maybe you can suggest to leave the CX ray spokes where they are and upgrade the frankly censored hubs they suggest to something a lot better and ... hear this... spend less! :shock:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond guys, I appreciate it. You'll need to excuse my ignorance though, why are the hubs they've suggested so bad? Within my price range Strada seems to offer either their own hubs or Hope Pro 3's. Whereas at Wheelsmith my only options seems to be their own (as quoted) or Ambrosio's. Are any of these better at all?
    Cheers.

    When you spec a rather expensive wheelset, the hubs are where the money should go, not the spokes or the rims, which are consumables/sacrificial.
    What they have specced for you include hubs which are kind of disposable. The Bitex that Wheelsmith uses are nothing special, taiwanese hubs with very average bearings and machining tolerances. The Novatec light have very soft free hubs that get chewed up quickly and have bearings that last a couple of thousand miles typically. I have used them a dozen times and a dozen times the bearings needed replacement within 3-12 months.
    Hope PRO 3 are a lot better, but really you have to question whether you do need 120-150 pounds of spokes, when more durable spokes like Sapim Race or Dt Swiss competition will cost you 30 pounds.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Don't use those Novatec super lights A291/F482 in your only wheels you will regret it. I use the hubs in a dry weather bike , I have 8 bikes though so no drama if one day the bearings go and can't change them before the next ride as I have plenty of wheels. In the dry the hubs are fine in the wet they are not.

    CX-ray spokes are nice to look at but are wasted on anything but an aero wheelset for racing or TT's. A spaim Laser spoke with an alloy nipple is the same weight as a CX-ray and alloy nipple get those instead.

    £490 for strada's package in quite expensive. I have added up how much I would charge for it and it is not that. I give me an idea though what there labour rates are so thanks.

    Ambrosio hubs are not made by ambrosio, they are Novatec A171 and F172 hubs that have been rebadged by RSI cycles. Nothing to do with ambrosio at all. The Novatec version is alot cheaper than the ambrosio version even though it is the same hub and quite a decent hub too. However I use Miche hubs alot as they 11 speed shimano compatible and they are robust.

    The IRD rims are rebadged Kinlins as far as I am aware but the IRD version costs more. The IRD aero is the Kinlin XR-300!

    To give an example of a build I did recently; Kinlin XR-300 in 20H/24H drillings with Miche Primato hubs in those drillings and black Sapim Laser spokes with alloy nipples would do everything that the wheelsmith wheelset would do but cost alot less -£288 to be precise. Add GP4000s tyres and conti race 28 tubes and shipping and the bill goes up a bit but it still £365 not £500! This wheelset will weigh a bit more but the extra weight is in the hub were it not noticed. The miche hubs are not very light but not heavy either. 1600g is the weight of the last set I built. Miche hubs by the way are an all weather sort of hubset not average at all but reasonable in price.

    The strada wheelset could be changed by using the same rims in the same drillings but using Sapim Laser spokes/alloy nipples and Novatec A171/F172 hubs it will save a whole pile of cash and be useable in wet! As for weight it will be 65g heavier at the hub. They will perform the same.

    To me this a no brainer - change the spec anyway those are my thoughts sorry it more options and differing advise -I know it can be confusing but it really isn't (I suppose I spend every day around/building wheels so that helps).

    Hope hubs are decent though they just cost a fair bit.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,535
    For what its worth, I agree with what the wheelbuilders here are saying - spending that much on spokes for those wheels is crazy. Personally I wouldnt go for alloy nipples that someone mentions though - seen too many break and they dont save alot of weight.

    I would imagine you save a heck of alot by getting the GP4000s from BikeDiscount.de too - much cheaper than any uk suppliers and get here pretty quick.

    The Archetype rim is really good - I love mine.

    Lots of people like the Novatec hub but on a budget build where it makes sense. It dont think it makes any sense on a premium wheel and spending as much is not more on spokes than the hub is bizarre.

    UGO that is posting here has done loads of wheel builds for people on bikeradar with nothing but good things to say about him. Not me personally - my wheelset was built by JustRidingAlong, which might be another option.
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    I have various wheels with either DT swiss competition spokes, Alipina spokes, Ambrosio (novatec) hubs, Hope Pro 3 hubs.

    All of these are excellent and I would see no benefit at all with CX rays or leightweight hubs.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • Thanks for all the really useful input folks, it's certainly food for thought, and certainly worth another look over the recommendations.
    Can anyone shed some light on something that's been confusing me? The archetype rims are 23mm wide I believe, in comparison to the 19mm of the IRD Aeros. One of the Archetypes selling points is that the extra width reduces rolling resistance, this seems counter intuitive to me though, I don't understand how having more tyre in contact with the road can reduce rolling resistance. Am I missing the point :? , or can someone explain why this is?
    Thanks :)
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    With these answers to the OP's quandary, I know who I would go for and get to build some wheels if I were in the same position. I do agree regarding the CX Rays. Overkill with the mentioned rims and hubs.
  • Thanks for all the really useful input folks, it's certainly food for thought, and certainly worth another look over the recommendations.
    Can anyone shed some light on something that's been confusing me? The archetype rims are 23mm wide I believe, in comparison to the 19mm of the IRD Aeros. One of the Archetypes selling points is that the extra width reduces rolling resistance, this seems counter intuitive to me though, I don't understand how having more tyre in contact with the road can reduce rolling resistance. Am I missing the point :? , or can someone explain why this is?
    Thanks :)

    Forget about the rolling resistance... a wider rim gives you a better/rounder tyre profile, which in turns results in much improved handling, especially on a twisty descent.
    The rolling resistance argument is based on the same principle: rounder tyre profile, better rolling resistance... but I have never noticed an actual gain in speed going from 20 to 23 mm wide rims. A rounder tyre is allegedly also more aerodynamic than a "bulb" shaped one, but again, you are looking at negligible numbers.
    The handling argument is tangible and you will notice it immediately
  • MarkjaspiMarkjaspi Posts: 729
    Sorry to intrude and not add anything for the OP, but my brother in law has been running novatec A291/F482 hubs for about 16 months with no major issues (fair weather cyclist), he's thinking the bearings need replacing though, can anybody point me in the direction of a good quality replacement for him?
    Cipollini Bond
    Pinarello GAN
  • Markjaspi wrote:
    Sorry to intrude and not add anything for the OP, but my brother in law has been running novatec A291/F482 hubs for about 16 months with no major issues (fair weather cyclist), he's thinking the bearings need replacing though, can anybody point me in the direction of a good quality replacement for him?

    Simply bearings

    Front 2x 20 x 9 x 6 mm
    Rear 1x 24 x 15 x 5 mm and 1x 28 x 15 x 7
  • MarkjaspiMarkjaspi Posts: 729
    Thx Ugo.
    Cipollini Bond
    Pinarello GAN
  • arlowoodarlowood Posts: 2,551
    Markjaspi wrote:
    Sorry to intrude and not add anything for the OP, but my brother in law has been running novatec A291/F482 hubs for about 16 months with no major issues (fair weather cyclist), he's thinking the bearings need replacing though, can anybody point me in the direction of a good quality replacement for him?

    Again apologies to OP but would like to draw yr attention to my recent experience replacing the bearings on my rear Novatec F482SB hub. Simply Bearings is a good source for replacements - I bought the SKF ones - a bit more expensive but excellent quality.

    viewtopic.php?f=40004&t=12933141&p=18457044&hilit=Novatec#p18457044

    There was also a much earlier thread on replacing the front bearings which might be a help:-

    viewtopic.php?f=40004&t=12903222
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Alloy nipples are not created equal. Sapim alloy nipples seem very strong and so long as the spokes are not too short the sapim one hold up well even in off road use. Sapim use a 7075 alloy and are anodisied for corrosion resistance some alloy nipples are made from different alloy like a 2000 series which will crack.

    I would not use them if they did not work in the real world. Still they are mostly used to add colour not to save weight.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Thanks for your help on this folks. I think I realise now that I've been approaching this from the wrong direction and should be looking at this from a hub first perspective, so I spent a good proportion of my lunch today going round in circles looking at various hubs options. Think I'm now more confused than ever :?
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,990
    Give Wheelsmith a call and have a chat with him.
    Insta: ATEnduranceCoaching
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • djhermerdjhermer Posts: 328
    NapoleonD wrote:
    Give Wheelsmith a call and have a chat with him.

    I second that. Derek is a good bloke and knows his stuff. For the record i have his crappy Taiwanese hubs in a set on Racelights. They've covered well over 3000 miles this year - in all weathers too since they were put onto my commuter. Not a single problem with the hubs yet. As part of a general good all-rounder at a good price (my Racelights were just over £400) i think you'll be more than satisfied with the WS hubs.
  • fish156fish156 Posts: 496
    FWIW, I train and road race on wheelsets built by Strada. I'm happy with both builds.
  • NapoleonD wrote:
    Give Wheelsmith a call and have a chat with him.
    djhermer wrote:
    NapoleonD wrote:
    Give Wheelsmith a call and have a chat with him.

    I second that. Derek is a good bloke and knows his stuff. For the record i have his crappy Taiwanese hubs in a set on Racelights. They've covered well over 3000 miles this year - in all weathers too since they were put onto my commuter. Not a single problem with the hubs yet. As part of a general good all-rounder at a good price (my Racelights were just over £400) i think you'll be more than satisfied with the WS hubs.
    fish156 wrote:

    FWIW, I train and road race on wheelsets built by Strada. I'm happy with both builds.

    Thanks all, I think you're all right. I could spend weeks 'researching' without getting any the wiser given that I'm not really sure what's good or bad :oops: Time to just get in touch with someone and get some wheels made! Things were much simpler pre t'internet - too much choice and information out there these days :D
  • Things were much simpler pre t'internet - too much choice and information out there these days :D

    Thats so true! Have a chat with Just Riding Along as well, they do build Archetype on Hope PRO 3 and I've got the feeling they'll do you a better deal... and I have had a few of their wheels in the past to check... they are very well built
  • Things were much simpler pre t'internet - too much choice and information out there these days :D

    Thats so true! Have a chat with Just Riding Along as well, they do build Archetype on Hope PRO 3 and I've got the feeling they'll do you a better deal... and I have had a few of their wheels in the past to check... they are very well built

    Thanks Ugo, will do :)
  • MarkjaspiMarkjaspi Posts: 729
    arlowood wrote:
    Markjaspi wrote:
    Sorry to intrude and not add anything for the OP, but my brother in law has been running novatec A291/F482 hubs for about 16 months with no major issues (fair weather cyclist), he's thinking the bearings need replacing though, can anybody point me in the direction of a good quality replacement for him?

    Again apologies to OP but would like to draw yr attention to my recent experience replacing the bearings on my rear Novatec F482SB hub. Simply Bearings is a good source for replacements - I bought the SKF ones - a bit more expensive but excellent quality.

    viewtopic.php?f=40004&t=12933141&p=18457044&hilit=Novatec#p18457044

    There was also a much earlier thread on replacing the front bearings which might be a help:-

    viewtopic.php?f=40004&t=12903222

    Thx mate I will send him a link to this, I really appreciate it.
    Cipollini Bond
    Pinarello GAN
  • Things were much simpler pre t'internet - too much choice and information out there these days :D

    Thats so true! Have a chat with Just Riding Along as well, they do build Archetype on Hope PRO 3 and I've got the feeling they'll do you a better deal... and I have had a few of their wheels in the past to check... they are very well built

    Thanks Ugo, will do :)

    http://www.justridingalong.com/custom-h ... -rims.html

    These look pretty damn suitable. Loads of other off the shelf or custom options available though. I would certainly echo comments about quality hubs and forgetting cx-rays. I was once blinded by them but have recently seen the light in terms or what is more important wheel wise. After having a spoke nipple break in the past I never want to sacrifice durability again, so a couple more spokes is always a decent idea as well. Good luck choosing, it's a minefield :!:
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Every builder will give you slightly different options but look at this ways both I wheelsmith and strada have suggest overal the same sort of thing the difference is I do not have my own brand hubs they do and both strada and wheelsmith have suggested CX-ray which are neither of benefit or hiderance over Laser spokes. So ultimatley the choice comes down to who you trust to build your wheels. Only you can make that decision.

    However the one thing I will say id do not give a wheel builder a budget describe your needs and let your needs dictate the spec you may find differering specs coming that way or not depending on your needs. The temptation with giving a sum of money to spend is you get quoted that. I am not saying that wheelsmith and strada have done that they may feel that the wheels they have quoted are the best option. Again differing opinions on a similar sort of thing.

    Also choosing wheels is not a minefield, it just that there is choice. Think about what you logically and let that guide you to the best choice. Also there will be more than one wheelset that will meet your needs so one may not be "better" than the other and that removes the mine field.

    As rules of thumb 24 spoke front and 28 spoke rear at your weight will work with most rims and Laser spokes or other thin gauage spokes. A very stiff rim like the XR-300 or similar would be needed for a lower spoke count but lower spoke count always scarfise a bit of reliability for a small gain in aerodynamics. You pay your money and make your choice.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • If your current wheel set is OK for general riding, wouldn't you be better off getting a pair of deep section wheels for your duathlons?
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    low spoke count helps aerodynamics alot and a 30mm deep rim is about as much as you can go with an alloy clincher without ending up with a really heavy rim.

    Deep section carbon rims on something like Miche hubs are a possibility too but that is starting to get expensive.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Camcycle1974Camcycle1974 Posts: 1,356
    Hi Folks,

    After soaking up all your advice anonymously for the last few months, this is my first real post, so please go easy on me :)
    I'm looking for a little assistance if possible please? I've been a runner for some years, and have recently started taking on a few duathlon's. (Sprint distance only at this stage). The bike I have only cost £1k (Giant Defy 1) so I'm conscious of spending a huge amount, but would be happy around the £500 (including tyres!) for a wheelset upgrade. Bearing in mind that the bike is multi purpose and gets used for rides out with the kids as well!
    Other useful info:
    Weight: 78 kg and falling, under 75 kg is the target.
    Average speed: 10 mile TT currently 22mph, longer distances 16-20mph depending how hilly but getting faster all the time :D
    After reading these forums at length I've pretty much decided to go down the hand built route rather just buying a set of Ksyrium Elites. I've approached both Strada and Wheelsmith for advice and have been provided with the following recommendations/quotes:
    Wheelsmith: IRD Aero rims/Wheelsmith hubs/CX-Ray spokes/schwalbe ultremo ZX tyres/20-24 drilling - £498
    Strada: H Plus Son Archetype rims/Novatec Superlight Hubs/CX-Ray spokes/Continental GP4000s tyres/24-28 drilling -£490
    I'm now stuck and don't know which way to go :oops: so would be interested in any thoughts on which would be preferable and why? Please no more alternatives though it's taken long enough to get to this stage, and don't want to confuse things again :lol:

    Thanks in advance for your help and advice.

    To put it in perspective my Archetype build came in at £370 for a 28/32 build with Sapim Race spokes. The front hub is a Novatec 172, the rear a more expensive hub I got seduced into buying. Had I gone with the Novatec rear I would have saved about £70 so the wheels could be had for about £300. £500 is way too much and would only be applicable if you specced more expensive hubs. Dura Ace or Hope for example. If I were doing it again I would go lower spoke count 20/24 and Novatec hubs and expect to pay less than £300.
  • djhermer wrote:
    NapoleonD wrote:
    Give Wheelsmith a call and have a chat with him.

    I second that. Derek is a good bloke and knows his stuff. For the record i have his crappy Taiwanese hubs in a set on Racelights. They've covered well over 3000 miles this year - in all weathers too since they were put onto my commuter. Not a single problem with the hubs yet. As part of a general good all-rounder at a good price (my Racelights were just over £400) i think you'll be more than satisfied with the WS hubs.

    See, I just don't get the fondness for Wheelsmith. Anytime I have contacted the guy either by Email or Phone with regard to buying stuff I have been given the distinct impression he couldn't care less about my custom.
    The first time I rang him he was less than friendly and not at all helpful. Months later after putting the previous experience down to a bad day at the office I emailed him to ask if it would be ok to call in to the workshop briefly to discuss my requirements he replied saying that it wouldn't be convenient.
    I wouldn't mind but he specifically states on the website that "Initial contact is best via phone or email but there is a warm welcome waiting if you want to pop by and check out the workshop!"

    Now I know that many UK wheel builders are small scale often one man outfits that can be busy but I have never felt as unwelcome at other manufacturers I enquired at. Ended up getting a set of Archetypes from http://www.spokesmanwheels.co.uk/ who couldn't help enough.
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