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Tubulars - high-end handbuilt v carbon

ClaudeHClaudeH Posts: 78
edited October 2013 in Road buying advice
I currently have a Focus Izalco Team witrh Ksryrium SL clinchers. I have decided that I want to get a pair of tubular wheels as well and would welcome some advice. Background is:

1) I do a mixture of solo and group rides (30 - 90 miles) around Hertfordshire / Essex generally average 19 - 22 mph with my eye on the Marmotte / simialr for next year
2) I weigh 73kg
3) I don't want deep-rim. I really can't see any benefit for me.
4) I will spend up to £1,500 (obviously I don't have to spend that amount if I don't need to)
5) I want something light and strong although it doesn't need to be "bomb proof"

Up to now I have been thinking along the lines of the Reynolds Thirty Two (have these been discontinued?) or similar but I keep wondering what I am getting that I wouldn't get with an alloy handbuilt set (other than worse braking!). It seems that with handbuilt tubulars there aren't really that many options, other than the choice of hubs.

I would be grateful for any thoughts.

Posts

  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    I have these by Pete Matthews - Pianni sprint rims, Hope Pro 3 hubs and Alpina spokes
    9149845987_8a154c391d_z_d.jpg


    Ugo has these which I really like. Ambrosio Nemesis rims, not sure on hub and spokes.
    9149999123_caf2e7cc9a_z_d.jpg
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • ClaudeH wrote:
    It seems that with handbuilt tubulars there aren't really that many options, other than the choice of hubs.

    I would be grateful for any thoughts.

    You are right, there are very few alloy tubular rims on the market... as PRO don't use them anymore.
    The ones worth riding are Ambrosio Nemesis (the lighter Formula 20 Crono are a bit of a letdown... I did replace mine after a few months as I was not convinced); Kinlin TB 25 (a cheap rim that does the job well) and Velocity Escape (never built it, but heard good things)... that's pretty much it. I wouldn't say the Nemesis are the rims for the Marmotte (although the braking is excellent and descending is great)... they are great with 25-27 mm tubs on any battered road... would I spend big money on some Kinlin rims with posh hubs? Probably not... the finish on the Kinlins is somewhat pedestrian... I normally pair them with Novatec hubs for budget builds.
    That leaves velocity Escape as the only option if you want something light built on nice hubs... Dura ace hubs are probably the dogs in that respect..
  • Ber NardBer Nard Posts: 827
    the lighter Formula 20 Crono are a bit of a letdown... I did replace mine after a few months as I was not convinced

    Out of interest, what didn't you like about them? I've had a pair built up a couple of months ago but haven't put a decent amount of miles on them yet. On the face of it, they seem to have built in to nice, reasonably light wheels.

    Rob
  • Ber Nard wrote:
    the lighter Formula 20 Crono are a bit of a letdown... I did replace mine after a few months as I was not convinced

    Out of interest, what didn't you like about them? I've had a pair built up a couple of months ago but haven't put a decent amount of miles on them yet. On the face of it, they seem to have built in to nice, reasonably light wheels.

    Rob

    A few things: I have the Nemesis too, which are massively stiffer for a small weight penalty. I never managed to climb faster with the Crono than I did with the nemesis, hence they were a bit pointless. Also, I never felt confident to built them with high tension, as they are very weak and having two of them cracked at the eyelets in my rear yard (other's, not mine) made me very conservative with the tension on those rims.
    Moral is I am not convinced they are any good in today's market. Most rims 20-30 years ago were like that and people built them as 36 holes accordingly... these days rims are stiffer and the Crono are a bit obsolete. 32 rear might be just OK, but the 28 I had was way too bendy... in essence the Nemesis look beeter and are better in every way.
    I have now replaced them with a set of Campagnolo Omega V from the early 90s... which are faster, stiffer, although the braking track is... well, there isn't one. I use them for TTs and general fast short riding and they are much better in every way, except braking
  • ClaudeHClaudeH Posts: 78
    smidsy wrote:
    I have these by Pete Matthews - Pianni sprint rims, Hope Pro 3 hubs and Alpina spokes




    Ugo has these which I really like. Ambrosio Nemesis rims, not sure on hub and spokes.

    Both sets look great. I suppose the question is what do these have (or lack) that a set of low-profile carbon tubulars lack (or have). I suppose obvious areas are weight and stiffness (maybe comfort). I am happy to ignore the cost difference for the time being.
  • ClaudeH wrote:
    Both sets look great. I suppose the question is what do these have (or lack) that a set of low-profile carbon tubulars lack (or have). I suppose obvious areas are weight and stiffness (maybe comfort). I am happy to ignore the cost difference for the time being.

    The Nemesis is in my books the best thing since sliced bread, although it's not everyone's thing. It only comes as 32 and 36 holes, so realistically you will never build it into something under 1700 grams, if you want to preserve its qualities (strength and stiffness). Some build them with CX ray spokes, but I really fail to see the point of using expensive aero spokes on a sardine tin shaped rim.
    The anodised track while it lasts (and it lasts a few thousand miles) makes the braking sharp and effective, although it grinds your pads faster.
    The rim bed is quite wide, 20.5-21 mm I seem to recall, which means you can fit a wide range of tubulars. I use them with 27 mm ones, but I have used 23 ones and they were sitting just as nicely.

    I suspect the Pianni, like my V shaped Omega is not the sharpest rim when it comes to braking

    Shallow carbon tubulars haven't got much to offer, other than a moderately reduced weight (about 100 grams per rim like for like).
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    The Pianni rims do not have a machined brake track so as Ugo rightly suggests they are not as effective in the stropping stakes.

    They are perfectly adequate and do stop (although I have a brake squeal issue at the moment), so if you are one for a lot of fast decents you need to get used to them.

    What thay are very good at though is getting up to and holding speed, and they are nicely stiff without being harsh (like say a Mavic Kysrium would be). The ride is defintiley plusher than my Ambrosio Excelight rims for example.

    Fairly light too.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    I have some Ambrosio Crono's laced to DA hubs and while they are a little flexy I'm very happy with them. I'll keep an eye out for cracking eyelets though as I avoided Mavic Reflex's because they have a reputation for exactly that.

    I'll be replacing another set of rims soon though and plan on putting Velocity Escapes on. Like Ugo I've heard pretty good things about them and if they come in on weight (390g) they'll make for a very light wheelset as well. Machined brake surfaces too unlike the Ambrosio's and the Pianni's.
  • Diamant49Diamant49 Posts: 101
    I have both Ambrosio F20 Chrono and Nemesis on Campag Record hubs - so 32 spoke F&R. I haven't noticed any flex with the Chronos (at least I have no brake rub and don't have to adjust the brake setup when swapping out, its set at 2-3mm clearance). So at 32 spokes they are ok for me (77Kg and not putting down as much power as I used to....).

    However, as Ugo says, I don't notice much difference in speed between them - the Nemesis are my default set as a result and I run them with 27mm Vittoria Paves and they are really nice (especially for our less than perfect Northern Irish roads). If I had to choose a single set of wheels these would be it - and I will probably use Nemesis to replace the Mavic GP4s on my mid-eighties bike, though the Velocity are definitely interesting me as well....
  • ClaudeHClaudeH Posts: 78
    ClaudeH wrote:
    Both sets look great. I suppose the question is what do these have (or lack) that a set of low-profile carbon tubulars lack (or have). I suppose obvious areas are weight and stiffness (maybe comfort). I am happy to ignore the cost difference for the time being.

    The Nemesis is in my books the best thing since sliced bread, although it's not everyone's thing. It only comes as 32 and 36 holes, so realistically you will never build it into something under 1700 grams, if you want to preserve its qualities (strength and stiffness).


    Ugo

    On your blog you say: " 38 mm tubular rims can be easily built at just over 1 kg for the pair for reasonable money and lower profile ones can even safely build at under 1 Kg." Weight is not everything but how would one get from the 1700 grams above to "just over 1kg"?
  • majormantramajormantra Posts: 2,094
    Because 38mm rims would be carbon? It's the Nemesis that builds to ~1700g. It's not a super heavy rim, but it's also not particularly light.
  • ClaudeH wrote:
    Ugo

    On your blog you say: " 38 mm tubular rims can be easily built at just over 1 kg for the pair for reasonable money and lower profile ones can even safely build at under 1 Kg." Weight is not everything but how would one get from the 1700 grams above to "just over 1kg"?

    Gigantex 38 mm carbon tubulars weigh just over 300 grams each... use 44 (24 + 20) Sapim CX Ray, alloy nipples and a set of hubs that weighs 280 grams and you've got 1100 grams, give or take... not that I am endorsing such a build or interested to build such wheels... if you were to win pocket money from street racing they would make sense, otherwise no ROI (return on investment that is)... no point really
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I also love the Nemesis. My pair are built onto Dura Ace 7403 hubs but even though I have used Laser spokes except DS rear which has Race spokes they still weigh 1900g.

    The rims are 490g each or thereabouts so even with DA hubs they will weigh 1750g for a 32 spoke build with laser's front and NDS rear and comps/race DS rear. I also use them with Vittoria Pave tyres comfortable sand they brake well.

    The chrono rims work for light riders not too sure about them for those much over 80kg. I have been to build myself a set but they are 380g not the 340g that is advertised.

    The velocity escape rims are only available in 24H and 28H drilling in the U.K so again given there light weight nature they are suited to lighter riders.

    The velocity Major Tom has not been mentioned. This is an excellent rim and about 440-450g and it is available in all drillings. So the tubular rims I like are the major tom and the Nemesis.

    A Major Tom build for the OP in 24H/28H with DA 9000 hubs, Sapim Laser spokes and brass nipples would weigh ~1550g and with alloy nipple weight would be 1520g. If Race spokes are used on the DS rear to increase stiifness add about 20g. The best thing is it won't cost £1500. That the alloy rim I woulds suggest.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.

  • The velocity escape rims are only available in 24H and 28H drilling in the U.K so again given there light weight nature they are suited to lighter riders.

    The velocity Major Tom has not been mentioned. This is an excellent rim and about 440-450g and it is available in all drillings. So the tubular rims I like are the major tom and the Nemesis.

    Escape should be fine, it's a V rim, hence a lot stiffer than an equivalent box section. My Omega V are stiff enough as 24 H and 370 grams each, much stiffer than Crono at 28 and similar weight.

    Major Tom is a bit too wide for 23 mm tubs, you need at least 27 and it's meant to be fitted with 32 mm CX tubs
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Nowt wrong with a 27mm tubs though is there My Pave come up at 25.5mm so they will cover the rim and there might be clearance in the rim. Also for herts/essex roads/lanes Pave tubs will do just fine.

    I agree the escape is siffer than the chrono but I still would not think it is for 90 kg riders. For the OP though I forgot he was so light the Escape will work well.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    I suspect I'm OK on my Crono's as I'm under 70kg at my tubbiest.

    Bad news on the Escapes though. I've just been told by Brick Lane Bikes that they've been discontinued and I haven't been able to find any 28 hole rims (with machined sidewalls) anywhere.

    That leaves the Kinlin TB25 at around 425g but I suspect that even with Kinlin's good reputation they're not a patch on the build quality of other rims. Course, you have to balance that with them being dirt cheap ($40 on BikeHubStore is cheap even after you've imported them).

    Any options other than the TB25 or Crono for a 28 hole (f&r) build? Reflex's presumably are achieveable through a builder but are there other options?
  • I suspect I'm OK on my Crono's as I'm under 70kg at my tubbiest.

    Bad news on the Escapes though. I've just been told by Brick Lane Bikes that they've been discontinued and I haven't been able to find any 28 hole rims (with machined sidewalls) anywhere.

    That leaves the Kinlin TB25 at around 425g but I suspect that even with Kinlin's good reputation they're not a patch on the build quality of other rims. Course, you have to balance that with them being dirt cheap ($40 on BikeHubStore is cheap even after you've imported them).

    Any options other than the TB25 or Crono for a 28 hole (f&r) build? Reflex's presumably are achieveable through a builder but are there other options?

    I did look into that for obvious reasons and no... I can't find anything else. H plus Son was potentially interested in coming out with one, but I have not seen anything yet and it might not happen. The thing is the tubular market is driven by races and nobody races on alloy tubulars anymore... so the perceived market is very limited.
    That could all change if Cancellara's rims burst into shards of carbon fibre at next year's Paris-Roubaix just in front of the cameras... :twisted:
  • majormantramajormantra Posts: 2,094
    There's a minority of CXers using alu tub rims but I suspect that once everyone moves to discs, that market will largely disappear too.

    Aesthetically I'm still fond of Reflexes but their reputation for cracking doesn't make them very appealing.

  • That leaves the Kinlin TB25 at around 425g but I suspect that even with Kinlin's good reputation they're not a patch on the build quality of other rims. Course, you have to balance that with them being dirt cheap ($40 on BikeHubStore is cheap even after you've imported them).

    You don't need to import them form the USA...

    http://www.sdeals.com/oscommerce/produc ... cts_id/479
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