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Lightweight handbuilts vs Chinese carbon wheel-set

RobinB2RobinB2 Posts: 111
edited November 2013 in Road buying advice
I currently have a set of Easton EA50 wheels on my Cube Agree. After my LBS had sorted out some initial spoke tension issues, these roll reasonably well on flat ground but feel very sluggish going up hills. Most of my riding is around the Peak district, with the occasional sportive and Alpine pass when I can. I weigh around 68 Kg

I am looking to upgrade the wheels to some better hill climbing wheels and had just about settled on some handbuilts (something like Stans No Tubes 340 rims, Sapim spokes and Ultegra hubs) that I could probably get for under £500 and weighing around 1400 - 1500g.

However, I am intrigued by various 'aero' 38 mm rim depth carbon wheels from the likes of Carbonzone etc which would be slightly cheaper but in the same ballpark in terms of weight

Disregarding the risks and quality issues around buying Chinese carbon wheels (lots of other threads seem to cover this in great detail!) - I'd much appreciate any feedback around the relative performance comparisons between lightweight handbuilts and a 30 - 40 mm rim depth carbon wheel (and indeed any comparisons to my current Eastons)

Posts

  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    I bought a pair of 38mm carbon tubs from Speedcarbon11 via Ebay and have been very happy with them. In comparison with the Mavic Cosmic 50mm clinchers I had on before, the finish is excellent, they run very straight, are very light and feel solid. Climbing is quicker for me and side gusts not so troublesome. There feels to be less drag but that may be down to the tub tyres more than anything. I know this isn't about durability or standards, but having ridden them over a fair few bumpy roads, nothing has shaken itself loose or cracked. Caronzone are a similarly trustworthy company from what others have said as is Yishunbike.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Dude - I have 50mm carbon clinchers and tubs from China. I've also got a set of 20mm carbon tubs. I rarely use them in comparison to my lightweight handbuilts. Most of the hills I climb (in the UK) have patchy, twisty downhills that I am often doing in rain - in those instances, I would much rather have reliable breaking than 5 secs advantage going uphill....
  • RobinB2RobinB2 Posts: 111
    Reliable breaking - isn't that what cheap carbon is all about ? (Sorry - couldn't resist!)

    But seriously, thanks for the responses - suspect I'll go for the handbuilts but there's still a sneaking doubt
  • I bought some 38mm tubular rims from China and had them built up on some Planet X hubs.

    They weighed less than my ENVE's (sub 1300g) and rode 95% as well.

    I'd stay clear of carbon clinchers - saw a lot of top brand ones fail on Ventoux this year but if you want tubs they are great value for money.

    They cost me just over £400 built.
  • The climbing wheels upgrade is a bit of a myth and a lot of nonsense. Unless you are a regular "hill climber" and need this handful of seconds badly, you have to remember that typically what you gain going up, you lose going down... and it's not about the weight, it's about wheels that don't give you enough confidence to bomb downhill... whether is the poor braking or the poor rim/tyre behaviour on the bends, you can lose 4-5 minutes going down the Galibier for lack of confidence and I am not sure a super light wheelset will grant you 5 minutes going up.
    Given going down is a lot more fun than going up (unless you have some masochistic tendencies), I would prioritise a set of wheels that give you great cornering and great braking.

    Both point in the direction of a 23-25 mm wide rim with good braking surface. If you want factory wheels that means HED Ardennes, while if you want something bespoke, that means one rim between A 23, Archetype, HED belgium or Pacenti CL 23. Your budget decides what is best for you.
    Definitively I would not bother with Chinese clinchers as climbing wheels in the same way as I would not bother with sausages and cheese as staple diet to cut cholesterol... capisc? :wink:
  • capisc?

    New language you've made up ?
  • c40nl12 wrote:
    capisc?

    New language you've made up ?

    You must have seen the Godfather at least once...
  • you will be better going for some Pro Lite Braccianos or Shimano RS80's both in the 1450-1500 grange. Both well tested.

    + dont know what aero will do on a hill apart from blow you sideways.

    +carbon brake surface + more reliable machines aluminium will be better if you do a lot of hilly areas (downhills)
  • c40nl12 wrote:
    capisc?

    New language you've made up ?

    You must have seen the Godfather at least once...

    maybe he just means the spelling - it's capisce

    from wiki :Usage notes
    Often used in a threatening manner, in imitation of the Italian Mafia (or rather, the way the Mafia is portrayed in movies and other pop culture).
  • hibster wrote:
    c40nl12 wrote:
    capisc?

    New language you've made up ?

    You must have seen the Godfather at least once...

    maybe he just means the spelling - it's capisce

    from wiki :Usage notes
    Often used in a threatening manner, in imitation of the Italian Mafia (or rather, the way the Mafia is portrayed in movies and other pop culture).

    Thanks for teaching me Italian... it's actually capisci the second singular, capisce is third singular... here I wanted to be to clever... nvermind... :roll:
  • From experience using cheap carbons on Alp passes is not a good idea i rode all spring summer with no issues on gigantex rims and then in italy on a 6500ft descent melted my rims , now these were not cheapy rims , but the rear blistered and warped with the tyres just hanging on , i am very lucky to have not spilled but i noticed a rubbing sound and slowed down tapping brakes like ABS ( more so than before) just to get me home.this also ruined my holiday as it was the only wheels i had. stick to alloy rims for mountains , i have just convert back to Fulcrum Zero's again and will be flying on descents without fear of death. after all that's the only KOMs i have.
    the only rims that seem to not have this heat issue is IMHO zipps and Enve ,oh and also Mavic 40's . Their will be others but not cheap options.
    last month wilier gt -this month ? bh rc1
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    My lightweight clinchers are no quicker up hills than my slightly heavier wheels well that's how they feel. The difference a 300g makes is very small.

    Carbon clincher rims were never ever meant for long alpine decents. I would not use them for that. I am not sure I would trust Enve rims on a decent where I had to brake alot. It is an expensive rim to loose.

    Ugo I like climbing as much as I like decending perhaps more there is a bigger sense of achievement, I think that make me well I won't say normal.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
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