Handbuilt wheels... the big thread

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mlgt
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Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby mlgt » Wed Mar 04, 2015 09:55 am

I was wondering if anyone can share some experience with hand builts?
(I may have opened a can of worms apologies)

I've been planning to upgrade my wheels to something like a DA C24 over my 4 year old Mavic Ksyrium SLs.
But with budget reasons still been pondering for half the year :D
I am partially sold on these, but would still like to explore.

However searching on the bike forum, when you ask for advice or thoughts on wheelsets, some responses are "Go get hand built."
If so what would be a similar setup to something like the DA C24's?

I can totally understand the reasoning's behind this but wanted to see if anyone has gone handbuilts route but also thought about buying standard wheelsets such as Fulcrum, Mavic, chinese carbon etc?
Do you feel better with them or extended benefit?

I would say my budget is around £500 and I 70% of the time is used for commuting, but enjoy some mileage on the charity rides. Weightwise I flit between 83-84kg.

I am planning to drop a little more weight as a year back I was at 89kg. But am to keep it consistant.

Happy for any comments and advice as ever.

Thanks in advance :)
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ugo.santalucia
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby ugo.santalucia » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:26 am

I'll try to keep it short

Most of the times you will buy a set of DA 24 and you will be happy ever after (until the rims wear out that is). Other times you will crash and disintegrate the rim, then you wish you had gone for handbuilts...

Realistically on DA 24 wheels only minor repairs are possible (a busted spoke for instance)... for anything major you will struggle with the absence of spares and the staggering cost of those available.

The most annoying thing of all is that for most wheelsets you won't even be able to buy one wheel only... so if you crash, you might as well smash both wheels, as it makes very little difference

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Spudboy
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby Spudboy » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:20 pm

70% of the time commuting? I suspect you know where your £500 should go. Whether you can get over the fact that handbuilt wheels may not look as 'bling' as factory wheels is another matter and will probably be the deciding factor.

To answer your question I prefer my handbuilts over factory wheels I've ridden and have never regretted my decision.

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Bobbinogs
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby Bobbinogs » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:38 pm

Yepp, I think a lot comes down to wear and tear...the amount of cash in your pocket, and what you fancy!

Fundamentally, a good set of wheels (well built, with good components and suitable for the usage intended) is a good set, irrespective of whether they are handbuilt or factory and the same goes for a bad set.

It can be really galling to buy a lovely set of factory wheels only to have to throw them away for a minor issue (like a spoke repair, which can happen) or simply because one rim has worn out and, as Ugo, states, rebuilds are either impossible or totally uneconomic. Spend £500 on some DA wheels and then have to throw them away 2 years later and you will get to understand that issue. However, the concept of VFM and the morality of vacuous consumerism are both subjective issues (and probably not applicable to a demographic group that entirely consists of middle age dentists, allegedly :wink: ).

Folks often mention spoke count but that can be a red herring. The perception is that all handbuilts are made up with 36 spokes on a front wheel and that every factory wheel only has 16 spokes on a rear, both scenarios exist but that doesn't cover all wheels.

FWIW, I have some handbuilts (Excellight rims, Record hubs and DT Swiss spokes) that are well built and great for my needs. When a rim wears or a spoke pings I shall simply replace that bit. I also had some great RS80's, but when the rims wore out I had to bin them...although I would happily buy them again tomorrow (if I had the cash and hadn't bought some blinking Zondas...but that's another story).

mlgt
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby mlgt » Wed Mar 04, 2015 14:17 pm

Thanks for the comments so far. I had contacted Ugo last year about wheels, but my thinking and style of riding has changed. As has my weight.

In regards to the red herring and perceptions of handbuilts I know it can be swings and roundabouts. The fact that when wheels wear out and having to bin them is always a concern when it come to VFM.

The comments from Bob echo what my concerns were, but as ever the other devil on my shoulder is saying go get the bling wheels. Its always the case right?

I think after doing some more research based on potential builds, I have a better understanding on some builds that will tick boxes for me.

On another question is that I have DTSwiss R23 spline wheelset which is actually perfectly fine for what I am using it for, but felt for some reason upgrading these to C24 or similar will give me a more comfy and beneficial ride.

Would these in a way compare to a to a similar priced hand built wheel. Given that these retail for around £300.

I find R23's quite comfy and being able to put on 25mm tyres on them and run a slightly lower psi means I have great grip and feel somewhat safe.

Am I just being silly in spending extra money?? Now Ive gone almost full circle and feel like I might be wasting peoples time :(
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby thecycleclinic » Wed Mar 04, 2015 14:43 pm

Ride comfort is such a subjective thing giving any advise on it could be contratictory to others experience.

Tyre width, tyre pressure and tyre casiing TPI has a bigger impact on ride comfort than the wheel can.

Anything over £300 with wheels is buying dimishing returns. You can have a handbuilt wheelset that will serve your needs very well for that. You can have a factory wheelset also but don't bother with any serious repairs as its not worth it. Spend more if you like but if you are mainly using the wheels for commuting well I wouldn't as I would want a set of rims which don't cost alot and a set of hubs that require minimal servicing and don't cost alot. That there elimates quite alot of kit at a stroke. Or simply ride your DT Swiss wheels into the ground. The one up side to handbuilts is the use of a wider rim but fulcrum now have the racing 7 and racing 5 in a wider rim on a good reliable hub for not a huge sum of money. Wider rims take care of ride comfort quite well.
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby MrB123 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 15:13 pm

I think the DT Swiss R23s have a wider rim anyway.

mlgt
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby mlgt » Wed Mar 04, 2015 15:34 pm

MrB123 wrote:I think the DT Swiss R23s have a wider rim anyway.


I believe they are 18 internal and 23 external. These came with the Canyon Endurace.
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MrB123
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby MrB123 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 15:41 pm

23mm external width is the same as the Fulcrum Racing 5 and 7 LG models which are sold as having wider than standard rims.

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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby ugo.santalucia » Wed Mar 04, 2015 16:05 pm

Think tubeless

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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby itboffin » Wed Mar 04, 2015 18:49 pm

if not a set of handbuilt then Zondas all the way
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby ugo.santalucia » Wed Mar 04, 2015 20:08 pm

I don't understand why people are prepared to spend that kind of money on the DA... they are fairly standard wheels, in all identical to the cheaper RS 81, which are in all similar to something anyone can make at home out of good hubs and some generic shallow rims. But of course the DA have all the drawbacks as above.

If you go for something like Fulcrum Zero, at least you can say you have something which cannot be replicated by a bloke in a garage out of budget components.

Does it make sense?

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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby MisterMuncher » Wed Mar 04, 2015 20:21 pm

I would find factory DA's particularly galling, given DA hubs (And Ultegra, for that) will run forever if given a modicum of care. To have a pair unusable in any pragmatic sense when the rims give out would put me round the twist.

I've said it before, but it beats the hell out of me why rim producers, particularly those from the land of no copyright, don't produce compatibly drilled rims for the major high end factory wheelsets.

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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby ugo.santalucia » Wed Mar 04, 2015 20:27 pm

MisterMuncher wrote:I've said it before, but it beats the hell out of me why rim producers, particularly those from the land of no copyright, don't produce compatibly drilled rims for the major high end factory wheelsets.


I think you can use A DT Swiss RR 440 20 H as a rear for Shimano RS 80/81 and Dura Ace CL 24... for the front not much

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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby MisterMuncher » Wed Mar 04, 2015 20:33 pm

Yeah, and then you can't buy singles for the most part, so you're stuffed again. It's just plain silly.

If I were a rim importer, I'd be on the phone to China re: drillings, batching up spokes and selling rebuild kits.

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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby northpole » Wed Mar 04, 2015 21:57 pm

Another way to look at this may be to ask yourself, what if your Mavic wheels were hand builts, same age and mileage, would the idea of fitting new rims appeal or would you likely be keen to get a new set of wheels? I suspect more often than not, folks like the idea of a change after a period of time. Others are more practicable.

As I've mentioned probably too often on here, I've just retired my DA wheels due to worn out rims with the hubs still working fine and the wheels running true as the day I got them - in 2006 and used for most of that time on the daily commute. A nasty prang could have changed all that at any time - maybe I've just been very lucky with these wheels.

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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby thecycleclinic » Wed Mar 04, 2015 23:19 pm

Rebuilding c24 wheels with chinese carbon rims is actually cost effective. Cheaper than a set if c50s getting the straight pull spokes is a bit of a pain but it is doable.

So the dt swis 23 spline must be based on the r460 rim then. I think the op should stick with his current wheels unless there is something wrkng with them.
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby ugo.santalucia » Thu Mar 05, 2015 06:51 am

northpole wrote:Another way to look at this may be to ask yourself, what if your Mavic wheels were hand builts, same age and mileage, would the idea of fitting new rims appeal or would you likely be keen to get a new set of wheels? I suspect more often than not, folks like the idea of a change after a period of time. Others are more practicable.

As I've mentioned probably too often on here, I've just retired my DA wheels due to worn out rims with the hubs still working fine and the wheels running true as the day I got them - in 2006 and used for most of that time on the daily commute. A nasty prang could have changed all that at any time - maybe I've just been very lucky with these wheels.

Peter


Totally, if you get 4-5 years out of them, the purchase was completely worth it... but then again, you might crash them one week after purchase... Shimano don't do you any deal, Mavic do if you buy into their crash replacement program (which nobody looking for the cheapest price does)

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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby Bar Shaker » Thu Mar 05, 2015 09:27 am

I think of factory wheels as racehorses and hand built wheels as camels. Both have their place... decide which you want.

I personally never buy anything asking "if I smash it up how hard will it be to replace?" If we did, who would buy carbon frames costing thousands of pounds?

In fact if we did ask that, we would all be riding camels and none of us would know what it was like to ride a race horse.
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ugo.santalucia
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Re: Handbuilts vs off the shelf branded wheelsets

Postby ugo.santalucia » Thu Mar 05, 2015 09:34 am

Bar Shaker wrote:I think of factory wheels as racehorses and hand built wheels as camels. Both have their place... decide which you want.

I personally never buy anything asking "if I smash it up how hard will it be to replace?" If we did, who would buy carbon frames costing thousands of pounds?

In fact if we did ask that, we would all be riding camels and none of us would know what it was like to ride a race horse.


Your comparison is of course misleading... Enve are hand built and so are Zipp, among others. The only real difference is if you are buying a wheel that is sold in the absence of spares or one that is sold as an assembly of components that can be purchased individually. In fact in Italy they are not called hand builts, but "assembled", which I think is the correct term, as hand built means nothing.

Frames can be repaired, even carbon fibre ones, at a cost that is well competitive with the purchase of a new one. Many factory wheels cannot be repaired at a competitive cost and that I would say is the main difference.


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