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Discussion: new bike wheels

Subject: new bike wheels

By: Laura M.

Written on: Thursday April 05, 2012

Message: I'm looking to upgrade my wheels on my Specialized Dolce bike. I currently have the original wheels and I want to upgrade without breaking the bank. I know I could spend more on new wheels than I originally spent on my bike but I am hoping to spend in the $500 range (if not less). My LBS is recommending a Bontrager wheel (I think its the Race Lite wheel) and its about $580. Is that a good wheel for that price range or should I consider something else? I think probably any wheel would be a huge improvement over what I have now...

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Jamie B.

Written on: Thursday April 05, 2012

Message: Stay as far away from Bontrager wheels as possible! They are very unreliable and have all kinds of warranty problems. I have been a Trek store dealer or manager for more than 12 years and filed no less than a dozen warranties a week on these wheels. Research them on the web you will find in other forums the problems. Rims cracking, spokes constantly loosening, hubs cracking, hub bearings coming loose. You name it they have had it in the last 7 years. I actually had to file 5 warranties on my own wheels too. The wheel they have had the most problem with is the Race Lite which is the one they are trying to sell you. It really says something when the company has to redesign a wheel every year to try to figure things out. We have even gone the route of eating the cost of Bontrager wheels and upgrading customers to the a shimano 105 or Easton wheel just to avoid all the return trips and free maintenance we had to give out.

On Treks own project one site they now offer shimano and Mavic wheels to those who don't want Bontrager on hi end bikes. So that says a lot when you do something like that.

If you are looking for some solid wheels go with Mavic or Easton. much less problems and far less hassle!

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Laura M.

Written on: Thursday April 05, 2012

Message: Thanks, Jamie. I did a quick research earlier and found those same complaints. I was hoping you would pipe in and either confirm the complaints or recommend the wheels. I'll stay away from Bontrager!

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Jamie B.

Written on: Friday April 06, 2012

Message: No problem! Just wanted to save you some hassle :) There is no rhyme or reason we have had some customers that get years out of them and others who we did warranties for once a year or so.

The wheels and some of Trek's other warranty issues were one of the reasons we decided to go with a different bike line for my new store too.

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Kurt J.

Written on: Saturday April 07, 2012

Message: Laura, new wheels aren't going to make you any faster... :)

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Jamie B.

Written on: Saturday April 07, 2012

Message: Yes they won't make you faster but they allow you to be faster :) Smoother bearings equals less drag equals more watts with the same amount of work. Plus half a pound of rotational weight is equal to 5 pounds rider weight. I am 1 full mph faster on my race wheels on a 40k time trial. Most people are amazed at the difference a nice set of wheels make even the recreational riders we let use at the shop.

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Stacia J.

Written on: Sunday April 08, 2012

Message: I think Kurt's just jealous that you have a new bike, and that instead of getting new wheels you guys should split a stand-up paddleboard.

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Laura M.

Written on: Sunday April 08, 2012

Message: @KJ...so there!

Jamie, looking at the Mavic Ksyrium line, is there at huge difference between the Elite, Equipe, the SL and SR? What do I look for other than weight? I'm a small light rider and easy on my wheels. I've never broken a spoke for instance.

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Jamie B.

Written on: Sunday April 08, 2012

Message: The ksyrium line is probably the best selling wheel line of all time. It is very similar in depth and built on the same mold so the are going to handle very well top to bottom. Basically the differences you are seeing from the Elite to the SR are materials used in the hubs and spokes. Lightening up a hub can save some watts and improve rolling resistance too. Even though a wheel may be similar in weight if the hub and bearings are better than it will produce less drag. From what it looks like is the spokes are higher quality on the SR which will help deflect some road vibrations.

The Mavic Elite is a great wheel for the price! I thought I saw or heard from a rep that it is the number 1 wheel of all time. If you have the extra take that over the Equippe the other 2 are up around the 1k and above at that range there are better options that will be more aerodynamic.

At the 800 dollar range the Easton EA90 is the best wheel out there it is a little heavier but it is a deeper dish rim making it more aero. This will help gain speed but once up to speed help you maintain it too. Don't know if there are any closeouts on the web but never hurts to look especially if you can find a coupon somewhere. If my store was open I would hook you up big time but we are still in the process of getting the site built :)

We had a similar incident at my old shop. A lady had a 600 dollar hydrid he husband bought the 400 dollar one. She was faster than him on downhills even though he weighed 60 pounds more than her. We switched up the wheels one day for them and he was faster than her so he decided that he would spend 250 bucks on better wheels.

Hope this helps let me know if you have any other questions!

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Jacob S.

Written on: Sunday April 08, 2012

Message: Hi Laura,

Great thread, I am looking for a set of wheels in the same price range as well. I am not in a hurry to buy, but these are the 3-4 sets I am focused on. The prices below are what I can buy them for online in china where I live so take them as a reference.

Mavic Ksyrium Elite (~$480)
Fulcrum Racing 5 (~$340)
Shimano Ultegra 6700 (~$500)
DT Swiss R1900 (~$350)

I think I am leaning toward the Mavic Ksyrium Elite set. Reason is much the same as Jamie's advice above, after asking around with all the bikers I know I would summarize that the Mavic rims have the best mix of technology and quality. They get it by selling good volume of a great product (the volume is why their quality is so much better...they get lots of user feedback and work out the kinks)

Cheers...

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Laura M.

Written on: Monday April 09, 2012

Message: Thanks, Jamie that does help. Be sure and let us know when your site is up and running. I'm even tempted to take a road trip to visit your shop since I'm losing faith in my lbs!

Jacob, thanks for the info. With the research I've done and yours and Jamie's input, I'm leaning heavily towards the Mavic Elite. Btw, how is the training in China? That's gotta be tough!

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Jamie B.

Written on: Monday April 09, 2012

Message: That would be awesome love to meet you and help you out. Right now we are locked in at Aug 1 for opening. We could have gone a little earlier but the model years turn in July/ Aug so we would have basically carried old stock product that we would have to put on sale immediately. With the Aug opening we can do a proper pre season and get all the new product and what old stuff we ordered will be discounted. We will be doing some cool programs and offering some ontri benefits too so more on that once we get closer:)

Jacob brought up some great points as well! He also listed some other great options too! One wheel I would add to that list is the Easton EA70. But think the Mavic Elite is just a touch better at that price.

Good luck both of you and feel free to hit me up anytime you have questions!

jb

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: Willard H.

Written on: Friday April 13, 2012

Message: I got the EA70s last summer and I think they are a great upgrade from the stock Alex wheels I had, and they were pretty reasonably priced on sale.

Subject: RE: new bike wheels

By: John D .

Written on: Friday April 13, 2012

Message: Look t Stan's wheels... They come highly recommended from my bike shop.

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