Wheels for Flanders

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
liam7020
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by liam7020

Most years I ride the Tour of Flanders sportive. My normal wheelset would be Mavic Open Pro rims (32/32) on Hope Mono III hubs laced x3 with Sapim Laser spokes front and rear. These have proved very reliable and pretty bombproof, but hey we’re all Weight Weenies here, so I’m wondering if I can get away with a set of lighter hoops over the cobbles without sacrificing reliability. I do notice that over the last few years the pros are often using carbon rims in Flanders, apparently with few problems, and I’m assuming they’re not going to take a chance on having a mechanical for the sake of saving a few grams.

Anyhow I’m not thinking of using carbon but the alternative wheelset I have at my disposal would be Ambrosio Excellight rims on Tune Mig/Mag hubs (28/28) laced with Sapim Lasers, radial on the front and x2 on the rear. Not huge weight savings – maybe 150g – but when you’re grinding up the Kwaremont with your tongue on the bars every little helps!

So all opinions welcome. Cheers.
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by Weenie


gilesharrison
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by gilesharrison

I'd say 150g is a pretty good weight saving on wheels. However, virtually all that weight saving will be at the hubs on those wheelsets so although they're lighter, I don't think the feel and acceleration will be much improved. I'd still use the Ambrosio rims though.

What about Ambrosio Nemesis with Pave tubs?

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btompkins0112
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by btompkins0112

Why not go for some KinLin TB-25 or similar tubular rim?? Would get you better ride charateristics and not pinch-flat....

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Kastrup
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by Kastrup

Me and 2 friends rode the RvV sportive last year. Two of us ran similar wheels to yours while one ran Mavic Krysium SL.

I think most wheels will stand up to the abuse. The problem is that if you break a single spoke on fx. the Krysium there is a pretty big chance that you might not be able to continue. If this happens in a classic 32 spoke wheels i'm pretty sure youll be able to continue.
"Stay cool and try to survive" A. Klier to the other members of the Garmin classics squad the night before P-R.

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

I would also say 150g weight saving on pair of wheels would be difficult to notice where all the weight loss would be in the hub. I would wait until you have worn your OP's out and then replace. There lighter rims than the excelight as well.

As said tubular rims are the best way to go to reduce weight properly at the rim.

liam7020
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by liam7020

Thanks for the replies so far guys. Tubs are a good idea in theory but not for an event like the Flanders sportive. At most you could carry one spare tub but without a following car you'd be screwed if you flatted a second time - and that's a strong possibility given the amount of gravel lying in the Flemish cycle paths. My question is mainly to garner opinions on the whether the Ambrosio wheels with their reduced spoke count and the radially spoked front wheel would be sturdy enough for the cobbles. Cheers.
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"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

drewb
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by drewb

liam7020 wrote:Tubs are a good idea in theory but not for an event like the Flanders sportive. At most you could carry one spare tub but without a following car you'd be screwed if you flatted a second time - and that's a strong possibility given the amount of gravel lying in the Flemish cycle paths.


If flatting is such a problem then why not try running whatever wheelset you run with Stans-no-flats (or similar), and if pinch flats are a problem then convert your old rims to run tubeless (and then put some Stans - or equivalent - in to be sure)?

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Zen Cyclery
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by Zen Cyclery

Carrying some Vittoria Pit Stop can go a long way in helping you air up a flat tubular. I would say tubys would be the best way to go because the air column stack height is twice of that of a clincher which will make for a more supple ride quality.
If you want to go stick with clinchers, a solid alloy hoop may be a good option. Something like the Kinlin XR270 or A23 from Velocity. Both are reasonably priced and stiff enough to handle some cobbles.

drchull
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by drchull

I rode it last year with HED belgiums and 25C clinchers and couldn't have been better. As you know the problem with getting up the Kwaremont in the Sportif is probably not 150g it is the guy who falls over in front of you.
I am not sure that you have to worry too much about carrying only one spare tub as every cobbled section usually had tool bags and bottles scattered everywhere, could probably find a few spare tubs along the way. I would probably ride sealant though if riding tubs.

boolinwall
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by boolinwall

The Hed belgiums are a good call. I have a rear one, they're sweet! I also have a pair of Zipp Team issues. But damn, I'd be hard pressed to pick a pair for flanders. The Zipps are lighter but the Heds are 23mm's wide making them ideally more forgiving. My daily setup is simple. I ride the sub 800gram Zipp on the back and the sub 600gram Hed on the front. (my front hed is an older 19mm one) If it's dry. Vredesteins. If it's wet or I'm on bad roads. Open paves. The zipp basically uses a single eyeleted DT rim, DT areolite spokes and a superlight Zipp hub. One could easily build a full DT swiss setup for less money and get right around the same weight. The only change I'd make would be to use DT revolution spokes (aerolites are a bitch to tune).
I ran campy/ ambrosio wheels for years and still have them. They are much better than anything mavic has ( in my experience) and a whole crapload more durable than anything, but you pay the weight penalty.
Either way, you can't go wrong. Afterall, you get to ride flanders!

kai-ming
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by kai-ming

I ran a pair of Ambrosio Excellight rims on DA7700 hubs (28/28) for years, sometimes on really bad road in China with 30lb luggage, without any problem, never has any spoke broken. I weight 130lb.
The Excellight rim / DA7700 hub (28/28) wheels laced with, DT revolution 1x on the front, DT competition 3x ds and DT revolution 2x nds on the rear.

CrossRob
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:18 pm

by CrossRob

I'd worry more about traction than weight. The problems come when someone stops or falls off in front of you, leaving you to track stand, then pull away without slipping.

I rode it this year with Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless on Ultegra 6700 wheels at 80psi and that would be my choice for next year. DA 7900 wheels would save you another 150g or so.

Machinenoise
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by Machinenoise

Have ridden it 3 times on my set of DT Swiss mon chasserals (basically the r1.1 rim on 240s with 32 spokes) ~1450g I believe have never weighed them myself though. Training wheels don't have to be light! no broken spokes no punctures no need to re-true afterwards either. Have had them for 5 years and put over 15000 miles on them and they are only now getting a bit soft/ needing some tlc.
IMHO Its a long hard ride, so not having to worry about your wheels surviving or being abused is better than a small weight saving. Just drop the pressure in the tubes a bit (I rode about 85psi for a 160lb guy), and maybe run some sealant if you like.

drchull
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by drchull

Yeah, I am closer to 200 lbs and rode 25C Krylion Carbons at 80 psi through both Flanders and Roubaix without any flats or trouble on my Belgiums. Really is amazing the difference between the Flanders and the Roubaix cobbles. I would ride Flanders every year if I could, see no reason to ride Roubaix again. Once in a lifetime experience because I only feel the need to do it once.

by Weenie


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UKpaul
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by UKpaul

I also rode the sportive this year. I used Mavic Kysiriums SL with Vittoria Pave clinchers at about 75psi. I'm about 68kg. I didnt have any problems and will be riding the same set up next year.

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