There are many threads on WWs inquiring about the nuances between wheelsets.
This thread is intended to be a multi-part review of my random thoughts since I have owned and spent time on the following wheels:Shimano:
Dura Ace carbon 24s (both internal and external nipples)Mavic:
Cosmic Carbone UltimatesLighweight by Carbonsports:
Standard Generation IIIsHandbuilts:
Ambrosio Nemesis laced to Record hubs, DT RR1.1 laced to DT240 hubs, Ligero 27mm rims with Extralite hubs, Ambrosio Crono F20sCampagnolo:
Bora, Hyperon, Fulcrum Racing Light clincher, Fulcrum Racing Speed, Nucleon tubulars, old school Eurus clincher, Zonda clincher, Shamal Ultra clincher. Hed:
Older 50 stingers, Hed tri spokeEdge:
38.1 laced with Ligero hubs, 38.2 laced to DT240s, 68.1 with 28 spokes, 45.1 laced to DT240sBontrager:
Aeolus 6.5 clinchers and XXX Lite tubulars.Zipp:
2011 303 tubular
Feel free to ask questions.First Round: Mavic CCU, LW, Bora, Edge 45Mavic CCU- Good:
Very light and nimble feeling, quite aero and able to hold speed well, little or no effect with cross winds, great ride quality and sound, very very stiff and excellent power transfer, sexy looking from afar, great customer service with protection plan.
uneven braking surface with wide carbon weave and slightly out of true front led to pulsing when braking, poor crunchy hubs and freehub, heavy steel freehub (ti option available for $$) and poor sealing, alloy rear hub and big headed spokes look so ghetto. Verdit:
PASS. Poor man's LW but may be worth a look only if you get the protection program. LW Gen IIIs- Good:
Very light, spin up fast, excellent road feel, stiff but not uncomfortable, sexy looking, great sound, hold speed reasonably well, not the best braking surface for modulation, more grippy surface is good for stops (depends on pads), only wheel that gets comments. Bad:
expensive, if you break a spoke or rim you are up the creek for a while, crap bearings and freehub for the money, seem to catch gusty cross winds and effects handling, sound and feel made me nervous to ride over RR crossings or gravel roads-irrational?, good customer service in Europe but sketchy history of support in US. I wish LW would update the rim shape to address aerodynamics and handling in wind instead of resting on the laurels of a rather old design. Verdict:
If only the best will suffice and you have a back up pair of low profile wheels for crap weather, this is your wheelset. Bora / Fulcrum Racing Speeds-Good:
Maintain speed very well, predictable and even braking, predictable cornering, the absolute best bearings in the business, excellent freehub, very durable and reliable rim, sexy carbon weave, 2:1 offset rear makes for a stiff drive, good braking surface for modulation but not the best for fast stopping (depends on pads), excellent well balanced durable overall wheelset, easy to ride everyday in any terrain or road surface and easy to handle in cross winds, steel spokes are replaceable, reasonable price for alloy hub versions. The hubs are solid, reliable, spare parts are quite available and are easily adjustable for tension.
Comparing Bora's to LW or Edge: I prefer the Bora/Fulcrum Racing Speed for all group rides and hyperon or Ambrosio Nemesis for solo rides. I don't have to worry about pot holes, dirt roads, or someone putting a pedal or derailleur in my spokes with Boras compared to riding LWs. It was always in the back of my mind when riding the LWs. There are a lot of tri-geeks on group rides where I live and they are strong but have no pack riding skills at all, especially in the ever prevalent cross winds. Bora's are solid wheels. They corner predictably. They roll up rather quickly and maintain speed very well. They descend fast due to the depth and free rolling bearings. They handle predictably in high speed cross wind gusts that are common in nearby canyons. They are sexy looking and make a great wooshing sound at speed. The added rim weight over the Edge gives a more solid feel over bumps and helps keep the momentum going in solo efforts and group rides. They are almost maintenance less with the ceramic bearings. With cost, the best wheelset is the Bora Ones with do it yourself USB level ceramic bearing upgrade.
The only time that I prefer the lighter inertia and weight of the Lightweights or Edge rims is when doing short intense efforts on grades over 6%. Bad:
On the heavy side for steep climbing or rapid accelerations, internal nipples (but never needed to be trued), horribly expensive replacement options for rims due to proprietary number and lacing of spokes and potential slow customer service, questionable aerodynamics compared to wide rim tech- I dont know if Campagnolo has ever done wind tunnel testing or the like. If you get in a crash and damage a rim- its very expensive to replace. Verdict:
If you want the most balanced and worry free wheelset for everyday riding- this is it. Edge 45s- Good:
Superb customer service, very fast spin up, new grey rubber ENVE pads are soft and modulate and stop amazingly well, maintain speed reasonably well, these make for a very light easy to ride everyday aero wheelset that balances some of the best qualities of the LWs and Racing Speeds. Bad:
poor hubs and bearings with stock DT240s (yes they are robust and easy to service but they are dull and dont build the stiffest wheel), a few times the inside of the rim bed peeled off when removing tire- replaced under warranty with new wheels, I dont care for the finish of the rims and prefer a carbon weave look, and nipples inside the rim make truing a pain if needed. I really question the aerodynamics compared to Hed or Zipp though and can't wait for the new Smart Enve wheels to come out. Verdict-
light, strong and can be built to your stiffness desires at a descent price.