Torn between two new wheelset choices, any consensus advice?

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cadence90
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:52 am

by cadence90

I am thinking of a new wheelset, to go on a Colnago C50, EPS, C59...whichever I can find that I like.
My weight is +/- 225#/100kg. These would be daily use/training wheels. I do not race, and do not need "climbing wheels". Just as durable and yet as light as possible.

I currently have a set of 10+ year-old handbuilts (Dave Thomas/SpeedDream; WI hubs, Sapim CX Ray 18 radial front + 24 triplet rear, Velocity Fusion) on one bike, and I love them. They have been excellent all these years, and are still going strong.

I also have a set of 10+ year-old black Shamals (14/16), and I love them too. They also have been excellent all these years, and are also still going strong.

My choices for the new wheels are:
Option #1: Handbuilts by a very good builder: Campagnolo Record 32h, Sapim Race 3x, DT Swiss RR440/RR440 Asymmetric. All black. Approx weight: 1659g. Approx. cost: US $550.

Option #2: Campagnolo Zonda C17. All black. Approx weight: 1540g. Approx. cost: US $415.
I also thought about Neutron Ultras, but prefer the Zondas I think, after having researched. I like the NU lacing and weight, but prefer the slightly wider rim on the Zondas/DT RR440s.

So, the Zondas weigh less (- ~115g) and cost less (- ~$135), and the G3 lacing might look a bit more "modern" on a newer Colnago. But, I have become less WW over the years ( :oops: sorry!) and I think the handbuilts would look fine too.

As you can see by the fact that both my current wheelsets are 10+ years old, I am not very up on things now.

Any advice regarding pros/cons between the new handbuilts versus the Zonda C17s would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
"Gimondi è un eroe umano, che viene sconfitto ma che continua la sua corsa fino a tornare a vincere." - Enrico Ruggeri

by Weenie


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kgt
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by kgt

I would choose handbuilts for a Colnago C50 frame and Zonda for a EPS or C59 frame.

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cadence90
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by cadence90

kgt wrote:I would choose handbuilts for a Colnago C50 frame and Zonda for a EPS or C59 frame.

Very interesting response, thank you.

Why the distinction between C50 and EPS/C59? Because of the headset, etc. being more traditional on the C50?
"Gimondi è un eroe umano, che viene sconfitto ma che continua la sua corsa fino a tornare a vincere." - Enrico Ruggeri

AJS914
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by AJS914

I'd look at November's handbuilts with White hubs:

http://www.novemberbicycles.com/select/

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cadence90
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by cadence90

AJS914 wrote:I'd look at November's handbuilts with White hubs:

http://www.novemberbicycles.com/select/

Why is that, compared to the 2 options I presented?
WI hubs are fine; but I think Records are better.
November's base-cost rim is a Kinlin? And their least expensive offering is $690 + shipping??? No, thank you.

I don't really understand the November thing...do they actually make anything, or do they just re-package components? It appears to me that any wheelset they would build is much higher priced and, as far as I can tell, not any better (and quite possibly even not as good) than the options I presented. Their frames are re-branded Sartos, etc.

So, again, why November? Better yet, what is "wrong", if you're offering alternatives, with either of the 2 options I originally listed?
"Gimondi è un eroe umano, che viene sconfitto ma che continua la sua corsa fino a tornare a vincere." - Enrico Ruggeri

AJS914
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I proposed November because you said you liked your old handbuilt wheelset with White hubs. When you add up the parts (hubs, spokes, rims) November seems to be able to include labor and shipping (free right now) at no additional cost. Admittedly the White hubs are pricey ($450).

I guess you can do it a cheaper with Record hubs. What does your wheel builder charge? It also seems like you are limited to 32 spoke holes with Record hubs.

Record hubs $250
Kinlin rims $150
spokes $75
labor? $100-125
$575-600

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cadence90
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by cadence90

AJS914 wrote:I proposed November because you said you liked your old handbuilt wheelset with White hubs. When you add up the parts (hubs, spokes, rims) November seems to be able to include labor and shipping (free right now) at no additional cost. Admittedly the White hubs are pricey ($450).

I guess you can do it a cheaper with Record hubs. What does your wheel builder charge? It also seems like you are limited to 32 spoke holes with Record hubs.

Record hubs $250
Kinlin rims $150
spokes $75
labor? $100-125
$575-600

I understand now, thank you.

Yes, unfortunately (maybe, maybe not) Record hubs are only available now (I think) in 32 hole drilling.
I do like WI hubs, but they are certainly more expensive than Record hubs. Are they better, for the price upcharge? I don't know.

The handbuilt quote I have, from a top US wheel-builder, is:
Campagnolo Record hubs, 32h; + Sapim Race spokes (black) x 64, 3x lacing; + Sapim Poy-Ax brass nipples (black) x 64; + DT Swiss RR440/RR440 Asymmetric rims; + labor; + shipping = US $550 total.

I am basically trying to learn if the handbuilts would be the better wheels, even though heavier and more costly, or if the factory-built Zonda C17 are really as great as many reports claim.
"Gimondi è un eroe umano, che viene sconfitto ma che continua la sua corsa fino a tornare a vincere." - Enrico Ruggeri

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kgt
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by kgt

cadence90 wrote:
kgt wrote:I would choose handbuilts for a Colnago C50 frame and Zonda for a EPS or C59 frame.

Very interesting response, thank you.

Why the distinction between C50 and EPS/C59? Because of the headset, etc. being more traditional on the C50?


Yes, C50 looks more classic in many ways. Traditional headset, slimmer tubes, colors. I would accept both wheelsets for an horizontal top tube EPS maybe.

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Asteroid
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by Asteroid

Merlin UK is running a 10% off their Zonda that gets you to about $340 delivered to the U.S. These wheels look super cool, but it's hard to ignore the appeal of handbuilts. For a $200+ difference, however, you could buy a bunch of extra tires. ;)
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cobrakai
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by cobrakai

I vote hand builts. The lacing on the Zondas sure looks cool, however I've read too many stories about having to wait 2 weeks while a shop orders a $20 spoke to go with a wheelset that uses proprietary parts like the Zondas. Spokes for your custom wheels will be less than a dollar and available anywhere that sells wheel parts.

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Calnago
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by Calnago

If you go the new Zonda route, I really like the 17mm internal rim width (got a go with some new Shamal Ultras a bit ago), so that would be good. On the other hand, if you go classic with a lower profile rim, you can't beat the Record hubs and why would you want to do anything other than 32hole, 3x lacing on those anyway, especially given your size. I wouldn't go black spokes/nipples however... stick with silver... the look is so nice glistening in the sun.

Pic below shows Ambrosio Nemesis rims, laced with DT Comp spokes 3x to 32 hole new black Record hubs...
Image
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

NovemberDave
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by NovemberDave

cadence90 wrote:
AJS914 wrote:I'd look at November's handbuilts with White hubs:

http://www.novemberbicycles.com/select/

Why is that, compared to the 2 options I presented?
WI hubs are fine; but I think Records are better.
November's base-cost rim is a Kinlin? And their least expensive offering is $690 + shipping??? No, thank you.

I don't really understand the November thing...do they actually make anything, or do they just re-package components? It appears to me that any wheelset they would build is much higher priced and, as far as I can tell, not any better (and quite possibly even not as good) than the options I presented. Their frames are re-branded Sartos, etc.

So, again, why November? Better yet, what is "wrong", if you're offering alternatives, with either of the 2 options I originally listed?


Our base price for a White Industries build is $665, which when you consider that it gets built with a $470 set of hubs, is a pretty great deal in our opinion. We got "yelled at" by another wheel builder a couple weeks ago on another forum because our prices are too low in his opinion. Chest la guerre. You can pay $675 at another place and get a super close component match to our real base build, which is Kinlin/Novatec/CX Ray for $575.

We hand build wheels from established components, just like a lot of other places do. We like to think we've added a ton of value to it by, for example, doing and publishing a slew of wind tunnel tests that the rim manufacturers didn't bother to do. Publishing a huge volume of tech stuff. Just generally doing what we can to help people learn and make good decisions. If that's something you think is wrong, so be it. Would we add more value by running our own slight variant of some hubs and rims and calling them ours and getting huge margins? Do you know how many other companies are selling Kinlins as their own rims, and Bitex or Novatec hubs and passing those off as their own?

Our frames are indeed built by who you say they are. They're not rebranded, they were contract built for us to our specs, just like - again - a bunch of other places did. They're unbelievably nice frames, but if they're not your cup of tea hey no sweat.

The quote you have from a wheel builder sounds pretty close to what we'd charge for same thing. If the specs fit what you want and you trust the builder, that sounds like a very nice option.

sawyer
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Location: Natovi Landing

by sawyer

cobrakai wrote:I vote hand builts. The lacing on the Zondas sure looks cool, however I've read too many stories about having to wait 2 weeks while a shop orders a $20 spoke to go with a wheelset that uses proprietary parts like the Zondas. Spokes for your custom wheels will be less than a dollar and available anywhere that sells wheel parts.


Seriously unless you're a monumental spoke-breaker the average lifetime cost difference between the wheels in terms of spoke replacements will be little if anything.

On 7 or 8 sets of Campag wheels over 15 years I've broken one spoke - an RD going into a rear Shamal Ultra

What you could do to avoid the wait is just buy three spare Zonda spokes (one front, one rear DS, one rear NDS) ...

I'd go Zonda on this one as you may have guessed

Lighter, likely to be more reliable based on experience of top end "factory" built vs handbuilt, cheaper, and more aero
----------------------------------------
Stiff, Light, Aero - Pick Three!! :thumbup:

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cadence90
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by cadence90

kgt wrote:Yes, C50 looks more classic in many ways. Traditional headset, slimmer tubes, colors. I would accept both wheelsets for an horizontal top tube EPS maybe.

Thank you. That makes a lot of sense to me.
As I am leaning more toward a C59, if I can find one, I guess I am leaning more toward Zondas.
But I will buy a frame first, I think, and then the wheels, just to be certain.

cobrakai wrote:I vote hand builts. The lacing on the Zondas sure looks cool, however I've read too many stories about having to wait 2 weeks while a shop orders a $20 spoke to go with a wheelset that uses proprietary parts like the Zondas. Spokes for your custom wheels will be less than a dollar and available anywhere that sells wheel parts.

Interesting, thank you. I have not read many, if any, reports criticizing the Zondas for not being durable. I myself, at +/- 225#/100kg, have actually never broken a spoke, knock on wood. In any case, I try to always have a few spare spokes on hand.

Calnago wrote:If you go the new Zonda route, I really like the 17mm internal rim width (got a go with some new Shamal Ultras a bit ago), so that would be good. On the other hand, if you go classic with a lower profile rim, you can't beat the Record hubs and why would you want to do anything other than 32hole, 3x lacing on those anyway, especially given your size. I wouldn't go black spokes/nipples however... stick with silver... the look is so nice glistening in the sun.

You received my PMs...get well soon!

Yes, on Records 32 3x would be great. I think spoke/nipple color have a lot to do with the frame. On your beautiful C50, I can see silver spokes; in your beautiful C59, I can see all-black.

NovemberDave wrote:Our base price for a White Industries build is $665, which when you consider that it gets built with a $470 set of hubs, is a pretty great deal in our opinion.

Dave,
I sincerely apologize if you took any of my previous comments as criticisms. They were certainly not intended as such. Much more that I am not at all in the "bicycle business" and sometimes asking a question, and having further, different options suggested, can get a bit frustrating.

That said, thank you very much for replying here. I will certainly look into your products more carefully. Also, "re-branded" was a bad choice of words on my part...I realize that word has a negative stigma attached to it. I should have said "built by" Sarto. I very much respect Sarto, and I think the November frame is very nice from all appearances.

Best regards.

sawyer wrote:Seriously unless you're a monumental spoke-breaker the average lifetime cost difference between the wheels in terms of spoke replacements will be little if anything.

On 7 or 8 sets of Campag wheels over 15 years I've broken one spoke - an RD going into a rear Shamal Ultra.

What you could do to avoid the wait is just buy three spare Zonda spokes (one front, one rear DS, one rear NDS) ...

I'd go Zonda on this one as you may have guessed

Lighter, likely to be more reliable based on experience of top end "factory" built vs handbuilt, cheaper, and more aero

Thank you. That all makes sense. I definitely agree with having extra spokes on hand.

I just spoke with Campagnolo NA, and they don't even have Zonda C17 replacement spokes in stock yet, but my guess is that the C17 spokes will be slightly different from any older "2-Way Fit", etc., Zonda spokes, which all were laced to the narrower rim.
"Gimondi è un eroe umano, che viene sconfitto ma che continua la sua corsa fino a tornare a vincere." - Enrico Ruggeri

cobrakai
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:19 pm

by cobrakai

cadence90 wrote:Interesting, thank you. I have not read many, if any, reports criticizing the Zondas for not being durable. I myself, at +/- 225#/100kg, have actually never broken a spoke, knock on wood. In any case, I try to always have a few spare spokes on hand.


To clarify, I have not heard anything negative about the Zondas in particular. Most reviews praise them for durability. I was just referring to factory wheelsets with proprietary parts in general. It's unlikely you would need a replacement spoke but as you said, they aren't even available yet in NA.

I'm sure you will be happy with either choice, my preference for handbuilt over factory is just an opinion.

by Weenie


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