High End Wheelset Review- Mavic CCU, LW, Bora, Edge, 303

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

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:

Dura Ace carbon 24s (both internal and external nipples)

Cosmic Carbone Ultimates

Lighweight by Carbonsports:
Standard Generation IIIs

Ambrosio Nemesis laced to Record hubs, DT RR1.1 laced to DT240 hubs, Ligero 27mm rims with Extralite hubs, Ambrosio Crono F20s

Bora, Hyperon, Fulcrum Racing Light clincher, Fulcrum Racing Speed, Nucleon tubulars, old school Eurus clincher, Zonda clincher, Shamal Ultra clincher.

Older 50 stingers, Hed tri spoke

38.1 laced with Ligero hubs, 38.2 laced to DT240s, 68.1 with 28 spokes, 45.1 laced to DT240s

Aeolus 6.5 clinchers and XXX Lite tubulars.

Zipp: 2011 303 tubular

Feel free to ask questions.

First Round: Mavic CCU, LW, Bora, Edge 45

Mavic 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.
-Deacon Doctor Colorado Slim

by Weenie

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by BmanX

I have the EDGE 45 clincher wheelset and have to agree with what has been said. They are a pain in the ass to true and are not as aero as HED or ZIPP wheels. I had mine built up with C4 hubs so they have been amazing with the ceramic bearings. Better price than with the DT240s. I am using Yellow Swiss Stop pads.

I do love them.

Cervelo SLC 5960g/13.13 lbs

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by devinci


this is what Weight Weenies is all about.

Thanks, amazing work, we need more of these arround here.

520 Dan
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by 520 Dan

"Poor man's LWs" should read "Less rich man's LWs"

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by upside

Man this is great and a great writer. I live and breathe cycling and when this shows up I can't get enough of it. Anxious to see the handbuilts reviewed. :podium: :thanx:

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by legsrburnin

Great review Coloclimber.

I dont own any of these wheels, but have ridden all except the Enve wheelset. It may have just been the looks I was getting, but the LW were my faves.
How do you think Zipp 404 tubs would rate against them?
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by rustychain

I will second the review on Boras and Edge 100%. Spot on! In this age of hype it is refreshing to read a helpful real world review on what it's like to actually live with these wheels. Thanks

Now when are you going to review groupsets? ;)
WW Velocipedist Gargantuan

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by dgasmd

I am more impressed by the number of wheels you go through than the reviews themselves :mrgreen: :lol: :mrgreen:

Fantastic review. I would personally add something negative to the LW which probably applies to the CCU as well: May not be the best choice to pack up in a case for a long biking trip. You break a spoke or crack a rim during packing or during the TSA monkey repacking when you are not around and that will make for a very sour experience at your destination. Despite having and loving my set of Lightweight III to no end, I prefer to travel with either the Campagnolo Hyperon or the Reynolds Stratus DV (older version) and some spare spokes for each.

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by pritchet74

Awesome review. I have owned all of these wheels except for the Boras. I agree with everything that you have said. For me the LW's were the biggest disappointment though and that had to do with the effect on the wheels for crosswinds. The new Hed & Zipp wheels (the new Smart/Enve wheels too) are designed to ride well in cross-winds and the were just crap for me when it was windy. Also, with LW's when descending mountains they would pull the bike to the outside of the corners. Frightening.
Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?

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by Powerful Pete

Bravo. Excellent reviews. :thumbup:
Road bike: Cervelo R3, Campagnolo Chorus/Record mix...
Supercommuter: Jamis Renegade...pastatrails.blogspot.com
And you can call me Macktastik Honey Pete Kicks, thank you.

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by Calnago

Just reiterating what everyone else has said... Excellent writeup! Thanks! Mind if I ask what you weigh. I'm on the heavy side at 195-200lbs (88-91kg) and am mostly riding my Bora Ultra Two's these days. The hubs and bearings are second to none in my opinion and once starting a descent it's like a free fall how quickly these roll. But at my weight on any lightweight wheel I find that I'm not quite as confident at 40-50mph descending as I was say, on my old Eurus aluminum clinchers or the Fulcrum Racing Zeros. I'm thinking it's the price to be paid for ligthweight wheels when I'm not so lightweight myself.

Wheels I own or have owned:
Bora Ultra Twos (first set of tubulars, love 'em)
Fulcrum Racing Zeros (clincher)
Reynolds DVUL46 (clincher) Aerolite spokes (28 rear, 20 front)
HED Belgium Clincher (DT aerolite spokes, DT Swiss 190 hubs), 28 rear, 24 front
Eurus (stainless steel spokes)
Neutrons (clincher)
Nucleons (clincher)
Mavic Open Pros, standard 32 to Chorus hubs

Currently buiding up some classic Nemesis tubular rims on Record hubs with DT Swiss Competition spokes.
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by pritchet74

Let's guess coloclimber's weight!

I'm going with 160#.
Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?

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by micky

This kind of topics are ever interesting to read!
Waiting for the 2nd part!

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by RippedUp

Great review, N! :)

I'm receiving the ENVE 6.7 next month. Will add a review.

by Weenie

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by BmanX

I think he is more like 147.5#

Cervelo SLC 5960g/13.13 lbs

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