Which wheel set and where to buy?

leicaman

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#1
Hi all
I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on buying a wheelset here in Japan. I'm after a lighter set of wheels as my current stock pair are quite frankly "pants". I have a budget of around 50-60,000 yen and would like a set of clinchers that are reasonable in the mountains. I've been looking at fulcrum racing 3, campy Zonda and Shimano rs80.
I can get rs80 from that funnily named bike shop across from the specialized concept store (the name escapes me at the momet) for around 60,000 or online at amazon for 55,800. I noticed that wiggle have the campy zondas for 41,000 at the moment. A little heavier but between 15,000 and 20,000 cheaper. The funnily named bike shop also had fulcrum 3 for around 55,000.
If you were in my shoes, which would you get and from where? Is getting wheels from wiggle more hassle than it's worth? How much duty would I have to pay on a set of wheels costing 41,000 yen? I'm kinda leaning towards the rs80 from the funnily named shop but I keep thinking what else I could buy with the saved 20,000 yen.
Thanks in advance
Mark
 

GSAstuto

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#3
RS80's are nice wheels. They come in at a respectable 1530gr or so. Pricing is good on these since they are 'end of life' and replaced by the RS81 due out later this year, btw. I'm doing a variation of a theme with a slightly lighter and wider rim (23.5mm) combined with lighter spokes, but a few more and cartridge bearing hub. They come in just under 1500gr and are great all-around 'Greenline Punchers'. In your price range, too. They'll also work with tubeless tire (with rim strip). And they are Shimano (8/9/10/11) or Campy (9/10/11) compatible.
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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#4
RS80's are nice wheels. They come in at a respectable 1530gr or so. Pricing is good on these since they are 'end of life' and replaced by the RS81 due out later this year, btw. I'm doing a variation of a theme with a slightly lighter and wider rim (23.5mm) combined with lighter spokes, but a few more and cartridge bearing hub. They come in just under 1500gr and are great all-around 'Greenline Punchers'. In your price range, too. They'll also work with tubeless tire (with rim strip). And they are Shimano (8/9/10/11) or Campy (9/10/11) compatible.
Tim, do you have something for us Clydesdales who don't care about weight, wheel weight that is? Some pothole bombers for commuting...
 
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leicaman

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#5
RS80's are nice wheels. They come in at a respectable 1530gr or so. Pricing is good on these since they are 'end of life' and replaced by the RS81 due out later this year, btw. I'm doing a variation of a theme with a slightly lighter and wider rim (23.5mm) combined with lighter spokes, but a few more and cartridge bearing hub. They come in just under 1500gr and are great all-around 'Greenline Punchers'. In your price range, too. They'll also work with tubeless tire (with rim strip). And they are Shimano (8/9/10/11) or Campy (9/10/11) compatible.
Wow. They sounds nice. I'm very interested. I'm around 70kg so I'm guessing there would be no weigh issues there huh.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#6
I am +/- 70kg and have been running a pair of Tim's wheels for a while now. Had no problems with them; very nice, fast, etc.
 

StuInTokyo

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#7
I am +/- 70kg and have been running a pair of Tim's wheels for a while now. Had no problems with them; very nice, fast, etc.
I'm not quite twice that weight :eek: and I've been running a set of Tim built wheels on my daily trailer hauling delivery bicycle, close to 4000Km on them on the streets of Tokyo and no problems to report, they are bulletproof! I'm positive you will be happy with wheels from Tim, and besides, when you go to pick them up, he makes great espresso :D
 
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leicaman

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#8
Dammit- spanner thrown in the works. Was almost 100% sure I was gonna get some wheels from Tim but I've just heard that I can get another 5000 yen off the zondas at wiggle. I'm sure that the wheels Tim will have are nicer but a pair of Zondas for 36000 yen!!!!! Choices choices.
 
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GSAstuto

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#9
@Thomas - lots of options there, actually. Of course there's the venerable Shimano 501 , which at about 12,000 yen/set cannot be beat at almost any price. (Ask Gunnar). Or we can use the the 23.5mm 'continental' rims , which I use in alot of builds - gives a nice footprint for 23C or 25C tires (or even wider). I also use Ambrosio quite a bit - Excursions and Excellite SSC both which build fantastically bombproof and svelte wheels. I choose a few hubs based on bling, price and feature. Shimano hubs build good, solid wheels and are easy to maintain. Then I also have my 'Speedster' series which uses a large diameter (up to 15mm) axle and very robust cartridge bearings. Or you can bling out and use Chris King, Dura Ace or Pauls (I have both of those). The 'ultra hubs' like Alchemy, CK, Paul, etc all feature super smooth engineering and very long lasting construction - they are almost heirloom pieces like old school Campys. The 'speedster' series are great rolling hubs and economically more approachable. For example a set of CK's alone will cost about the same as a full set of wheels based on the Speedsters. For an 'elite' bomber wheel I'd probably go for CK or Paul laced up to a set of Pacenti's or Excellite rim (32H / 28H). For a jammin' econo wheel I'd go our WL23's or Excursion rim with the speedster J-hook hubs (15mm axle). (32/28 or 28/24).
 
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GSAstuto

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#10
Don't blame you! Awesome wheels at a great price!

Dammit- spanner thrown in the works. Was almost 100% sure I was gonna get some wheels from Tim but I've just heard that I can get another 5000 yen off the zondas at wiggle. I'm sure that the wheels Tim will have are nicer but a pair of Zondas for 36000 yen!!!!! Choices choices.
 

Quicksilver

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#11
I agree with the advice on buying from G.S. Atsuto for two reasons, one they will be nice handbuilt wheels and (as the testimonies above suggest) will last... and two you can easily get them tuned up when need be. This, Wiggle can't do and service may be worth factoring in. I am not saying the wheels you will get from Wiggle will be bad, but I did recently have the experience of having spokes breaking on wheels on a bike from Wiggle in less than a year (also around 70kg in case you were wondering). In the end, Tim kindly agreed to rebuild them for me but I really thought that wheels are one thing worth getting from a somewhere you can get reliable service unless you are confident about doing this yourself. I also had Tim build me some beautiful NJS track wheels which I have been riding on the road for a week or so ... so far so good!
 
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j-sworks

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#12
I want to pipe-in also about Tim's wheel quality.

I have had a set since last July and they always make me say "wow I love these". The best thing I have experienced besides the great quality is how much Tim cares about his products, and as a result I get great service and great wheels at a fair price.

What more can you ask for.
 
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kubatyszko

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Jul 29, 2012
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#13
I have built a few wheels myself (not even a fraction of Tim's experience ) and I must say this, albeit wheelbuilding is not not an overly complex task - it goes really far with proper experience on hand, I saw Tim's shop last Saturday and I'm highly impressed, now I know where to go should I need a new wheels :)

On the other hand - I had just recently built my first road bike, and I went with Zondas (not from Wiggle).

One thing I could share though - my MTB wheels (Mavic Crossride 2009) bought new at the shop - they came with a HUGE dish, as if the wheels were dished by looking at how spokes are aligned to the hub, not related to the actual centering the rim at the hub.
It looked more like made for disc brakes and by the time I noticed (it was good few weeks after purchasing because I had to wait for the frame and didn't look closely), I couldn't find the receipt and had to fix the wheels myself.
Bad shop experience, with Tim, you get a perfect quality product with no issues.
 

joewein

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#14
I'm another happy customer - over 9,000 km in the city, the country side and the mountains on the front wheel Tim rebuilt with a dynamo hub for me in December 2011. Never had any problems. He really knows his stuff.
 

leicaman

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#15
It's great to hear all these reports of Tim's wheels. The zondas are cheap but Like most things in life, you get what you pay for huh. Must say I'm a little confused what wheels I should get, should I decide to get some from Tim. I'm looking for sub 1500g if possible or comparable to sr80. Sealed bearing sound good although not too bothered if they aren't. Which wheels would you recommend Tim? I know you mentioned a few options above but that confused me more ;) . Ideally my upper limit is 60,000 for the pair (could maybe push to 70,000 for something really nice. I realise my budget isn't a lot for a set of wheels. Everyone's input is greatly appreciated.
 

j-sworks

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#16
Take it away Tim...but here was my thought process

The wheels Tim built for me were made...well for me. I will take function over form any day of the week, I like quality gear, and I don't want to get stuck some where with no options. Tim built my wheels exactly to my preferences, higher spoke count and strong spokes for durability, Dura Ace hubs for durability, quality, simplicity, ease of service, and again quality, and finally a 38/52mm carbon clincher rim for versatility and ease of use. Some may argue about the clincher vs. tubeless thing. But there you have it.
 

leicaman

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#17
I think I'll wait for Tim to get back to me regarding recommendations and a price. I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to go with a set from Tim. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread.
Tim, I'm in your hands.
 

GSAstuto

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#18
Well, <blush> thanks for the positive comments. I think the main reason handbuilt (by me or any other good builder) wheels are sometimes preferred is simply that most (not all) factory built wheels are not trued to a 'human interface' but instead to a 'machine interface' , which cannot ascertain variations in the components to the same degree a human can. And mfg wheels cannot be changed from one spec to another - you have to deal with a production chain, SCM, etc which more or less locks in the prdt for a fairly long time. In short, by going handbuilt, you have access to more variety of components and more customization combined with a higher 'touch'. So, if you're looking for something that falls outside the typical factory wheel envelope, then handbuilts are a great choice.

As for the Zonda - I think it's a great wheel overall. Campy has done their homework and the wheel is sound. FWWI Campy (and Shimano) both had /have patents for various 'triplet' or 'tangential' building schemes and they weigh heavily on their builds. I build triplet style, too, but it's oftentimes a bit more finicky than a standard build and requires more upkeep in terms of truing and tensioning.

I like the slightly wider alloy rims for Greenline and in general alot of the roads we get in Japan that have somewhat steeper, rough sections. And for higher budget , just go carbon because of the dampening and weight characteristics allow for deeper sections which make them fun on the flats, too.

My CXA wheels (Takaaki san has a set) are real sleepers. They are well in your budget, ultra smooth rollers about the same weight as Zonda, quasi-triplet and honestly probably the best all purpose wheel I have. You can race it, climb it, sprint it , CX it or anything, really. A few more spokes than the Zonda give it a wider weight range and less chance of 'bricking' if you do smash it in. When I'm not riding my Gokiso's, I ride these. Eric has the tubular version. If you want to drop the weight to get sub 1500gr, then I can build a set with SL hubs and lighter spokes even. Those are actually popular with CX'ers looking to drop some of the carrying weight , yet still have a wide enough rim to mount 34C tire without pinching. So, even in the same range of wheel, I have quite a big envelope to build inside.

Plus any wheels I sell I true for free forever unless you've obviously mashed it up or give it to me covered in muck. Then I'll charge you a beer or two or three.
 

D.K.

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Dec 1, 2011
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#19
Speaking about those Gokiso hubs... Tim. I've seen you mention them a few times and one of the few people who have ridden them. Perhaps more appropriate in a new thread, I would be interested in your opinion / review on them. Are they worth the money? (Sorry, Didn't mean to hijack thus thread)
 

GSAstuto

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#20
Good idea - I'll post a review / explanation about them. They are truly Japanese Alien Technology with a fair amount of Steampunk tossed in.

Speaking about those Gokiso hubs... Tim. I've seen you mention them a few times and one of the few people who have ridden them. Perhaps more appropriate in a new thread, I would be interested in your opinion / review on them. Are they worth the money? (Sorry, Didn't mean to hijack thus thread)