Looking to buy a pair of tubular race wheels without breaking the bank $400
Tried and failed to get used Ksyrium SL on Ebay but have now found some new Ritchey WCS Protocols and Easton EA70X's that are almost in budget. Anyone got any experience of these wheels for cross and/or other recommendations.
They were cheap, so I don't expect anything exciting or lightweight (they are 1700g), but that doesn't mean they are crap. My friends and I have not had any problems with other cheap generic wheels from Nashbar and such.
I agree. I've ridden all kinds of off brand wheels over the years, and have rarely run across a pair that was terrible. Truth be told 90% of rims, bearings and spokes all come out of the same few factories and the quality is more or less identical. It's even starting to get that way with carbon to some extent. They might not be the lightest or most whiz bang brand name, but more or less an aluminum rim is an aluminum and a bearing is a bearing.
The rest is marketing, I should know, I write that stuff for a living....
Yeah, I'm curious too. But I wanted a cheap entry into the tubular world, and this (and used tires) were the only way to do it. If they last the season, I'll be happy. I can't justify spending $700 on a pair of 1200g CX race wheels at this time.
Neuvation makes an alloy tubular: $390 and 1400 grams for the set. I got a set to race on this season. I used their C-50 carbons last year for cross and was happy with how they performed. Neuvation seems to be under the radar a bit, but they offer great value and customer service in my experience.
Find a deal on some older model hubs, and some older alloy rims like Mavic GP4, GL330, Ambrosio Montreal or the like- something near 350-400grams with 32/36 holes for the rear or 28-36 holes for the front should be able to take cross abuse without a problem. Current rim models like Mavic Reflex or Ambrosio Nemesis, or Sun or Velocity tubular rims are also excellent but more expensive options that you can order online or through any shop. A standard cross 3X spoke pattern is easy to learn for building your first set of wheels if that's new for you. There are lots of basic wheel building instructions found online, Sheldon Brown, RIP of course wrote some of the easiest to follow and I think these are still found linked to the Harris Cyclery site. Search Ebay and you can typically get a pair of NOS 32h tubular rims for +/- 60 bucks, and combined with 105 or LX hubs (remove the spacer on the axle to make it 130mm spacing) and basic DT straight gauge spokes and you have yourself some good cheap wheels and a new skill set. Expect your first slow build to take 2-3 hours using written instructions, or just do the easy part and lace them yourself with loose spokes and take to a friend who can build wheels to show you how to tension and true them. Using budget factory wheels for cross just baffles me when you can DIY and have a better wheel for less $$$. Both sets of my LX/GP4s and 105/Montreals came in at well less than $150 including spokes.