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650c wheel sources... options?

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics' started by timdesuyo, May 14, 2011.

  1. timdesuyo

    timdesuyo Speeding Up

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    I've got a little bit of an issue hanging over my head, and you guys probably know waaaay more about this than I. So here goes.

    I will probably need to make a wheel decision sometime before fall, maybe sooner. I have cheap generic 650c wheels. The front rim has a dent on the lip, they're both a little out-of-true, and the cones on the back wheel are a bit scratched up. They seem ok to ride for now, but it's definitely put replacement in my mind.

    The bike manufacturer is willing to just sell me a replacement hub, so I could just steal the axle, cones, and bearings out of that, and deal with the other issues for a while, procrastinating the decision for a while.

    I could get a wheelset from the manufacturer (Tokyobike) for 18,000. They aren't particularly spectacular wheels, but they haven't let me down yet.

    The Y's Road custom shop in Shinjuku was less than helpful when I went today, and they just showed me a catalog from a brand name that I didn't know and now escapes me, that had a wheel set for 50,000.

    Wiggle doesn't stock any 650s except for Zipp and the like... which would be lipstick on a pig. I know Tim mentioned a couple other internet sites when I asked him over noodles on the Golden Week beginner ride, but I've totally forgotten what they were.

    Another question I've had is do the 700c wheels make that much difference? I'm generally happy with my bike, but I got my butt handed to me by you guys on the climb.

    So, I could go the cheap route, and not worry about it. I could spend 50,000, which is almost as much as the bike cost originally, and get some expensive cheap wheels, if you guys think that would make a big difference in my riding experience, or I could ride these wheels as long as I can, maybe replace the cones only, if I could find some, and save my pennies for a new frame, if you guys think that the 700c tires will help me keep up on the next ride.

    Of course, I could just go back and re-read rule #5, buy the cheap wheels, and commute everywhere with gallons of water in my backpack, and go do some mountain climbing solo, until my legs are the size of trees, and then beat your carbon-fiber wonder up the hill anyway... but I'm wondering if you guys have any tricks up your sleeve for maximizing the value of a low-budget wheel purchase, or know anything about brands to avoid / buy, or shops to ask at...

    Thanks again, guys. I really enjoyed my first ride with you all, and I'm definitely going to do it again.
  2. kiwisimon

    kiwisimon Maximum Pace

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    so you want replacements for primarily aesthetic reasons:, do the wheels you have now work and are they safe? if yes put off anything till you really need to. IMO unless you are really petite 700C will roll better. Keep riding and getting stronger, saving money to get a better level of bike. Good luck.
  3. StuInTokyo

    StuInTokyo Maximum Pace

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    Tim I think if you just get new cones and ball bearing, you should be good for some time yet. Bring the bike by one day and we'll tear the wheels down again, take pictures and measurments and then go hunting for some new cones, one of the better bike shops, NOT Y's Road, should have cones in stock.

    Guys where would we go to get some cones for the wheels?

    Maybe somewhere like >> Jenson USA << we can find them too?

    Then I like your idea of making the Tokyo Bike into a fixie/single speed, and getting another road bike :D
  4. timdesuyo

    timdesuyo Speeding Up

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    Me too, but it's all about the funding :/
  5. GSAstuto

    GSAstuto Maximum Pace

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    For about 3man you can put together a nice set of Mavic Openpros with 5700 hubs and DT spokes. You can get all the parts at Chainreaction and/or Wiggle. Spokes at Y's Maniac or various other places.
  6. Sikochi

    Sikochi Maximum Pace

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    You will find many discussions on slowtwitch about 650 v 700 wheels. The main reason for 650 wheels is that on a tri bike, the smaller wheel enables a smaller rider to get an better aero position which is near impossible on most 700 bikes given the stack height. It`s not quite the same thing, but for illustration purposes, I went for the 48 CAAD 9 as otherwise I was left with minimal drop between the seat and the handlebars. On a road bike, the main reason for it is to reduce toe overlap problems, as anyone who has ridden a small Cervelo will tell you. I have an old second-hand tri bike in the UK that I picked up cheap to try out and that has 650 wheels. The only noticeable difference (as Kiwisimon pointed out) is that the wheels lose their momemtum quicker than 700`s, but there is no reason to buy a new bike just for that. On the plus side, the smaller wheel will weigh less.

    I would second GSAstuto`S suggestion for best option.
  7. timdesuyo

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    Thanks guys for your help. Tim, Would I have to be putting those wheels together myself? I'd be up to the challange, but I'd have to borrow tools from Stu.

    Also... replacing the wheels isn't something I'm 100% sold on doing, but that scratch in the cone is something I have no experience with... I have no idea how much longer it'd be safe to ride. And the dent in the rim is the same thing. Stu saw it before I did. Looking at it, I don't think it would necessarily be unsafe, but I don't know much about the braking point of these things.

    If you guys would reassure me that they're safe, I'd happily forget all about replacing them. :) Chances are, as you guy's have pointed out, that the reason I got my butt kicked on the hills wasn't 'cause I was on the wrong bike. I just gotta do it a few thousand more times :)
  8. GSAstuto

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    Just get some beers and I'll build them for you. Unless you know how to lace and build wheels you will be pretty frustrated.
  9. StuInTokyo

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    Hell Tim B I'll supply the beers, you supply the pizza, as long as I get to come along and watch! It's been 20 years since I built any wheels, I could use a refresher course :D

    BTW, they will be GOOD beers! :cool:
  10. timdesuyo

    timdesuyo Speeding Up

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    I only operate in good beer land, Stu. Tim, I'd love to do that, but I don't want to put too much of a burden on you. Only if it's something that you really don't mind doing.

    I was watching the youtube tutorials on wheel-building, and it didn't seem too complicated... but I'm aware of how much those sound like famous last words. I had a look at the Mavic catalog today, and Y's had the 105 hubs for pretty much the same price as Wiggle.

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