Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Wheels!

I've been eyeing a new set of road wheels for a while now - my backup/training wheels were lost to my cross bike over the winter and I've never made up for it... until now. I was between a set of Neuvation R23 Aero4's and "Traditional" Ultegra Hub/Mavic Open Pro wheels. Each had pros, the Neuvations are lighter, both are known to be very strong regardless of how you torture them, and they both cost under $300/set.

Through much consultation with others and many people as fans in either camp, I decided to pick up the Ultegra/Open Pro setup... mostly because I got them locally and didn't have to wait, but also because they ended up being $220 since they were on sale at a certain store that's in cahoots with a secret website where they have ridonkulous prices on things. I couldn't pass them up for 40% less than the Neuvations.

64 spokes of fury!

This evening I set out on a quick test run... planning to ride early in the morning and the last thing I want is a wheel problem so I figured I'd give them a spin. I threw on some FSA rim strip (I normally prefer VeloFlex cotton tape, this is an experiment), some tubes and tires off my destructorated Mavic Cosmics and off I was. As soon as I put weight on them, I heard the spokes pop into place... great. This is one disadvantage of hand "finished" wheelsets, but for the price I can deal with it. Wheels felt nice and stiff for standing sprints, accelerate well but definitely not as easily as my Ksyriums - those will be a lighter weight "treat" for race day from now on. I headed north to Hollywood on the LFP, where a Fred grabbed my wheel around Addison and sucked wheel all the way to the Irving Park tennis courts, at which point I looked back and kindly informed him that I'd appreciate him announcing when he's on my wheel - all too often you need to take quick evasive action on the LFP and if some Fred is overlapping your rear wheel without your knowledge... bad news. I made it to Hollywood and hopped off the bike to check the wheels - true and round. Sweet. I did, however, notice that the nose of my saddle was pointed up a tad. I'm hoping I can torque that bolt down to keep this thing from moving, time will tell on that one.

On the way back, a Fred on a double squish was on my wheel. What's with these guys? First, it's flat here. Second, the LFP is PAVED AND SMOOTH. If you were riding on Lake Shore Drive you might need the full suspension, but it's entirely unnecessary. Whatever. Since I was out for a short ride to test these wheels, I wasn't looking to drop anyone nor was I feeling competitive. I maintained 18-20mph all the way south to Belmont, where I peeled off... at which point Fred exclaims:

"Thanks for being the rabbit".

Oh, Fred. You're so welcome.


In other news, I like my new wheels :)

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