I know what i'd buy for that money:
OT - Dark Side "Race" Wheel upgrade
Finbar - I like the sound of those.
1. Handbuilts as per Finbar or hubs of choice with Ambrosio rims
2. Sram 30 Sprint
4. Dura Ace CL Clinchers.
From what I can tell all similar weights (150grams diff). So it comes down to performance and cost (perhaps serviceability and longevity)
I've got the neutron ultras on my omega and I really like them. Admittedly I bought them second hand so didn't pay full price. They definately feel an upgrade from the ksyrium elites they replaced.
I'd still go shimano, put 000's of miles into a set of r-550's one summer on potholed b/un-classified/un-made roads and they didn't even develop a wobble, did have to put 1/4 turn on the DS rear spokes though to keep them stiff under power. They weren't the stiffest, but never rubbed on the brake pads so must have been stiff enough, and the low spoke count and normal-ish rim kept them comfortable which makes more of a difference after 100miles.
Really the only way to go is handbuilt, find a good wheelbuilder, someone like Paul Hewitt or Derek at wheelsmith loads of others too, tell him what you want ( he will have far more knowledge about " race" wheels than many of the posters on here) and you will get a set of wheels that will be lighter, easier to service and last longer than many of the suggestions given.
Oh and don't go talking about the darkside as they will just think you are a complete T1T.
when was the last time a "race" was won on "hand built" wheels?
As someone wayyyyyy up there -----^ points out, high end wheels are built by hand, by guys who are just as talented at building a wheel as any one man band in a shed eating hob-nobs and drinking Yorkshire tea.
And when we're talking about spending £500+ on wheels, £15 for a spoke that may never need replacing pales into insignificance. There (by the sounds of it) his Sunday wheels, handbuilts (custom built might be a better term anyway?) have their place, but I'd never think of them for racing?
when was the last time a "race" was won on "hand built" wheels?erm all the time.
£500 isn't high end
And it's not the just cost of the spoke its the time you have to wait for your lbs to order it.
Boonen on some nice handbuilts and I wouldn't be suprised if Ballan's were too just re stickered to keep the sponsors happy.
Can't decide if to go for Handbuilts or the DA 7850 Clincher carbon laminate non UST at 1392g
Question, as I've mentioned above I'm a mid to rear pack racer. I actually race on bog standard Aksiums, do you think in all honesty a £500 pair of wheels will help at all?
One thing that bothers me is the amount of potholes I've crashed through and debris I've encountered on circuits, would something sub 1500g be up to the job.
I can see what you're saying Ed, but I'm going to totally disagree with you!
Yes the classics are largely raced on low pro 'handbuilt' wheels, but I'll assume our OP isn't riding pave at 35mph with a very strong likelihood of smashing wheels!
'Factory' wheels are still built by hand, as above. FFWD wheels are all built by some fellow called 'Zoran' or sommat. Let's be honest, if there was a genuine advantage to running some DA hubs on Open Pros then it would be more common place in conventional road races. There's enough teams out there running Mavic, FFWD, Roval, Bontrager wheels etc that it's obviously not a problem for them!
As for the spares, save for Mavic, the rest of those brands use conventional spokes anyway, rather negating that argument!
My man that sorts my kit reckons D.T.Swiss RR1.1 on Ultegra and Revolution spokes would be ideal for me.
Edit; He also said save your money anf loose weight
I have these, which are nice.
I also have these, at half the price but great performers.
Those DA ones are pretty weighty though, I looked at the full carbon tub version, awesome looking wheels, the old decals would've looked spot on on my Madone!
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