Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wheels - Fit to be Tied

All photos from Handspun's Flickr

Brief posts this week as I've entered the final countdown for the Rapha Centre Ramble tomorrow. After a doctor's appointment this morning I'll make a beeline for State College and the Rapha Conti crew.

For now, a question remains, one that perplexes many a rider about to embark on a long ride in adverse conditions: wheels. What should ride? The Ramble has some serious climbing, so an argument can be made for lightweight (Shimano Dura-Ace Scandium); but there's also roughly 25 miles of dirt roads that make a case for durability and comfort (Mavic Classics Pro SSC's).

Both sets are some of the best wheels I've ever ridden, and both are more than worthy of making the trip.

It all gets me thinking: is there anything more classic than a nice set of wheels? Recently, I discovered that Competitive Cyclist has been offering sets of tied and soldered wheels. Talk about one of cycling's lost arts!

They're made by Handspun and boy are they beautiful! Handspun also made a set of classics wheels for Embrocation's Jeremy Dunn before he left for his week at Flanders, Gent, and Roubaix. Here are some photos from their Flickr photostream:

Nice choices, Jeremy.

Handspun offers several classic versions to suit your needs. As time passes, we plan to include reviews and articles about various classic and neo-classic wheel and tire options from Shimano, Mavic, Handspun, Challenge and more. But for now, you'll have to be content with just drooling over these samples.

What's your favorite set of wheels for the pavé?


  1. My Pacer is shod with pre-Handspun (QBP Wheelhouse) 105/32 hole Open Pros that have held up wonderfully for the past year. Quick true after the first miles and that's pretty much been it. These wheels haven't been babied either. Couple thousand in the bank and many more to go.

  2. I'm actually going through the same thought process right now for a bike build. What did you end up using on the Rapha ride and how did they hold up? Did you go with Chris King hubs and Opens Pros they use?

  3. I went with Mavic Classics SSC's. They were a good choice, although I'm not sold entirely on the ceramic coating. The Open Pro/King Hub combo is for the team members only, but they were one fine set. If were building from scratch, I'd consider a pair of these. What are some of the options you're considering?

  4. Riding the pave or any none asphalt surface is rarely a question of wheel strength but more of comfort. I have ridden the Ronde twice now both on different sets of wheels.

    First year I chose Mavic Ksyrium Elites, which were strong enough, but did let for of the vibrations come back to the rider. This year I used my DT hubs built with DT black DB spokes on Ambrosia clincher rims. These offered greater comfort over the pave.

    I had also another set of wheels which are Dura Ace hubs on Mavic Open Pros, built with bladed spokes. These were a great compromise between a conventional handbuilt and a factory built wheel.

    As riders we will be all faced with a new choice, one that has had over two years of development by the toughest riders in the harshest of terrain. Enter the new Zipp 303 - built for the classics. Race proven in both the Tour of Flanders and Roubaix.

    These are nice headaches to have.

  5. I'm considering the King/Open Pro option - but battling with the price of the King hubs over Ultegra. It's a struggle. Also debating whether tubular or clincher. Tubular gives the better ride for the types of surface I want to take them on, but without the support vehicle I'm wondering how nervous I'd get during a century on back country roads.


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