Mike's new wheels (that Dave stole already)

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You might assume that we're always rolling around on the tip top latest and greatest, and for the most part you'd be wrong. Most of the time, I (Dave) am trying to test something to see if we want to use it, or to see if some combo works, or just to put miles onto something. This usually means a mismatched set using some number of parts pulled out of the spares drawer (to be fair, our spares drawer would provoke acute lust in most), but it's almost never an "I am using these because they are directed toward fulfilling my specific needs or use case" deal. Mike, on the other hand, is pretty quiet about his wheel wants and needs and has been using older wheels that just plain work. Lately, he hasn't been using anything thanks to an ACL injury (that's what he gets for playing soccer), so there's that. This season, that's changing.

Pick all three, or four, or whateverThe first set up is Mike's, which I will be using through a few events in the late spring/early summer, Killington Stage Race being the main one. These started off aimed directly at me, but then somehow it made more sense for me to pass these on to Mike after those events and do a different build. 

Anyhow, the specs:

A-Force Al33 machined side wall rims (20/24 lacing)

CX Ray spokes front and rear non-drive side, CX Sprints rear drive side

Powertap G3 rear hub 

Industry Nine Torch Road front hub 

Black aluminum nipples

25mm Vittoria Corsa G+ clinchers with latex tubes

Though my favorite mountain bike wheels have I9 hubs, neither of us has ever long-term used I9 road hubs. We've built lots of them, and pined for them, but never owned them. Since Mike is coming back from an injury, and I am coming back from sloth and cheese cake, using power makes a heck of a lot of sense for both of us. It's the task master that we both need, even if what it's been saying to me lately isn't particularly fuzzy and warm. My inner weight weenie (I didn't even know I had one!) chose the alloy nipples, which is a fine choice if you are at all careful about how you treat your wheels. Our wheels may usually be mongrel mashups but they do get looked after quite well, and when you're racing up East Mountain Road, every little bit helps. 

As the world has generally become very aware of, there are huge gains to be made by using the right tires and tubes, or not tubes. The Vittorias are known to be FAST, although the tubeless versions are even faster. This is one of those "we had these in stock" things, and I'm glad we did. I LOVE THESE TIRES. They feel plenty fast, the grip is quite good, and the feel is just wow. So smooth. They're right around 28mm wide on the A-Force rims, which is just about as big a tire as my bike fits. From the "pretend that you're a consumer" perspective on the tires, the only time I ever seem to flat is at critical moments in races (my last coming while I was in the break that created the GC at Killington a couple of years ago, that was a real heartbreaker) and I love riding on good tires/hate riding on garden hoses. And tires just aren't all that expensive in the grand scheme (especially when you use wheels that do every little thing and more that wheels costing 3 or 4x do), so I comfortably say that this is a move I'd make even as a consumer. 

The A-Force rims were an obvious choice. The ceramics are in short enough supply that we weren't going to usurp a set for ourselves, plus these machined brake track ones are awfully nice. They all build up really really well, they're robust beyond their weight, they look totally sex bomb, and they feel super solid. 

My time with these is going to be composed of 3 to 4 training rides during the week, and generally a race and a training ride on the weekend. A few gran fondos and stuff will be thrown in there too. I can't think of any better setup for all that stuff, which should be evident from the fact that I started with a totally blank sheet and had unlimited product choices. 


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  • Brett on

    Couldn't agree more on the Vittoria Corsa and Al33 combo. I just got mine back from Dave's magic hands last week, 24/28 laced to hot pink pair of White T11's, and threw them on my Moots climbing warrior. The connection to the road is beyond anything I've experienced from my Enve 3.4's over two years time. These feel like they take my 201 pound lard ass up any of SoCal's Malibu climbs with ease and more importantly take it back down safely. At least that's whats in my head which is what matters. I run the Corsas around 90 but haven't made the switch to latex yet which may be the next step. Curious if anyone wants to weigh in on the real difference in terms of feel on butyl.

  • Glepore on

    Dave is spot on on this combo. I have a set of the standard Aforce/Bitex wheels built by November, and am running CS's with latex tubes and they are incredibly buttery smooth-maybe even better than a good tubular, but I don't have experience with really wide tubies so can't say for sure. I do know that my stock of horded last gen corsa's are never going to get used. I'm 130lbs and running these around 80 psi.

  • Zed on

    Unless you're talking about a certain Olympic track bike, why say "drive side" and "non-drive side?" What's wrong with right and left?

  • Dave on

    I second that emotion. It's just smooth, there's no plastic-y feeling. Very comfortable.

  • Glepore on

    @ Brett-can't compare back to back on this wheelset, but I was coming from Pacenti's (tires were maybe 1mm or so narrower on those rims). The difference is subtle but appreciable.More compliant for sure, smooths out the buzz a little bit. Its similar to the difference in feel between say a conti 4000 and the corsas.


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