Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
purkle
Posts: 10
Joined: 5 Apr 2019, 7:41am

Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby purkle » 7 Apr 2019, 9:28am

Hi all, another newbie question!

I need to replace at least the rear wheel on my Norco Valence, I don't know much at all about bikes & all the technical stuff. I'm looking for help finding the balance between cheap & reliably durable wheels!

I'm tending towards a second hand rear wheel or wheelset, although obviously I know that I need to make sure I get decent condition serviced hubs, brake tracks not too worn, freehub not too worn, etc.

My budget is really around £60 max because I'm not a proper cyclist, just a commuter, but at the same time I'm not wanting to waste £50 on some cheap crap which will only last a year. I only cycle roughly 30 miles a week though.

Any recommendations, things I should stay away from, things I should look for, common brands that come up second hand to look for, etc? Any advice is much appreciated, thank you :D

Brucey
Posts: 36851
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby Brucey » 7 Apr 2019, 9:48am

you need to get at least partly acquainted with the technical stuff if you are buying wheels. Specifically;

rim size; diameter and width, tubeless or not
hub/rim type: disc brake or rim brake
drilling/spoke pattern; 28, 32 or 36 x2 or x3 or something else, PG or butted spokes
hub width; 130, 135mm or something else
hub type; for screw-on freewheel or cassette
freehub type; shimano 7s, or 8/9/10s, or 11s, or other (campagnolo, SRAM , shimano microspline, etc)
bearing type; adjustable cup and cone, or cartridge bearings

The life of many hubs/wheelsets is defined by setup and maintenance, not by the inherent nature of the parts used. For example as an experiment I took an OEM quality wheelset from a midrange Giant and gave it some TLC ( stress relief and a proper lube and careful bearing adjustment) before a chum used it as a commuting wheelset. The result was that the wheelset did over 20000 miles without missing a beat, and is still being used. Hubs are Taiwanese cup and cone bearing type. A 'better' wheelset, (which was set up less well) could have failed several times over in the same mileage.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

purkle
Posts: 10
Joined: 5 Apr 2019, 7:41am

Re: Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby purkle » 7 Apr 2019, 10:40am

Brucey wrote:you need to get at least partly acquainted with the technical stuff if you are buying wheels. Specifically;

rim size; diameter and width, tubeless or not
hub/rim type: disc brake or rim brake
drilling/spoke pattern; 28, 32 or 36 x2 or x3 or something else, PG or butted spokes
hub width; 130, 135mm or something else
hub type; for screw-on freewheel or cassette
freehub type; shimano 7s, or 8/9/10s, or 11s, or other (campagnolo, SRAM , shimano microspline, etc)
bearing type; adjustable cup and cone, or cartridge bearings

cheers


Size 700c, any rim size that will take 23c tyres or up to 25c, would consider 28c. Not tubeless, standard clincher. Rim brake compatible. Will consider 24-36 spoke rear capacity (I'm around 70kg so don't want to go super lightweight with a small number of spokes) & 20+ spoke front capacity; less interested in the campag style spoke patterns which leave some areas of the rim bare, as these seem less strong in certain areas of the rim. Hub width I'm not sure. Hub type for slot on cassette. Freehub compatible with 8spd Shimano (ie 8/9/10). Would prefer cone & cup for easy serviceability but would consider cartridge type as they seem more common these days.

These are my preferences; do you have any recommendations? Thanks.

Jamesh
Posts: 815
Joined: 2 Jan 2017, 5:56pm

Re: Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby Jamesh » 7 Apr 2019, 1:00pm

I've got Alex rims on tiagra which have been built proof for general cycling including with kid seat on the back. But more expensive than some.

Mach1 on Shimano would be my cheapest choice.

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 3424084354
Top brand "showroom" wheels are often poor unless fettled by a human.

Cheers James

purkle
Posts: 10
Joined: 5 Apr 2019, 7:41am

Re: Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby purkle » 7 Apr 2019, 1:39pm

Jamesh wrote:I've got Alex rims on tiagra which have been built proof for general cycling including with kid seat on the back. But more expensive than some.

Mach1 on Shimano would be my cheapest choice.

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 3424084354
Top brand "showroom" wheels are often poor unless fettled by a human.

Cheers James


Thanks James, that's really helpful. I had looked at a few of the Tru-Build wheels on eBay like that one linked but the ones I've messaged seem to be made with unknown/unbranded hubs, or the seller couldn't tell me what the hubs were, which made me think they might not be good quality.
But that's great to know you'd recommend them as a cheap durable option. Would you go new over second hand then?
I'm happy to do a bit of truing, I have built a couple of wheels before actually but a long long time ago & probably wouldn't know where to start now.

User avatar
Patrickpioneer
Posts: 296
Joined: 25 Sep 2017, 11:18am
Location: Brynteg

Re: Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby Patrickpioneer » 14 May 2019, 6:05am

A few years ago I bought a dirt cheap single wall wheel set for my hack bike, think it was fifty quid for the two wheels. I did as Bruce does, bearings etc and got 5000 miles out of the back wheel before the rim was past it. It also helps to keep out of the pot holes and lift your bottom off the saddle over lumps and bumps.

markjohnobrien
Posts: 181
Joined: 4 Oct 2007, 8:15pm

Re: Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby markjohnobrien » 16 May 2019, 1:14pm

purkle wrote:Hi all, another newbie question!

I need to replace at least the rear wheel on my Norco Valence, I don't know much at all about bikes & all the technical stuff. I'm looking for help finding the balance between cheap & reliably durable wheels!

I'm tending towards a second hand rear wheel or wheelset, although obviously I know that I need to make sure I get decent condition serviced hubs, brake tracks not too worn, freehub not too worn, etc.

My budget is really around £60 max because I'm not a proper cyclist, just a commuter, but at the same time I'm not wanting to waste £50 on some cheap crap which will only last a year. I only cycle roughly 30 miles a week though.

Any recommendations, things I should stay away from, things I should look for, common brands that come up second hand to look for, etc? Any advice is much appreciated, thank you :D


Try Rosebikes in Germany: their wheel building is excellent. They often have special offers and their online and postal service is superb.

Oldjohnw
Posts: 2901
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby Oldjohnw » 16 May 2019, 1:51pm

My budget is really around £60 max because I'm not a proper cyclist, just a commuter, but at the same time I'm not wanting to waste £50 on some cheap crap which will only last a year. I only cycle roughly 30 miles a week though.


If you ride a bike you are a cyclist. What on earth is this 'proper' stuff all about? 30 miles is brilliant: 1500 pa.
John

Brucey
Posts: 36851
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Cheap reliable commuter wheels (road)

Postby Brucey » 16 May 2019, 2:04pm

purkle wrote:
Thanks James, that's really helpful. I had looked at a few of the Tru-Build wheels on eBay like that one linked but the ones I've messaged seem to be made with unknown/unbranded hubs, or the seller couldn't tell me what the hubs were, which made me think they might not be good quality.
But that's great to know you'd recommend them as a cheap durable option. Would you go new over second hand then?
I'm happy to do a bit of truing, I have built a couple of wheels before actually but a long long time ago & probably wouldn't know where to start now.


IME the trubuild wheels are not bad for the money. The main difference between current shimano hubs and the no-name ones are

- the shimano hubs have (above a certain price point) half decent seals
- you can buy spare parts easily for the shimano ones
- the shimano ones have (in good part because they have some grease inside them) a life expectancy of at least a year even if you do nothing with them.

But in any case the best thing you can do with any new set of wheels is to stress-relieve them, also to make sure that the hubs are corectly lubricated and adjusted, and to use much better quality grease than the rubbish they put use in the factory when they are made. Some SFG and/or oil inside the freehub body is a very good idea. I've seen no-name hubs where there was no lube in the freewheel mechanism at all, and the freehub nipped up within a few weeks.

If your old hub/spokes are still OK and you have any vestigial wheelbuilding skills at all then you can often re-rim the old wheel; this relies on being able to source a rim with the same (or similar) ERD value. It takes about half as long as building a wheel from scratch. You can usually buy a pretty good rim for about £20 or so.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~