To Build or Not to Build That is the Question

I've ordered a set of Fulcrum Racing 3 Wheels from Wiggle for 300:00 which is outstanding value I thought. However, a mate was telling me that if I were to spend the same money on hand built wheels from a good wheel builder I would get a better wheel. Can that be true. The Fulcrums are sub 1500 grms and get fantastic ratings and aesthetically they are just what I was looking for. Is it possible to get an equally good if not better wheel from someone who builds by hand. Surely the large manufacturers have access to better machines, stock , materials etc etc.

Or am I just being naïve. The excitement of awaiting delivery of the new wheels is starting to wane. Any advice from the more experienced members would be appreciated.
 

GrumpyGregry

Here for rides.
For my money; handbuilt every time.
 

Venod

Eh up
Location
Yorkshire
Being discussed before but can't find the thread.

I have both hand built & factory wheels both excellent, the only advantages I can see is hand built you get to choose what rims hubs & spokes, some factory built wheels might use hard to find replacement spokes etc. the wheels you are waiting for will be just as good as any hand built.
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Location
Kirton, Devon.
I think it's horses for courses, but on balance my preference is to go handbuilt.

wam68, your wheels will be fab and you are right that you get the benefit of technology and mass-production cost efficiency .... however ....
Hand-built's allow you to have a wheel-set that is tailored to YOUR needs, not a mass-market appeal or price point. A good wheel builder will take into account your weight, the type of riding that you do, whether you want stiffness or comfort and other minor preferences for hub and bearing type, noise, weather-proofness etc.

I have a lovely pair of low spoke count semi-aero sub 1500g Reynolds wheels, they are light, fast, comfortable, but not stiff (don't accelerate well or climb well) and the bearing need attention every time it rains .... if I put too much weight over the front wheel a spoke goes. On paper they're fab! Actually, I like them just fine as I'm no powerhouse. For my Audax build I went hand-built to get just the compromises I wanted in terms of durability, comfort, tyre size, bling etc, etc. so the wheel is optimal for my needs.
The other factor is that commissioning your own wheels is fun and you can often get something unique!

IMG_1032.JPG
 
Being discussed before but can't find the thread.

I have both hand built & factory wheels both excellent, the only advantages I can see is hand built you get to choose what rims hubs & spokes, some factory built wheels might use hard to find replacement spokes etc. the wheels you are waiting for will be just as good as any hand built

Cheers. I'm content now. The Fulcrums have been on my wish list for a while and am looking forward to getting them
I think it's horses for courses, but on balance my preference is to go handbuilt.

wam68, your wheels will be fab and you are right that you get the benefit of technology and mass-production cost efficiency .... however ....
Hand-built's allow you to have a wheel-set that is tailored to YOUR needs, not a mass-market appeal or price point. A good wheel builder will take into account your weight, the type of riding that you do, whether you want stiffness or comfort and other minor preferences for hub and bearing type, noise, weather-proofness etc.

I have a lovely pair of low spoke count semi-aero sub 1500g Reynolds wheels, they are light, fast, comfortable, but not stiff (don't accelerate well or climb well) and the bearing need attention every time it rains .... if I put too much weight over the front wheel a spoke goes. On paper they're fab! Actually, I like them just fine as I'm no powerhouse. For my Audax build I went hand-built to get just the compromises I wanted in terms of durability, comfort, tyre size, bling etc, etc. so the wheel is optimal for my needs.
The other factor is that commissioning your own wheels is fun and you can often get something unique!

View attachment 75011

Thanks Fab Foodie. Good explanation and it has put my mind at ease. Will look forward to my new wheels then and next time who knows. Maybe I will get some build by hand.
 

bpsmith

Veteran
I had this thought after getting my Campag Zonda's. The thing is, "better" has a different definition depending on your requirements. What's better for others is not always better for you.

My Zonda's are amazing compared to the stock wheels I had initially. Really chuffed with them. They sit in between the Fulcrum 5's and the 3's, I am told, so very much doubt that what you bought will be anything short of amazing.
 
I had this thought after getting my Campag Zonda's. The thing is, "better" has a different definition depending on your requirements. What's better for others is not always better for you.

My Zonda's are amazing compared to the stock wheels I had initially. Really chuffed with them. They sit in between the Fulcrum 5's and the 3's, I am told, so very much doubt that what you bought will be anything short of amazing.
Cheers for the reply Bpsmith. Appreciate it and the explanations from the forum members. Just wanted a good set of wheels that I could push that we bit harder.:thumbsup:
 

derrick

The Glue that binds us together.
I've ordered a set of Fulcrum Racing 3 Wheels from Wiggle for 300:00 which is outstanding value I thought. However, a mate was telling me that if I were to spend the same money on hand built wheels from a good wheel builder I would get a better wheel. Can that be true. The Fulcrums are sub 1500 grms and get fantastic ratings and aesthetically they are just what I was looking for. Is it possible to get an equally good if not better wheel from someone who builds by hand. Surely the large manufacturers have access to better machines, stock , materials etc etc.

Or am I just being naïve. The excitement of awaiting delivery of the new wheels is starting to wane. Any advice from the more experienced members would be appreciated.
If you are a light weight then you have no probs, if you need something that will take more weight then go hand built, But i would put my Mavic's up against any hand builds, And i would keep my Mavic's:whistle:
 

jowwy

Can't spell, Can't Punctuate....Sue Me
If you are a light weight then you have no probs, if you need something that will take more weight then go hand built, But i would put my Mavic's up against any hand builds, And i would keep my Mavic's:whistle:
It's all according what the mavics are and what the hanbuilts are, but I'm guessing hanbuilt carbon rims on a Chris king or rolls Royce hub, would certainly outshine any narrow rim mavic ;)
 

bpsmith

Veteran
It's all according what the mavics are and what the hanbuilts are, but I'm guessing hanbuilt carbon rims on a Chris king or rolls Royce hub, would certainly outshine any narrow rim mavic ;)
Could you get those for the OP's budget of £300 then? ;)
 

jowwy

Can't spell, Can't Punctuate....Sue Me
Could you get those for the OP's budget of £300 then? ;)
I was replying to Derrick about his mavics and the hand built option

As to the OP I would have chosen the zonda option as they are lighter, stronger and cheaper than fulcrum 3's and made by the exact same company (campagnolo)
 

bpsmith

Veteran
I was replying to Derrick about his mavics and the hand built option

As to the OP I would have chosen the zonda option as they are lighter, stronger and cheaper than fulcrum 3's and made by the exact same company (campagnolo)
Fair enough. So you reckon the Zonda's are actually better wheeks than the F3's then?
 
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