I don’t know when I stopped thinking in “bikes” and started thinking in “parts,” but it’s been a long time. Of course, the part I think about most is the frame. It’s the most consequential part, the one most likely to look different from bike to bike and the one that most clearly expresses the character of the ride. I could look at disembodied frames all day, and sometimes do.
After the frame, the greatest arbiter of ride quality is undoubtedly the wheels, right? Am I jaded, though? (Don’t answer that.) I have a hard time looking at any of the wheels on the market and thinking THAT’s the one for me. Oh sure, there are a lot of good wheels out there. I like the Mavic R-SYS SLRs, the HED Ardennes line, the ENVE Classic 25s.
You can see the kind of wheel I like. I’m not much concerned with weight or aerodynamics. I go for a real balance of performance and durability. I ride everywhere, all the time, and I’m not persnickety about maintenance. I beat on my stuff, so to be sexy, a wheel has to last.
Another real thing for me with wheels is the decaling. WHY? Why do wheelmakers insist on turning their rims into rolling billboards? It’s like they’re trying to jump in front of the frame, to steal back some of the attention. I know I can peel the decals off most rims, but I hate that. I just want you to sell me a wheel that looks good, where looks good doesn’t equal taking every inch of rim space with a multicolored logo.
See, I am jaded.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what wheels do you lust for? What is important for you in a wheel? I don’t race, so deep section carbon rims, don’t appeal to me, but perhaps that’s where the real head-turners are in the market today. What bothers you about wheels? Have you been riding the same wheel for a decade, or do you bounce around from wheel to wheel, looking for something, other than roundness, that you’ve never quite discovered.