Being stuck at home is the perfect time to conduct a major overhaul of my daily ride. The Breezer Radar that I bought a couple of years ago has already been through some major changes since the day it arrived on my doorstep.
In keeping with tradition, I felt that it was time to hit the reset switch and improve some things. This entire process was also caused by some “cabin fever shopping” during the shut-in time over the past two weeks due to COVID-19.
The single biggest change that I undertook was a new wheelset. The stock wheelset on the Radar was fairly mediocre. This is to be expected in an OEM wheelset on a bicycle that came with a value build component set.
I went with a wheelset from online retailer Bicycle Wheel Warehouse. The set that I ordered was BWW Trail Pro 29er Custom Build. My set was built with the Speed Tuned Super 6 quick release hubs, Shimano freehub for a 10 speed cassette, and DT Competition 2.0/1.8 spokes. For a little bling, I went with blue alloy nipples:
Yeah, it cost a little more but you only live once. All in, with a 20% discount coupon, I paid just under $300 for the wheelset.
The tires are WTB Venture 700×40. This tread is a little wider than the Donnelly X’Plor USH 700×35 tires that were installed on the previous wheelset. I went with something wider and a little more aggressive in the tread department because I felt that the tread profile on the USHs was a little squirrely on the rough stuff around here. Wanting to spend some more time on more remote routes this year led me to a more off-road focused tread pattern.
The bigger change is moving to a tubeless setup. The good people at Goldfinch Cyclery in the NewBo district of Cedar Rapids got me rolling on tubeless rubber. Sure, I could have done it myself but I was a little intimidated to make the effort. After more than thirty years of being used to tubes it will take a little bit of time to teach me some new tricks. Here they are ready to roll:
You will notice that I removed the decals from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse, so now the wheelset looks like a boring old OEM wheelset. Minus the blue nipples of course. There are also some other changes to my bicycle that you might notice. I will explain at a later date.
The wheelset works with quick releases as opposed to thru axles because that is what my frame can accommodate and the disc rotor mounts via the 6 bolt standard as opposed to centerlock. A lot of people advised me to go with a centerlock hub and use an adapter, but I sort of despise adapters. Plus, this wheelset is not going to get moved to another bicycle so choosing specifications based on its requirements alone is a safe bet.
All in—wheels, tires, sealant, cassette, skewers, rotors—the new wheelset came in at a total of 3,810 grams (1,630 grams front and 2,180 grams rear). This compares with an all in weight—including tubes as opposed to sealant—for my old wheelset of 4,495 grams (1,750 grams front and 2,745 grams rear). That is a ~15% decrease in rotational weight without breaking the bank or doing anything exotic.
So, for less weight I get wider tires on a wider rim without having to deal with tubes. This might be the biggest win in a long time.
It’s going to be a hard few weeks waiting for things to dry out in eastern Iowa. I so want to see how this revamp rolls down the trails.
Note: I bought these wheels with my own money and received nothing in return from any of the companies mentioned.