Wednesday, February 1, 2006 12.00am
By Louise Parker
Smaller 650c wheels have plenty to offer riders who are less than 5'2". That's because 700c wheels on small bikes make up much more of the total bike length - which means that bikes so equipped usually suffer from toe clip overlap (your feet can foul the wheels) when making tight turns such as when weaving through city traffic.
Sadly, there are very few options for the smaller sporting cyclist who wishes to upgrade a 650c wheelset and only Mavic lists a midrange wheel, the Ksyrium Elite in the 650 size. Liverpool based Pete Matthews is one exception who can supply a 650 wheel from stock based on the deep section carbon Rims by LEW composites in Las Vegas.
These wheels have sprint type rims so you'll have to be prepared to put up with glueing or attaching your preferred tubular (we used Continental Podium's at £20 each) using special tapes. This type of rim has less reciprocating (rotating) weight than a clincher rim of similar dimensions so it is aimed at those who are looking to improve personal bests in a time trial rather than those looking to improve overall fitness.
Pete uses Sapim flat spokes on Royce cartridge bearing hubs for a £890 build, or £499 using Ambrosio cartridge bearing hubs. While the Royce hubs used here aren't the lightest the overall wheel weight excluding tubulars is an impressive 612g for the front and 812g for the rear making them 246g lighter per pair than the Mavic Ksyrium Elite clinchers. A lighter option still are the Pianni Super Record 650 costing £299 per pair that use 17mm deep 16/20 spoke Pianni Record sprint rims and weigh 1357g per pair. While I have only spent four months with them they have stayed perfectly true.
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