Well, the question is what makes a great wheel. I can tell you form my experience is one that always works, stays a round and true, and meets it's intended purpose. A good example is my track wheels were really stiff, but light; they allowed for the efficient transfer of energy from the rider to the pavement with little windup. My road wheels did the same thing but a compromise was needed, they had to be compliant and help absorb some of the road shock, something the tack wheels didn't have to do (unless you road the damned track in NYC). So the road wheels would allow a little more windup, but they were more compliant. Crit wheels were in the middle, subjected to hard accelerations, but also ridden on the road. One solution to keep the weight down and reduce windup is to tie and solder. Another method that I used very successfully was to wrap the cross with silk thread and then shellac it. As a light rider, I wanted to save weight, but also wanted a stiffer wheel with less windup.
Now, what makes a bad wheel? I am reminded of a ride I did as a teenager with another (rival) junior. He laced his own wheels. Well about 20 miles into a 60 miler we were descending a hill at very high speed when I looked over and saw his wheel start to wobble, just a bit at first, then more and more. I also moved out of the way, knowing what was about to happen. At the bottom of the hill there was a little trough about 6 inches across, and just as we hit the trough, his wheel collapsed sending him to the pave and rendering him useless. The good news is he was unhurt except for his pride. Now the rest of the story: He now owns a bike shop, has done hundreds of wheels, and turned a wrench for a few world class riders. But he will never forget the lesson of what a poorly built wheel does.
On the topic of Mavic GEL 280's: If anyone has any, I am looking for at least one, 32H but if you have more I will take them. Great rims, I often used a 280 in front and a 330 in the rear. I got my first set in Dec '82, although the graphics changed for the next year.
JD Edwards Packing up furniture in Edwards, CA
--- J. Edwards
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