I recently treated myself to a Planet X TT bike and it came with Carbon Tub wheels. So I have now embraced using tubs and decided it would nice to use them on the road bike too.
I had Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL clincher wheels on it which were very nice (and costly).
My thought was to sell these and buy some 50mm Carbon Tubs, which would be lighter, cheaper and I can run the exact same tyres as on the Planet X wheels, allowing me to swap these between bikes depending on wind conditions.
So off I went to http://www.alibaba.com which is a place to buy direct from china through various sellers. All manner of things are available, including carbon frames wheels, fake kit etc.. Lots of these sellers also sell through eBay.
I approached 3 different companies for the same spec to compare prices etc.. they were Shanghai Gangzhen, Dengfu and Xiamen Centra.
All responded within 24 hours with various prices, Dengfu was cheapest, but Erin at Shanghai Gangzhen was the most responsive, so I negotiated a little on the price (with a few porkies) and got a price I liked. As long as I emailed her in the morning so that it was on Chinese time, I usually got a reply in 10 minutes. Every request was answered including weight, pics etc..
This is the response I got with the final price for 50mm Carbon tubs on Novatec hubs, black aero spokes inc. skewers and carbon specific brake pads.
“Dear Mr. Jamie
Thanks very much for your reply
hereby enclosed please find the pictures of 50mm tubular wheels for your reference. the hub we use is Novatec hub A271SB/F372SB with shimano and for the spoke,it is Pillar aero flat spoke as you want the flat spoke. then your order is one pair 50mm tubular wheels with 3k matte finish with black hub with shimano,black flat spoke and black nipple,and the total price is $430.4
please check and confirm,if everything is ok,please arrange the payment to our paypal account.
our paypal account is firstname.lastname@example.org
please let me know after you finish the payment and send to me the shipping informations including 1.contact person name 2.address 3.post code 4.contact telephone number.
Any comments,please let me know
I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks and best regards
This converts to £279.52 which is very cheap compared to the big name brands.
I must say at this stage I’m really pleased, the hubs seem good, they are dead straight and very light:
I’ve yet to tape on the tubs and ride them, but will add another post once I’ve done this.
Link to actual wheelset I enquired about
Thanks very much for your email
I’m glad to hear that you have received the wheels and are pleased about it.
the price for 50mm clincher carbon wheels is $440/pair and we still give you the shipping cost $65 for one pair wheels add 4% paypal fee is $20.2 so the total price is $525.2″
So there you have it, very painless and a great service. Maybe I need a new road frame “chinarrelo” anyone?