Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Wheels on the Bike Go Round and Round.

I almost had a new wheelset last night.

"A new wheelset? D00d. Haven't you spent enough money on that bike already?"

Well, yes. But here's the thing: I had been thinking about a new wheelset so that it'd be easier to switch between winter and non-winter tires (or cross and skinny tires when winter isn't even a consideration), but then I did the whole flat-to-road-bar conversion last month and decided to shelf the wheelset idea for the foreseeable future.

That was going just fine until I was looking around on eBay* and saw a set of 700c wheels with six-bolt disc mounts for only $100. I kept my eye on them for the week that they were available, and with less than an hour to go, there were still no bids. Some guy bid on them with like ten minutes left, but I still ended up getting them for only $113, plus $25 for shipping. Great deal, no?

I quickly paid for the wheels and then went about purchasing a new cassette and rotors for them so that I'd have everything ready to go when they showed up. The guy shipped the wheels the next day, and everything seemed to be going well. I got the cassette on Monday, and the rotors and the wheels showed up yesterday.

I got home from work, all excited to open up the nice big box that UPS delivered. I pulled out the wheels and... hey. Wait a second. Where are the disc mounts? These are just standard road wheels. WTF, mate?

Yep. He sent Vuelta XRP Road Pro wheels instead of the CycloCross Disc wheels. I emailed him to let him know, hoping that he hadn't accidentally sent eh Cross wheels to someone who was looking for road wheels. I was a little relieved that he emailed me back less than fifteen minutes later, but his response was pretty funny:

"Sorry. Those are the only wheels I have. There must have been some confusion with the decription (sic)."

Yeah. There must have been some confusion with the description. And the title of the auction. And the picture that was in the listing. Because they all said (or showed, as the case may be) DISC WHEELS. In fact, everything about the auction was ripped straight from Bike Island's listing from a month or so ago (actually, they have them back up on eBay now)

He also said it was his first time selling anything on eBay. I knew that after looking at his feedback, but still, how do you put up a listing for one thing when you're clearly selling something different? Even without knowing anything about the wheels, you should be able to look at them and see that they're different, right?

He's supposedly refunding my money tomorrow. I really hope that happens, and I hope he understands that he needs to send another $25 to cover the return shipping. I mean, I told him these things, but I guess it's possible that there could be confusion with my email. You know.

The biggest problem is that I still don't have a wheelset, and now I have the cassette and the rotors that would go with one. I might just buy the wheels that Bike Island has listed (although I'll probably buy them from their site, as they'd be $10 cheaper, and Bike Island would save money on eBay fees), since I've had a chance to see a set of Vuelta XRPs in person, and they do seem like pretty nice wheels. Certainly strong enough to hold a little guy like me. It would have been nice to get them for $100, though.

If I don't go with those wheels, there aren't too many other choices. Mavic makes a disc-ready road wheelset, but $450 is way out of my price range. I could get another set of the Bontragers that came with my bike, but I'm looking at paying at least $266 for those (not including local sales tax, since most out of state bike shops won't ship Bontrager wheelsets). And that's about it, as far as I can tell.

I'm leaning toward the Vueltas, as they're the least expensive, and they seem to be nice wheels. I just wish there were more reviews of them online. Although it's not like there are a ton of reviews for the Bontragers, either. I probably just feel more comfortable with them because they're what came with my bike. And Bontrager is basically a household name.

*Never a good idea when you're trying to not buy something. In fact, if you're not looking to buy a specific thing, don't go searching for that specific thing on the internets. Not on eBay, not on Craigslist, not anywhere. If you can keep yourself from looking for it, your chances of actually buying it shrink pretty quickly. I should take my own advice one of these days.

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