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I have an 80's vintage Peugeot steel frame that I'm gradually trying to upgrade.

I'm thinking about improving the wheels and originally thought a set of Mavic Aksiums would be a nice upgrade. Problem is, it's not really the right era of component for such a bike, although I think compatibility shouldn't be too much problem...

I have also considered getting a set of wheels built that might look a bit more at home on the bike - Mavic Open Pros on a Shimano hub - (600 tricolours if I can get hold of some, modern 105s if not - they are just silver and quite plain looking so shouldn't ruin the look too much). Trouble is the second option is looking like minimum £230 for the set while the Aksiums can be have for £140.

My question is what would you recommend? Is the performance difference between the 2 options significant (not that this is ever going to be a competitive bike!)

Current wheels are a crappy £30 shimano road wheel on the back (original died) and the original maillard hub wheel on the front (which is actually pretty light but has a poor braking surface)

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Look at Velo Orange. They're affordable and aspire to vintage French design. Lots of unadorned aluminum and straightforward aesthetic. –  WTHarper Feb 1 '13 at 15:40
    
I've actually found somewhere that sells a build of Open Pros on 105 hubs for £155 for the pair. Is this worth going for? –  harryg Feb 1 '13 at 15:55
    
That's a tough question to answer. The individual wheel components matter less than the quality of the build. Objectively speaking, Mavic makes fine rims and Shimano makes fine hubs - it's everything else that determines the actual value of the wheelset. (In terms of price, I know what to expect in America but not in the UK. Sorry.) –  WTHarper Feb 1 '13 at 17:23
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You actually may have some compatibility issues depending on what size your wheels are. You probably have 27 inch wheels and modern wheels are usually 700c. See my answer to a different question about compatibility between 27 inch and 700c wheelsets. bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/10171/4239 –  jimirings Feb 1 '13 at 18:43
    
How much do you weigh? –  Zippy The Pinhead Feb 2 '13 at 3:31
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1 Answer

Why not keep a look out for some Mailard, Mavic or similar wheels from the early 80's on ebay. Should be much cheaper and fit with the frame more happily. With the cash you'll save you can get some quality brake pads that are designed to work on those steel rims.

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Or find the local bike recycling organization, let them know what you're looking for, and arrange to swap some good quality spare parts for the right wheels. –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 2 '13 at 3:20
    
Agreed; specifically, Mavic MA2 or MA40 rims (and probably whatever they are laced to) would fit the bill. –  joseph_morris Feb 12 '13 at 23:20
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