My first year racing, a friend let me borrow his carbon dv46 carbon tubulars for the KS State Road Race in Pittsburg. I was blown away. I had ridden plenty of "nice" wheels, ksyrium sl, r-sys, carbone sl, assault carbon clinchers, lots of wheels. I may have dropped 2 lbs. off my bike just by switching to these 1080 gram wheels with 245 gram corsa cx tires. I have to mention the tires because if you weren't riding a proper tire on your carbon tubulars then you are not experiencing the true advantage of them.
Its hard to swallow the price tag though. Even if you can find some r2 reynolds or assault tubulars cheap, what happens when a rim is folded or cracked? Well, if its cracked, my man Marko will fix them for $45, if it is folded or destroyed, your out $600-$800 just for the rim. So even if you get a good deal, replacement cost is high.
This is why 2 years ago I started ordering oem knockoff chinese rims direct from china. I raced the 38mm tubular at 1100 grams with solid hubs 2 seasons ago, they rocked. Since then I've built lots of wheels made of carbon that I bought direct from china. If you order 10 rims, you get a good price, usually around $140-160/rim and shipping isn't too bad either. Last summer, in april, I built up some "new" prototype rims. They were super light, super aero, and super breakable. I hit a couple manholes/potholes hard at a rainy crit with 700x21 tires at 75psi and pop/pop. Cracked them both. No worries, I had marko repair them and I raced them the rest of the road season and all the way through cyclocross season.
These things weighed in about 1034 grams with a zipp rear hub, a c-4 fh55 front, straight pull 16/20 spokes and 50mm rim.
I just got in "new" prototype cyclocross rims I replaced the old light rims with. They are much wider, 23mm wide, same depth, 60 grams heavier each. Now I'm sitting at about 1250 grams for the set. Not bad.
They built up super strong. I'm mounting some 700x23 corsa 320tpi slicks to them. I don't like that they call these tires slicks. They are super grippy and have more surface area to touch the ground unlike many treads.
I'll be racing these wheels this weekend . They already feel way more stiffer through all my tests.
Plan is to order more. Build them 16/20hole or 20/24hole to different hubs.
Here are some price options.
c-4 285 gram hubset. $350
c-4 320 gram hubset $280
bikehubstore hubset 280gram $120
chinese hubset 270 gram$100
chris king road hubset 320 gram $450
white industries road hubset 349 gram $300
lots of other hub options too.
cx-ray bladed spokes. $100
laser light round spokes $60(same weight as cx-ray, just not as strong or aero)
straight gauge 2.0 spokes $40(heavier, made to be super strong for super strong, heavy duty riding)
alloy colored nipples, $35
alloy silver $25
brass black $20
silver brass $15
nipples washers for strength $5
I built my super light super flexy rims with cx-ray spokes, 16/20 and raced tons of road and cyclocross with them, so going 20/24 cx-ray is a good pick for being aero. If you weigh over 200, you may want to consider the super strong spokes.
chris king road with cx-ray spokes and silver alloy nipples is $935
chinese hubset with strong spokes and brass nipples is $515.