Wheel Quandary

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Wheel Quandary

Postby esseff » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:34 am

I am thinking of upgrading the wheels on my new bike but I'm in a bit of a quandary.

I am quite a light rider and climb well. My first reaction was to look for light wheels, and after some searching decided 1400g was the sweet spot for reliable everyday wheels that were reasonably priced - Fulcrum Zeros, Campag Shamals or Mavic R-Sys, etc.

But... I have noticed that there is a strong trend towards deep aero profile rims, so I started to research their advantages. They are obviously a fair bit heavier for similar specs but does the aero advantage make up for that? It seems that light wheels will be helpful up hills and also accelerate better but may require more effort to keep them spinning on the flats (due to the reduced flywheel effect) and be less aerodynamic (which is apparently quite substantial).

So, as a good climber do I add to my climbing performance with light wheels or go for aero wheels to help my poorer flat ground ability?

I've been trying to answer this with the research I have done but still unsure which way to go. I would appreciate some real wold input from experienced racers who have tried wheels of both styles and their opinions on them and suggestions as to which way I should go.

Thanks in advance.
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by BNA » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:54 am

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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby ni78ck » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:54 am

you get the true aero benefit when you are travelling fast!
it also depends on how much climbing you do :?:
if you are a light weight, i would not be too fussed on the extra weight of the deep rims.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby JV911 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:15 pm

aero trumps weight

there are plenty of ~1500g 50mm wheels around these days anyway
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby open roader » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:01 pm

I am not a racer, but I don't hang around when I'm training either......

I run a set of TWE 50mm carbon clinchers. They come in at 1,380 grams the pair (weighed them myself) and cost me $1,600 about 9 months ago. They replaced a pair of Mavic Ksyrium Elites, they are lighter weight (proven fact) and faster in my own subjective opinion.

I was in a similar position, I climbed OK but I was curious about aero benefits on the flatter sections of my rides. At around 35 km /hr and above the effort required to push seems to flatten off for me. I'm convinced they work and I do not regret passing up the opportunity to go with Zipps or similar, TWE wheels are the ants pants.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby esseff » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:09 pm

open roader wrote:I am not a racer, but I don't hang around when I'm training either......

I run a set of TWE 50mm carbon clinchers. They come in at 1,380 grams the pair (weighed them myself) and cost me $1,600 about 9 months ago. They replaced a pair of Mavic Ksyrium Elites, they are lighter weight (proven fact) and faster in my own subjective opinion.

I was in a similar position, I climbed OK but I was curious about aero benefits on the flatter sections of my rides. At around 35 km /hr and above the effort required to push seems to flatten off for me. I'm convinced they work and I do not regret passing up the opportunity to go with Zipps or similar, TWE wheels are the ants pants.


Thanks heaps... that is the sort of info I was interested in.
There seems to be an issue with brake performance on carbon rims also. Do you find that a problem?
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby open roader » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:41 pm

esseff wrote:There seems to be an issue with brake performance on carbon rims also. Do you find that a problem?


In a word, no.

My experience was to take the advice my LBS bloke recommended and run high performance pads in the front and regular Shimano Dura Ace / Ultegra pads in the rear.

I opted for my LBS bloke's personal recommendation of Corima Red cork pads in the front (see my avatar) and regular carbon rim specific Shimano Ultegra pads in the rear. He runs the same set up on his Reynolds carbon rims. Initial braking performance was considerably lower than alloy rims braking but after 70-100km the pads bedded in and maybe the carbon rims also lost some laquer to improve braking as good as I ever got from alloy rims.

Braking in the wet was another matter. A while back I was caught out in a trio of successive thunderstorms with massive deluges of rain. I had virtually zero braking the very first time I squeezed the levers and overshot my turn by 40m. I rode back, made my turn, rode up a steep hill and coasted down the other side with both brakes held on as tight as possible, by the time I reached the bottom I had some better stopping power and after performing this routine twice again in the same pouring rain I had pretty good braking again.

Since that initial rain ride I've ridden twice again in the rain and the brakes have worked just fine right from the start. So to summarise, I'm very pleased (and relieved) that my carbon rims brake plenty good. I think a lot of talk about carbon rims not being a good braking surface are perhaps only initial observations as was my experience. I like to decend on twisty roads as much as the next rider and I can't complain about my rim/brake pad combination.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby Richard.L » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:10 pm

I think there is also the argument that carbon rims don't modulate heat as well as the alu rims.

Im building a REAR carbon wheel and blogging about it in 'The Shed' the weight will be pretty far off some brand name ones though
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby open roader » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:36 pm

Richard.L wrote:I think there is also the argument that carbon rims don't modulate heat as well as the alu rims.


You might have a point there, I'm no expert, just relaying my experiences.

Richard.L wrote:Im building a REAR carbon wheel and blogging about it in 'The Shed' the weight will be pretty far off some brand name ones though


I take my hat off to you....... following your blog pictorial with interest.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby esseff » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:14 pm

Richard.L wrote:I think there is also the argument that carbon rims don't modulate heat as well as the alu rims.

Im building a REAR carbon wheel and blogging about it in 'The Shed' the weight will be pretty far off some brand name ones though


I thought the problem was that they don't 'dissipate' heat like alu wheels... but I get what you mean. I've read stories of standard pads being melted and even with the special pads, rims expanding due to the heat build up and cracking. I am not trying to scare monger as I know it is only rare and as a light weight rider I don't put a lot of load on my gear but I am still struggling to convince myself to go for aero wheels.

There seem to be issues with braking, weight, cost and still not a convincing argument for their aerodynamic advantage. I have also read there may be issues with the quality of ride with them too - the deep profile making them stiff and harsh vertically (bad) but the thin walls making them flexy laterally (also bad).

Still hoping someone can convince me... they do look so trick.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby esseff » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:59 am

Well, after hours of research, reading. studying, analysis and head scratching I have come to a decision regarding what wheels to buy.

I have decided to go for Shimano Dura Ace C24 shallow box aluminium wheels for $800 at under 1400g. Why?

Well...
1. I have never been one for blindly following trends. Admittedly not a very scientific reason.

2. I am absolutely sure that in laboratory test or TT situations aero rims are more efficient than light weight shallow box rims. But, taking all things into consideration and in real word usage, I have a strong suspicion and gut feeling that the advantage is minimal or non-existent. Yes I know we can argue that forever - just my opinion.

3. Taking into consideration other factors such as cost, ride quality, maintenance, durability, braking performance, etc, etc, the every day usage of aero wheels starts to become questionable.

4. As hard as I tried, I just couldn't convince myself that spending a lot of money on an upgrade that was going to make my bike heavier was worth it. Just couldn't do it to my bike.

5. 1500g deep aero clinchers really don't exist for under $2,500.

And why the Shimano C24s?

Well...
I hadn't been looking at the Shimano stuff because I knew they tended to err on the side of caution with their product designs so imagined they would be fairly heavy, but I was amazed to find them very competitive weight wise and even more competitive price wise. They are cheaper and seem better quality than the Mavic R-sys, Fulcrum Zeros, Easton EA90s or Campy Shamal Ultras.

The C24s are not very flashy (which actually is a negative for me) but their quality and finish are easily the best. I like the cup and cone bering design, which can be accurately fine tuned to take out any play - some brands use cartridge bearings that develop slop that can't be taken out e.g. the Eastons.

I like the stainless spokes rather than ally/carbon, and the straight pull design, and that you can true them easily. The Mavic R-sys carbon spokes have a bad reputation for failure and can't be trued easily. I also don't like the wide spacing of the Campy/Fulcrums spoke pattern on their rear wheels - seems structurally unsound to me.

I love the titanium freewheel on the Shimanos - The Eastons use ally that has a reputation for disintegrating.

The Shimano hubs are highly polished and very classy looking. No hi-tech carbon, but they must be pretty damn light to get the wheels down to the same weight as all the competition, and they seem to me to be designed and engineered very intelligently.

I don't know if the carbon reinforcing down the centre of the rims does much but I'll take Shimanos word on it - they say it strengthens the spoke holes - and it is the only bit of trickery on the wheels so maybe it does help to get the weight down.

One downside with the Shimanos is that you have to use rim tape (more weight). The Mavics and Campys don't need it - which is nice.

Well, criticise away… just my thoughts on the subject.
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Wheel Quandary

Postby sogood » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:50 am

That's called serious justification! Enjoy shopping.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby ironhanglider » Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:35 pm

esseff wrote:2. I am absolutely sure that in laboratory test or TT situations aero rims are more efficient than light weight shallow box rims. But, taking all things into consideration and in real word usage, I have a strong suspicion and gut feeling that the advantage is minimal or non-existent. Yes I know we can argue that forever - just my opinion.

Well, criticise away… just my thoughts on the subject.


No criticism from me. Let the bloke you're drafting worry about aero...

Cheers,

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Wheel Quandary

Postby Parrott » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:55 pm

esseff wrote:
2. I am absolutely sure that in laboratory test or TT situations aero rims are more efficient than light weight shallow box rims. But, taking all things into consideration and in real word usage, I have a strong suspicion and gut feeling that the advantage is minimal or non-existent. Yes I know we can argue that forever - just my opinion.



Depends on what sort of racing you do I guess. We do alot of handicap racing at the club I am with. You need to work as a team and do your hard turns in the pace line to chase down the groups in front. Sitting in for the sprint ain't an option. Deep carbon wheels for me were the difference between struggling to pull a decent turn and hang on or actively racing with my group. The difference they make is probably relatively small but when you are at your limit it is very noticeable, particularly when those you are racing against have deep rims.

I have a rear disc and 85mm front wheel on my tt bike and over an 8k lap of our tt circuit there is 20-30 secs in them over box section wheels.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby nayfen » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:54 pm

I love my c24's. I also have a set of carbon clinchers 38mm front 50mm rear. the aeros can be a real pig to ride on a windy day. you will be happy with your choice.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby gururug » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:38 pm

Looks like a good choice.....let us know they hold up over time :)
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby Luke Brown » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:43 am

I was in the same quandary as you a couple of months ago. I'm a light rider (60kg) who seems to have a tallent for hill climbing but struggle keeping a fast pace on the flats especially into headwinds etc.

In the end I went for Shimano Dura-Ace C35's. They are very well built wheels, light enough to be good on the hills but with a 35mm of aero rim for on the flats. I initially thought that 50mm rims would be the way to go, but found I got blown around a lot in crosswinds and they weren't so responsive when climbing.

Have fun!
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby chippa1968 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:24 pm

I'm not as light as you guys but certainly not heavy (74Kg) and have had the same issues as you guys - not enough weight to hold speed against some of the more 'solid' riders in the bunch and I went throught the same process as yourself, researching every available wheelset, following forums etc.
I already had a set of Dura-ace C24and personally rate them very highly - not the lightest but the hubs are fantastic and lets face it, you know what you get with Shimano. I knew I wanted a carbon set of wheels but was concerned that a deep section set would be more of a hindrance with the amount of crosswinds we suffer here in Perth. Anyway I ended up with a set of Reynolds DV46c. They are without doubt the best bit of kit I've ever bought. The fact that they are actually slightly heavier than the DA wheels fades into insignificance when I use them. Sure if it's a really hilly ride I usually stick with the DA's but the Reynolds spin up much faster and carry the speed way better than the DA's. The faster I go the lighter they feel and they definately add a few extra KMH to my average when I use them. They look awesome on the bike too.
As for braking with carbon, I've not had any issues. I use the recommended pads and although I go through them quicker than an Alu rim would I'd rather spend $30 for pads than trash my carbon wheels.
I would definatley say to anyone contemplating carbon wheels to decide what type of riding you mostly do, what prevailing weather conditions you have to endure and make the purchase. You won't regret it.
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Wheel Quandary

Postby Parrott » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:17 pm

Yeah I agree they make a very noticeable difference holding speed. I have 85 mm tokens until I can afford 404's. We get some strong and gusty winds where I am and yes you do have to hang on in side winds. I am about 79-80 kg and have never taken them off for a race because of the wind. They make too much of a difference to.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby Mark B » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:34 pm

Chippa
Do you swap out your brake pads when you switch between the DA and the Reynolds are just stick with the one?
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby chippa1968 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:28 pm

I swap out the pads - Reynolds only warranty their wheels with their pads (obviously) and it only takes a minute or so when the wheels are off. I've read around a few forums and some have used regular pads or Swiss stops but they all complain about noise and the wheels feeling grabby. I havent had any probs with the Reynolds ones other than the fact that they wear down very quickly.
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Re: Wheel Quandary

Postby brendeng » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:55 pm

esseff wrote:
open roader wrote:I am not a racer, but I don't hang around when I'm training either......

I run a set of TWE 50mm carbon clinchers. They come in at 1,380 grams the pair (weighed them myself) and cost me $1,600 about 9 months ago. They replaced a pair of Mavic Ksyrium Elites, they are lighter weight (proven fact) and faster in my own subjective opinion.

I was in a similar position, I climbed OK but I was curious about aero benefits on the flatter sections of my rides. At around 35 km /hr and above the effort required to push seems to flatten off for me. I'm convinced they work and I do not regret passing up the opportunity to go with Zipps or similar, TWE wheels are the ants pants.


Thanks heaps... that is the sort of info I was interested in.
There seems to be an issue with brake performance on carbon rims also. Do you find that a problem?


+1 for TWE 50mm Carbon Clinchers ..... 1360g for my set. I am a light weight (65kg's), I like going up hill and having the 50mm Deep Rims has not hurt my climbing performance !! I have ridden Zipps and Dura Ace and Bouwmeester .... Not one tiny bit disappointed in the TWE's in comparison.
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