Are bladed spokes a big deal?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by ecandl, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. ecandl

    ecandl New Member

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    Are bladed spokes a big deal? I am looking at an American Classic 420 wheelset. I can get a good deal on a set without bladed spokes. I am wondering if bladed spokes would make a big difference. Bladed wheelsets are about 80g heavier. I will be using these for all-around training, RR, crits, hillclimbs, and time trials. I know from reading other posts and reviews that some have loved them - some have hated them. I only weigh 155lbs. and have never broken a spoke before. Also, I have read reviews on many wheelsets and all seem to have mixed reviews. Thanks.
     
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  2. Dietmar

    Dietmar New Member

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    I wouldn't worry about it. I didn't see any specifics about the spokes, but the number of spokes is the same in both cases, and judging from the difference in weight my guess is that the frontal area of the bladed spokes is not all that much different from the one of the round spokes. I would therefore not expect a significant difference in drag between the two.
     
  3. ecandl

    ecandl New Member

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    Thanks for the reply - I think I will give them a try.
     
  4. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    I don't compete or anything, but I do have a set of wheels on one of my bikes that has bladed spokes. They came that way and I haven't needed to change them. Anyway, I really cannot tell the difference between the bladed and my other bikes that have DT Swiss round spokes.
     
  5. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    I saw a review of spokes somewhere (sorry forget where). It compared different shape spokes and the oval ones gave the best result.

    However deep rims were much more important and of couse lowering your handlebars will give you the best aerodynamic improvement.
     
  6. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

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    Biggest 'issue' with AC wheels are the hubs, not the spokes. Teeny bearings front and rear, weird, essentially 1 pawl system in the rear. If these are not new, they may need to be OVH with a new plate under the freehub body.

    Much better hubs out there.
     
  7. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    What I found interesting on my last bike purchase was the shop owner offered to upgrade the stock wheels on my six13, which were Mavic K Elite.

    When I looked at the upgrade options he showed me AC 420's as one option, but he then gave me this sort of off the record statement that he wouldn't use those wheels because they lacked durability with the same comment about the hub that Peter made. I was grateful that the shop owner gave me this honest insight.
     
  8. ecandl

    ecandl New Member

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    I actually am waiting for them to be delivered and they are new. They will be more of a race day wheel for me. Do you think it would be reasonable to see how long they last and if the hubs wear out, have them replaced with new hubs at that time?

    I did have some hesitation in purchasing them but wanted to try a light wheelset. Also, I really didn't find a lightweight wheelset under $1,000 that had consistently great reviews so I went for the good deal.
     
  9. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Handbuilt wheels really don't get the reviews of the mass purchase wheels and those of us that use handbuilt wheels have a variety of components so we can't give a consistent/common review either.

    My DT Swiss wheels are pretty light and were hand built for about $600.
    I could have made them lighter, but I opted for a 32 DT Competition spoke count and they are at a comparable weight of Ksyrium SL's.

    Enjoy those new wheels!!!
     
  10. dkrenik

    dkrenik Member

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    Is this what you are thinking of?

    I've a set of DT Swiss 240s (28h rear/24h front) laced to Velocity Aerohead rims with Sapim CX-Rays and love 'em. I'm `175 lbs and they're holding up fine.

    +1 to Felt_Rider. Custom wheels don't/rarely get reviewed as there's a nearly infinite combination of parts that can be assembled in myriad ways. That doesn't make them "bad" - it's what allows them to be customized to a particular customers' requirements.

    Dave
     
  11. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

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    He shouldn't stock or sell them then.
     
  12. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I agree!!
    As a one time customer to this shop, I feel fortunate that he was honest to tell me about the issues.

    I wouldn't have gone with them anyway because I already had the DT Swiss wheels that I requested and purchased from Joe Young that I had intended on using with this bike, which I am very happy about.
     
  13. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    Yeh, that's a version on the one I was thinking of
     
  14. Bob Ross

    Bob Ross New Member

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    I don't know if theoretically bladed spokes offer any advantages, but I know in practice (based on my experience with Ksyrium Elites) they offer one distinct disadvantage: if the nipples twist the spokes twist with them, becoming arguably less stiff and definitely less aerodynamic...which, since it was the whole point of bladed spokes in the first place, seems incredibly stupid.

    I am so over Ksyrium wheels...my next wheelset will definitely be handbuilt, traditional looking, anonymous...and probably last forever.
     
  15. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    I bought a set of AC420 from Ebay about two years ago. Then after a year, the spokes started braking. Then I learned they were grey market from the Far East, and the spokes were not DT's. Had problems with the rear hub. Bottom line, I would not buy AC's again.

    As for bladed, that is what I have, but realistically it is all about the bling.
     
  16. dkrenik

    dkrenik Member

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    It doesn't sound like you ever bought them in the first place.

    Dave
     
  17. geoinmillbrook

    geoinmillbrook New Member

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    +1
    So far between my Reynolds aero style wheels with swaged spokes , Ksyrium elites with blades, and my old Mavic cosmos with straight round spokes and ultegra hubs I like the the old Mavics. They ride smooth as silk, maybe just not as fast as the others (or maybe I just think the others are faster because I can feel every bump, especially on the deep V Reynolds). I think the rest of it is just marketing hype. There are supposed to be some advantages to swaged spokes but I'm not sure I will ever notice - weight saings and the flex (reduction in tension) due to load is supposed to occur in the middle of the spoke on swaged spokes keeping the ends from moving around and loosening but the only break I ever had with them was right at the nipple. Go figure..
    As far as blades the other poster is exactly right - once they twist a little the aerodynamic advantage probably is negated and made actually worse than a round spoke.
    If you read about the engineering behind the tensioned spoke wheel all those other crazy things like paired spokes and radial lacing loose their "bling" too.
     
  18. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    Would 2mm 'straight' DTs make a stiffer wheel than 1.1mm bladed spokes?
     
  19. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The answer depends on the material and what dimension you're referring to on the aero spoke. Actually you need a width and thickness for the aero spoke.

    I'll assume, however, that you're talking about the DT New Aero. For the same material, stiffness goes as the cross sectional area of the piece when the cross sectional area is perpendicular to the tension applied. In that case, the DT New Aero has an area of 3.63 sq. mm. A 2mm ∅ spoke has an area of 3.14 sq. mm. In that case the the aero spoke whould be 116% stiffer than the round spoke if the two spokes are laced at the same tension.

    FWIW, instead of a non-butted spoke, you'd be better off going with a butted spoke, at least in terms of durability.

    In reality, that stiff wheel, compared to a relatively noodly wheel, won't necessarily yield any performance gain. Mavic's own tests showed that riders could not reliably say whether they were riding stiff or noodly wheels. IOW, there was about a 50/50 chance they'd be right.

    Stiff wheels are a benefit on corner entry and under power, on corner exit. Mid-corner a less stiff wheel is better as it absorbs mid-corner bumps better. In a straight line, it doesn't really matter: no significant energy is lost in a less stiff wheel. Of course, I am talking about wheels that fall within a range of realistic relative tension.

    Like so many other things cycling, though, the most important thing is that the wheels be well maintained and the rider be happy with the way the wheels handle for and/or feel to him, her, or JTE. Perception or psychological benefit can trump everthing else.

    An example of how little a change in lateral stiffness matters: a few weeks ago, road spooge jammed my rear derailleur, causing my RD hanger to break off (it's a replaceable hanger) and the RD to fly into the spokes of the LEW VT-1 rear. A very cursory (I was on a streak of days with only 2-3 hrs of sleep) glance at the wheel showed it was unharmed, so when I had a new hanger and a new RD (the RD was spliffed), I mounted everything back up and continued riding der wheel......until the wifey, one day while looking at the bike, asked, "Isn't there supposed to be a spoke there?" Yup. One spoke was completely gone. Still with one missing spoke on the rear, the wheel was still true, and I had zero issues with downhill cornering and with climbing: no brake rub, no unfriendly oscillations, and no painful burning on urination.

    Ok, so maybe I got off topic a bit. The only aero spokes I've ever used, besides the carbon fiber sort, have been CX-Rays. Since I've never noticed anything in particular about them on the bike, I'll assume they've been great, sturdy spokes.
     
  20. jcjordan

    jcjordan New Member

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    I will second that. within 6 months I had broken he front axle to the hub and within the next three months i managed to break the axle on the front again and did something to the rear that made it as noisy as hell.

    Ended up rebuilding the wheels with Dura Ace 7801 hubs and have not had a problem since (touch wood)
     
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