Carbon Wheel Question?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by CoachMitch, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. CoachMitch

    CoachMitch New Member

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    I know this topic has been done to death, however, I need to address it yet again. Went to my first road race today and out of twenty guys in my class everyone was on Carbon wheels. I live in Florida so most of our terrain is flat or rolling. I will be doing my first race next month and was just wondering if this is all show or is there some go there. Most reading I have done leans toward more hype than reward. However, I find it hard to believe that EVERYONE would spend money on hype.

    If I do need carbons to race on.....which ones? I am very fortunate that I can afford to buy them if I want them but don't want to spend money on something that has no value (which is probably why I have money in the first place).

    Finally, I am 47 years young, ride a Giant TCR Advanced, and weigh 190 lbs. I have been riding for about 3 years but only seriously training (with a trainer) for 3 months.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Nice is always nice. And sometimes, just knowing that you have that little hardware edge over the competition will make a rider push that little bit extra that wlll make the difference between a podium finish or not. But in a blind test, don't hold your breath.
     
  3. ambal

    ambal Active Member

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    You don't need carbon wheels to go well in races. Most times the benefit comes from the placebo effect, a good aluminium wheel will be as fast and resposive as a similar priced and weight carbon wheel. Unless you're at the pointy end of the ProTour there are cheaper ways to get some gains.

    I've also seen some of the cheap carbon wheels you can buy direct from china for about 4-500 dollars, they're as heavy as boat anchors.
     
  4. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    There's enough data out there to show how effective good aero wheels from HED, Zipp and Enve are. However, since you're pretty new to racing I'd stick with the regular aluminum wheels for a while as you've probably got a few crashes ahead of you. ;) At this stage of the game you should be more concerned with your training and learning tactics. Learn all the fun stuff first. If I was to buy a set of wheels for fast crits and road races it'd be Hed Jet 6+ with the stallion build. The aluminum braking surface makes them a great choice for situations where jamming on the anchors and getting consistent braking is a must and not something that you "hope" happens. Afternoon crit in Florida rain and you hit the brakes and realize you have the wrong brake blocks on, to quote Dilbert, "bwahahahahahahahahaaaaa!"
     
  5. CoachMitch

    CoachMitch New Member

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    thanks for the responses. I am not planning on buying until I get a few races under my belt. I hope without any crashes (Thanks for the jinx Swampy).

    Has anyone actually been down this path, bought the wheels, and thought that it was a great idea?

    I can see triathlon participants needed them because they spend all of their time in the wind with no drafting (same for TT). I just don't know if spending that kind of coin is a good idea this early on. Also, should I try a set of used wheels as a first round with these just to see?

    Thanks.
     
  6. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Every other Cat. 5 has an SRM and a $5,000 all-carbon racer.

    Shave those legs. Buy those bling wheels.

    Never buy used carbon ANYTHING unless you are absolutely certain of their structural integrity. And odds are, you will not be.

    Lighter wheels will accelerate faster. They save energy with every acceleration. That immutable fact is why they are used. They will likely not brake as well as aluminum rims, but with the right pads they will be close. Also, only the latest generation of carbon wheels from the more reputable manufacturers are guaranteed to handle the heat generated by those extreme Florida descents that go on for miles...er...ignore that one.

    38 MM to 50 MM profile wheels are a decent size to get some aero advantage and still save enough weight over aluminum wheels to be beneficial. They are suitable for crits, road races and the occasional TT.

    Like the guys said, you do not need and probably would be wise to avoid bolting on carbon rims for a few months. Train hard, race with your head up and eyes scanning the field for racers to avoid being near. Good luck and have fun!
     
  7. CoachMitch

    CoachMitch New Member

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    Thanks Campy. I am pretty excited. I just want to be there at the end. I have been riding for a while and training hard for about 4 months. Spent my money on a good trainer who has me heading the right direction. Dropped 40 lbs in about 8 months. So I am just trying to put the finishing touches on the race prep.

    Will see if I love it and if I do I will invest in better equipment. Not too worried about heating the wheels up with any long Florida descents. LOL. From everything I've read most of the top manufacturers have figured it out pretty well at this point anyway.

    I think I will demo a few sets and see how they roll. I still think at my speed they are more hype than help. I currently ride a set of Zipp 101 aluminium wheels and I think they are pretty light. I get up to speed fairly quickly.
     
  8. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    You Zipp 101s are more than good enough. Use some Conti attack 22mm or Zipp 21 mm tires on them. I dig Conti's with the "black chilli compound" and believe that if you crash on those you're either fueled by a massive dose of adrenaline and over cooked it or you're completely inept. Rolling resistance difference between the 22mm or 23mm tires will be negligible and even the 25mm tires will provide a fair insignificant benefit that'll be massively overshadowed by the extra aero drag the wider tire brings. Will you corner faster on a wider tire? No. Contact area is pretty much the same unless you significantly change either tire pressure and/or rim width. Equipment can help but at the end of the day it's nearly all about the rider. Look back at the mid 80s. The fast guys were smashing crits at 30+mph and cornered like demons on steel frames and traditional wheels with 32 spokes.
     
  9. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    All this talk of a -1mm on each side of the tire is great, that is if you were in a time trial, at the pro level... maybe, but in a road race it's negligible. If you loose your Cat5 race it's because your training plan needs re-evaluation and you probably need more miles in your legs, not because you are at an aerodynamic disadvantage. Come back and tell us that the kid with some Mavic Ksyriums (the least aerodynamic, but most commonly used wheels in the amateur ranks) on 23c tires broke away from the field and killed it because he's been putting in 150-200 miles a week, OR that you won because you train hard and don't give a crap what the folks in the marketing departments have told you.

    The guy behind the lead rider in a pace line is exerting roughly -20% less wind drag, the guy behind him -30%. Do you see why now why -2% is ABSURD in a road race? Learn how to hold a wheel and when to put your nose in the wind. Btw, I went from Mavic Ksyrium Elites to Zipp101's and didn't feel one iota faster, in fact I felt slower because those wheels probably absorb a dozen watts when accelerating purely for the noodle factor. But yes, theoretically I was 30-40 secs faster over 40k, solo that is, but when the typical Cat 5 circuit race is approx 15-20mi, ridden mostly in a pack of other riders... do you see where i am going with this? I now ride a set of 32 spoke HED C2 wheels and race on them (Cat4) simply because I got tired of having to true my rear 101 every 3 weeks or so. I now believe I ride faster simply because I am more confident about my equipment (jeezus life was so simple with a GP4 on the rear and a GL330 on the front). Now throw me a set of 303's or 404's and then I'll get back to you ;)
     
  10. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Nice choice. I'd personally opt for a set of Stinger 4's, or 303's.
     
  11. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    303s? Didn't realize the roads were that bad up there that a crit was more like riding Paris Roubaix or a cyclo cross...

    Try using a powermeter to see how much difference a slightly heavier wheel accelerates verses a light one. Good luck with that. "Feel" is over rated. I'm over tubulars too. While it's not hard to glue tires on, it's a time consuming process to do it properly

    If you're paying a couple of grand for wheels then it's pretty dumb to stick the wrong width of tires on. It's not just about aerodynamics and speed, the current generation of rims are 'tuned' *cough* for better cross wind performance, doing something that alters the stall angle and pressure across the rim is also rather daft. When the buy in price is that much, the devil is in the details. The only time it's justified, IMHO, to chuck a tire wider that the rim on is when you know the roads are really bad with lots of potholes that could snag on the side of the rim.
     
  12. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by Dan:
    "...in fact I felt slower because those wheels probably absorb a dozen watts when accelerating purely for the noodle factor."

    So true.



    Quote by Swampy:
    "The fast guys were smashing crits at 30+mph and cornered like demons on steel frames and traditional wheels with 32 spokes."

    On 19 MM sew-ups, to boot.


    We race...therefore we bling! Sure, I could drag out one of my old steel 6-speeds and go roundyround as fast as on my 22-speed carbon wonder, but...

    [​IMG]
     
  13. CoachMitch

    CoachMitch New Member

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    Good stuff guys. You are telling me exactly what I was feeling. I have been putting in the 150-200 miles weeks with lots of interval time on the indoor trainer as well as long weekend rides (6 hours saddle time just on the weekends...thank you Florida weather). The only reason I am riding the Zipp 101 is because it came with the power meter I bought from Wheel builder.com.

    I agree that spending the money on a good coach has been way more beneficial than spending $2000 on wheels. You guys have confirmed my hypothesis. Thanks.
     
  14. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Hehe. I think those 303's are lingering in my thoughts from a few years ago when I was last looking at a new set of hoops, the 'toroidals' btw not the new Firecrest. THOSE were the paradigm shift in rim shape, where everyone else was mostly using the standard V. With multiple spoke configs they they were not exclusively marketed to the CX community. Then came Firecrest, and now everyone is using the rounder trailing edge profiles. I do live in NYC and one of our promoters organizes races at Floyd Bennet field, it's a choppy runway with deep ruts in places that can catch even those familiar with the course by occasional surprise in the midst of a firebreathing pack. The race promoter recommends leaving the fancy carbon rims at home. And the ride there along Flatbush Ave is even worse... nothing like braking a spoke on the way to the race.

    Some guys like lots of stuff. I may have a borderline purging disorder... and don't. At the time they seemed like the one wheel set to do it all, pretty light, pretty bombproof, and pretty fast. Did nothing great, everything well. It wasn't a weight thing (which is mostly only a factor on the steeper hills anyway, and rim inertia particularly most likely a factor when crossing switchbacks on those steeper hills), as we know on a flat course aerodynamics is more important (i.e accelerating from 30mph to 37-38mph), and rolling resistance somewhat important (which a wider tire will reduce). Though as everyone's favorite mathematical equation will confirm, as we go faster the power to overcome rolling resistance increases in proportion to the velocity, and aero drag increases in proportion to the velocity cubed... aero is better. And it wasn't a cross wind thing, I've been pushed clear across the road on a gusty day crossing one of our many bridges on my old 650lb ZX-11 doing 50mph... talk about yaw!

    Those smart folks at Zipp and HED (Steve Hed co-owns the patent on "toroidal", the first rim shape to really challenge the big V ) realized if the rim got slightly wider we could have our cake and eat it too. More aero is not just about more narrow, it was back in the day of 19mm wide rims, it's about shape and harmonious airflow between the rim and tire, just my SWAG but a 19mm tire is probably not going to be harmonious on many of the new wider rims, and if running the clincher variety not even safely recommended. And as we've migrated beyond traditional "V" is more about 'aero width' than it it is about 'rim width'. The Zipp101's are optimized for 22-23c's and as stated by Zipp will not suffer unduly (as would a 19mm V) when paired with a 25mm tire, aerodynamically speaking. As far as the wider tire on the narrower rim, it's fine when gluing tires to have a narrower tire, but clinchers work differently, the beads have to hook onto the rims. Zipp recommends no narrower than a 21mm tire on their 21.3mm brake track width 101, and HED recommends a 23mm (or greater) tire on their 23mm wide C2 Belgian. I've ridden the 22c Conti Attack (front) on my 101's and the ride quality wasn't terrific. The 21c Zipp Tangente would probably be worth a try, apparently the tire is made by Vittoria and is comparable to the 290tpi Vittoria CX which at least in the 23c variety is a very comfortable tire.

    And if nothing else for purely selfish reasons I do like me a set of 23's or 25's. Life is too short to skimp on comfort. But I digress, the cheapest solution of all is to learn ride 6-12 inches behind the guy in front of you, not 2-3 feet which seems pretty typical in Cat5.... and wear a tight jersey.
     
  15. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    You've gained way more performance advantage dropping 40 lbs than you will by shelling out for some deep rims. Not many folks are using deep carbon rims in my riding circles - at least for training. There are a couple of guys that do ride on 60mm carbon for training, but they are far from the fastest in the group. The fastest guys are riding on traditional aluminum rims / wheels.

    I can't speak for crits or road races as I have not yet been to one. Expensive, deep section wheels are pretty common at the triathlons I have raced - though I think a lot of it is just the "fashion" of the sport. I can get a top 10 bike split in my age group, fastest clydesdale, using my cobbled together tri bike with cheap shimano RS-30 wheels or mavic Aksiums.

    I would like to have a nice set myself, but I am cheap and still can't justify spending more for a wheel than the cost of my best fully equipped bike. In terms of performance per dollar, fancy wheels are pretty low.
     
  16. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by Dan:
    "Life is too short to skimp on comfort."

    I wish to subscribe to your newsletter!

    Depite the craptastic Ohio Ice Age keeping me the trainer, I am in good spirits! I managed to score a bunch of .22 LR ammunition on Saturday and a new 1911 pistol (a design straight from the hand of God!) yesterday.
     
  17. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    They're pretty common at my local races too but so are the aluminum box section variety, even in the elite fields. Truth is aero does help in any event at any speed above 15-20 mph but I think a lot of beginners can phsych themselves out thinking they are at a major disadvantage when they see everyone lining up with fancy gear... nothing like watching some dude on a shiny new Venge with 404's get dropped on the first lap of a Cat5 race.

    Any aero disadvantage is more likely to be felt at the pinnacle of the sport where dropping additional body weight is not an option and training protocols are already being pushed to the limit. Spending more money can only make someone so fast.

    Btw if you eventually decide to pull the trigger on a new set of fancy wheels I'm betting you could make the top nine-and-a-half split ;)
     
  18. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Wind tunnel data from HED shows that even going from a 22mm tire to a 23mm tire above 15 degrees is significant - and this is on their new 25mm wide "plus" series of rims.

    But even though this is all handy stuff to know for racing, for Cat5 suicide racer land all that's really needed is to make it through 10 races with skin, limbs, bones and bike intact.
     
  19. CoachMitch

    CoachMitch New Member

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    Great info guys. I do some group rides with guys riding on 2700 wheels and we drop them like hot potatos when the pace gets up above 25 to 27 mph so I hear what you are saying about bling. I think you guys have answered my question. For now I am going to continue training hard and spending my money on my coach. Thanks for all the great info. But if someone wants to give me a nice set of 404's I will not turn them down. LOL.
     
  20. linear886

    linear886 Banned

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    [​IMG]

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