How important are the wheelsets?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Archbob, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. Archbob

    Archbob New Member

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    So I've gone about 150 miles a week this summer and bought 2 road bikes to replace my crusier. I have a 1999 Schwin voyage and a 2011 GT 5 series. I outfitted the passage with 28" tires for some trail riding.

    I talked to the guy in the bike shop today about upgrading parts of my GT for road. He said the most noticable different comes from the wheels. He said I would see a difference if I spent $500 on some Ultegra wheels or $400 on some racing wheels.

    How much difference does the wheelset make?
     
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  2. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    Wheelsets are everything, although I am not really sure what wheelset you have currently, upgrading to $500 Ultegra wheels may not be quite as noticeable as upgrading to a set of aero wheels or a set of really stiff lightweight Mavic Ksyriums. If you are looking for a big difference make sure you are getting something that is more aero, stiffer, lighter, or preferably all 3, than what you currently have. It is not going to do much for you if you buy something with similar hoops and just upgraded Ultegra hubs. Tires and TUBES are also a really great bang for the buck.
     
  3. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    I would not waste a cent on wheels for those cycles.

    BTW, that is a great price for Ultegra wheels. I paid a lot more than that for mine (6700's). I wish I had got something less expensive and stronger.

    My take is get something middle of the road that is strong and durable but not a piece of junk. Most likely your bikes already have something like that.
     
  4. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    Is this your new cycle?

    http://www.gtbicycles.com/bikes/road/race/2011-gtr-srs-5-black-red

    If so, do nothing to it but replace the tires and pedals.

    Ride it a thousand miles or so and then buy an entirely new bicycle with 105-class components. A whole new bike will cost less than upgrading your GT and then you will have two bikes.
     
  5. Archbob

    Archbob New Member

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    I can always take the wheels off and put them on another bike if I buy a new Bicycle. I personally like the GT alot so I plan to ride it for a while. Talking to some guys who ride long distance(50+ mile day rides which is what I do), he said the entry level components and the 105's really don't make much of a performance difference in long distance rides but the wheels and tires make a large noticable different and recommended me to keep the stock crankset/shifters but upgrade to some nice racing wheels.

    $1000+ may be just getting past entry level, buts its a lot of money to be selling out at this time. The 1999 Schwin passage I have with teh 28" Kevlar wheels is decent for limestone and dirt trail riding, but I plan to ride the GT for a few thousand miles on long road trips.

    Note, I'm not racing with this bike, I just need better road performance on 100 miles day rides.
     
  6. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I don't think wheel sets make enough difference to throw out the old and buy new. I would wait until the wheels fail and then buy new.

    When I bought my last bike, I bought several additional cassettes to give me the gearing I wanted (I changed the cogs on my old wheels also.). I also bought new tires - I tossed the tires the bike came with. I also had a wheel built with a power tap hub.

    Certainly wheels sets are worth upgrading, the cog set you need is certainly a good upgrade. Tires to suit your preferences is a good upgrade.

    Unless you have a specific need like a power tap hub or deep rims for an aero advantage at high speed, or dealing with excessive weight there is little upside to upgrading.
     
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  7. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Archbob, remember the bike shop staff is there to sell equipment. So of course they are going to say wheels make a big difference. But the reality is that we're talking about inches in a sprint, or seconds off the clock on a TT. Saving a few watts or a few hundred grams may be important to someone who's winning and losing races by seconds, but it doesn't matter to most of us.

    I'd go with Old Guy's advice. Wait till you wearout your current wheels, then replace. If you ride 150 miles a week, that may be a season or two with your current wheels. You'll get plenty of opportunity to spend money maintaining your bike as you continue to pile on the miles. Also, tires as he said. If you want to try some watt-savings, race tires can save watts of rolling resistance for a faction of the cost of a race wheelset. They'll have shorter life than "training" tires, and probably less puncture resistance, but you might have fun trying them. You can even go to latex tubes to save another couple of watts. You probably won't notice any of this in terms of speed on your bike computer readout, but bet you'll "feel faster".
     
  8. Archbob

    Archbob New Member

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    Ok, if you guys don't think a set of nice racing wheels will siginficantly improve speed performance, I won't upgrade for a while then.

    I was just asking because switching from my 7-speed city crusier to my GT 5-series definetaly helped me pick several miles per hour on speed. But I guess wheels can't make that much of a difference.

    So, if I bought $5000 bike with all dura-ace or Ultegra parts and race tires, my speed/performance on long road trails won't go up by that much?
     
  9. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. If you are planning on taking long road trips, then you probably want a wheelset with the hubset of your choice laced to 32h rims ... a rear wheel with 36h will be better if the combined weight of rider + gear is over ~225lbs (almost an arbitrarily chosen number ... I was going to say 100 kilos) ...

    • Ultegra hubs are very good
    • Dura Ace hubs are marginally lighter, but otherwise no better
    • DT Swiss 240s hubs are subjectively a little better than the Shimano hubs at a much higher price
    • DT Swiss 340 hubs are heavier than 240s hubs, but are almost as good, but cost as-much-as-or-more-than Dura Ace hubs
    • Formula hubs seem to be good, are inexpensive, but probably woudn't be my choice for a long road trip

    BTW. YOU could buy a Park Tensiometer (why pay more?) & ensure that the spoke tension is as close to equal as possible for the spokes on the driveside of the rear wheel to ensure long term reliablity regardless of the rim or hub used for the rear wheel ...

    BTW2. If you are planning on taking long road trips, then you probably want to use a bike frame on which you can mount fenders and/or racks,
     
  10. Archbob

    Archbob New Member

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    When I said long road trips, I ment day trips on weekends(sorry if I confused you). These generally range between 80-125 miles. I usually only carry a water power and a few power bars so I'm riding light. I weigh about 170 myself and the bike should be carrying no more than 175.
     
  11. Bosock

    Bosock New Member

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    Well, this is some advice I don't usually give...but here goes. I agree with some of the previous advice and that is you need to ride what you have and build that engine. Upgrading parts on your GT will only have minimal impact on the results you desire. Bike, if it is the one linked above, is a 8 speed heavier aluminum bike. Aluminum is not the most comfortable frame material for 100 mile rides and your upgrades will only have u see limited benefits in speed and comfort. Do not get me wrong, if u like riding the bike, and like riding it far, then keep doing it....no upgrade will help you more than building a strong engine. Now do you need a $5000 bike. No, but instead of putting hundreds of dollars into upgrades that will have minimal results on the gains u your looking for...you might as well save that money until u can purchase a bike that is designed for the specific endurance riding you mention. Doesn't have to be $5000, but price is relative to performance until a certain point. You can get a nice steel bike ( very smooth ride) for about $1200 new or a decent carbon frame decently equipped for about $1500...local bike store has a full carbon Giant Defy Advanced with105 flight deck for $1500. Now that is 3x your tire upgrade but would have u finishing that 100 miles likely fairly quicker and ALOT less beat up. You seem to enjoy your GT...ride and enjoy it. However if you feel your getting to a point you want to improve performance through upgrades...then save your money and get a bike designed for the riding u do...this is the most cost effective approach in reaching the results you are looking for. Good luck and just keep riding...that engine is the most important piece of the puzzle.
     
  12. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    It is really hard to put in long week end rides when your weekly mileage is only 150 miles.

    At 150 miles a week you will not benefit from different components.
     
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