How Much Of An Affect Do Wheels Have On Speed?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Uawadall, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    I don't know very much about components (other than a little research), but will look to upgrade my wheels for next season. I currently have a Shimano WH-501 wheel set. The seem to be priced at 150-200 as a set online. I have no intention of throwing money out the window, what is your take on wheels contribution to maximizing speed? Also, is the difference between $200 wheels and $1000 ones really that different?

    At most, I would want to spend 400-500 on one of these online sales they have at this time of year. $0 if i'm convinced its not worth it.
     
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  2. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    check some Mavics and some Campagnolo. They have some very sweet wheels for around 200-300 €.

    will they be faster? Maybe. :D
     
  3. Susimi

    Susimi Well-Known Member

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    The general rule is the lesser the tread the more speed you'll pick up. Friction and all that, but also a factor of the rider ;)

    I'm sceptical when it comes to branded tyres. I mean they are all the same at the end of the day and I think some just have different tread designs than others, but of course some might wear faster.

    I'd just say to go with your gut feeling.
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Speed costs.

    So...how fast do you want to go?


    The Mavic 50 MM Carbones around $1000 with the aluminum brake track are a good value in terms of aero, weight and all around performance IMO.

    If you are constantly striving for PB's, STRAVA segments, fast club training and/or racing a decent set of wheels is a good investment.
     
  5. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    I want to mostly be faster for club rides next season. I did pretty good for this being my first year, but some of these guys are fast!.I've been dropped a few times. The fastest club riders have both years of experience and have the lightest bikes and expensive wheels. The only advantage I currently have over most is, youth and body composition. At 6'4" and 165 pounds, I can only afford to lose weight off the bike. I am usually one of the first uphill, but usually get killed on descends. I am using a set of rollers to better my technique, hopefully that along with a new wheel set will level the playing field.A thousand for wheels wouldn't be my first choice,but I may consider it.

    my current pace usually falls between 16-17.5 mph in mixed terrain. My goal is to get to the 18-20mph range in year 2. My current setup is a alloy Cannondale Synapse with a Tiagra Groupset and WHr501 stock wheels.

    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:742]
     
  6. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Good tires and a good floor pump. Conti GP4000S2 are my all time favorite. Reasonable wear rate and lots of grip.

    Riding rollers won't help you downhill. Riding downhill, following those that are faster than you in the corners will make you faster. Practice, practice, practice.

    Just because it's a downhill doesn't mean you get to rest. Get ready for some intense, short efforts whilst trying to carve corners.

    Do nearly all of your braking before the corner. Bikes, brakes and corners are the unholy trifecta that should be avoided.

    Relax. The deathgrip on the bars does no good. Look as far ahead as possible and if you see a sharp corner ahead, try to look for visual clues to see where the road goes after the corner. Warning: If you see a line of telephone poles going down the road you're on and you see a corner ahead and the pole line seems to go in the same direction, do not assume that this is the way that the road goes. A quick trip to the ditch or the thorny bush may be in your future if you do.
     
  7. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Light weight riders tend to descend a little slower than the big boys. Gravity matters. You might have to power off the top of a climb whereas a heavy rider can just coast off and let it roll.

    You might want to work on your aero position. A small tuck and lowe frontal area may be all you need to stay in the slipstream of the downhill bombers off the top. As they reach terminal velocity...so will you. A spacer dropped out from under the stem or a shorter bearing cover might help. Go only with small steps and try your changes one at a time for a week or so.

    The aero wheels will help with top end and drop power input at any comparable speed in almost all conditions.

    Still, speed and stamina come mainly from one thing and one thing only...training. Hardware will only take you so far. In the war to acquire the weapons of speed it has become a stalemate. Everyone has the latest and greatest toys. The guy at the front or off the front is usually the guy that takes his toys out and utilizes them the most often.

    If you are among the first to the top of the climbs you have already got the toughest stuff under your belt. The rest just takes a little bit of time and experience.
     
  8. oportosanto

    oportosanto Well-Known Member

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    It's all a matter of investment, but depending on our level it can make a big difference or virtually none to have better or worse tires. There are super expensive tires, to be honest I like good equipment of course, but I am not over paying.
     
  9. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    For your goals, a new wheelset is a misallocation of resources.

    Work on your fitness and tactics. Instead of killing it to be the first up the hill, be the first over the hill. Perhaps your group is playing games and letting you blow up to get to the top. In my groups typically the first ones up the hill are also the first ones down, even if they descend a bit slower.

    What kind of descents are you talking about? Are these long mountain descents or short ones?

    If you want to spend ~500 to become a better cyclist, consider classes, a trainer with power, or a power meter. You can find stages power meters for about $500 new or you can get a used powertap wheel with computer. Around here there are many options for winter indoor training with power - even the YMCA spin bikes have switched to using power.
     
  10. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Truing a wheel is expensive. Its 5€ around here for a (very needed usually) quick tune up.

    Proper truing can be more.

    I bet that wheels with less spokes get out of true faster.

    Perhaps thats another thing to consider when choosing a Pair of wheels.

    I also want a nice! bike ;) For those epic rides but I dont wanna spend 10€ for every 100 km. :p

    Btw, you -might- Save some money if you build wheels... Not sure about that though.
     
  11. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    Part of it is lack of technique, the other is an unwillingness to get out of my comfort zone. I tend to over brake and can't seem to mentally push myself to practice cornering a little faster. I tend to be more willing to descend at higher speeds when i'm trying to catch up to someone. I think trying to catch up can sometimes be the funnest part of cycling.I fully agree with you about the guys in front. I've checked out some of the faster members strava's and they certainly put in the hours.Not even the cold weather stops them from getting out there 4-5 days a week.


    Following more experienced orders has helped me in many areas of cycling. Although I still struggle with descending fast, I can at least descend safely. Yes, no substitute for doing the real thing, but hopefully the rollers can fine tune my coordination until spring.

    I have the same belt from 8th grade(am a 29 year old college grad now) and changed the notch once, use to walk/jog 10 miles a day, and have a 20 bmi. I'd be disappointed if I wasn't at least a decent climber. Long hills are far and few where I live and those definitely will require more practice than I currently have. The ones that I usually do on the 30 mile club rides are shorter spread out intervals(say 1-2 miles or so). I hardly ever go full force going uphill, I would say, 70-80% at most. When I reach the top first, I usually wait for the other riders. I wasn't really putting it in sequence, just saying that I'm in the upper percentile in one and lower in the other. In terms of the types of descends, winding short ones.
     
  12. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    BTW, you guys give very good advice. I'll pass on the wheels for now and shore up my other weaknesses for now. Maybe think about a new set in a year or so. I started a new job 2 months ago thats less than a mile away from a mountain with bike trails, I'll spend that money on a Mountain Bike instead :D
     
  13. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "I think trying to catch up can sometimes be the funnest part of cycling."

    Being low on power myself, I have learned to enjoy the chase and catch. It is fun.



    "I fully agree with you about the guys in front. I've checked out some of the faster members strava's and they certainly put in the hours. Not even the cold weather stops them from getting out there 4-5 days a week."

    This is what it takes to go to the front and stay there. If you are leading these guys up the hills you already have at least 'some' amount of conditioning going for you. Next time, don't sit up going over the top. Don't wait around. Ease up at the bottom of the hill in the next valley floor and let them catch you. Sit up...eat a gel and just tuck in behind the flatlander powerhouse types...until the next hill. Then go hard again.

    At least you can get out of your comfort zone at your most comfortable moment and climb away from the heavier guys or the guys that can not go vertical as well as you can. 165 pounds is heavy enough to go hard on the flats, but tall guys really do need to pay attention to their frontal area. Make the drops work for you. Position on the bike is important and may need a little tuning. Same with the conditioning and muscle strength that will keep you low on the buke for a few miles of steady tempo work across those long, open flat stretches that may also be into a wind.

    Like Maydog said, you may want to invest in a power meter to learn where you need to work and quantify your training. In the arms race for speed a power meter is an invaluable tool. As are the wheels and everything else. It will all come to you...it just takes some time (and money!).
     
  14. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    There is a local ride and local forum member who I've know for some years. He started out on the red Specialized. Later went to the nicer roadie. After a while he upgraded to the really nice wheels. IIRC he spent about $2000 on the wheels alone.

    This dude is a really good fast climber. Some of his fun rides are 8,000 ft gain. After he got the fancy wheel I asked how he liked them. He was very disappointed. Said the stock wheels on his red bike were not much different at all as he had been timing himself on the big climbs. He said if he could, he'd get his money back! :huh:

    Oh yeah, this guy is about 5'10 and 165 lbs.
     

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  15. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Could he f'in -feel- any difference?

    Time is Bullsh^t...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL3AgkwbYgo
     
  16. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    No surprise Mr Beanz. Nothing wrong with expensive race wheels, just don't buy them with false expectations. I'm riding a set of DT1450 climbing wheels currently which are the best quality wheels I've owned. Certainly I don't need them for the non-competitive riding I do now. But after my Circuit rear rim finally failed (at 30K miles), my LBS offered me a "used only 500 miles" set for a good price and I thought I'd see for myself what all the hype is about.

    If you think about the weight savings, or even the rotational inertia savings possible on "climbing wheels" vs regular race wheel and compare it to the total weight we have to power uphill, you'll see the potential advantage isn't huge.

    But it's not nothing either. If your buddies total load dropped a pound, that's more than a 0.5% weight loss. Over a 20 minute slow/steep climb, that should save him about 6 seconds. Means nothing to most of us, but if it's a race finish at the top, that 6 seconds could make a difference. And in a long road race, where the riders might be climbing for an houror more on the day, the advantage is even greater.

    If you want to know how it feels, just go out on your favorite steep climb and toss your water bottle(s) at the bottom, and measure the time saved. I know from experience it's nothing like losing 20 lbs of bodyweight...that's a big savings!
     
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  17. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    I think you are gonna be totally covered with a pair of 200€ Mavic Axiums or an also 200€ pair of Campy Scirroco's.

    Heck, the Scirocos are even deep section!

    But for only another 2000€ and another 100€ per month, you can save 2 watts For every 5000km and get a cushier ride! :D

    You already have your 200€ tubular tires? :D

    or are you gonna spend more then 200 € for Clinchers? :D

    I wish I knew how to build wheels, or have a wheel building / truing table actually.

    or have a sponsor to buy me these to "assess" with the use of my "High Tech Total Ride Metrics Equipment TM" (my ass :D )


    [​IMG]
     
  18. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW/IMO. ONE big difference (beyond high-zoot carbon rims) between this wheel or that wheel is the hubs ...

    I think that you may want to take advantage of the fact that you have SHIMANO wheels ...

    AND SO, ONE thing that you may want to consider doing (learning to do) is to learn how to service your hubs & spokes ...

    Learn to re-pack the bearings ...

    Consider using a WHITE LITHIUM grease which you can buy at an automotive supply store, WalMart, etc. ...

    And, ensure that the spoke tension is as close to equal as possible on all the front spokes

    And also, the driveside spokes are appropriately tensioned ...

    BTW. Although FEWER spokes have been the vogue for more than a dozen years, I have a configured a 40x4/"tandem" wheel (an economy Shimano Tandem rear hub with a plebeian, low profile alloy rim) for one of my rear wheels because I want/(have deluded myself into wanting!!) as close-to-zero lateral movement when climbing (that may-or-may-not be a concern for you) ... it may not be one of my better uses of resources AND I'm NOT sure if it actually helps more than a 36-spoke wheel does ... or, if a 36-spoke wheel is beneficial beyond knowing (okay, everything is debatable) that a low spoke count wheel can have some disadvantages.

    The tires on your bike will make some difference, too ...

    You shouldn't be surprised if some of the faster riders are using more expensive tires & tubes ...

    "Racing" tires weigh less ...

    They last for about 1500 +/- miles (depending on the rider's weight + how thin they are willing to wear the tread) ...

    Latex tubes weigh a lot less than butyl rubber tubes.

    BTW. There may be hidden friction in places people often don't consider ...

    BB bearings (even "sealed, cartridge bearings" can be maintained) ...

    Gummed up pulley wheels & pulley wheel bushings/bearings ...

    A dirty chain ...

    Heck, dirty chainrings ...

    So, consider getting a pair of CONE WRENCHES, some WHITE LITHIUM GREASE, a PARK-or-equivalent SPOKE WRENCH ...

    And, if you feel like you really want to spend some extra "holiday" money, buy a PARK Tensiometer ...
     
  19. Gnufrau

    Gnufrau Active Member

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    Wheels with a rim that supports the spoke pattern need no go out of true barring accidents. As for building wheels saving money, not so much. I have built my own wheels for the last 4 decades, and my currnt set are a pair of Campagnolo Kamsins. I got the set for less than it usually costs for a rear hub *alone*, and I love them for summer wheels. Light fast riding, and whatnot. I plan on building aset of winter (and touring) wheels that I can trust to be nearly indestructible. They will cost on the order of 3 to 5 *times* what my Kamsins cost me, but they will be built by *my* hand. Low end wheels are often built by machine, and have components that would not sell otherwise. They *will* drag you down, sucking your speed and agility, and making you work much harder.

    To the OP: I recommend any of the 3 lowest end Campagnolo wheelsets for your needs. My Kamsins are the lowest end wheels they make, and I love them! It takes a *lot* for me to say that about any pre-built wheel. They come in either Shimano or Campagnolo versions. I got mine at Ribble Cycles in England. I found some for you.

    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-track-bike/campagnolo-campagnolo-wheels-factory-road-tri-campagnolo-vento-asy-g3-clincher-wheels-pair/campwhfr614

    They were out of stock of the Shimano version of mine...
     
  20. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    Great info, I have read all of these and thought about something while riding today. 20-30 years ago, people were riding with far less capable bikes and still blazing fast and skilled. I asked a guy I ride with who's in his 50's who use to be one of the faster riders in my area in his younger years(still challenges me now) how often he rode in his 20-30's. He told me 25-30 everyday of the week except Friday and 50-60 on Saturday and Sunday. Next season, riding 6 days a week will be my goal.
     
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