New wheel help, zipp 404 too much?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by acolomer, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. acolomer

    acolomer New Member

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    Hi to everyone, I'm very new to road cycling and after riding on a stock Specialized Tarmac fir a few months I was suggested to upgrade my wheels. Several suggestions were to go carbon. In having NO experience and following suggestions, I ended up with a set of Zipp 404's...I'm at an average speed of 16-18mph. Is there a better option for me? I'm willing to trade down if I have to, just really need to know what is best for a rider like me who has serious goals of improving, but obviously not at racing level. Thanks in advance for the advice.
     
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  2. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    The 404s will not be an issue unless they dictate how, when, and where you ride. Are they the "max/cyclocross" versions with higher spoke counts - i.e. 24 for the newer 404s?

    My experience is that you'll notice some aero advantage above 20mph with the 404s. On windy days they will cut through crosswinds confidently in the mid-20's, but under 20mph gusts will add an extra dimension to your steering vs. a lower profile rim. The hubs are exceptionally smooth and the carbon will nicely filter out road vibration.

    The 404s aren't a "bombproof" wheelsset, meaning there is a higher probability of damaging them on rough roads than a higher spoke count alu wheelset. It is fairly common practice to have an alu training wheelset for general riding/training and "save" the carbon wheels for specific events or rides. For the most part it is a cost-based decision. Carbon wheelsets are more expensive to purchase and repair/replace.

    If you primarily ride solo, you can ride however you want and back off in conditions that are prone to damage wheels - RR tracks, seriously rough roads, etc. When group riding, you will disrupt the group if you are more focused on protecting your wheels than keeping pace with the group. I ride with groups where some riders use their carbon deep section wheels, but they are usually "pounders" pulling the group. Their bikes are the ones showing more wear and hard-riding. FWIW I've never seen a wheel failure - alu or carbon - in approximately 12k miles of riding on typical suburban/rural roads.
     
  3. Jamin Jake

    Jamin Jake New Member

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    Out of curiosity, what is your weight and how often do you ride? While some wheels don't have a weight limit, quite a few dealers have told me that frequent riding of carbon rims by heavier riders can lead to premature failure.
     
  4. shawea

    shawea New Member

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    Just to add to the question. What are other wheel options just in general for a mid level rider. I have never really looked at upgrading my wheels. Not even the carbon / AL debate, but where does the price point really start to add value to the ride?
     
  5. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    No there is no reason to upgrade the wheels. I use Mavic OpenPro rims. They seem to be suitable for recreational riding.
     
  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I would do my training / improving on a substantially cheaper wheelset. Save the 404's for events or when you feel that the wheels are holding you back.

    The stock wheels should be fine for your goals.
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    You really aren't riding fast enough to enjoy a significant aerodynamic advantage from the 404s.
     
  8. acolomer

    acolomer New Member

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    Thank you so much to everyone! Certainly helps a newbie like me to get some insight. The question is what to do with those 404's...Someone else suggested that if I did want to upgrade, even if only for aesthetics, I should consider a set of Mavic 2012 Ksyrium SL wheels. I was told these would be much more resistant for the wear and tear of daily riding and better to use on group rides. Any thoughts on these?
     
  9. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Not enough information to know what your true motivation is.
    Cost doesn't seem to be a primary concern, as you dropped $$ for a relatively higher end bike, 404's on a suggestion, and now Ksyrium SL's. If you're buying these new, then you're comfortable with investing money into your passion.

    Sounded like you no longer have the original wheelset. If you do, then you can swap Zipps and the originals as needed. If $ isn't a factor, ride the Zipps. They won't be a detriment to your advancement - unless you do worry about the cost of maintaining/replacing them and that changes how you ride. As I noted, I ride with guys who hammer pretty hard on deep section carbons all the time and they haven't had a failure yet. The chances are greater that they will ... but they haven't.

    If you've made a retail investment in the Zipps and sell them at a loss, you're taking a hit. Then if you purchase K-SL's at retail you're taking another hit. Depending on the exact nature of all of that, it might be better to take your chances with the Zipps. Or back them up with a modest set of handbuilts or some other modest $ wheelset.

    At the very least, I'd suggest you think about what you really want from your wheelset(s) (and expect to get) before investing any more $ in wheels.
     
  10. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Are they the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers? If so just ride 'em till they bust, you are not racing so no need to save anything for "race" day. The 404's are more robust than many CF wheelsets out there and are not typical featherweight weaklings. They are fine for everyday use. You may not be able to squeeze all the benefit out of the Zipps at your speed but that's not a reason to switch out yet again, unless of course you want to.

    If you must get new wheels for some reason and must go with Ksyriums, go with the plain Ksyrium Elites and forget the SL's. You will be paying $500 more to save 70 grams... at the hub. Utter nonsense.

    Silly question, did you get new brake pads when you switched to the 404's? If not do so pronto. If they are the older 404's with the alloy breaking surface, no need to worry.

    The only downside of the 404's... some folks might peg you as an "elitist" and will think that you think they are not worth waving to. Then again if that's what they think they are probably not worth waving to anyways /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  11. Jamin Jake

    Jamin Jake New Member

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    I would personally go with a more durable rim that was non carbon and also lighter. I am assuming that you have the clincher version and not the tubular. Many of my friends have has a good deal of success with the fulcrum wheels. I also like the Rolf Elan RS wheels. That is just me. There is nothing wrong with keeping the 404s if you choose to do so, I just feel they are a tad bit heavy and as others have said you won't be enjoying the aero advantages the wheel has to offer(yet).

    Do check on the brake pads as Danfoz said. If you are still using your old brake pads and they aren't the alloy breaking surface you must change them to avoid damaging the rim via aluminum particles embedded in the pads from using your previous rims.
     
  12. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    No one cares what you ride on a group ride. Doing some work is looked on favorably. So is just keeping up. So is not knocking others over.
     
  13. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    First, I'd not get rid of the 404's unless you're willing to take a bit of a bath on selling price. Second, as suggested by oldbobcat you need to think about what you really need in a set of wheels. Once you've got an idea of what you want, I'd talk to a wheel builder about getting a custom built set of wheels. Custom wheels tend to be cheaper than boutique wheels, except for the boutique wheels near the bottom of any given manufacturer's line. Other benefits of custom wheels are getting a wheel set configured just for you (rims, spokes, nipples, hubs) and likely getting better service at the time of build and later if needed.

    For the cost of Ksyrium SL's, you can get a lighter, more durable wheel set that also comes with a much better rear hub. The Mavic rear hub has a delrin bushing in place of a bearing in one location, which IMHO is an unsatisfactory solution. At least one LBS (a big, popular one) here has seen frequent need to replace customers' delrin bushings due to quick wear. I'd also avoid the Rolf wheels. I know some people like them, but the paired spoke idea is just stupid from an engineering point of view. If a spoke breaks, a Rolf wheel is much more likely to become unrideable than a traditionally laced wheel. Likewise, truing paired spoke wheels can try or even annihilate a person's patience.

    Back to the Zipps: if you have the older style Zipp 404 clincher--alloy rim--you will definitely take a bath on resale. The new Firecrest 404 has seen to that. If you've got the new Firecrest 404, don't get rid of it unless you just can't stand the wheel set or don't foresee really needing or wanting it. Oldbobcat is right in that at the speeds at which you're pedaling, you won't see a great increase in speed, BUT over a long ride you could see a significant reduction in energy spent. Here's a graph that shows power needed to overcome the wheel drag vs. the speed at which you're moving for an aero rim vs a box rim (from an older Zipp chart, where the box rim was a GL330). This would also be an energy spent over a given time at a given speed graph. You would expect to see similar graphs for any aero rim vs a box rim. You can see that at 15mph you're only starting to see a significant difference in power needed to overcome drag for the two different wheels.

    [​IMG]

    Of course it goes without saying that if you really dig the wheels, keep them. That you're happy with what you have on your bike is just as important as any other reasons given. It's no longer true that CF wheels have to be race day only or special event only wheels. I see a lot of folks riding deep rimmed CF wheels out here in the windy, sandy desert without issue, and the roads out here can be as crappy as any other roads elsewhere in the US. The blowing sand and grit does add an extra wear component to the functional lifespan of a part.
     
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  14. acolomer

    acolomer New Member

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    Again, I have to thank everyone for the input so far. Great learning for me. I definitely have NO interest in being viewed as an elitist! The thought of getting viewed that way makes me consider downgrading even more...For better or for worse, I've always become obsessive about everything I do, and after being involved in competitive sports all my life, I figured I would dive head first into this sport. Thanks for all the comments, definitely a lot to look into and keep reading about. My sole purpose is to pound away miles and get as fast as I can!
     
  15. acolomer

    acolomer New Member

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    They are Clinchers...It seems that my immediate compulsion to 'dive into' this sport head first and splurge was not such a great idea...I have no interest in being seen as an elitist or poser. My goal is to become better and faster, and hopefully I can get to the point in about a year or so where I can participate in some races (for fun of course). Thank you for your comments, very helpful to a newbie like me.
     
  16. acolomer

    acolomer New Member

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    I am 5'11 an weigh 158lbs...I ride twice a week (roughly around 2:30-3hr rides) and about two other days on the trainer. My average speed is bw 16-18 mph, highest I can sustain for around 10min intervals so far is around 21mph...not sure if that helps with some suggestions. thanks!
     
  17. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    If I were you, I wouldn't spend any time if I were you, not even a picosecond, worrying about whether someone thought I was a poseur or elitist. The people that make such proclamations about other riders aren't worthy of thought. In fact, they're a stain on cycling. They're certainly not worth riding with. Ride what you want to ride. It's that simple, and that's all that matters.
     
  18. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acolomer .

    I definitely have NO interest in being viewed as an elitist! The thought of getting viewed that way makes me consider downgrading even more...



    As Alienator mentioned, don't worry about what others think or being an seen as an elitist. This was said in jest as I'd read a thread on this forum where some "reverse" elitists were making judgement calls against riders they hadn't even met based on their more expensive equipment. If you downgrade too far though you can forget about a wave from me /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  19. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Note that I would be happy to store your 404 wheel set until you feel like you need to use it again. I'll even send you my every day wheel set for you to use. It's a 1385g wheel set with 25mm deep rims, 24f/28r. It's dead reliable, and I won't charge you anything for the exchange! I'll be sure to protect your 404 Firecrest clinchers with my life.
     
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