New Wheels question

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by avidprime, May 10, 2010.

  1. avidprime

    avidprime New Member

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    Hi All, I am a new cyclist (recreationally but like to go hard) riding a 09 Trek 2.3.

    I'm in the market for some new wheels and have had my eye on the clincher SRAM S60's. They are within my budget and seem to have gotten some decent reviews online. I do have a few questions though, and I was hoping you guys would have some answers... Here it goes....

    1. Do cyclists put higher end wheels like the S60's on Aluminum frames like a Trek 2.3? Is that silly? I can see some would say that it's crazy to put a $1200+ wheelset on a $1600 bike. I want to upgrade the wheels but don't want look like a complete fool :)

    2. If I did end up going with wheels like the S60.... Do I need to do anything with the brake pads? I thought I had read something about changing them out for use on this type of wheel.

    3. Does it look completely ridiculous to have an SRAM wheelset on a bike that has a shimano components? :)

    4. Would it be possible down the road to add a power meter to this wheelset? Or is that something that would have to be done at the time the wheels are purchased/built?

    Again, I am very new to cycling guys so any advice or insight is appreciated.

    Thanks again
    Chris (Avidprime)
     
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  2. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    It's silly IMO. Put the $1200 towards your next upgraded bike, or aero wheels for a serious TT bike when you need that last 6 seconds for the podium. You may get other opinions of course.

    Suppose "looks" can be important to newby cyclists, but trust me, the longer you're in the sport, the less important they will become. Even if someone shows up at a club ride with mismatched wheels or tires (different on front and rear), it hardly gets noticed.

    In the end, you really can't buy speed....that's what makes cycling such a great sport. As long as the hardware is functioning well and is reliable enough to get your home every time, it really doesn't matter much.
     
  3. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    *those wheels have aluminium braking surface, so you can use regular brake pads
    *there are no written rules about price of bike vs accessories, do as you like i guess. Moreover, if you buy such nice wheels maybe you can upgrade the rest of your bike over time, leveling yourself upwards. for the better.

    *most important thing about wheels, for me, is to have 2 sets !! You don't want to lose riding time because of broken spokes or any other maintance that could come across. It also gives you the possibility of having different cassettes configurations on the rear wheel
     
  4. tafi

    tafi Member

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    Questions of worth and fashion are always subjective and I can see no tehnical issues with you using these wheels, but.... You really should first ask yourself: Why do you want to upgrade/do you really need to upgrade?

    From the fact that you don't race I would say that you don't need either flashy new wheels or a power meter. Neither of these things is going to improve your riding experience. You just need to be able to get out and enjoy the sport for what it is.

    If upgrading wheels is a priority then I would probably push you in the direction of some hand built items to improve reliability and responsiveness.
     
  5. genedan

    genedan New Member

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    Keep in mind that most people with these wheels don't actually ride them while training. They might test them out a few days before a race, but most of the time the wheels stay in storage, and they ride with durable aluminum wheels for training.

    If you ever see anyone bring them to a club ride, they're just showing off!
     
  6. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    The old adage rings true in cycling as it does in any form of competition - Speed costs, but how much are you willing to spend? But unlike many forms of competition, training can't be bought and for this reason I'm gonna suggest that you skip the fancy wheel purchase with one caveat...

    If you're new to cycling the main thing to look for are things that can help you go faster through training. While the 'bling' of a cool set of wheels is appealing, you could get a new back wheel with a PowerTap hub which would be a great addition to your cycling kit. Mind you, training with a power meter on the bike isn't going to make you any faster unless you have a good training program to follow. Once you have a well defined program it makes training much easier and generally more production. It also makes for one hell of a training diary.

    Go spend some of that money on a good bike fit. I'm only familiar with the Specialized Body Geometry bike fitters, and while they can be a bit on the pricey side, it's well worth it if you can find the time to go pay one of their more qualified guys a visit one evening. There are other similar 'fitting' programs out there - a good coach will be able to help too. The benefits of a good position on the bike cannot be understated.

    Speaking of coaches, that $1200 would be a sizeable chunk of time with a good coach. Armed with a PowerTap or other power measuring device you could seek out the services of a reputable coach that offers consultantion via email/phone while reviewing your power files on a periodic basis.

    Give it a year or so and when you start getting better on the bike, and you will with some good solid training, that faster set of race only wheels is just a phone call or a visit to the local good wheelbuilder away.

    But - if you weren't looking for opinions and just answers:

    1. You can put whatever wheels you want. Some people cry phooey over such practise but at the end of the day if you do buy a wheelset, buy it with a specific purpose in mind. You already have a reasonable "all rounder" pair of wheels after all. Those SRAM wheels are a bit on the heavy side - I'd go with something else.

    2. Standard brake blocks will be fine on the alloy rim.

    3. No. While there are some cycling snobs out there, don't worry about it. Besides, even the fashion victims out there will forget about your 'faux-pas' after they've set behind you and been on the receiving end of a few snot-rockets.

    4. With that spoke count, I'm not sure that a PowerTap would fit. That'd mean that for a powermeter you'd have to go for a SRM.
     
  7. avidprime

    avidprime New Member

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    Thanks for all the info guys. I appreciate you taking the time out to answer my newbie questions.

    When I bought the 2.3 last year (it was my first road bike) and I didn't know if I would enjoy cycling as much as I now do so I am kicking myself for not spending a little more money and getting a better frame and groupset.

    As for the wheels....the only reason I was interested in getting new wheels was b/c I noticed my existing Bontrager wheels need some truing work after only one short season (1500 miles) of riding. I am 6'2" about 190lbs and wasn't sure if my weight was stressing the stock wheels too much. I thought that I might not have as many issues if I spent some money on higher end wheels. Is there any truth to that?

    Oh and I appreciate the heads up on not showing up to a group ride with wheels like the SRAM's. I didn't know that. I probably won't get them now after all of your input but if I did.... I don't want to embarrass myself. :) Thanks

    Swampy, you mentioned bike fit... I am definitely in need of one. I have been researching some of the local shops that provide this service but it's somewhat confusing b/c different places offer different things. I have been quoted $140 all the way up to $350. The $350 includes Dartfish Video Motion Analysis and Computrainer Spin Scan Pedal Stroke Analysis. Other places are using a technology called Retul. Another name that seems to come up frequently is Serotta. Again, I am somewhat lost here. Anyone have any insight on this bike fitting process? Anything I should stay away from? I want a decent fit but I obviously don't want to be taken to the cleaners either.

    Thanks again, You guys are a great resource to a noob like myself

    Chris
     
  8. tafi

    tafi Member

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    Dude, I wouldn't worry about the fact you "only" have a Trek 2.3. It's a perfectly competent machine which can handle training and racing. Best value in Trek bikes. If i was to buy a Trek, a 2.3 would be it.

    A bit of truing of factory wheels after that length of time is not out of the ordinary. Factory wheels are usually machine built and often not relieved for spoke twist which can cause a loss of trueness early in life. That said, Factory wheels are usually designed with aesthetics more in mind than any other criterion.

    If you are after durable wheels, the so-called "high end" isn't the best place to start.
    Despite being expensive, they also tend towards using even fewer spokes, which makes them harder to keep true if adjustments are needed. They are not designed to be ridden every day.

    If durability is a concern one should always head in the direction of increased spoke count. At your level, a hand-build set with ultegra hubs laced with 32 double butted spokes to low profile rims (eg: Mavic Open Pro, Ambrosio Excellight) will give you an inexpensive, responsive and an easier to maintain wheelset than stock (and possibly better than the S60s). These sorts of wheels are the bread and butter of the sport.

    I'd be wary of bike fits. A lot of fitters like to make biomechanical claims but, this is still a very open area of resaerch and is not without controversy. In the end all fitters use procedures based somewhat on trial and error (like the rest of the medical sciences). A bike fitter doesn't need to do much other than change seat and bar position and ask you how you feel. Your sensations are more important than what a bloke with a video camera tells you you should feel.
    I'm not saying these guys are all charlatans, but you can pay a lot of money to end up somewhere not far from where you started.
    At the end of the day you could always experiment too. Basically you just need to make sure you sit high enough and far enough back to avoid knee and lower back pain, and have a reach to the bars which is comfortable. $350 will buy a lot of cheap stems to try out, and you will learn a few things about what your body can do too.

    And don't bother with a power meter. They are only useful if you are trying to get into the top ranks of racing (which, as you said, you are not). Unless they're used properly, with an appropriately designed interval training system, they're just another half kilo of expensive dead weight to cart around. Doing something similar with heart rate and perceived exertion will get you to much the same point for a lot less cash.
     
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