Race wheels - Hed or Zipp or other?



padawan

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I ask a lot of questions on this forum, but how else can I learn without making expensive mistakes! :p

I'm looking to buy a set of carbon race wheels. I've given up the idea of trying to find wheels that I can use for both training and racing. I just can't afford to beat up a set of wheels that might cost me over $1,000.

I want to go clinchers because I'll be racing mainly tts and triathlons and using a powertap rear wheel I already have built into a bullet proof training wheel that is a clincher. I'm not going to carry both a tubular (front) and spare tubes for the clincher (rear). So I'm mainly looking for a clincher font wheel but may spend the money on a set of wheels for the occasional crit/fun/group ride where I don't care as much about keeping an eye on the watts I'm generating.

I think I've narrowed it down to the Hed Alps or Zipp 404's. Mainly because I'm not knowledgeable enough to trust in a less well known name brand - but I'm interested in hearing opinions. If you have any experience with either of these models (and especially if you have experience with both!) please let me know what you think the pros and cons are.

Thanks,
Pad
 

bobbyOCR

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aluminium/carbon clinchers are heavy HEAVY things. They would be god awful for a crit because they have terrible acclereation. I suggest waiting for carbon clincher technology to develop or just take the leap at tubulars
 

rudycyclist

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Wherever you go, I'd stick with tubulars. Theyve got really nice handling and have just a great overall feel to them.

Note also that I'm mainly a crit rider. I've ridden Reynolds Stratus (both the Ultra light version and just the normal DV Stratus) and they are both very light and really nice to ride. I've also raced Bontrager X Lite Aeros a few times. They are super stiff. Not as light (but still 1400g for the pair) but are great for crits because of the stiffness. If you're looking to go really really light, check out the Reynolds KOM wheelset. Just over 1000g. Our team has one set of those and nobody likes them too much because of little stiffness but I think I'll end up riding them next season.

Good luck finding a sweet set of wheels!
 

alienator

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bobbyOCR said:
aluminium/carbon clinchers are heavy HEAVY things. They would be god awful for a crit because they have terrible acclereation. I suggest waiting for carbon clincher technology to develop or just take the leap at tubulars


Untrue. Wheel weight and more specifically a wheel's moment of inertia has virtually no effect on bicycle acceleration. It has a psychological effect, sure, but humans accelerate much too slowly for the differences in moments of inertia to be meaningful. This has been proven, repeatedly, via simple math on many cycling sites.
 

alienator

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rudycyclist said:
Wherever you go, I'd stick with tubulars. Theyve got really nice handling and have just a great overall feel to them.

Note also that I'm mainly a crit rider. I've ridden Reynolds Stratus (both the Ultra light version and just the normal DV Stratus) and they are both very light and really nice to ride. I've also raced Bontrager X Lite Aeros a few times. They are super stiff. Not as light (but still 1400g for the pair) but are great for crits because of the stiffness. If you're looking to go really really light, check out the Reynolds KOM wheelset. Just over 1000g. Our team has one set of those and nobody likes them too much because of little stiffness but I think I'll end up riding them next season.

Good luck finding a sweet set of wheels!


Another nod to Reynolds. I ride Stratus DV tubulars and have had zero issues with them in almost 2000 miles. Reynolds makes some very robust rims and wheels.
 

bobbyOCR

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alienator said:
Untrue. Wheel weight and more specifically a wheel's moment of inertia has virtually no effect on bicycle acceleration. It has a psychological effect, sure, but humans accelerate much too slowly for the differences in moments of inertia to be meaningful. This has been proven, repeatedly, via simple math on many cycling sites.
I am going to have a very hard time accepting that. Then you are saying I should ride my other pair of Shimano R500s because they make no difference?
 

alienator

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bobbyOCR said:
I am going to have a very hard time accepting that. Then you are saying I should ride my other pair of Shimano R500s because they make no difference?

Yeah, I know that it seems counter-intuitive, but it's true. If you search Weight Weenies forum or the RBR forum for "rotating mass", "moment of inertia", or "acceleration" you'll find several mathematical treatments of this. One is by me (a quick, first order analysis), some are by Mark McM (very smart engineer. I think Science John will back that up.), and others are cut and pastes from Analytic Cycling. All agree very well, and all show that differences in acceleration are very, very small.

So why do lighter wheels feel faster? Well, there are several possibilities. The first is what I mentioned earlier, the difference in mass--and moment of inertia--between a heavy wheel w/ high moment of inertia and a lighter wheel with low moment of inertia, can be easily felt when tossing the bike back and forth. I suspect we interpret this change as "better acceleration." Another possibility is that the lighter wheelset might be laterally stiffer. Just as a tire "feels" faster when it's inflated to a high pressure and a frame might "feel" faster when it's much more stiff, wheels might "feel" faster when they're more laterally stiff. Human senses and interpretation of sensory input isn't necessarily accurate or capable of discretely identifying the source of a given input. Then of course, there's the unquantifiable psychological aspect to lighter wheels, a placebo type effect. If you think something is going to make you faster, then maybe you get stoked and pedal harder to make that assumption true.....

The one thing that is absolutely true is that Newtonian physics is a completely understood area of study. So what the equations tell us isn't a lie.
 

ScienceIsCool

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alienator said:
Yeah, I know that it seems counter-intuitive, but it's true. If you search Weight Weenies forum or the RBR forum for "rotating mass", "moment of inertia", or "acceleration" you'll find several mathematical treatments of this. One is by me (a quick, first order analysis), some are by Mark McM (very smart engineer. I think Science John will back that up.), and others are cut and pastes from Analytic Cycling. All agree very well, and all show that differences in acceleration are very, very small.

So why do lighter wheels feel faster? Well, there are several possibilities. The first is what I mentioned earlier, the difference in mass--and moment of inertia--between a heavy wheel w/ high moment of inertia and a lighter wheel with low moment of inertia, can be easily felt when tossing the bike back and forth. I suspect we interpret this change as "better acceleration." Another possibility is that the lighter wheelset might be laterally stiffer. Just as a tire "feels" faster when it's inflated to a high pressure and a frame might "feel" faster when it's much more stiff, wheels might "feel" faster when they're more laterally stiff. Human senses and interpretation of sensory input isn't necessarily accurate or capable of discretely identifying the source of a given input. Then of course, there's the unquantifiable psychological aspect to lighter wheels, a placebo type effect. If you think something is going to make you faster, then maybe you get stoked and pedal harder to make that assumption true.....

The one thing that is absolutely true is that Newtonian physics is a completely understood area of study. So what the equations tell us isn't a lie.
+1 again for Alienator. :) Well said. I train and race on a set of wheels that weigh 1700 grams and place aerodynamics and durability ahead of weight. Put another way, if someone offered me a free set of new Ksyrium ES's or a used set of Shimano WH-7701's I'd take the Shimano wheels in a heartbeat.

John Swanson
www.bikephysics.com
 

bobbyOCR

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ScienceIsCool said:
+1 again for Alienator. :) Well said. I train and race on a set of wheels that weigh 1700 grams and place aerodynamics and durability ahead of weight. Put another way, if someone offered me a free set of new Ksyrium ES's or a used set of Shimano WH-7701's I'd take the Shimano wheels in a heartbeat.

John Swanson
www.bikephysics.com
Shimano wheels. Why? I would take them over ksyriums (dreadful contraptions :p) but shmano wheels aren't stiff. I went up a 15% grade and the wheels flexed over 1.3cm side to side. (that is measured by brake release, they were completely released and still rubbed)


Also Alienator. I do see your logic now. And lateral stiffness is a major factor in the feeling of 'speed'.

I do have to ask, apart from a possible placebo effect, why is it that i gain 1-2km/h average speed for the same course in same conditions when i switch from R500s with GP4seasons and heavier tubes, to my DT Swiss wheels with Attack Force and supersonic tubes?

(aerolite spokes maybe)
 

alienator

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bobbyOCR said:
I do have to ask, apart from a possible placebo effect, why is it that i gain 1-2km/h average speed for the same course in same conditions when i switch from R500s with GP4seasons and heavier tubes, to my DT Swiss wheels with Attack Force and supersonic tubes?

(aerolite spokes maybe)

There could be a couple reasons. First would be differences in rolling resistance, but those differences would be only part of the difference. The Attack is a 22mm front vs. a 23mm front for the GP4000's, so there'd be a slight aero difference, there....very slight. Don't the DT wheels have aerolite spokes? If so, that could be a bit of the difference.

Still, the differences between those wheels isn't great. Keep in mind that even the best aero wheels only make a slight difference over a long TT...like 0.5mph (0.8 kph)....and that's only at a pretty good clip....like 22-25mph. My bet is still on the placebo effect. Even in highly gear dependent events, like motor racing, confidence in equipment and the placebo effect has a huge effect on actual performance.

Scott Russell--rather legendary in US and World Superbike circles--complained to Rob Muzzy during practice at Daytona about his bike's performance. He wanted to try one of those springs like those of a certain color that other riders--faster riders--were using. Muzzy, being the genius that he is, didn't change the spring in the rear suspension of Scott's superbike but instead spray painted it to look like the springs that Scott was referring to. What was the net result? Scott went a lot faster.
 

alienator

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Also, if you were getting 1.3cm of lateral movement out of the wheels, something was terribly wrong with them, like the tension was way off or a spoke was broken. I don't know of any properly built wheels that would give you 1.3cm of lateral movement.

When I was using Bontrager Race X Lites and the rear hub flange did as is expected for Bontrager rear hub flanges, i.e. it disintegrated, I don't think the rear wheel came out of true by 1.5 cm. It came out by a lot--so much that it would have been ridiculous looking to ride--but not by 1.5cm. Of course, my memory could be bad, too.

Of course, as everyone knows, Campy wheels would never give you 1.3cm of lateral movement. :D
 

bobbyOCR

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alienator said:
Also, if you were getting 1.3cm of lateral movement out of the wheels, something was terribly wrong with them, like the tension was way off or a spoke was broken. I don't know of any properly built wheels that would give you 1.3cm of lateral movement.

When I was using Bontrager Race X Lites and the rear hub flange did as is expected for Bontrager rear hub flanges, i.e. it disintegrated, I don't think the rear wheel came out of true by 1.5 cm. It came out by a lot--so much that it would have been ridiculous looking to ride--but not by 1.5cm. Of course, my memory could be bad, too.

Of course, as everyone knows, Campy wheels would never give you 1.3cm of lateral movement. :D
They have been replaced with R500s for training. It was funny, I checked all of the spokes the night before I rode, and they were all fine. I am not that heavy, coming in at a hair under 140lb, but on athe 15% grade, when I threm my bike from side to side, the wheels didn't follow. I thought it had something to do with the 16 spokes, nearly half that of my 28 spoke DT wheel (yes they are aerolite spokes, magical inventions)

And though campy wheels look great, unless I jump to Campy, no chance.
 

Bro Deal

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bobbyOCR said:
And though campy wheels look great, unless I jump to Campy, no chance.
Why? The Campy wheels with a campy freehub cost the same as the campy wheels with a Shimano freehub. When it comes to prebuilt wheels I think Campy's are the best quality you can buy.
 

alienator

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bobbyOCR said:
They have been replaced with R500s for training. It was funny, I checked all of the spokes the night before I rode, and they were all fine. I am not that heavy, coming in at a hair under 140lb, but on athe 15% grade, when I threm my bike from side to side, the wheels didn't follow. I thought it had something to do with the 16 spokes, nearly half that of my 28 spoke DT wheel (yes they are aerolite spokes, magical inventions)

And though campy wheels look great, unless I jump to Campy, no chance.

It sounds more like all the spokes are under-tensioned.

And you don't have to run Campy components to run Campy wheels. All Campy wheels can be purchased w/ Shimano freehubs. Campy did realize that some Shimano users weren't buying Campy wheels just because of the name, so they created Fulcrum so that they could get better penetration among Shimano users.
 

bobbyOCR

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I know you can get wheels like Zonda with a Shimano freehub. I don't want Campy wheels with a Shimano system. I have considered it, and if I was running Campy I would not run Shimano. Besides, I'm over prebuilt

The spokes were all checked by the LBS and they were all pretty evenly tensioned. Besides Sheldon Brown ran an article about wheel stiffness compared to spoke tension. He found that unless a spoke went completely slack, the stiffness of a wheel would not be greatly affected by the tension of a spoke.
 

alienator

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bobbyOCR said:
I know you can get wheels like Zonda with a Shimano freehub. I don't want Campy wheels with a Shimano system. I have considered it, and if I was running Campy I would not run Shimano. Besides, I'm over prebuilt

The spokes were all checked by the LBS and they were all pretty evenly tensioned. Besides Sheldon Brown ran an article about wheel stiffness compared to spoke tension. He found that unless a spoke went completely slack, the stiffness of a wheel would not be greatly affected by the tension of a spoke.

That's right about spokes going slack, but the tension needs to be high enough. The biggest problem with pre-built wheels is uneven tensions and tensions that are too low.
 

Phill P

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Neuvation are doing carbon clinchers in a few different sizes. They mostly use American made rims too (reynolds??)

If cost is an issue find out what sort of deal you can get from them.
 

alienator

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Phill P said:
Neuvation are doing carbon clinchers in a few different sizes. They mostly use American made rims too (reynolds??)

If cost is an issue find out what sort of deal you can get from them.

According to the Neuvation web site, the C50 CF rims are made in China.....dunno by who. The other CF rims are US made, but the rim dimensions don't match Reynolds stuff. I'd guess that the rims are non-dimpled Zipps.

Reynolds, unlike Zipp, doesn't generally sell their wheels to other manufacturers to be built into wheelsets under another name. The do sell one or two types of rims to Tune, in Germany. Reynolds likes to have tight control of what happens with their rims. In fact, up until at least last month, there was only one custom wheelbuilder allowed to buy rims directly from Reynolds (The Wheelbuilder, I think he's called.).

I reserve the right to be wrong about who's providing said rims for Neuvation.