Tell me the truth about wheel upgrades....

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by campbellj, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. campbellj

    campbellj New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, so I am still considering myself a beginner to cycling. I got my new shiny bike now(second bike) and can't get the thought out of my head of upgrading my wheelset due to all the hype I read and see on here/tv/magazines ect...

    My old bike had Zipps on it, but that was my first road bike, and now that I am riding something without Zipps I feel "less cool" haha, I go to the Wed night crits close to home and everyone has the carbon on their bikes, fast, slow, not finishing, doesn't matter they all have carbon. The wheels on my new bike are Fulcrum Racing 6, the website only shows 5 and 7, I am sure since my bike is a 2011 the wheels are probably 7 re stickered as a 6 just for specialized.

    I cruise at 18-20mph, can sprint up to 29-31 but get winded fairly quickly from being out of shape. I live in South Florida, have no hills to climb, besides the random bridges over hwys or the inter coastal waters, but wind is a definite factor. Cross winds down by the beach can be brutal at times, I nearly got blown off the road several times riding my 404's. I know for a fact, due to the shape I am in, there would only be a 1-5% increase in performance if I upgraded wheels. Honestly it's more for the "bling" factor. I would like to think, I would turn out being a lot faster with new wheels, but reality is, probably not, but they would look good, be all bling and no sting.

    With that being said, Is it really worth it for me? I really like the look of deep section carbon wheels, but with wind here, and my weight 125, I am very easily blown around. Then I think about a lightweight clincher, I have really been eyeballing Easton EA90 SLX, Mavic Ksyrium SL, or Fulcrum Racing Zero, all of which have shallow aluminum rims, eliminate the wind issue, but are not really that aero, but does it matter? My bike weighs 17.5 lbs, so I feel that I might save 1-1.5lbs with new wheels/tires/tubes, but again that won't make me faster, because there is nothing to climb here, and I already have shallow aluminum rims, so would those really be an upgrade? Besides the weight difference? My bike came with these awful white tires, already turned brownish black , very nasty looking. I hate these tires, I know I want new tires.

    I also considered just upgrading the hubs in the wheels I have now, to ones with ceramic bearings, to roll better, and maybe throwing in a colored spoke or two for a splash of color on the wheels, any thoughts on this? Or I could just get some new tires, maybe a new jersey so I have more to wear and wash less, maybe a few bike tools, some essential stuff and quit obsessing with wanting what everyone else has, shiny new wheels! Custom builders? Argggg the list goes on.

    Sorry for the long post, just looking for some opinions, I'm sure some of you has went through this already.
     
    Tags:


  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    FWIW. I haven't used them, but I know that HOPE hubs come in various colors -- RED hubs (as an example) are currently fashionable, I think.

    Because of the crosswinds you have to deal with, I think you should really consider the lowest profile rim you can find unless you are a glutton for punishment ... so, think about some some vintage AMBROSIO tubular rims from 20+ years ago laced to some HOPE hubs. Okay, the time it took to read the previous sentence is probably enough time thinking about that combination!

    There are OTHER hub/rim combinations ...

    Chris King hubs come in various colors, too, but I wouldn't recommend them because their unnecessarily complex Freehub mechanism is NOISY when freewheeling (i.e., when YOU are coasting).
     
  3. campbellj

    campbellj New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    So you recommend going custom? I have been considering that also. If I did I would want low spoke count rims, with the big fat bladed spokes, like fulcrum and mavic uses. Any recommendations on custom builders to check out? Do you really think just having great hubs would make that much difference for me? I kind of like noisy hubs, my Zipps were very noisy so it grew on me.
     
  4. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    Hubs won't really make a difference in performance. As long as the bearings are OK and adjusted correctly, every hub essentially rolls like every other. Besides, the losses in the hub bearings and seals are very small compared to the rolling resistance of the tires. Great hubs have good bearings and seals, strong axles and hub flanges, offer easy maintenance and may last longer than cheap hubs.

    Pretty much the same applies to wheels. If you care about saving 5 watts @ 25 mph and up, or count seconds in a TT, then deep rims would make sense. But as you noted, not great for crosswind days at all.

    I like EA 90's a lot; these would be my first choice for an all-round performance wheel. Custom can be a great choice, but my opinion is that Easton's twin-threaded spoke design and build quality makes for a wheel that stays true a long time.
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    Yes, with regard to having custom wheels laced up.

    I guess that if I had to have someone else (other than myself) build a truly custom pair of wheels (vs. wheels from a place like COLORADO CYCLIST), then (FWIW) I would probably have Peter White of PETER WHITE CYCLES build the wheels. I'm not sure he would build a low spoke count wheel with fat bladed spokes for you, however.

    BTW. I do think that "great hubs" could/would make a difference ... I recommend DT 240 hubs if you have deep pockets ... otherwise, I would stick with Shimano or Campagnolo hubs ... and, Formula hubs seem good(-enough), too, if you are on a budget & if you are lacing/etc. the wheels, yourself.

    There are OTHER hub brands which are very good, too, of course.
     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    I would have agreed on this point before I was able to directly compare some DT/(Hugi) 240 hubs with some Shimano (loose bearing) hubs ...

    I think that you will find that DT 240 hubs actually do have less rolling resistance.

    There may be other hubs with equally good cartridge bearings as the 'standard' cartridge bearings which DT uses (vs. their ceramic cartridge bearings).

    Now, whether or not it matters to the average rider ... I would guess not.
     
  7. campbellj

    campbellj New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am really considering the eastons, I have been finding what seems to be really good prices on them, they claim to be under 1400 grams, which I highly doubt, but they seem to be something I would really like. The mavic's though on the other hand, is what my LBS is pushing me to get. I put one of the front wheels on my bike just to see what it looked like, and it really looked sweet, but it would be nice to get a set to take for a 20-30 mile ride just to see if I can tell a difference. I can probably do that with the mavics, but will have a hard time finding a set of eastons to ride first.

    What if I just bought a set of 240 hubs, and different spokes/nipples for the wheels I already got? Would that be a crazy idea? I have laced several wheels a couple years ago changing hubs on my mtn bike, I just had to take them to a bike shop for a final truing because I suck at that part.
     
  8. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,680
    Likes Received:
    377
    The Easton 90SLX got good reviews, and at your weight the rims shouldn't have any problem at all, heavier riders in the 185 pound and above class reported that they felt flexy and/or had spokes break; but those should have gotten the SL's that have more spokes, but you know the old story...got to get the lightest wheels.
     
  9. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3,517
    Likes Received:
    46
    Regardless of elevation gain or not, your best bang-for-the-buck upgrade is without a doubt - good tires. Drop some decent coinage ($35-50/tire) on a set of low rolling resistance, high performance tires and you definitely feel the difference everywhere - flats, hills, etc - and at all speeds...color coordinate them with your bike for some bling factor...bad tires will slow down the best wheels, while good tires can make bad wheels feel faster...

    Because the pavement is quite good around here, I roll on 700x20s (Maxxis Xenith Hors Cat.) at 130psi and there is a discernable performance advantage over 23s...ymmv...
     
  10. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,680
    Likes Received:
    377
    I'm not sure if I agree with much of what you've said. I guess if you have perfect, smooth concrete roads then 20's are a good tire, but where is there perfect concrete? No where, sure you may have 10 foot sections that could be but not 10 mile sections or even less. So if your like most towns and cities 20's are too narrow and 23's being the fastest rolling for most surfaces; in fact I would venture to say that 25 or 26 would be even better for rough urban streets.

    Tires being the best bang for the buck? Really? at $50 a tire for the better lighter tires, with an average of 2,000 miles a tire vs an average life expectancy of a rim to last 40,000 miles, that's 80 tires, 80 times $50=$4,000 in tires...at least! Then add into that that most tires weigh 235 grams on the average with the $50 ones dropping down into the 210 range, but those are considered racing tires and only last 1000 miles and cost quite a bit more then what I figured, but going to a $35 tire cost you in weight maybe 20grms but over 80 tires it would save you $1,200.

    Now instead spend a little extra money get a lighter rim that can save 200grams a wheel-400grms for the pair and strap on cheaper tires and you save more in weight with the lighter more expensive rims and heavier cheaper tires.

    Wow, if I didn't confuse you I don't know who would of!
     
  11. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3,517
    Likes Received:
    46
    It's not even worth my time to debate the merits of 20s versus 23s with you as you don't race and I do. Subjective feel during actual races keeps me on the 20s.

    And no, I don't live in an asphalt jungle. As such, the roads are very good (20s never require "perfect" road surfaces as you incorrectly assume) as I presume the OPs are being that S. Florida roads don't encounter pothole causing frost heave during the winter.

    Your math is wacked - too much assumption, generalization, and basic b/s. Tires are "the best bang for the buck" when considering cheap speed, especially versus lighter wheels. I stand on my comment that cheap tires will make even the most costly and aero wheels feels slow, and vice versa.

    Have you even read any of the threads concerning loss of weight to the entire bicycle system (bike + rider) and the negligible effect on speed on the flats??? Apparently not. The OP stated most clearly that he lives in an altitude challenged area ("no hills to climb"). A pound of weight loss, be it from the bike or rider, is not significant when riding on the flat - period. So losing a pound of weight with a new wheelset is essentially money wasted from a performance standpoint.

    Aren't you the one that said Cavendish could possibly win the TdF at some point??? You were also confused with my comment about the master of sarcasm on another thread.

    Not meaning to offend, but my contribution to this dialogue ends here.
     
  12. campbellj

    campbellj New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't quit the post, no one is arguing, you all just have different opinions, that's what forums is about. I appreciate everyone's input.

    I have a friend at work that swears up and down that if I would throw good tires on my bike, he likes pro race 3's, but just good rubber in general that I will gain speed. I have neglected to believe it over and over, but now that I got a bike that needs better tires, I hear it over and over. Tires was one thing I definitely wanted to upgrade anyways because white bike came with white tires which are brown/black now, and I hate my tires. So new tires are next.

    Living in South Florida, we generally have smooth roads, especially where I get the majority of my miles in, right on the coast line. Getting there can have a few rough spots in the roads here and there, but over all I am pleased with how smooth the roads are. I have lived in KY which had horrible roads from the winter, and lived in Houston forever and I won't even start on how bad they are, but here they are fairly good. Again, we have no hills, but wind is the main enemy.

    Like I said before, I know saving a pound on new wheels won't make any difference to me because I have no hills to climb, I guess I wonder more if having better hubs that come with better wheels will make the difference though. ie. maybe not roll faster, but be able to maintain speed better from less friction?
     
  13. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,111
    Likes Received:
    4
    DT hubs, Kinlin 30mm rims, DT aerolights. 28 2 cross rear and 24 2 cross front. Forget about ceramic, they do nothing but empty your wallet.

    About $900
     
  14. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    'Yes', that would work regardless of what hubs you may want to replace your current hubs with; so, 'no', it isn't a crazy idea, IMO.

    While some people may think that it isn't a good idea to re-use components, I think that unless you have trashed your current rims OR unless your wheels have more than 15,000 miles on them (as an arbitrary distance), there is no reason you can't re-use the rims & spokes.

    Whether or not you can re-use any-or-all of the nipples depends on their condition.
     
  15. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,680
    Likes Received:
    377
    Actually your right,!!!! I was just having a little fun.

    But I picked Cavendish as my first choice to win, my second choice was Contador which you can review in the "Hey Lance" post.

    Not meaning to offend but obviously my 2nd choice won, what did your choices do?
     
  16. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    Race tires are faster because they offer reduced rolling resistance, not because they are lighter. Test reports I've seen say you can save several watts per tire due to rolling resistance, plus about one more watt per tire if you use latex tubes. Race tires save energy by using thinner tread and casing plys, which of course means they tend to have less puncture protection and will wear out quicker than "training tires".

    One euro magazine does testing on the Conti steel drum IIRC, another
    report I saw online tested tires on rollers, using a Powertap or SRM to measure power required to maintain a given speed. However, believe each of these methods tends to exaggerate differences in the tires because real-world roads have rough textures, and rollers cause more flexing in the tires.

    Vittoria Open Corsa CX are the fastest tires I've used, with a great ride and grip, but I had problems with cuts, and wear life was poor. Lots of choices out there. Saving a few watts doesn't mean much to a non-racer like me, particularly not if you have to stop during a century ride to fix a flat.

    As mentioned before, believe differences in tire rolling resistance are much greater than any difference in hubs; hub losses are virtually negligible. Not that I'd mind a set of DT240 hubs of course....my low-end Easton Circuit hubs have no axle seals to keep moisture and grit out of the cartridge bearings, and no means of preload adjustment.
     
  17. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,680
    Likes Received:
    377
    I agree that hub loss or gain is not very important, of the 3: hub, rim and tires I would say hub is an obvious 3rd place loser.

    But it becomes more tricker with rim and tires. But no matter if your air pressure is wrong. Too much pressure will actually increase resistance and too little does the same, so you have to find the right balance.

    So to find the "right" balance one needs to have each wheel of their bike weighed with the person on the bike, thus you'll need two people, another to hold the bike. Next you get a scale.

    Then place the bike's front tire on the scale and the rear on something that will bring the bike to level. Then with someone holding the bike you set on your bike with hands on the hoods. Then note your weight, then do the same with the rear and note it's weight. Now you factor your front to rear weight distribution percentage which usually averages 15% more on the rear then the front. What this number does for you is tells you that you need 15% less pressure on the front then the rear.

    Now you take the weight reading you got from each tire and add them together. Tire inflation for 15% wheel drop in relation to wheel load and actual tire width. For example: Rider and bike weight: 100 kg. Weight distribution: 45%/55% so you need to calculate the percentage into the rider bike weight. Thus in this example wheel loads: 100pounds/121pounds. Tire pressures for 20 mm tires: 125 psi/155 psi. Tire pressures for 37 mm tires: 45 psi/53 psi. For heavy riders/bikes, narrow tires require very high inflation pressures, and wide tires are a better choice for heavier riders. Thus 23mm tire the best pressure would be 96frt/118rr. If your anal this will be important for you!!! I always put 90psi in the front and 95 in the rear with 23mm which I stumbled upon accidently that felt right.

    Tire pressure has only a small effect on the rolling resistance of most tires though. Narrow 23-mm tires seem to roll fastest at pressures of 105 psi (7.2 bar) or more with a 200 pound rider. However, running these tires at 85 psi (5.8 bar) for improved comfort increased the test times only 2%. Wider 28-mm tires are as fast at 85 psi as they are at higher pressures.

    Tire construction is important too. Many longtime riders believe tires with a cotton casing are faster than modern casings made from nylon. Testing seems to confirm this. The best-performing tire in various tests were the Deda Tre Giro d’Italia 700×23C (actual width 24.5 mm), has a cotton casing! Then add into that latex tubes and they became even faster. But cotton casings are very fragile for the road.

    Perhaps the most thing is that tire pressure does not significantly affect rolling resistance, like I said before maybe 2%. Wide tires in particular do not need high pressures to roll fast. But because many current wide tires are designed to handle high pressure, they have strong casings that lack suppleness. This results in higher rolling resistance than necessary. For most cyclists, wide, supple tires at low pressures offer more speed, better comfort, increased versatility and improved safety, but more flats and damage to sidewalls than today’s narrow high-pressure tires with their kevlar belts. However, this type of wide, fast tire currently is not available. Hopefully someday manufacturers will produce them, but they seem to be stuck in yesteryear.

    The other odd thing is that a tread design of any kind is completely useless and degrades rolling resistance because with a smooth tread its rubber does not deform into tread voids. Hydroplaning is not an issue with skinny bicycle tires because it's round shape is idea for water.

    So in reality a 23 or 24mm tire will roll just as easily as a 19 or 20, and as an added bonus your less likely to flat with a wider tire. So why do racers use 19 and 20mm tires then? Aerodynamics! Over a long race the 19's and 20's will be a tad faster because it's slicing into the wind better then a wider tire and will be tad faster even though the wider tire will have less rolling resistance.

    There are rolling tire comparisons but most of the one's I've seen are done by a certain manufacture of a brand of tire so they can toot their tire horns, so I'm not so sure I would trust those tests.

    There are some studies done by others to use the max rated tire inflation pressure for the least rolling resistance which shoots to hell everything I've said!

    Various studies will agree and disagree with what I've said. So it's like the global warming debate, you study it and pick a side you think is right...but maybe neither side is right!
     
  18. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    0
    This thread went off on a tangent about tires, but the OP asked about the usefulness of wheel upgrades.

    Aero tests show that the difference between the best aero wheels (ie, Zipp 808) and worst-performing wheels aerodynamically (ie, Mavic R Sys) is about 13-15 watts @ 50 kph. That equates roughly to a 0.5 kph difference in speed. Whether or not that is "worth it" is *completely up to you*. Smaller differences in wheel depth and shape will obviously have smaller differences. One thing that I can say for certain is that this difference is pretty much undetectable to human perception.

    Having said that though, I'll gladly take that advantage in a TT, for example, as it could make the difference between getting on the podium or not.

    For a non-racer is it necessary? Again, only you can answer that question;)
     
  19. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    3,517
    Likes Received:
    46
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the OP mention wanting new tires in their original post? I also recall the OP mentioning something about looking for some opinions - I could be wrong again on that account...
     
  20. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    0
    My mistake. I should have added "as well" after my first comment.
     
Loading...
Loading...