The Plushest ROAD Wheel (700c)?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by EatingPie, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. EatingPie

    EatingPie New Member

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    Hi.

    Building a new bike, with plush / smooth riding in mind. I have a Carbon Frame, Carbon Fork, Paris Roubaix Handlebars, Carbon Aero... Now it's time for wheels.

    I have tried two wheels...

    Mavic CXP 33 (or so) - My current bike wheels, 12 years old. They're aluminum with steel spokes (lotsa steel spokes!). They actually ride very nicely on what I'd call small-to-medium road bumps. The kind I go over a lot on my normal ride. They do NOT do well on roads that have tons of vibrations.

    Spinergy Stealth Carbon - Aluminum rim, carbon Aero (50mm or so), PBO (kevlar? based spoke). Tried for an hour. First on flat (not bumpy) but roughly laid asphault. They sucked up the vibrations like mad... Felt like I was on a cloud! Got out on my usual ride and could feel the typical bumps much more readily. And the anything above a small hit (pot hole) was increased by the carbon aero's stiffness. There's no doubt in my mind that the PBO spokes work (even if Spinergy has a bad rep) on vibrations, but not sure on typical road surface.

    What I am looking for is something that gives the smoothest ride. I don't care about stiffness at all. And weight isn't a big issue for me (light is great, but I wouldn't sacrifice smoothness for it). Health is key, and I want a very smooth/comfortable ride.

    I would like 700c, Clincher suggestions, as I'm a road rider and expect flats. Nothing wacky (like retrofitting a mountain wheel or something).

    I also know about tire width and air pressure as major factors. But everything adds up, and as I said the Spinergy Stealths were noticably smoother on vibrations... Same bike, same wheels (23c), same air pressure (100 psi).

    I'm gonna try Bontrager Race X Lites on Wednesday.

    What do people recommend for a plush wheel... or even discussion on the metrics that make up a plush wheel.

    Thanks.

    -Pie
     
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  2. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    Most flexible (Aerospoke plastic wheel): 5.23mm deflection + the fattest tires you can fit.
     
  3. EatingPie

    EatingPie New Member

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    Thanks! I found the site containing the metrics:

    <http://http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/wheel/data.htm>

    Unfortunately, they are measuring *lateral* (sideways) stiffness. This is not road impact deflection (ie bump absorbtion)!

    So, unfortunately, it looks like this doesn't apply.

    -Pie
     
  4. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    In terms of reducing road vibration, the best wheels I've ridden to date were Zipp 404's. Velvet smooth, and fast as a thief. A bit pricey, though...
     
  5. ritcho

    ritcho New Member

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    Unfortunately, wheels don't deflect noticeably in the vertical direction. Tyres do the job of absorbing bumps, not the rims. Fat tyres with enough pressure to avoid pinch flats will give you the plush ride that you're looking for.

    Ritch
     
  6. 1435lb

    1435lb New Member

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    hi,

    i have the spinergy wheels with the pbo spokes and they do absorb a lot of the road vibrations. they are very comfortable to ride on and still pretty stiff and fast. good on climbs and solid on fast descents. they also look pretty cool, no one else has them and if you commute cars can see you better with them because of the white spokes at least thats what i told my wife when i bought them.
    :)
     
  7. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    I have a set of Shimano W540's on my plush bike. Their aero design ends up giving them a fair amount of flex. They probably are not a good choice for a heavier rider though. And in aggressive cornering they definitely give a bit, so I will admit that I wanted to get away from them on my fast bike. But in terms of ride comfort, they are psychotically forgiving, even on the really rough county farm and lake roads in my neck of the woods.

    I also have the Bontrager Race X Lites on my fast bike and have nothing bad to say about them either. They corner a lot better at speed are still pretty forgiving. If you aren't wanting to spend a lot of money on a plush ride, you might see if your LBS would let you try out the 540's.

    Hope this helps. ;)
     
  8. EatingPie

    EatingPie New Member

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    Empirical Testing shows that wheels DO indeed deflect in the vertical direction!

    <http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/wheel/grignon.htm>

    A bit out of date, but he shows the radical difference in force needed to deflect different wheels... the Speciallized Tri-Spoke scored the best (plushest), but AFAIK are no longer available.

    -Pie
     
  9. mrowkoob

    mrowkoob New Member

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    Actually a wheel with more spokes is a more shock absorbing wheel than a a wheel with less spokes. Not to be confused with the fact that it is also stiffer than a lesser spoked wheel (stiffer in lateral stiffness and softer in cushioning effect) a wheel with few spokes in in aluminium or steel or even carbon for that matter can/will still transfer more direct hits to you compared to a classic 32 spoke wheel because it´s primarily the spokes that dampens the bumpy road.

    Another thing is what tire you use. The bigger the diameter the plusher the ride. Most pros use 19-21 mm tubulars. Most recreational riders use 23 mm tires, most race frames can accept up to 27 mm tires, try a pair of 25 mm´s for starters. Combine it with a handbuilt wheel with 32 spokes laced in a three cross and you´ll have a great comfort wheel.
     
  10. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    There's a lot more to it than just the number of spokes. Lacing pattern has a much bigger effect. If you lace a 32 spoke wheel radially it will transfer just as much shock as a 20 spoke wheel. Radially laced wheels are also a lot stiffer laterally for the same number of spokes than cross laced wheels.
     
  11. mrowkoob

    mrowkoob New Member

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    I did write 3 cross lace. But no a radial setup is not laterally stiffer. It´s only benefit is that some think it looks better. And it has a huge downside because as you wrote it transfers more shock and thus puts more strain on your hubs and causes hubs to fail more easily than 3 laced or drive side laced wheels.
     
  12. EatingPie

    EatingPie New Member

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    Interesting... Logically, I would think less spokes means more radial deflection (within spoke gaps anyway). Can you expound on the reasons behind this effect?

    I did have one LBS tell me exactly what you're saying. Then I had another LBS (who I trust a bit more due to his experience level) tell me the complete opposite -- less spokes means plusher. You can see why I need more explanation!

    -Pie
     
  13. EatingPie

    EatingPie New Member

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    My LBS is pushing the Bontrager Race X Lites, which I plan to try on Wednesday. Are these noticably less plush than the Shimanos W-540s? And can you expound a bit on the difference in feel?

    Thanks!

    -Pie
     
  14. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    I won't get into a long winded discussion of the mechanics of load transfer in spoked wheels. What I will say is that I've had wheels with the same hubs, rims, and spokes built both 3 cross and radially. The radial wheels are much stiffer laterally. All the talk of hub flange failure is subjective. I've never had a problem with any of mine.
    Back to the original question, about the plushest you can get is a low profile 32 hole rim laced 3 cross with butted spokes.
     
  15. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    Hmmm...let me go home for a quick test ride to confirm my suspected findings. :D

    Short of mounting the Bontragers on my plush, I can't make a really genuine comparison. My race bike has a more aggressive feel all the way around than my plush, so it rides differently and more aggressively. Having said that though, one of the first things that I did notice is that I feel a whole lot less flex on the Race X Lites than on the 540's. The 540's don't flex to the point of rubbing the brake pads in a high speed turn or anything, but you can absolutely feel them flex when you corner. At top speed, you can hear their ptich change as they flex through a corner. I can still get the Race X Lites to flex a bit when cornering, but I really have to push a bunch of speed into a fairly aggressive turn or traffic circle slalom. They just feel like a stiffer rim, which makes sense when you take into account the build differences between them and the 540's.

    In terms of hitting stuff in the road, the same can be said. Riding over a pavement transition, asphalt gully or chug hole on the 540's is really pretty smooth. I rarely get that jolt coming up through my wrists and rattling my lower jaw. If I do, I know that I have just come over something big or deep enough that I probably should have seen it coming and avoided it all together. That kind of forgiveness on the 540's has saved me a bunch of pinch flats too. On the Bontragers, I don't get anything like a teeth rattling, but I do notice more transmission of the road imperfections in terms of thumps and bumps up through my wrists and arms. It's not a huge difference, like if you were comparing the 540's to one of the completely bombproof rims, but it is definitely less forgiving. The trade off though is that the improved road feel and cornering ability of the Race X Lites has been perfect for what I was expecting from my fast bike.

    So, I guess a lot of this comes down to how you are going to be treating your plush bike. If you want it to perform without too much tradeoff to a race bike, I would go with the Race X Lites. If you want to maintain and savor your plush ride characteristics, the 540's may be the better choice. That is definitely the way that it has worked out for me. Both wheelsets have been really dependable, and have been good for me in terms of staying true.

    Hope this helps. ;)
     
  16. EatingPie

    EatingPie New Member

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    I'm still missing something here...

    Why is more spokes better? I would expect less spokes to give a smoother ride, as the gaps allow rim flex.

    On the question of low profile, that makes sense, but there are serious advantages to aero rims. So let me expand the question a bit...

    What would be more plush... An aluminum 24mm aero rim, or something with carbon, like the Zipp 404 or Spinergy Stealth... clocking in somewhere around 50mm or (I believe)? Carbon is supposed to be more forgiving, and Zipp actually claims "10% smoother ride over a standard rim."

    -Pie
     
  17. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    The gaps would only allow more flex if manufacturers took the same rim and just drilled fewer hole in it. But the fewer spokes you have, the more stress there is in the rim where each spoke connects to it. Consequently the walls of the rim have to be thicker.
     
  18. EatingPie

    EatingPie New Member

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    Given the info, I now have a more specific question.

    I'm interested in a Mavic Open Pro or a Mavic CXP33. Anyone know if one is more decidedly plusher than the other (assuming same spokes/hub)?

    Thanks.

    -Pie
     
  19. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    The Open Pro is going to be a little bit more flexible because of its lower profile.
     
  20. EatingPie

    EatingPie New Member

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    My suspicion as well, though I was hoping for somebody with experience to back this up.

    Now let me throw another wheel out (not sure how I missed it in my first round of testing):

    Topolino Revelation C19

    These *sound* good, but I'm wondering if anyone has experience with them.

    Thanks.

    -Pie
     
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