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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:53 pm 
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Posts: 334
NovemberDave wrote:
You have obviously spent some time reading about rim design which is commendable, but there is much more than what you've posted. One of the most important lessons in rim designs and aerodynamics in general is that what very highly trained people think 'ought' to work often doesn't. This is why guesses and opinions about what is faster than something else don't work. Until you test, you don't know. It's that simple.

Dave


@novemberdave - I would like the opportunity to commend you and your company for what you've created. It's refreshing to see this in a segment of the market where asking $3000 for a wheelset seems to be completely reasonable (as much as I disagree). Nevertheless, I would like you to defend your wheels at your price point as they compare to the Chinese manufacturers we are discussing. Most wheelsets posted in this thread are maxing out at $750, which would include sapim spokes, a ceramic hub upgrade, and shipping. Your wheelset (if I remember correctly) is $1285. Could you offer some rebutles in its defense?

Of course, this is not intended to be contentious on any level. Rather, an opportunity for those of us budget oriented recreational cyclist the avenue to make an educated decision.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:01 pm 
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Keep in mind that Zipp doesn't have to prove anything to anybody. When they release a product they generally compare it to themselves in a previous generation. They are the top dog and its up to everyone else to try and prove they are better.

The Firecrest wheel is the only one that uses a true Virtual Airfoil design on the trailing edge of the wheel. Everyone else is still using a hybrid and trying to catch up to the pre-firecrest Zipp wheels. Zipp is on to something new.

November - I like your wheel! I really do and I'd have no issue purchasing your design. It looks great, it make aero sense, and its a good price as well compared to some of your competition. Problem is I can get the 303 copy for still half the cost of your design and honestly I don't think yours will perform any better. Even if its a marginal increase in performance its not worth double the cost to me. Also, you said it yourself...Zipp 404 is the top dog and your wheel performs close to it. You have a good product I think and if you market it right you will do well. It looks great too. Secondly my build is going to come out around 1350-1375 grams, way lighter than your product.

The 40mm Bontrager wheel just doesn't make any sense at all to me. The shape doesn't make sense, the profile, nothing. It isn't a NACA profile, it isn't a Kamtail, it isn't a virtual airfoil. The literature they produce is comparing it to the previous generation 303 and its only marginally better (according to the Bontrager test). They indicate how the Zipp is blunt at the nose vs the Bontrager being more narrow. Thats the whole point! That's exactly what makes the Firecrest a virtual airfoil! The Bontrager design is a partial airfoil because of this, consider it almost like a fairing that smoothes airflow a bit rather than an airfoil. The 303 Firecrest will easily outperform this shape in my opinion.

I do have a pretty good understanding of aerodynamics because I have been building and flying R/C airplanes most my life. You learn a lot about aerodynamics this way. The different airfoil shapes of an airplanes wing influences how the plane will perform and its flight characteristics.

The only way to know for sure is for somebody to do an independent test. I'd put my money on Zipp and the true virtual airfoil shape they are using.

Also keep in mind we are really in kind of a 'my dad can beat up your dad' kind of discussion. The Bontrager/Dengfu will be a nice wheel and the Zipp/Light-Bicycle design will be nice as well. If you like it, then buy it. At most we will see a .5% increase in our performance one or the other. Your legs are the key to going faster.


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Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:01 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:23 pm 
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Posts: 271
I'll share my reasoning for buying the November Rails:

1) Actual wind tunnel data / testing. I'm of the opinion that slight differences in shape can make big differences in aerodynamics.

2) Excellent build quality. My rails are spot on true and round. I'm wagering the QC is going to be a lot better at November. They contend that they stand behind their product. Online reviews seem to corroborate that. I've got no brake rub, nor frame rub.

3) A build leaning towards rideability/durability over light weight at all costs. I run on the heavy side for a cyclist (170lbs), and have had wheels fail due to both broken spokes and from the nipples pulling through the rim.

4) Wide rim bed for the clinchers. 23mm tires set up at 25mm wide on these. good comfort, cornering, etc.

5) The website/blog. I liked reading about the design philosophy, and the testing methodology. I think that there's a niche for November in the marketplace, and like supporting companies that are straight forward in their design/marketing goals.

If I were a bit lighter and less hard on wheels I might have gone with one of the U shaped chinese knockoffs...but to me, the Novembers check the boxes of what I wanted in an aero wheelset: lightish, durable, and documented performance.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:48 pm 
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November is going to have to target those that don't know about the Chinese direct wheels to be successful. IMO

As far as quality control.....why do we in the west just naturally assume a Chinese company is going to have inferior quality control than a western company? It almost borders on a prejudice. Nobody knows why but somehow its just naturally not as good if its from a Chinese company. Why? Are the people that run the Chinese companies somehow inferior or crooked?

On a separate note.....I just ate the best Mango of all time. That thing was making my house smell so good and it beckoned to me to dig in. It was a tasty treat. Srry, but it was good!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:26 pm 
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I am just about to order a light-bicycle 45 mm u-shape wheelset. Did anyone try them yet?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:54 pm 
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sspring wrote:
As far as quality control.....why do we in the west just naturally assume a Chinese company is going to have inferior quality control than a western company? It almost borders on a prejudice. Nobody knows why but somehow its just naturally not as good if its from a Chinese company. Why? Are the people that run the Chinese companies somehow inferior or crooked?


I've had both good and bad experiences from ordering direct. It really depends on the company. Regardless of their nationality.

If there's a long shipping time, and a large shipping cost to return items for repair, there's a significant deterrent to returning an item to be fixed if its good enough. This can be compounded by talking to a company in its non-native language. If your communication is frustrating while trying to get an order placed, do you think it'll get better without the financial incentive of a sale? Legal recourse gets a bit more difficult multi-nationally as well.

My point was more that a small company that prides itself on build quality is going to generally have better quality control than a larger corporation, regardless of location or nationality, especially when that company is launching a new wheelset without much advertising. If they have bad quality, there's no way they will be able to compete.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:38 pm 
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sspring wrote:
I will update on the quality and ride as soon as I get them going. Meanwhile she sent me some new photos of a built wheelset. Looks to be really nice no? Tire bed looks very nicely done. Hope they ride as good as they look.


Who is the contact at Light-Bicycle, and what is the email address?

Also, was there any discussion of offering different depths with the same profile? A 60-70mm option would be very very tempting.

Lastly, how did your wheels turn out? Have you put enough kms on them yet for a rider report? And what about some bike porn?

Cheers!!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:50 pm 
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tharmor,
I don't have them up and running but plan to give you guys a full report. It might be a couple weeks till I can get everything built.

So far they don't have any other depths in this particular profile but the way my luck is they will probably show up a couple weeks after I get the wheels up and running. They do offer all the other rims all these other Chinese Carbon Trading companies offer as well. 50mmx25mm, 80mm, 38mm, etc. Not the Dengfu.

I am curious about the aerodynamic performance of say the 404 FC vs the 303 FC. The Firecrest wheels use a virtual airfoil design to create the low drag numbers. That being the case I would not be surprised to see the gap between the 404 and 303 is a lot closer than it has been in the past. Length of the airfoil doesn't matter as much when you are essentially cutting the tail off the airfoil anyway.......which you have to do due to the tire.

Anyone seen such a comparison of the 404 FC vs the 303 FC?

BTW...I am not a Zipp guy till just recently. I have 3 Hed wheelsets in my garage.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:09 pm
Posts: 697
Alright, so got my wheels back from the builder finally due to the Alchemy ELF hubs not being available for over a month.

Build info:

HongFu 40mm Wide/Aero Clincher

F: 20 hole, 473g
R: 24 hole, 468g

Build:

Front Hub: Alchemy ELF: 66.45g
Sapim CXRay: 87.2g
Alloy Nipple: 6.2g

Front: 633g


Rear Hub: Alchemy ORC UL 192g
Sapim CXRays: 105g
Alloy Nipple: 7.5g

Rear: 772g

Total: 1405g


Setup: Mounted some new Conti GP4000S with Conti Race tubes. Went on real easy with not much fuss at all near the end, just used 1 tire lever and popped the tire over.

Red 5mm Velo Plugs installed prior to mounting tires.

95psi Front, 105psi Rear pressure.


Wheels were built very well. During pumping them up and first ride, no popping, creaking or wacky noises I've experiences on some new built carbon wheels. Hubs are smooth, free hub is fairly quiet compared to my Zipp 303 FC tubies.

One thing to note, the Alchemy UL 11sp hub came with a 2mm spacer. I run Shimano 10sp Ultegra 6700 and DuraAce rear cassettes on my wheels. The instructions said to put the 2mm spacer on if running 10spd. But, after tightening, I could tell something wasn't going right. The cassette cogs still had play in them and were rattling. So took it back off, added another 1mm spacer, for 3mm total.

Then put the cassette on again and tighten it up to 40nm. All was fine after that. So not sure, going to email the builder about that one. Seems like it needs 3mm spacers, the 1mm that comes with the cassette, and the 2mm that the hub comes with. That is what I normally run anyway, 2mm on my Zipps, 1mm on my other 50mm deep V carbon wheels.

Curious if anybody else has other experiences with that. Seems to me that 3-4mm is needed for adaption to the 11sp hub when running 10spd cassettes/setups. Right side chain clearance was fine no chance of rubbing the frame/drop either, or spokes when on the biggest cog. Just had to adjust the rear derailleur just a touch. Shifting great, very quiet. Impressed with the build and overall quality and setup.

General impressions, they ride very similar to my Zipp 303 FC Tubulars. The Zipps are running Vittoria Corsa CX 320tpi tires. I would say the Vittoria's provide a slightly smoother ride due to the tubular tire design. Otherwise, they behave nearly identically.

My Zipps since day one make a creaking sound when pedaling, due to the spoke tension and radial DS setup I would assume. Me thinks the NDS spokes are rubbing one another on the cross setup on that side which makes the noise?!?! Don't know, but makes you wonder about how solid the Zipps are with DS Radial setup and Cross on the NDS. Not inspiring compared to these new wheels which were built dead straight, no high spots/no wobbles, just right on. There is no pulsing on the brakes. I run Swisstop Prince pads.

Ride over bumps, nice and no jolts, like the Zipp FC. The wide/toroidal shape definitely takes the sting out of bumps due to the shape/flex under load when hitting them. I ride a Scott Foil, the wheels make all the difference to make the bike tolerable. One of the stiffest frames and brutal rides with regular DeepV 50mm carbon wheels.

Cornering, no problems, felt great the entire tirm. 22-25mph corners taken, chilli tires are the bomb. Never any brake pad rubbing under hard acceleration I could sense, wheels were solid and I have confidence they can withstand pretty much anything the Zipps will.

Wind was about 5-8mph with gusts. Felt the typical nudging of the wind with the wide/aero design, just like the Zipps. It is one of the first things you notice when riding a toroidal shaped wheel. The science definitely translates to a more stable xwind wheel. 50mm DeepV carbon wheels will jerks the handlebars around when xwinds gust up.

Did about 5-800w 30 seconds intervals approximately as a test to the wheels. Wheels handled that completely fine and felt great. Nothing surprising...again, felt like I was on my Zipp 303 FC tubulars I just swapped.

The Alchemy hubs came pre-loaded from the builder and set just right. Wheels felt solid and stiff enough for me. I weight 170lbs right now and 5'10". I consider myself a sprinter, definitely suck at climbing.

Time will tell on the durability, but these are some of the best build quality carbon Chinese/Taiwanese rims I've seen. Overall QC/Finish pretty close to the Zipps. Of course, not as good as Zipp, those are some very finely finished carbon wheels overall. But for the money, hard to deny these are some quality wheels with the build components, and great builder skill applied.

Crappy cell photos:


Image

Image

Image

Image


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:06 pm
Posts: 55
Its crazy you got wheels that nice for the price you paid for them. Tire bed looks really great.

The builds of the Dengfu/Hongfu wheels are a bit lighter than I expected them to be which is one of the things that turned me off of those.

You can get a full Carbon wheel armada for the price Zipp or Bontrager wants for 1 wheelset. The performance you get from the price is really off the charts.

It would be hilarious to see one of these Chinese Trading Companies sponsor a Tour team. Everyone would be like...what the hell is all that cool carbon bling.....for pennies.


Last edited by sspring on Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:38 am 
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Location: Mississippi
Yes, you need the 2mm and the usual 1mm spacer to adapt the 11 speed freehub to 10 speed.

Nice looking wheels!

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http://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=125962


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:24 am 
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A few follow ups to those who asked (can only log in on iPad which I hate typing on, so brief):

Just as the companies selling wheels for $3k don't have to hope and pray that people don't find out about us, we don't have to hope and pray that people don't find out about Chinese wheels. And the Chinese vendor at $800 may or may not have to hope and pray you dont find the one at $600. In the Google age, that's a hopeless hope anyhow. There are people who want to use the same wheels as ProTour riders no matter what, and there are people who are comfortable with Chinese wheels and that process. The upside to the Chinese vendors (not one of them is a manufacturer, we all know that, right?) is that they'll sell you whatever it is you're looking for. That's also a big part of their downside.

Our wheels cost more in plain terms because our costs are higher. The question is whether that's inefficiency or there's value there. Our rims are made exclusively for us, in a mold we own, by one of the biggest rim makers in Taiwan, who have built rims that have won Tour and Giro stages. We built prototypes and tested them, built the mold, had a bunch of prototypes built and then tested them. That cost a lot of money. The trading companies buy rims from whoevers selling what will sell. Based on their prices, there's zero chance theyre getting them from Taiwan, and there's a difference. I'll leave you to do the research but a good book is "Poorly Made In China". I'm not going to scare monger, but would encourage people to learn more. Some of the rhetorical questions asked above work out not to be rhetorical. In any case, the wheel vendors have no capital costs In their rims. Whether you want to pay more for a rim that went through our development process, or more for one that went through a more complex one, or less for one that went through a simpler one (and yes, that might mean simple to the point of non-existence), that's up to you. A lot of people on this thread made one choice.

Ceramic bearing 'upgrades' often aren't, and I'm far from convinced (as in 0% convinced) that ceramics get you any benefit. I know very closely approximately what their spokes and hubs cost, which gives me an idea what they're paying for rims, and I wouldn't buy and build on rims that cost what their implied cost is. They might also just be dumping product at a loss, hoping to burn away the competition.

We just had one of the most well regarded wheel builders in the US tell us yesterday that the set of wheels he built on our rims survived an impact that knocked his computer loose, knocked his seat bag off, and in his paraphrased words could easily have destroyed the rims. His endorsement means a ton to us, and he's excited as hell to use our rims (oh yeah we are launching a custom builder program).

I read on here that rims are quoted with weights of +\- 30 grams. Seriously? Our lots vary by like +\- 8 grams. Why even quote a weight if it's giving a 15% margin of error? Second, there's a reason a lot of the premium brands weigh what they weigh. The rounder shapes are inherently a lot less strong (v''s are stronger than u shapes) so too light a weight throws up red flags. But a lot of people pick the lightest rim out of course. There is a supply stream for them, it is not us.

There's another active thread on this forum where a poster laments tht his wheel vendor was pretty communicative before he bought, but now he's got a problem and they won't return his emails. No wheel maker is 100% perfect, we've had a very few hiccups, but making sure customers are completely happy is a top priority. Our incident rate is very very low and our successful response rate is very very high (there's one guy who, honestly, I don't know what he was after - apart from him it's 100%). There's a cost difference between 'take your chances and if it doesnt work out oh well it didn't cost too much in the first place' and what we offer. That cost isn't all of the difference between us and them, but it's there.

The market isn't made up of one type of buyer. For the buyer who's convinced we're all selling commodities and price is all that matters, there are vendors. We're growing a broader audience by the day, who are seeing our wheels and hearing their friends and competitors rave about them. There are very few businesses that target the whole market. We are decidedly not one of them. There is stuff that Zipp et al give you that we don't, and there are vendors who give less for a lower price. We've chosen to be how we are because we believe we can offer tremendous value from here. Fortunately the market is supporting our belief.

Typing that on an iPad sucked

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:35 pm 
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NovemberDave wrote:
Typing that on an iPad sucked


Coming from someone who also cruises this forum exclusively on my ipad, I can appreciate your sacrifice.

Also, thanks for the detailed explanation/rebutle. There are two things I learned which were surprising and encouraging. First, your rims are manufactured in Taiwan. I must have missed that if you mentioned it before. This alone should most likely warrant a cost penalty as compared to mainland china. Second, I hadn't given too much importance to the post purchase customer service side of things. I was leaning towards the line of thinking that I'll take my chances for this price point. Having you guys stateside would have obvious benefits.

Thanks again for the words!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:45 pm 
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Posts: 334
I figured that I add a few photos of the November Rail since I'm not sure if they've been added to this thread already. Ether way, they look brilliant ::

Image
Image

My personal favorite touch is the "satin" finish. It's labeled as somewhere between a true matte finish and a gloss finish. Also, the perfect transition between the rim and brake surface, a la Enve. You guys nailed the look of the thing for certain.

And a recent write up on Road.cc ::

http://road.cc/content/news/89942-just- ... her-wheels" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


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Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:45 pm 


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:48 pm 
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btompkins0112 wrote:
Yes, you need the 2mm and the usual 1mm spacer to adapt the 11 speed freehub to 10 speed.

Nice looking wheels!


Thanks for that feedback. Since 3mm is what was needed, figured as much as you said. The 2mm to take up the extra cog spacing, plus the 1mm normal cassette spacer for 10spd.

3mm total. All works well, wheels rode great.

Have about $1300 with shipping into the setup. $850 for the hubs/spokes/nipples and build, $470 for the rims themselves, plus shipping to the builder.

For the money, hard to beat IMO.

The light-bicycle 45mm setup would be another good option. They claim 450gms +- 20g I believe. Could get another 5mm depth for about the same weight as these finished. I can't tell any difference between the HongFu 40mm and the Zipp 45mm depth on the ride/xwind and aero properties though. Plus, they can be run tubeless. Profile is same as Zipp 303 FC.


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