Best wheels for the rain

Everything about building wheels, glueing tubs, etc.
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TonyM
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:11 pm

by TonyM

I am looking for a very good clincher carbon wheel set for the rain. I will use these wheels exclusively when it is raining (usual bike ride is up to 4-5 hours). Road only. The tires would most probably be either the Vittoria Open Pave 25mm or the Conti GP 4 Seasons 25mm. The wheels have to be made for disc brake and thru axles. Pricing is not that relevant at this stage.

Which wheels would be the best in terms of quality, I mean resistance against the rain and aerodynamics?

Here some of the wheels that I am currently looking at:

- Enve SES 4.5 AR Disc (49/55mm) with DT Swiss 240 hubs: 1383g (borderline as they are optimized for 28mm tires)
- Enve SES 3.4 disc (38/42mm) with DT Swiss 240 hubs: 1420g
- DT Swiss ERC 1100 DICUT 47mm: 1513g
- DT Swiss ERC 1400 SPLINE 47mm: 1538g
- Shimano C40 R9170: 1563g (not available yet)
- Zipp 404 NSW Carbon Clincher Disc (58mm): 1600g
- Fulcrum Racing Quattro DB (40mm): 1605g
- Shimano C60 R9170: 1647g (not available yet)
- Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc (58 mm): 1715g
- 3T Discus C35 Team: 1464g
- 3T Discus C60 Team: 1632g

Which of them are "very good", "good", "ok" or "not good" as a wheel set for the rain?

What do you think?
Last edited by TonyM on Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

by Weenie


Geoff
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by Geoff

The first thing I would say about Vancouver 'winters' is that there is usually a fair bit of rain, so your question is apt. The first thing I would say is that an alloy braking surface would be better than a carbon one. You will find that the drivers here are much less accustomed to seeing road riders in winter than in Europe, so be prepared to have to slam-on the binders when some oblivious idiot pulls an F350 with a six-horse trailer out right in front of you (or a Prius with Hello Kitty stickers, in Vancouver).

There are quite a few alloy-rim/carbon fairing wheels out there that fit the bill. I have been running a tubeless test battery and have just added a set of Bontrager Aeolus 5s. They are really impressive. The hubs seem ok, too. They are so good, in fact, that I was thinking of adding a set of alloy-rimmed Aura 5s to the tubeless battery for the winter.

Good luck here in Canada. Keep your head up...

Multebear
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by Multebear

^I'm pretty sure that OP doesn't need brake track for his disc brake wheels....

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

It is the disc brake doing the braking not the wheel. So the wheel is irrelevent.

Imaking20
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by Imaking20

^this. So the braking power of the wheel is totally irrelevant. Buy what looks best!
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TonyM
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by TonyM

Are these Shimano Dura Ace, Zipp, DT Swiss 240, 3T hubs ok for "water resistance"? Or which hubs are better as I will use these wheels exclusively in the rain?

Would ceramic bearings (CeramicSpeed) be even better as they don't need any grease? Or worse as they usually lack a proper outer seal against dirt for example?

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

Dt swiss hubs ade pretty good in the wet as are miche. You buy a miche wheelset or have one built with miche hubs.

11.4
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by 11.4

The rim is relatively irrelevant to your decision; aerodynamics aren't as important in the rain and if anything, you want to focus on a rim that won't accumulate water, will shed surface water easily, and that is strong enough to deal with an increased number of flats. It also has to deal with more bashing events, since rain will fill potholes and riding through what looks like a puddle may turn into a puddle with a pothole in the middle.

I lived 19 years in Seattle, just to the south, and owned most hubs made over that period. The best hub I (and many others) have found for lots of wet weather riding is still the Chris King R45. The bearings are better sealed, the cassette free hub is similarly well protected, and the hubs simply keep working. If you need a new bearing or a part in the free hub, they are readily available (Chris King is in Portland so you can drive just over the border and mail a whole wheel to King if you need to, though they can talk you through practically any repair by phone). Shimano Dura Ace and Ultegra hubs are excellent in the rain but are still loose bearing and need periodic servicing. If you're not into that, I'd avoid them. I'd avoid Zipp hubs -- they never have been good with hubs and theirs tend to give problems if used consistently in the wet. Also avoid some of the ultralight hubs like Tune for the same reason. If the Kings are too pricey for you, look at White Industries. Theirs are superbly durable and well designed, plus a fair bit less expensive. As for DT's, I personally didn't have a great experience with several of them in the rain, and flange geometry lets you build a somewhat stronger wheel with the Kings (again, remember that you'll be hitting submerged potholes and other debris so anything that strengthens the wheel is a good thing). There are plenty of cheaper options but I'd stick with one of these brands, if only for ease of service.

I'd stick with a higher spoke count to give at least a slight bit of assistance if you bash a wheel. If you're going custom on wheels, just go with a spoke like a DT competition in silver -- it's easier to clean and the finish doesn't wear. Definitely get brass nipples rather than alloy -- the last thing you need is the increased frequency of nipple freezing with alloys.

Internal nipples look great but external nipples make servicing a lot easier, and there's more of that in the rain.

Multebear
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by Multebear

^I'm aware that one experience with one product doesn't account for the product en general. But my experience with CK R45 (ceramic version) is, that they don't like rain at all. I've done around 8.000 km on mine, since they are on one of my carbon wheelset, that I primarily use for racing. This spring I did a three day stagerace with foul weather and rain just about the whole race. And the Kings didn't like that at all. When I returned home from the last day of racing, the bearings in the free hub body didn't sound good at all. They only needed a wipe down and new grease to get them back on top though. But as mentioned, I only do races on these wheels, that means, they don't see a lot of foul weather at all. And the fact that they didn't survive three days of rain, is not what I would call durable.

That said the CK R45 hubs are the coolest hubs on the market. They have the sweetest free hub sound (ratchet system), and they look the business.

My other racing wheelset with White Industries T11 hubs, are much more resistant to bad weather. They just never give up. And with titanium free hub body they don't get gauged either. Best all round hubs IMO.

I have another wheeslet with DT 240s hubs. They do very well as well. They have survived two winters with very nasty conditions, and have taken everything I have thrown at them. Only drawback is the free hub body. It gets gauged very easily. And new ones are like 90 euros.

My dura ace hubs do very well in all conditions as well. I'd rate them close to the white industries.

BUT all my experience is with rim brake hubs. You want disc brake hubs, and those I know nothing about. My comment is mostly a comment to 11.4's experience.

yinya
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by yinya

I hear good things about Hope hubs, no personal experience though


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Nefarious86
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by Nefarious86

Hope hubs, nextie rims and brass nipples.
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mpulsiv
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by mpulsiv

WI T17 is a fantastic hub. The wheels you have listed are too nice for foul-weather. Have you looked at Clement Ushuaia wheels? http://clementcycling.com/ushuaia-wheels
Since money is no object, I would get Boyd laced with WI T17 hubs http://www.boydcycling.com/product-cate ... disc-brake
Racing is a three-dimensional high-speed chess game, involving hundreds of pieces on the board.

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TonyM
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by TonyM

THANKS for all feedback! :thumbup: Really helpful! :thumbup:

I will go for DT Swiss 240 or Chris King R45 hubs. Thanks.

Is there any other good quality carbon wheelset with DT Swiss 240 or CK45 hubs than Enve or DT Swiss?

Multebear
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Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 10:11 pm

by Multebear

TonyM wrote:THANKS for all feedback! :thumbup: Really helpful! :thumbup:

I will go for DT Swiss 240 or Chris King R45 hubs. Thanks.

Is there any other good quality carbon wheelset with DT Swiss 240 or CK45 hubs than Enve or DT Swiss?


One good and one bad experience with Chris King as rainy day hubs? How did they get into the mix?

And why didn't White Industries?

Nefarious86
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by Nefarious86

Still not sure why you dont just go hand built wheels..
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by Weenie


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