Racing rims vs everyday training

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
CerveloBert
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by CerveloBert

I just recently bought some used Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers. I've been asking around about use regularity of use, and I have had a lot of mixed answers given to me by several experienced athletes. Some say that I shouldn't have them for everyday use as I get no psychological advantage of having different rims on race day. Some say that I should keep them on because it's the gear that I plan on racing with.

My original aluminum rims are the Fulcrum Racing T rims that came with my Cervelo S2. I'm guessing these would be comparable to the 7's that Fulcrum makes. I'm a triathlete that rides 2-4 times a week depending on the season. This year, I'm simply doing some Olympic distance triathlons. If any of that information is useful in formulating an opinion - I'm all ears. These 404's are my first carbon rims, so I'm definitely stoked. Just want some recommendations on frequency of use.

by Weenie


bricky21
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by bricky21

I'd use them all the time... I can't see the point in separate setups for racing and training for amateurs who have limited riding time. Pro teams have budgets and the riders spend huge amounts of time on their bikes, so in that case it makes sense to have dedicated training wheels.

eric
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by eric

Presumably he's got the set of wheels he was riding before the Zipps.

If you're ok with replacing an expensive rim or two periodically, then there's nothing wrong with using the crabon wheels all the time. Rims are a consumable. They wear from braking, they break when you ride into a pothole you didn't see, they crack. The way I look at it, when I am training I don't need the lightest/most aero wheels. The small difference in performance doesn't matter when I am training. It doesn't matter if I get to the top of Old La Honda 2 seconds faster because I have lighter wheels. What does matter is that my training isn't interrupted by something breaking.

The one situation where you might not want to ride carbon clinchers is on long steep descents that require a lot of braking. The new Zipps may be better with that than older carbon clinchers, but with some rims excess brake heat can cause rim damage. There are a lot of very steep descents where I ride so this is a concern for me. It's not a problem for everyone of course.

If you only ride your fancy carbon wheels in races you still need to use them in training enough to get used to them. Aero wheels react differently to wind, and carbon wheels don't brake as well. I've had teamates go off the road when using new carbon wheels for the first time in a race.

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luckypuncheur
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by luckypuncheur

I use my carbon clinchers und tubulars also for training rides (at least during the summer) and wouldn't spend 2 grand on a wheelset just to use it on raceday.
BTW: I never broke a carbon rim or had any issues with the braking surface of my wheels.
Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

jmartpr
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by jmartpr

I don't race but I do ride my ENVE clinchers at least 4-5 times per week......so far so good and I have been doing this for the past 3 years.
And since you are into Tri I think you are good with using them all the time.....that way you maximize you limited training time on the bike and get used to the product, specially cross winds.
Just remember to use some good carbon brake pads.

CerveloBert
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by CerveloBert

The question I have is double-sided as well. Let me clarify a little bit.

Because of the nature of carbon rims being the way they are (expensive really), it really is a no-brainer to say that limiting their use will indeed address some of those issues regarding damage from heat and cracks from potholes and the like. I'm sure using high quality brake pads and using discretion while riding will have a lot more to do with the useability of the wheelset than just not using them at all and using them negligently while I do.

I think what the responders are trying to tell me is that everything will be fine so long as I use discretion in all things. My primary concern was the life of the wheelset coupled with the fact that there probably will be a learning curve associated to the use of this wheelset (especially on race day).

I'm probably going to just keep the wheelset on the bike as its permanent rollers to train and race, and I'll take the fulcrums to use on my bike trainer and just grab an extra force cassette. Thanks for the couple peeps who chimed in and helped the forum n00b out.

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djconnel
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by djconnel

I agree with using separate wheels: keep race wheels pristine. I was riding to work one day and double-dented my rims going through a nasty pothole. I took them to a shop and got them bent back (mostly) into shape. Good enough. That's what's nice about having cheaper daily-use wheels for when performance isn't everything.

CerveloBert
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by CerveloBert

djconnel wrote:I agree with using separate wheels: keep race wheels pristine. I was riding to work one day and double-dented my rims going through a nasty pothole. I took them to a shop and got them bent back (mostly) into shape. Good enough. That's what's nice about having cheaper daily-use wheels for when performance isn't everything.


For me though - being a triathlete - My time is spread between multiple focus points in the swim and also the run (and each of those sports have a thousand forums for me to visit too). Performance is an issue every time I get on the bike because of the limited time I have to focus on just the bike. Of the 12-16 times I get on the bike monthly - I can enjoy only two of them as nice touring easy social rides where I'm not focused on a deadline or a cadence/speed/heart-rate goal. I have found my resolve to make sure I keep those rims on because 90% of my bike time is training.

However, what you mentioned is always in the back of my head. I guess you can't predict an accident (although it feels like you could've always avoided one when you think back), just like you can't predict if a pothole is going to be there next day after a rain. I'm sure there's a fine balance along with some kind of method to the madness.

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djconnel
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by djconnel

If you're on slower wheels, how does that provide inferior training?

If nothing else, riding your race wheels is going to increase bearing wear & tear.

CerveloBert
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by CerveloBert

In no way would the training be inferior; however, I believe that being able to master your gear is a big concern and is part of the training process as well.

Already I know a couple things - the Zipp 404's cut wind like a hot knife through butter, the feedback feels much different than my fulcrums, and because of that, handling is... different. At a speed that is comfortable and easy (anywhere from 12-18 MPH) I imagine there wouldn't be much of a difference as I can adjust as I'm riding, but when I'm taking a downhill hairpin - I would psychologically be concerned knowing I'm on gear that I haven't been entirely acclimated to for just that moment.

Moments make or break races. I want to be fully capable of handling that moment and I want to walk away saying that I trained to the best of my capability for those moments, whether it be a sprint, a bad hairpin, or a climb.

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63corvairsprint
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by 63corvairsprint

As a fellow Tri-athlete, my training for this upcoming season is based on a specific speed/heart rate and I will running my Zipp 808's for all my training rides and race day. I need to be sure that come event day, I can mimic what I perfected in my training. I also see the benefit of how the bike handles and responds with same setup during rides. The financial impact is a concern regarding damage or accelerated wear, but an understood factor in my hobby. I did lessen the possible blow buy buying a used 808 wheel set at a competitive price… I do use a set of trainers on my indoor training sessions for the winter.
Thanks...

Rick
Somewhere south of Chicago IL, USA

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Zen Cyclery
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by Zen Cyclery

If they were carbon tubys, I would say use em every day. But the fact that they are clinchers makes them a bit more ride specific I think.

Richyo
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by Richyo

The way i see it is that i use a heavy and cheap tyre on my training wheels. This combo gives me the best puncture protection.
My race wheels run Schwalbe Ultremo tyres which flat easily. I wouldn't risk flatting in a race just because got something imbedded in the tyre during training! it would be a pain in the arse just to swap tyres nearly 2 times a week.

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Arky
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by Arky

Is there any concern for imbedded aluminum shards scratching up the zipps?

by Weenie


spiffomatic
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by spiffomatic

FWIW, I look at it these two ways:

- Wheels experience wear and tear over time through use - that's a simple fact. They're going to go out of true (usually), spokes will weaken, bearings need lube, brake tracks wear to the point of necessitating replacement... these things are all far far cheaper to deal with and replace on a standard 32 spoke wheel with a basic Mavic, DT or other rim (have you seen the price of an aero carbon clincher rim alone? incredible!)... If you're always training on expensive wheels, sprinting, riding rough roads, braking, etc... they're just going to wear those out faster as well - sprinting alone puts some serious stress on wheels if you don't weigh 120... and your day of component failure (spoke, etc) may be when you're going full force in a race. Cost-wise, for me (finite budget, a lot of riding), it would never make sense to use my race wheels all of the time... that being said, the fact that they're Reynolds tubulars with internal nipples helps make that decision easy.

If I rode less and had more disposable income, riding those Zipps all of the time would be awesome and I would probably do it.

Also, when I train with other riders, I'm usually in the stronger half of the group present... riding super-light, super-aero wheels would realistically be a detriment to my training. If I were in a group where I felt overmatched, the Zipps might help a very small amount, which could be a good thing.

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