The dubious benefits of new wheels.

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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AllAboutTheEngine
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:08 pm
Location: London

by AllAboutTheEngine

Hi, I'm a new member to this forum and new to road cycling in general. I have recently bought my first 'proper' road bike - a 2012 CAAD10 with shimano 105 - although I do have some cycling experience i.e. touring eastern Europe this summer: Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia & Poland on my trusty Dawes Vantage tourer.

I plan to join a cycling club and enter into various competitive and non-competitive events in the future including crits, time trials, road races, sportives and triathlons. So far I have done one sportive event. At the moment I am training mostly solo trying to build up my base a bit first (long rides around Richmond park and intervals on my new turbo trainer).

My question is this:

How important are good wheels - what are the real world benefits I might see from getting a good pair?

Apparently the RS10s that came on my bike kinda suck (according to reviews - I have no point of reference for comparison). I am mostly not talking about weight here (heresy!) even though these wheels are considered 'heavy', but in terms of ride quality, bearings etc.

The reason I'm not too bothered about weight (sacrilege!) is that I have dropped over a stone in a month from all the riding I've been doing. Losing a few hundred grams seems a bit irrelevant by comparison.

I should also mention that I'm a student, which has obvious budgetary implications..

Do I stick to the philosophy of my username, or save for a decent pair?

by Weenie


eric
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
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by eric

Short on money and still a beginner (as far as racing is concerned)? Save your money but not for fancy wheels. Save it for entry fees, team/club kit, and travel to races.

You should have decent base from touring, but you will still improve a lot over the next three years of training.

motorthings
Posts: 336
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:56 pm

by motorthings

i just sold my zipp firecrest 303's and am back on a set of rs10's, and am actually very impressed with them (considering what they cost on the open market). They are heavy, but are nice and quiet and stiff enough for my 150lbs. Most of the analytical models I have seen show that light wheels make little difference once they are up to speed, but in conditions like crits with lots of accelerations, there can be some measureable difference. That being said, there are lots of guys on rs10's or heavier wheelsets kicking my ass in the cat4 ranks here that I know fancy wheels are not a NEED, but a LIKE and a WANT.

Cycling is my hobby, and I am planning on getting a set of american classic road tubeless clinchers that are probably a pound lighter than the rs10's, but not because I believe they will make a huge difference in my performance on the bike. Mostly it is because I like new, cool, light things, and these wheels fit that description. I liked the 303's, but in the long run, a set of lighter-weight aluminum clinchers allows me to splurge on other goodies, and feed my obsession in other ways.

I find that simply being honest with myself about why i want to buy things keeps away a lot of the hand-wringing that can come along with some of the higher dollar purchases, but maybe that's just me. There will always be that guy on an old no name frame with old components and wheels who will kick my butt in any race i enter, and keep me honest about what really makes a difference.

aerozy
Posts: 772
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

Performance wise wheels are the most important thing on the bike. Ride some 1000gr tubulars and you'll feel like your flying. You'll specially notice the difference under hard accelerations. Of course if you are new to cycling you might want to take it easy and see how serious your commitment becomes. If your racing and training are still a priority in life down the line then consider getting a good pair of racing wheels then. But for now let the legs to the talking ;)
Sunny cycling holidays in Portugal @ Cherry Cottage Vintage B&B

sedluk
Posts: 409
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 3:10 am

by sedluk

If you are out riding by yourself, lighter/faster/stiffer wheels may not make a noticeable difference. If you are riding with a group and you are just comfortably drafting along the difference might even be less.

The big difference is in how much harder you will have to work after you get dropped. It is all about that point in a ride near the top of a climb that the lead guys pick up the pace. Will you be able to stay with them or will you get dropped. If you can make it over that hill and not let that gap open, it will be much easier than if you get dropped and try to chase them down.

My point is not to suggest that you get new wheels or keep the wheels you have, but to understand where they would make a difference. If I was pressed for a suggestion I would say focus on enjoying the rides that you are doing with the bike you have.

AllAboutTheEngine
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:08 pm
Location: London

by AllAboutTheEngine

thanks for the helpful advice guys

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Zen Cyclery
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by Zen Cyclery

aerozy wrote:Performance wise wheels are the most important thing on the bike. Ride some 1000gr tubulars and you'll feel like your flying. You'll specially notice the difference under hard accelerations. Of course if you are new to cycling you might want to take it easy and see how serious your commitment becomes. If your racing and training are still a priority in life down the line then consider getting a good pair of racing wheels then. But for now let the legs to the talking ;)



:thumbup:

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mellowJohnny
Posts: 484
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:56 am
Location: YYZ

by mellowJohnny

Keep the wheels until you are at a point where you *need* a new set and you have enough experience to notice and appreciate the upgrade. As mentioned above save your money for other things for now. Don't listen to the guys saying "they suck" - they are a solid pair of wheels to build from. It's very easy to get caught up in the pursuit of "stronger, lighter, faster".

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fa63
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:26 am
Location: Atlanta, GA, US

by fa63

I switch between heavy (Ambrosio Nemesis with Dura Ace hubs, 1810g) and light (Shimano Dura Ace carbon tubulars, 1480g) wheels quite frequently. Of course they feel different, but the numbers don't show any appreciable improvement with one over the other.

For me, priority in a wheelset has evolved to be:

a) Durability / appropriate stiffness for my body weight and riding style
b) Good hubs
c) Weight

After all, a light wheel that rubs under load will slow you down more than a heavy wheel that doesn't.

With that said, if you have optimized everything else and are losing races by seconds / inches, then by all means you deserve a great pair of wheels.

Geoff
Posts: 5093
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 2:25 am
Location: Canada

by Geoff

For my money, a pair of aero race wheels are a good investment. Get a decent pair of mid-deep tubular wheels and you will have them for years.

KLabs
Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:29 am

by KLabs

AllAboutTheEngine wrote:Hi, I'm a new member to this forum and new to road cycling in general. I have recently bought my first 'proper' road bike - a 2012 CAAD10 with shimano 105 - although I do have some cycling experience i.e. touring eastern Europe this summer: Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia & Poland on my trusty Dawes Vantage tourer.

I plan to join a cycling club and enter into various competitive and non-competitive events in the future including crits, time trials, road races, sportives and triathlons. So far I have done one sportive event. At the moment I am training mostly solo trying to build up my base a bit first (long rides around Richmond park and intervals on my new turbo trainer).

My question is this:

How important are good wheels - what are the real world benefits I might see from getting a good pair?

Apparently the RS10s that came on my bike kinda suck (according to reviews - I have no point of reference for comparison). I am mostly not talking about weight here (heresy!) even though these wheels are considered 'heavy', but in terms of ride quality, bearings etc.

The reason I'm not too bothered about weight (sacrilege!) is that I have dropped over a stone in a month from all the riding I've been doing. Losing a few hundred grams seems a bit irrelevant by comparison.

I should also mention that I'm a student, which has obvious budgetary implications..

Do I stick to the philosophy of my username, or save for a decent pair?


What you could do is regrease these wheels with Dura Ace or Bel-Ray Waterproof Grease.
Simply doing this will improve these wheels quite alot.
:-)

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Rick
Posts: 2004
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:30 pm

by Rick

aerozy wrote:Performance wise wheels are the most important thing on the bike. Ride some 1000gr tubulars and you'll feel like your flying. You'll specially notice the difference under hard accelerations. Of course if you are new to cycling you might want to take it easy and see how serious your commitment becomes. If your racing and training are still a priority in life down the line then consider getting a good pair of racing wheels then. But for now let the legs to the talking ;)

+1 again.
The type of racing you do makes a difference, but for criteriums, a light set of wheels makes a big difference.....and of course for time trials an aero set is huge.

Machinenoise
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:39 pm

by Machinenoise

Yes nice shiny wheels will feel nicer, roues artisanales reckon about 10w per wheel between 32 spoke training wheels comparable to the RS10s and some 404s (at 50kmph). They will have a great feel out of corners as mentioned above, but this is probably negligible performance increase at the beginning of your racing career, and quite a bit of £££. Depends on racing as mentioned too, my Disc and trispoke on the TT bike weigh ~1800g the pair but still average 29-30mph in a race. ;) Welcome to UK racing and the BUCS student champs.

TimW
Posts: 476
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: England, UK

by TimW

I'm going to stick my neck out and say that the benefits are often dubious so don't get sucked in. I've tried deeper section carbon tubs, I've tried Open Pros and a bunch of handbuilt and factory inbetween.

* Reality is that Tubulars are pain for real-world use.
* Carbon rims are useless anywhere that it rains
* Aero advantage from deep sections are dubious for the average rider (not talking about high speed pro rider).
* Deep section rims don't handle that well in a real-world side-wind conditions (again different if sheltered in a big group like pro riders)

Bottom line, most of the crap is marketing and does not translate well into real-world use. I wanna believe but experience and a power meter/results have proven otherwise. Maybe it's UK conditions where I live that make the difference. I'm not talking about Time Trials (where deep section makes sense) but general training/riding/sportives etc with hills and variable weather conditions

My favourites for ride quality? Good old Open Pro rims on Record Hubs. Favourite "good" wheels, Campag Shamals.

Try borrowing a pair of wheels to see if it is much better before commiting $$$

sawyer
Posts: 4481
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:45 pm
Location: Natovi Landing

by sawyer

Tim - there's a counterintuitive point you're missing that aero can help amateurs "more" because they are on the course for longer ... say in big one day rides. If you can save 5-10watts consistently throughout a sportif then why not?

One good answer is the point you make around carbon braking surface. So many noobs would be best trying to either use the latest generation of carbon clinchers (e.g. Zipp firecrests) that do brake well in the rain, if they have the £$£$, or else find something alu rimmed, and somewhat aero, like Zipp 101s.
----------------------------------------
Stiff, Light, Aero - Pick Three!! :thumbup:

by Weenie


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