/ Road bike wheels

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nniff - on 11 Mar 2013
Looking for some help here.

I have about £600 to spend on some new wheels for my bike, which is nothing special - a 105-equiped aluminium Trek, with a carbon fork, of a certain age.

I've been nursing a feeling that I need some lighter/faster/better wheels for some time. Iím very comfortable in the group I go out with usually, and going up to a faster group on the occasions that Iíve done it, is manageable. On Sunday however, I was happy with the advertised pace and so went up a group. However, this weekend there was a race, and so several of the faster riders who weren't racing dropped down a group. Great :o(

So off they go, except the advertised average pace of 17 mph is now 18.5. On the flat I'm OK, working quite hard but within tolerance. However, as soon as we get to a hill they rocket up it and I shoot out of the back as though I were going backwards. I then rupture myself catching up downhill and on the flat, catch my breath, and then it happens all over again.

Leaving aside physical inadequacies for the moment (I was feeling a bit below par before we started - but that was nothing compared to how I was at the end) - the big visible difference is hardware. All the other bikes were bling carbon things (bar one, whose rider had legs twice the size of mine). A new bike is not a viable option, but new wheels are.

So here's the question:

I'm thinking that lighter wheels might help to an extent, but I have no idea which is the sensible thing to do. Should I buy a pair of Fulcrum Racing 3 or Mavic Ksyrium Elite for about £500 (ie main stream manufacturer) or go to http://www.dcrwheels.co.uk/ and get some Ambrosio Excellite rims on Royce hubs for just shy of £600? Or something else?

I also know that I need to do more hills, but if I haven't got anything to blame but me I know what needs to be done physically with greater clarity.

I'm tending towards the hub and rim option.....

Finally, how much difference do tyres make?
Tom the tall on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff: similar thread on a biking forum:
http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/which-road-wheelset

Might be of help?
andy - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff: If you're going mainstream I'd recommend having a look at RS80's - light, smooth and bombproof. And a fair bit cheaper than £500 if you shop around - £320 at Planet X just now.
Enty - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

The DCR wheels look gorgeous and they will be bombproof but I'd find out how heavy your choice of set up is going to be.

From your OP it sounds like speed is more important so the lightest wheels you can afford with a light tyre like a Michelin Pro 4 race will make a world of difference.

E
Enty - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to andy:
> (In reply to nniff) If you're going mainstream I'd recommend having a look at RS80's - light, smooth and bombproof. And a fair bit cheaper than £500 if you shop around - £320 at Planet X just now.

They look good, less than 1500g for less than 400 quid.

E
RBK - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff: Take a look at these as an alternative handbuilt option: http://wheelsmith.co.uk/news/63-wheelsmith-race23, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that they might be the answer as a pretty light, general purpose wheel. My good bike has Dura-Ace C24's on [same rim as the RS80's] and they've handled Lakes roads amazingly well for the last few summers, they don't get put through the horror of winter thankfully!
RBK - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to RBK: That link is meant to take you to the Race 23's at the bottom of the page, not the 50mm carbon clinchers at the top!
alanbill99 - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff: It's dangerous looking at other people's shiny carbon race machines, all too easily thinking that having one of them will make you capable of keeping up with the faster guys.

Don't kid yourself. I've got a "solid" alu cross bike that's fits me real nice (8.4kg) and thought I'd make a quick foray into the carbon market so bought a carbon frame. The fit wasn't as good and yes I could go up hills quicker, it probably made 1-2% difference to my speed. Hence, I've sold it and now have a clear conscience as I couldn't justify it to myself.

I train regularly now with a cycle club. Best thing I've ever done for my fitness. Just train harder. Don't fool yourself by wasting money thrown at shiny bits.

FWIW I've got Pro Lite Bracciano's which come in at under 1500g for £300-£400.
Loughan - on 11 Mar 2013
nniff - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

Thanks all - all help gratefully received. It's tricky spotting the difference between one round thing and another!

I think I can justify spending some money on shiny bits, seeing how little I paid for the bike in the first place, but there's no question than more effort needs to be expended too.

I'm getting the impression that sub-1.5kg is a sort of benchmark for weight. I should be able to find out easily enough what the royce/ambroisio combination weighs.

Lots more for me to look at too - and a reduced budget will make it easier to look my lawful wedded opponent in the eye when I bring them home!
Jim Hamilton - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

What wheels have you got at the moment ? I have (I think) Shimano R500's and I wonder what I would need to spend, or weight saving to achieve, to make a noticeable difference in performance.
alanbill99 - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to Loughan: Good price that Loughan. Never seen them. Suspect they will be out of stock though - bargaintastic.
Loughan - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to alanbill99: They are out of stock but not when i looked at them a few weeks ago. I wouldn't mind a set but i'd like someone else to get them first and describe the experience ;o)
Oujmik - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff: Here's a reality check for you (not being malicious, just saying what you already know deep down):

You will still get dropped regardless of how good your wheels are. The reason you got dropped on the hill rather than on the flat is simply down to the fact that drafting becomes less effective as you slow down. When riding fast, a lesser rider can hang on by virtue of the slipstream. When riding more slowly, the lesser rider gets detached. This is no slur on you, it's just physics. I'm not telling you not to buy new wheels, you'll undoubtedly enjoy riding more on snappier, slicker, more responsive equipment, but it will only make marginal improvements to your overall performance.

If you want to get new wheels, go for it, just don't base the decision on the assumption you'll go massively faster. I recommend ProLite Braccianos (if you can get them in Shimano still, seem to be hard to come by) and you'll have half your budget left over. Or the Campag or Fulcrum ranges are pretty nice but a bit overpriced. Handbuilt is a decent option but will probably work out more expensive for the same weight.

Whatever you choose, enjoy your riding!
SteveRi - on 11 Mar 2013
The shiney smugness of getting pimpy DT wheelset (s/h) was slightly dulled by having to pay £50 and visit three different (specialist) shops to replace a single spoke. Lovely wheels and a joy to climb with, but I'd probably get something a bit more mainstream next time.
nniff - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

In answer to a few of the questions - the bikes currently got some OEM Bontrager thingies on it, of no great merit beyond appearing to have too few spokes for their own good.

I know a lot of it is down to my general weediness, but what really got to me was that I could catch them on the flat and donwhill (well until I was totally goosed at the end!). But - the most annoying thing of the lot is that the effort expended to catch up was less than the effort that I was putting in on the hills and stil going backwards. However, the total cumulative effect was that yours truly was incapable of speaking for 90% of the ride.

So, this is a two-pronged attack - 1) get some wheels. (RS 80s and new tyres looking a good compromise between wasting money and showing willing - the Ciros being out of stock).

Having acquired new wheels, MLWO will not unreasonably expect me to get busy and put some effort in. So 2) get some laps of Box Hill in. That will be a delight, as always. A one ascent lap from home is 55 minutes with the current arrangement. Any guesses on a time for an up/down/up circuit with new wheels?

The final nail in the coffin?

This sunday's trip was around the reowned 'hill avoidance route', and you know how that ended. Hill avoidance route?

but, the Sunday before, however, was an equally renowned 'hills route', including a charming little 20% number and one with a cunning false summit around a bend before the full extent is revealed. I was in a slower group then and was waiting at the top for the rest. Something has to be done!

Oujmik - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff: Forgot to say in my previous reply - yes tyres do make a difference. Probably more than wheels and certainly cheaper. Get some decent ones such as Michelin Pro Race.. Vredestein TriComps or Vittoria Evo CX and you'll get a little boost.
mutt - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

I've got Mavic Kysrium Elites, and Fulcrum Racing 3's (on two different bikes). I prefer the Fulcrums. I've also got a pair of carbon tubulars from planet-X bikes which are within your price bracket. To answer your question - the tires don't make a lot of difference until you go tubular. The rim weight saving in the tubs makes the bike feel dramatically more lively, and quick off the lights. Once fitted the tires are considerably more robust than clinchers too. Probably not the best for commuting but if you do sportives or races they are fantastic.
Lord of Starkness - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

I've got some Campag Zondas - but they are not compatible with Shimano cassettes. Fulcrum Racing 3's are virtually identical - come out of the same factory, but are Shimano compatible.

Hubs are very smooth and free running. They helped me win our downhill / freewheeling championship that normally favours much heavier riders!

They are light and bombproof without being silly money.

I like em!
nniff - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to mutt:

OK - so stupid question time:

What happens if/when you get a flat with a tubular tyre?


I've got lots more stupid questions - but one at a time for now, to conceal the full extent of my ignorance. :o)
ads.ukclimbing.com
Enty - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:
> (In reply to mutt)
>
> OK - so stupid question time:
>
> What happens if/when you get a flat with a tubular tyre?
>
Not a stupid question. It's the biggest pain the arse ever! I race tubs but to be fair I've never p******d in a race. However, on those nice sunny days when I can't resist going out on the race bike anyway I have punctured once and it took me 20 minutes and 6 fingernails to get the old one off then you have to ride home on a spare tub which isn't stuck down properly.
>
> I've got lots more stupid questions - but one at a time for now, to conceal the full extent of my ignorance. :o)

Keep going.

E

Andy Chubb - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff: I have the same problem ie getting dropped on hills by guys who I can stick with on the flat. My diagnosis is that it's partly / largely down to the fact that I weigh 77kg and these guys weigh less than 70 kg, so I've got to put in 10% extra effort to haul my lard up the hills. On the flat the extra weight is less of an issue. Your issue may be different, but I think body weight has a lot to do with it - just watch the pros - there aren't many fat climbers
mutt - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to Andy Chubb:


but keeping on subject, my experience is that reacting to attacks on the flat and on hills is much easier with light wheels - i.e. tubulars. I particularly enjoy kicking hard and picking up the wheel of the would be overtakers. it really annoys and I get carried up the hill a little faster.
Rigid Raider - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

Before you spend all that lolly on wheels, go and buy a pair of latex inner tubes and some lightweight tyres like Michelin Pro 3 Lights. You'll be amazed at the improvement in ride and responsiveness that just losing around 50 gms from each rim will give you. If you're still not happy, buy some lighter wheels as well.
steev on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

I replaced the nondescript wheels on my roadie with some Fulcrim 3s (from bike-discount.de I think) and it certainly made my bike a better place to be. Happened to coincide with a few personal records on some hills in Strava, but also with me getting out a bit more (due to nicer wheels).

Have a wee look at some german websites for prices - the ones I've used have had excellent service (and my wheel purchase was during a wee slump in the euro too :))
Enty - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to steev:

Definitely - I use Jedisport.de all the time.

E
nniff - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:


Thanks for all of your help. Plans revised ansd approved (reduced budget helped greatly in that regard).

Shimano RS80, Michelin Pro 4, TI skewers and lightweight inner tubes for £405 from PLanet-x (including 2 spares tubes).

Nowhere to hide now :o(


So, the next installment of stupid questions (and apologies for lowering the tone and to those of a sensitive disposition)

Chamois cream - sensible at what sort of distance/time in the saddle?
With or without underwear and, if the latter, on the skin or the pad?

What state do your shorts end up in?

Does it wash out OK, and how many pairs of shorts is a sensible working number if you're doing a 4 day supported ride?


Well, I had to ask someone sometime :o)

Caterham - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

I've got rs80's from planet x and they're brilliant so another vote from me.

See how you get on with the lightweight skewers. I've got the planet x ones and although they look lovely and are super lightweight I was a bit concerned they may not be too durable in terms of regular usage. As a result I save mine for the odd occasion I want a bit of bling!

Chamois cream wise you may need to try a few different brands and its very much a personal thing what you need to apply it for. I can ride 100 miles without but have friends that can barely do 50 without. Get some, try it and find out for yourself I'd say.

Oh and yes it does wash out, definitely no underwear and invest in a decent set of bib shorts. Go to a good shop and try a few different pairs on/ask the assistants. Also when trying on bend over so you can check the fit in a tuck cycling position.

How many to take depends on whether you've got it to carry itself and room etc. A new pair every day would be lovely but then again I know somebody who wore two pairs on a crossing of Brazil and only washed them from time to time. Wouldn't fancy that myself.
In reply to nniff:

> Chamois cream - sensible at what sort of distance/time in the saddle?

Has been recommended many times when I've asked about doing sportives and similar here, but I've never used it and haven't missed it.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've never had those sort of issues when biking, whether that's 200 kms in a day or multi day bikepacking trips where you're sleeping on a ridge rest over night. So also interested to hear what others say about the stuff!
nniff - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

The TI skewers were in the sale and a spot of bling blue to match the bike seemed too good to forego! The wheels come off when I get a flat and once in a blue moon for fettling, so I'm not worried (yet) about longevity. The RS80s come with skewers too, so I'll be awash with the things.

Bib shorts - tried a few pairs on, bent over, winced, and stuck with regular shorts which don't give me any trouble.

So, next silly question - as far as I can see, you can pay anything between £20 and £180 for a pair of shorts.

You only get to find out how good they are after you've bought them, and then you only know if they're better or worse than the last pair.

At the moment I'm at the £45-£50 a pair mark - Pearl Izumi. So, what's a sensible amount to pay for a pair of shorts - £20 or £40 Decathlon, £50 Pearl Izumi, £90 Castelli, £120+ Assos or something else?

It's been complete guesswork so far, but the upper price point seems mental (but I suppose the same goes for all things cycling) - how much can gel and lycra cost to manufacture anyway!
a lakeland climber on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

Worrying about weight of skewers is pointless - they are non-rotating mass so saving 20 grammes on them is virtually irrelevant. Saving 50 grammes on tyres will have more effect but simply having a bad posture on the bike will offset both.

Our club bib shorts are around £60 (made by Giordani). I've other bib shorts by Altura which are about the same price. Both are pretty decent though slightly different fit on the insert - I prefer the Altura. DHB are cheep and fit OK but aren't good for longevity. Try various makes on and see what you like.

ALC
nniff - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to nniff)
>
> Worrying about weight of skewers is pointless


Of course you're absolutely right, but a little bit of bling never did anyone much harm! Carbon AND titanium in one component! A spot of silliness on my part, but I was so far inside my budget, I thought 'why not'.
John Rushby - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

If it's hills that are the issue, as others have said - go light.

I'm a big fan of Zondas - dead light and you can get a set for about £300 then get a Dura Ace block for lightness and as Enty says, the lightest decent tyres you can find.

"affordable" carbons tend to be heavier and only really show the differance on the flat or longer downhills.
In reply to nniff:

> Bib shorts - tried a few pairs on, bent over, winced, and stuck with regular shorts which don't give me any trouble.

That's interesting, surely they must be the wrong size though then? Personally I use big shorts or longs for all my 'serious' cycling. I can live with normal shorts for an hour commuting, but if I'm off for a couple of hours bibs seem so much better.

I know what you mean on cost of shorts though. I had an excellent pair from Decathlon's mid range, comfy and lasted very well, so bought some newer ones. On these the stitching failed on the leg grippers rather soon meaning they would fold down and not grip, and I've found that even hand sewing, let alone machine sewing, lycra is very very hard to do in away that let the material still stretch and doesn't look rubbish!
Ian Black - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff: I've has ksyrium SLs and now on campag neutron ultras which seem to be very good so far for the money. £450 from Ribble. Don't think you'll go far wrong with fulcrum 3s either. I ride 5s on my winter bike and they're pretty good for a low end wheel.
Baron Weasel - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to nniff:

> Finally, how much difference do tyres make?

IME, good tyres are the best value upgrade you can make. Weight saving here has to be worth 20 times the weight saving on the rest of the bike?

I'd like a set of 'good' wheels for my bike at some point when I can afford it.

Need to replace the chain, cassette and chain wheels first though.

Thinking of buying an expensive light weight chain as I think it could also make a big difference. My reasoning for this is that a chain probably has more moving parts than the rest of the bike put together and also it changes direction several times round the gears and derailleurs.

BW


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