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  1. #1
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Best type of wheels for racing?

    What are the best type of wheels for racing?

    Deep carbon tubulars?
    Superlight shallow carbon tubulars?
    Deep carbon clinchers?
    Superlight shallow rim clinchers?
    Something in-between?

    I know that it depends on the kind of racing, so I’ll be more specific.

    Which type of wheel is best for bridging up to a breakaway at around 30 mph?
    Which type of wheel is best for sustaining a breakaway going 27 mph?

    We have 4 factors that effect wheel performance –
    1) Weight, probably the least important for most riding, but most focused on property of a wheel. Important when accelerating or climbing
    2) Aerodynamic profile. We all know that 50mm is way better than a standard box rim, but how much better is it than a 30mm rim profile? (How many watts does this save?)
    3) Rolling resistance – if it’s really true that you can save 5W or more per wheel with good clincher tires/tubes why would anyone ever use tubulars? Saving 400g in a 72,000 gram system is only one half of one percent. Saving 10 W for someone who averages 300W in a race is over 3%!
    4) Wheel bearing resistance - Ceramic bearings. How much do these help?

    Forgive me if this has all been asked before (I’m sure it has), but it’s hard to find it all in one place.

    Opinions?

  2. #2
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    Zipp 303 clinchers with Mich. ProRace 2 tires = the answer to all your questions.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Buy me one of each and I will let you know which is the best.

  4. #4
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
    Buy me one of each and I will let you know which is the best.
    If I had the money to buy one of each I could test them all myself

    I currently race on Zipp 303 tubulars that I bought "slightly" used for $700, but the front one has a problem with the hub and the rear one cracked at sea otter circuit race (super smooth racing surface!) and has been sent back to Zipp to be replaced for about $350 (plus I'll have to re-glue the tire, may as well just put a new one on). That's the last time I buy used wheels from someone I don't know! 70 miles my a$$!!!

    I'd definitely prefer to go with clinchers in the future, even if it means an extra 300-400g.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pizza Man
    If I had the money to buy one of each I could test them all myself

    Perhaps, but then think of all the time we can save you plus all the goodwill you would
    generate by giving out free stuff. lol.


    I personally think you should buy the heaviest and least aero wheels you can possibly find.
    While you are at it, change to a singlespeed. I mean come on man, give the rest of the CAT2
    men a chance here!!!

  6. #6
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    Any wheels in the $200+ range. Sew ups are probably best for criteriums because of their superior grip in the corners.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

  7. #7
    Now Racer Ex Vinokurtov's Avatar
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    Given your parameters, I'd look at what the best pro breakaway/bridger in the peleton is using. What would Jens use?

    58mm carbon tubulars.

    The dullard "they just ride what they are given" folks aside, with as much on the line as TDF stars have, as much as the teams and companies have invested in their success, the cream is going to rise to the top and if you can win a 200km stage on a break (or a classic) then you'd be somewhat safe in assuming this stuff works pretty OK.

    And using my Nostrodamus-like abilities to predict future responses, I'll add my two cents before they come in:

    1) Anything that improves performance, improves performance, fractionally or otherwise. Given the folks we have to race against, I'm for anything that will help me. If ceramic bearings give me a watt, I'll take it. Something will save 200 grams? I'll take it. All others things being equal, lighter and faster is always better. We're dealing fractions out among the best master's riders in the country.

    2) The whole tubular vs. clincher rolling resistance issue is not very well researched because of the number of variables. Yes, most studies show the lowest RR at the same inflation pressure to come from a couple of brands of clinchers. Yet tubulars are rated to much higher inflation pressures, and when (in the case of what supposedly is the worst RR tubular out there, Tufo) they are inflated higher, those differences become very small.

    And yes, one study supposed 120 PSI as the magic number at which tires actually increase RR, based on some horribly flawed reasoning from a physics standpoint, as if at 121 PSI the world breaks apart. This was not backed up by several other studies BTW.

    And there's the flatting issue. Tubulars tend to be better. BTW I just got some of the new Conti Competitions with Vectran to try at Mt. Hood. NICE tire and at 241g for the 22mm version, I'm thinking I might have a new fave.

    The only real downside to a 58 tubular is if you're racing on a really windy day, depending on the wind angle they can actually make you a bit slower, and definitely more wobbly. And they are a touch heavier.
    Last edited by Vinokurtov; 05-17-07 at 09:08 AM.
    "I may not be as strong as I think I am, but I know many tricks, and I have resolution" - Santiago

  8. #8
    Senior Member bvfrompc's Avatar
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    There was a guy on BF that did both an exhaustive secondary research summary and then did a real world test himself, found that the Zipps 404 were the best wheels in the entire world. can't remember his name, parent, patently, something like that.

  9. #9
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    PizzaMan - from reading your posts, you're race specific strenths are being a mad climber and a proficient attacker/breakaway threat. Given that, I can't imagine a better all around wheel for you than the Zipp 303, which gives an aero rim along with silly low weight. I ride the clincher with Mich PR 2s, dimpled, but no ceramic bearings. I think they friggin' rock.

    Circumstantial, but I've been able to bridge to breakaways with them at the speeds your question poses, and anytime I do intervals with them I'm faster than with the normal wheels I use for training (either velomax orion IIs or campy scirocco).

    The tubies save you nearly a # over the clincher version, which sounds perfect your race specific strengths. I would have gone with tubie, but I dont do much in the way of races with sustained climbing (ours are more punchy power type climbs), am too inept to glue a tire on, and didnt want the variability in braking that comes with an all carbon rim vs. aluminum braking surface.

  10. #10
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    I have a teammate who consistently places in nationals, and he says without a doubt if you only had one set of wheels to race on for crits, RR, TT, hilly, flat, windy, bumpy, or otherwise, go with Zipp 404's. Ceramics? Sure they would be nice, but bang-for-buck-wise? Standard 404's (if you are going to be rough on them, consider Pave rims which are abour 4oz heavier). But For bridging to a breakaway, and sustaining a breakaway? I do a LOT of both, and the 404s are the way to go.

  11. #11
    Ink-Stained Wretch pinky's Avatar
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    Bonty Aeolus 6.5s, probably as aero if not moreso than 404s, and I'm more inclined to trust the durability of the Bonty's over Zipp. That said my top choice would the Dura Ace Carbon 50s, but I would have an additional criteria of durability for race wheels.

  12. #12
    Senior Member?
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    I wonder why people don't talk about HED wheels here more often?

    On paper (or internet) they seem as good as zipps but cheaper.

    thoughts?

  13. #13
    Race to train jrennie's Avatar
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    on paper the AC's are as good and MUCH cheaper. Also, the veloflex tubulars are .1 watt behind the pr2's in rolling resistance. I'll give up that .1w for no pintch flats and lighter rims.

  14. #14
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    AC = american classic? Do they have a weight limit? I have no real knowledge but i've read on BF that AC's are bad for heavy riders and wear down quickly and have hubs that need lots of attention.

    Also, only zipps and HED carbon wheels are toroidal. I'm not sure how much better the shape is, but it is supposed to be better.

  15. #15
    Now Racer Ex Vinokurtov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianappleby
    AC = american classic? Do they have a weight limit? I have no real knowledge but i've read on BF that AC's are bad for heavy riders and wear down quickly and have hubs that need lots of attention.
    The AC carbons are rebranded old style (no dimps) Zipps on AC hubs. Same weight limit as Zipp I would presume.

    I've owned a bunch of AC hubbed wheels and haven't ever had an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrennie
    on paper the AC's are as good and MUCH cheaper. Also, the veloflex tubulars are .1 watt behind the pr2's in rolling resistance. I'll give up that .1w for no pintch flats and lighter rims.
    The new Conti/Vectran's are supposed to be comparable. Check 'em out when you're over next time.
    "I may not be as strong as I think I am, but I know many tricks, and I have resolution" - Santiago

  16. #16
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
    The AC carbons are rebranded old style (no dimps) Zipps on AC hubs. Same weight limit as Zipp I would presume.

    I've owned a bunch of AC hubbed wheels and haven't ever had an issue.



    The new Conti/Vectran's are supposed to be comparable. Check 'em out when you're over next time.
    Hey Vino,

    I think there is a math error in your profile. Cat-2-ometer at 248% ? Isn't it more like 30000%? lol.
    Not too give you too hard a time though...sounds like you are having an awesome season.

    Between you, Pizza-Man and DrWJO, I think you guys have a few extra watts. Give me some. please.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianappleby
    I wonder why people don't talk about HED wheels here more often?

    On paper (or internet) they seem as good as zipps but cheaper.

    thoughts?
    Everyone I know who has purchased spoked wheels from HED has had to send them back as they were a mess on delivery (way out of true, cracks, stuff like that). The LBS that sponsors my team doesnt even want to sell spoked wheels from HED for this reason. OTOH, the HED tri-spoke or whatever they're called are reputed to be very nice.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ronbridal's Avatar
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    With all the talk about deep dish carbon tubulars I also have to throw the Reynolds DV46 into the mix. They are pegged as my "gift" to myself if I am able to get out of the 4's this year. My luck is leaning that way at this moment so I am beginning to set some money to the side each month At $1,750 they are competitively priced and will probably perform well like their predecessor, the Stratus DV.

  19. #19
    Senior Member sverrefehn's Avatar
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    I'll add another nod for the Reynolds wheels. They were the precursors for the Lew wheels and have a lot of the same durability properties that Lew is purported to have.

  20. #20
    Now Racer Ex Vinokurtov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
    Hey Vino,

    I think there is a math error in your profile. Cat-2-ometer at 248% ? Isn't it more like 30000%? lol.
    Not too give you too hard a time though...sounds like you are having an awesome season.

    Between you, Pizza-Man and DrWJO, I think you guys have a few extra watts. Give me some. please.
    I'll have some to spare this weekend. Sending them over in a .zip file. Use them well.

    Big fan of the Reynolds Stratus (DV46) BTW, been racing on them for several years.
    "I may not be as strong as I think I am, but I know many tricks, and I have resolution" - Santiago

  21. #21
    Killing Rabbits
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    Should you choose wheels that enhance your strengths or your reduce your weaknesses? Consider a awesome climber who is weak at TT, does he use a ultra light wheel or super aero one during a long rolling RR? Can wheel selection “normalize abilities” in that the climber could choose to weaken his climb by using a heavier aero wheel because he is such a good climber already so the change still works better for him?

    A person with a huge FTP but a crappy sprint may want the ultra-light quick-accelerating wheel even with a ding on the whole race equation?

  22. #22
    it's your bicycle bells popdelusions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
    The new Conti/Vectran's are supposed to be comparable. Check 'em out when you're over next time.
    Very curious about this. Are there Sprinters for 2007 with the Vectran breaker strip? I've only seen Competitions so far.

  23. #23
    Now Racer Ex Vinokurtov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by popdelusions
    Very curious about this. Are there Sprinters for 2007 with the Vectran breaker strip? I've only seen Competitions so far.
    Arg. I meant Comps. Using my super powers, I've gone back in time and corrected that misstatement.
    "I may not be as strong as I think I am, but I know many tricks, and I have resolution" - Santiago

  24. #24
    it's your bicycle bells popdelusions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
    Arg. I meant Comps. Using my super powers, I've gone back in time and corrected that misstatement.

    Oh well...a man can dream. I'd been hoping they might be propagating that feature down to the lower price point!

  25. #25
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Have I mentioned my personal preference for the Zipp 404 tubulars yet?

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