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Old 07-31-12, 10:10 AM   #1
mdrew9
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Wheel choice for racing

I'm looking to do some racing and thinking of some upgrades to my bike I ride a caad 9 and I'd like some new wheels. Racing will primarily be crits and fairly flat road courses. Are tubular wheels worth the investment compared to clinchers? If I purchase a tubular wheel I won't train and commute with it and will need to either run my stock shimano rs30s or purchase an additional clincher wheelset. Not sure if it's important but I'm ~185lb looking to be ~170 by the early spring. Currently looking at Boyd, williams, november, psimet. Thank you in advance.
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Old 07-31-12, 10:44 AM   #2
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get something with a rim depth of 41mm
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Old 07-31-12, 11:18 AM   #3
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41mm - subtle.
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Old 07-31-12, 11:26 AM   #4
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buy a set of wheels which you feel confident in, and ones which you will never think about again - then go race them, repeatedly if at all possible.
my advice - don't buy wheels, buy race fees.
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Old 07-31-12, 11:38 AM   #5
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They're all good. Tubulars are generally lighter and faster than clinchers but they cost a hell of a lot more.

Much higher up on my list for a beginning racer are a real bike fit, at least two kits, race fees, transportation, and nutrition.
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Old 07-31-12, 11:52 AM   #6
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Open ****ing Pros.

Especially in cat 4/5 races, you want something that can survive.. don't be the guy on Zipps in cat 5.
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Old 07-31-12, 11:58 AM   #7
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I appreciate the advice! I'll hold off until I move up and have a better idea what I want.
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Old 07-31-12, 12:15 PM   #8
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Open ****ing Pros.

Especially in cat 4/5 races, you want something that can survive.. don't be the guy on Zipps in cat 5.
....or the perpetual cat 4 with PSIMETs.......wait....nvrmnd.............
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Old 07-31-12, 12:19 PM   #9
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Open ****ing Pros.

Especially in cat 4/5 races, you want something that can survive.. don't be the guy on Zipps in cat 5.
Open Pros are not known for surviving based on my experience and many others. They crack around the spoke hole.

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Much higher up on my list for a beginning racer are a real bike fit, at least two kits, race fees, transportation, and nutrition.
And then if you still have moeny left over, coaching and/or powermeter.
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Old 07-31-12, 12:22 PM   #10
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Open ****ing Pros.

Especially in cat 4/5 races, you want something that can survive.. don't be the guy on Zipps in cat 5.
Move along, nothin to see here....
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Old 07-31-12, 12:34 PM   #11
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I paid $250 in entry fees for the last 2 weekends of racing (7 races though). Not including hotel ~$100/2 = $50, gas = $100, food = ~$25, chip = $15, who knows what else. That's about one zipp or so a month I pay to race. This will always be a much better investment than wheels IMO. Keep that in mind. Now a powermeter is a tougher decision.
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Old 07-31-12, 02:51 PM   #12
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Open Pros are not known for surviving based on my experience and many others. They crack around the spoke hole.
So I've heard, but only from fat people.. =]
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Old 07-31-12, 03:11 PM   #13
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You don't need "race wheels" for racing.

If I were you and were in need of new wheels, I'd buy some mid range clinchers on sale and race lots. Entry fees, travel, etc. sucks the budget a big one.
Many a Cat 3 around here don't own race wheels.
Plenty of masters 45+ riders around here own race wheels...

They are nice, but 1k will usually get a starting racer so much more.

Last edited by kindablue; 07-31-12 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 07-31-12, 03:16 PM   #14
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You don't need "race wheels" for racing.

If I were you and were in need of new wheels, I'd buy some mid range clinchers on sale and race lots. Entry fees, travel, etc. sucks the budget a big one.
Many a Cat 3 around here don't own race wheels.
Plenty of masters 45+ riders own race wheels...




They are nice but the 1k spent on them is a very small diminishing return.
Unless there is big money avail. I use 32h handbuilt clinchers for crits.
Decided to use my 404s on a training ride a while back, hit something at 35+ and destroyed a new tubbie, learned that lesson...
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Old 07-31-12, 03:44 PM   #15
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Yep, I've won and lost bunches on 32h aluminum clinchers. I'm sure that nicer wheels would help, but not enough to justify spending the money for myself.
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Old 07-31-12, 03:58 PM   #16
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You don't need "race wheels" for racing.
...
No, you don't, though it is definitely handy to have an extra set of wheels (of some type) with good rubber on them lying around. Use the wheels with good tires for the race; use the wheels you train on in the wheel pit.

The "race" wheels don't have to be anything special. A spare set of 32 spoke clinchers will do just fine.
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Old 07-31-12, 05:04 PM   #17
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I have a pair of Dura Ace C50 tubulars that I bought second hand for ~$1000 and I use them for collegiate B and cat 4 racing. Bombproof wheels, super stiff, crashed them several times and no damage at all (except a little on the skewers). I weigh around 190 and they're my favorite. The 16/20 spoke count worried me for a little, but it's perfectly fine and I'm very hard on my gear. If 50mm is too deep, the C35's are a great alternative.

When I ride them after riding my Aksium training wheels, it's like night and day. I'm probably going to get a pair of the c24 clinchers too since they're also extremely well built and stiff and use them for racing/training.

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Old 07-31-12, 07:59 PM   #18
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OP - you're in Wethersfield. Can you make it to Rentschler Field on Tuesday nights? 6 PM for B race, about 6:45 for A. I'm assuming you already race since you seem to have an idea of what you will be racing. If not then you should start racing now, as soon as possible (but after you've done some smaller group rides to get an idea on how to ride in a group).

Wed nights is the NGX series at Ninigret Park RI - they're so casual there aren't even numbers (at least there weren't last year). Wed night is also the Bethel Summer Series.

I mention the races because you can go watch them and see what others use. You'll be surprised at the wide variety of wheels, and under which riders. The break riders may not have aero wheels and the guys getting shelled may. Etc.

As far as race wheels go my blanket recommendation is to get a really tall light tubular in the rear (70-90mm height), 20 spoke or so. For the front get something similar (60-90mm) for normal condition days and a lower height rim for windy days (30-40?mm). I don't have a solid recommendation for the low profile wheel because I don't have one at this time - I just use my training (clincher) wheels when it's super windy or raining. If I had the option I'd buy a Stinger4 and a Stinger 7 or 9 for the front, sell my Stinger6 set, and buy a Stinger7 or 9 rear. I'd have just the rear wheel plus two fronts.

You can always use an aero rear wheel, in virtually any wind conditions, at almost any speeds. The fastest I ever went in a sprint and on a descent was with a TriSpoke/HED3 rear wheel.

An aero front wheel really helps since the front wheel hits more clean air than the rear. I use a Stinger6 and it's good in pretty much anything. I figure I give a bit away in ideal wind conditions (cross tailwind). My fastest sprint had me using a TriSpoke/HED3 front wheel (with the same in the rear). I don't have proof it's the fastest of wheels but it seems that everyone that does immense amounts of testing returns to the HED3 front wheel for TTs (Wiggins, Armstrong, etc). I've felt that wheel to be the fastest of all the wheels I've ever ridden, but the set I have are heavier and both rims have slight damage. I don't have a taller front wheel else I'd use one.

A less aero front wheel lets you maintain control when it's really gusty or you're going really fast and there's unpredictable wind (like 50 mph on a downhill while being passed by 18 wheelers 5 feet away). When I go out knowing I'll hit 45+ mph descents I purposely fit a low profile front wheel (training clincher). If I had a racing version of one I'd use it in similar conditions, but since I don't I just use the training wheel.

After all that, one thing you'll notice is that the guys really putting the hurt on everyone at the Rent are the CCNS guys. They all ride non-aero Mavic Ksyriums, attached to relatively innocuous Raleigh carbon frames. They usually put in miles before the race, maybe some after, and they really do treat it as just part of a training ride. Yet they regularly crush everyone else. They're proof that the legs make the difference.

Wheels can make a few % points here and there but it won't change the overall profile of the rider. Me using a disk rear and a 90mm front won't make me a time trialer but it'll let me go a few tenths faster for a short period of time. Slapping on some 303s or Stinger4s won't make me climb much better compared to other racers but it may help me knock a few seconds off of a mile long climb. The coarse improvements, the vast ones, come from racing better. This is especially true in flatter courses where gravity is less a factor.

See you out there
cdr
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Old 07-31-12, 08:05 PM   #19
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They're all good. Tubulars are generally lighter and faster than clinchers but they cost a hell of a lot more.

Much higher up on my list for a beginning racer are a real bike fit, at least two kits, race fees, transportation, and nutrition.
+100000

Wheels, IMO, are only a priority if your current set is really heavy or unreliable.

Getting out there and racing should be your first priority. Go enjoy the sport first on what you have and reward yourself if you stay with it. You're 98% of the way there in terms of equipment with a CAAD9.
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Old 07-31-12, 08:36 PM   #20
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So I've heard, but only from fat people.. =]
Big boned people too

As for wheels, I like having dedicated race wheels, but no need to spend big bucks. Waiting for the right deal on used wheels is how I like to go. My bike budget is on the low side compared to many.
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Old 07-31-12, 08:49 PM   #21
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Cdr I don't race but I will likely try to get out on Tuesday in a couple weeks.
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Old 07-31-12, 09:12 PM   #22
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i personally like round wheels over square wheels, so i would advise you get some round wheels
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Old 07-31-12, 10:38 PM   #23
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Buy two discs. and a couple aerospokes.
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Old 08-01-12, 06:01 AM   #24
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Cdr I don't race but I will likely try to get out on Tuesday in a couple weeks.
The Rent series ends August 15th.

My race wheels are Mavic Ksyrium Elite clinchers, GP4000s, Michelin latex tubes. At the Rent I usually run my training wheels, Mavic Aksium Race, Rubino Pro, Giant tubes. I have done pretty well no matter what wheels I am running.
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Old 08-01-12, 06:14 AM   #25
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I'll pipe in and agree with the guys saying not to worry about race wheels...

I picked up a set of 50mm carbon tubulars and yes they ride nicer then my psimet aluminum clincher training wheels, but they have made absolutely no difference in my performance...I'm slow with any wheelset...

I'm one of those masters age riders with some disposable income who ran into an awesome team deal on wheels that I could not refuse
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