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  1. #1
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    Seeking Race Wheel Advice - Crit - Short pitchy RR - Mavic CCU vs Enve 3.4's

    First off - I will demo before I buy- I'm actually in the process of Demo'ing currently, looking for opinions

    Background 81 KG (about 180 pounds) Sprinter, peak power ~ 1450, 5s ~ 1350. My 'A' events are going to be crits and flat RR. Cat-3, spend 16-20 hrs a week, raced ~ 15 events last year... prob more this year. Annual miles ~ 7,500. Would prob roll clinchers for charity rides and etc.

    I recently started the quest to get a set of tubulars to race on this year (please do not debate tubs vs clinch) I 'think' I have it narrowed down to a couple of choices.. Budget is a concern, but not the final decision

    Mavic CCU's - I have the chance to purchase a set of Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate at a good price. New in box, LBS deal - full warranty, access to MP3 warranty program, etc. I'm going to ride them for a couple of weeks... but research on the innerwebs is spooky on these... I can't seem to find anyone how hates them! Some reviews start off 'I'm a mavic hater' and end up saying they will never take them off their bike, etc. Data points toward them being a true all around wheel set... Again, for crits I'm not worried about debating the possible areo advantage of an 808... haha. I do know they were 1 pound, 4 ozs LIGHTER than my reynolds assault clinchers... can't wait to ride them, etc. They have a solid rep, many teams riding them, etc. My coach recommended them... but again - I have to pay for them / live with them! haha ( he also works at LBS...) I don't want to list price here, but would value your opinion on what a 'smoking deal' on these would be.

    Enve 3.4's - Another option on the short list is the 3.4's. I can get them new with a chris king rear hub in the $1,600 range (less than the price of rims)with full warranty, etc. Smoking deal but will also take some time to make happen (hope 2-3 weeks). I rode the 6.7's in clincher and loved them, but they 'absorbed' sprint snap and took a little longer to get to speed... I would save $ of the front end and have the lifetime crash replacement on the hoops, they are serviceable and I will be able to pick the hub / spoke selection of the rear (the front is pre-built with a sub 100 gram hub)

    Other options to look at? ~$2K- $3K, want an 'all around' wheel for climbing and gen racing (Again, I'm 180... not planning on winning a queen stage). MUST be stiff...

    Thanks for your time!

  2. #2
    Digging deeper prankster's Avatar
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    No experience with either of them. I heard & read positive reviews about Bontrager Aeolus 5 D3. One of the lightest carbon clinchers in the market. Also, people like Boyd wheels.
    CAAD10
    Baldasian Custom CX

  3. #3
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    Depending on your category I'd look at more aero wheels, especially as you approach Cat 2. Although I'm a one trick pony - my jump - I rarely get to use my jump in crits, and I found that in Cat 2 races sprinters really don't have a place - there are so many breaks that you have to be strong FTP-wise first and then you can use a sprint if you're still around. Even as a 3 usually things are already fast enough before the sprint so I much prefer an aero wheel to a light wheel.

    The year I upgraded to 2 I even went from pretty stiff tubulars to less stiff but more aero tubulars, and I wouldn't change back. I really can switch back - I still own the other wheels, I'm just lending them to a teammate. I've borrowed the front back twice when I had issues with my front just before a race and although I'd like to think I'm not prone to cognitive dissonance it felt like the brake was dragging when I was on the less-aero wheels. Same tires (they were my tires), similar pressure, just different wheels.

    I appreciate a fast jumping wheel, don't get me wrong, but having done my own experiments with a slew of wheels, I found that in aero-ideal conditions (cross tailwind sprint) that the aero wheels offer significantly more top speed. With super light non-aero wheels, or less aero wheels, you accelerate super quickly until you hit the aero wall and then nothing happens. You just can't accelerate. With aero wheels the acceleration keeps going until you hit the faster aero wall, it's like you slipped through the molasses and got a bit more before you got stuck in the molasses again. With aero wheels you have to jump earlier but you can accelerate longer.

    Personally my main wheels are a Stinger 7 front, Stinger 9 rear. I have a pair of Stinger 6s I had previously (used them the year I upgraded to 2) and since I started racing the 7/9 set I really haven't used the 6s, just the front in super gusty conditions. For what it's worth I downgraded to 3 after a year for family stuff and I haven't been riding/racing nearly as much as I used to before we had a kid.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Depending on your category I'd look at more aero wheels, especially as you approach Cat 2. Although I'm a one trick pony - my jump - I rarely get to use my jump in crits, and I found that in Cat 2 races sprinters really don't have a place - there are so many breaks that you have to be strong FTP-wise first and then you can use a sprint if you're still around. Even as a 3 usually things are already fast enough before the sprint so I much prefer an aero wheel to a light wheel.

    The year I upgraded to 2 I even went from pretty stiff tubulars to less stiff but more aero tubulars, and I wouldn't change back. I really can switch back - I still own the other wheels, I'm just lending them to a teammate. I've borrowed the front back twice when I had issues with my front just before a race and although I'd like to think I'm not prone to cognitive dissonance it felt like the brake was dragging when I was on the less-aero wheels. Same tires (they were my tires), similar pressure, just different wheels.

    I appreciate a fast jumping wheel, don't get me wrong, but having done my own experiments with a slew of wheels, I found that in aero-ideal conditions (cross tailwind sprint) that the aero wheels offer significantly more top speed. With super light non-aero wheels, or less aero wheels, you accelerate super quickly until you hit the aero wall and then nothing happens. You just can't accelerate. With aero wheels the acceleration keeps going until you hit the faster aero wall, it's like you slipped through the molasses and got a bit more before you got stuck in the molasses again. With aero wheels you have to jump earlier but you can accelerate longer.

    Personally my main wheels are a Stinger 7 front, Stinger 9 rear. I have a pair of Stinger 6s I had previously (used them the year I upgraded to 2) and since I started racing the 7/9 set I really haven't used the 6s, just the front in super gusty conditions. For what it's worth I downgraded to 3 after a year for family stuff and I haven't been riding/racing nearly as much as I used to before we had a kid.
    Awesome post, thanks. I'm thinking about trying to scrape together the money for something like a set of used 808's or similar. Sounds like I'm thinking in the right direction

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    Quote Originally Posted by misterwaterfall View Post
    Awesome post, thanks. I'm thinking about trying to scrape together the money for something like a set of used 808's or similar. Sounds like I'm thinking in the right direction
    One caution with 808s and similar - I heard that they're more flexible due to the tall rim. I didn't confirm that but I went with a safe choice (to me) and waited for a Stinger 7 to show up in the classifieds instead of buying one of the many (at that time) Stinger 9 front wheels.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Depending on your category I'd look at more aero wheels, especially as you approach Cat 2. Although I'm a one trick pony - my jump - I rarely get to use my jump in crits, and I found that in Cat 2 races sprinters really don't have a place - there are so many breaks that you have to be strong FTP-wise first and then you can use a sprint if you're still around. Even as a 3 usually things are already fast enough before the sprint so I much prefer an aero wheel to a light wheel.

    The year I upgraded to 2 I even went from pretty stiff tubulars to less stiff but more aero tubulars, and I wouldn't change back. I really can switch back - I still own the other wheels, I'm just lending them to a teammate. I've borrowed the front back twice when I had issues with my front just before a race and although I'd like to think I'm not prone to cognitive dissonance it felt like the brake was dragging when I was on the less-aero wheels. Same tires (they were my tires), similar pressure, just different wheels.

    I appreciate a fast jumping wheel, don't get me wrong, but having done my own experiments with a slew of wheels, I found that in aero-ideal conditions (cross tailwind sprint) that the aero wheels offer significantly more top speed. With super light non-aero wheels, or less aero wheels, you accelerate super quickly until you hit the aero wall and then nothing happens. You just can't accelerate. With aero wheels the acceleration keeps going until you hit the faster aero wall, it's like you slipped through the molasses and got a bit more before you got stuck in the molasses again. With aero wheels you have to jump earlier but you can accelerate longer.

    Personally my main wheels are a Stinger 7 front, Stinger 9 rear. I have a pair of Stinger 6s I had previously (used them the year I upgraded to 2) and since I started racing the 7/9 set I really haven't used the 6s, just the front in super gusty conditions. For what it's worth I downgraded to 3 after a year for family stuff and I haven't been riding/racing nearly as much as I used to before we had a kid.
    cat 3 - Funny thing is I actually have the same price option ($1,600) for the enve 6.7's... Talked to a wheel builder that told me if he was strictly making a recommendation for crits, the 6.7's would be the ticket. My 'A' races are crits. I was concerned that the 70mm rear would tax me more with changes in speed... but agree that they would burn less matches to keep that speed... I know pedaling through corners, picking the right wheels, etc. will go a long way... but still saying...

    Thanks for the input...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    One caution with 808s and similar - I heard that they're more flexible due to the tall rim. I didn't confirm that but I went with a safe choice (to me) and waited for a Stinger 7 to show up in the classifieds instead of buying one of the many (at that time) Stinger 9 front wheels.
    I would think wheel flex would be a larger concern for the rear wheel. Am I off base on that? I also have a set of Reynolds DV46's that I could keep using but new stuff is fun.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterwaterfall View Post
    I would think wheel flex would be a larger concern for the rear wheel. Am I off base on that? I also have a set of Reynolds DV46's that I could keep using but new stuff is fun.
    If the rear flexes then the bike squishes around a bit. If anything it improves traction a bit, at least for me since I prefer to run higher pressures (120-130psi for a 160-180 lbs rider). If the front flexes you can't control the front end as well, especially out of the saddle. For me this is a big thing - it's what's driven all my efforts to get my drops down a bit more because with higher drops the front end gets light and it gets really skittish and hard to control. I regularly lift my front wheel, both when doing my initial jump as well as when going over rough surfaces, and a flexible wheel isn't very good when it comes to that stuff.

    When I no longer needed to use Spinergy Rev-Xs to support a friend who worked there, I used a front Specialized TriSpoke (aka HED3) with the Rev-X rear (I still wanted to support my friend but I preferred the TriSpoke front). I found the TriSpoke to be stiffer than the Rev-X. In terms of wind-up I can't tell if the taller wheel is less stiff, but a shorter spoke should be stiffer in terms of wind up and offer less stretch than a similar diameter but longer spoke (aka whatever the spokes are that are on the HEDs). I am aggressive with side-to-side rocking but I don't notice rear wheel flex as much as front wheel flex.

    I came off the DV46s to get the Stingers. If I'd stayed the course with regular width rims I would have gotten the DV66s, a Reynolds KOM for a front for those gusty days, and called it a day. I almost did that but I drank the HED wide rim koolaid and decided to change everything (I just realized that between my life-perspective changing crash and the bike crap I bought immediately after it I spent in the region of $12-13k, mostly on medical but also on 3 sets of HEDs, a custom frame, and camera stuff). My teammate races the DV66s just fine. I think I'd have been okay with either but after 3 years on various tall rims a 66mm tall rim is really an all around type rim if not conservative. By now I'd have thought that the DV46 would be for everything except 55+mph descents, I'd use a 66 or KOM front and some 90mm tall rear. For a rear to match the Reynolds I'd consider any super tall wheel. I used to run a disk wheel - if I had it still I would have used it in conjunction with a tall front wheel.

    I have to say that I was most impressed with the DV46 stiffness, even with the 16/20H wheels I had. I even broke a spoke in a front during a race, did the next hour or so on it, and then placed 7th in the sprint/race in a pretty chaotic to me field sprint. It's the last time I had anyone lean hard on me in a sprint and in that one I got leaned on twice, really hard, for a pretty long time (few seconds each). All on a 15 spoke front DV46. The descent on that loop is maybe 40-45 mph for most laps and could hit 50 mph if you're passing people (like I was).
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Depending on your category I'd look at more aero wheels, especially as you approach Cat 2. Although I'm a one trick pony - my jump - I rarely get to use my jump in crits, and I found that in Cat 2 races sprinters really don't have a place - there are so many breaks that you have to be strong FTP-wise first and then you can use a sprint if you're still around. Even as a 3 usually things are already fast enough before the sprint so I much prefer an aero wheel to a light wheel.

    The year I upgraded to 2 I even went from pretty stiff tubulars to less stiff but more aero tubulars, and I wouldn't change back. I really can switch back - I still own the other wheels, I'm just lending them to a teammate. I've borrowed the front back twice when I had issues with my front just before a race and although I'd like to think I'm not prone to cognitive dissonance it felt like the brake was dragging when I was on the less-aero wheels. Same tires (they were my tires), similar pressure, just different wheels.

    I appreciate a fast jumping wheel, don't get me wrong, but having done my own experiments with a slew of wheels, I found that in aero-ideal conditions (cross tailwind sprint) that the aero wheels offer significantly more top speed. With super light non-aero wheels, or less aero wheels, you accelerate super quickly until you hit the aero wall and then nothing happens. You just can't accelerate. With aero wheels the acceleration keeps going until you hit the faster aero wall, it's like you slipped through the molasses and got a bit more before you got stuck in the molasses again. With aero wheels you have to jump earlier but you can accelerate longer.

    Personally my main wheels are a Stinger 7 front, Stinger 9 rear. I have a pair of Stinger 6s I had previously (used them the year I upgraded to 2) and since I started racing the 7/9 set I really haven't used the 6s, just the front in super gusty conditions. For what it's worth I downgraded to 3 after a year for family stuff and I haven't been riding/racing nearly as much as I used to before we had a kid.
    Keep in mind that CDR gets 99.9% of his CdA from his wheels and 0.1% from his person...so he may have higher sensitivity to wheel aerodynamics than those of us whose handlebars are higher than rim height.

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