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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 12-03-11, 01:22 PM   #1
GrtSaint72
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Carbon wheels and clydes.

I was just wondering if carbon wheels are out of the question for a 300+ rider. I have a set of Easton EA50 Aero wheels and they are still true after about 1K in miles. I understand that Carbon has an unlimited fatigue life so in theory shouldn't they be stronger and last longer then the aluminum wheels? I hope someone can help with this question cause I have my eye on a set carbon wheels.
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Old 12-03-11, 02:16 PM   #2
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The fatigue life of aluminum depends on the loading applied to it, and you can design for any desired life expectancy, so that isn't really an issue. As far as that goes, it's usually spokes that fail, not rims.

Theoretically, there's no reason you couldn't make carbon wheels to support a 1,000 lb rider. If there's an issue, it's likely to be because anything new and light was likely made as light as possible for racing applications. Ang that would be an issue regardless of whether the product in question was carbon, titanium, or what.
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Old 12-03-11, 03:11 PM   #3
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I hope someone can help with this question cause I have my eye on a set carbon wheels.
Are you planning to buy expensive, well-engineered wheels from someone like Zipp or Reynolds? Or cheap foreign knock-offs?

I'm a big fan of carbon, but if I weighed 300lbs there's no way I'd consider using carbon wheels on a regular basis... especially given how much they cost!
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Old 12-03-11, 03:17 PM   #4
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You should also check closely the specifications of the wheels you have your eye on. Many times the manufacturer lists rider weight limits for their wheel sets, if not, then maybe an email to the company to confirm before laying out your money.

Carbon fibre itself as a material isn't really the issue as much as the design, components, manufacturing process and the intended customer the company is targeting.
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Old 12-03-11, 07:45 PM   #5
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Try a cheap pair of knockoffs, like I did, see how they do. Mine were $700 for a set of 80mm wheels, a far cry from the $2,000+ for some Zipps. I'm at 265#. Wheels have well over 1,000 miles on them. Have never needed to be trued. I'd start using them every day, but for the 80mm: they're sails in any sort of wind. I will be looking into getting some 40-50mm ones built up soon.
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Old 12-03-11, 08:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for the all the replies. The wheels I had my eye on are the Easton EC90 Aero wheels. The web site says they don't have a weight limit for them and they are deep but not zipp808 deep. I'm hoping to split the time using them with the EA50's I already use. Does this sound like a good choice. I pretty much am looking at Easton's cause my EA50 wheels have been rock solid, but if there is better brands for the same price please let me know.
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Old 12-04-11, 10:09 AM   #7
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The web site says they don't have a weight limit for them and they are deep but not zipp808 deep.
Easton wheels don't have weight limits, but they'll freely admit that a heavier rider may notice lots of flex and may need to perform wheel maintenance (e.g. truing) more frequently when using their lighter wheels. At least that's what they told me when I asked about a Clydesdale using their EA90SLX wheels versus the EA90SL...
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Old 12-04-11, 11:06 AM   #8
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I'm only 230 but I run Zipp 404's on my tandem and our weight there is around 350. My race team's mechanic had extensive conversations with an engineer at Zipp about our application and he said that for our weight the 404/505 rim depth was optimum. We wanted to go with the 808 but he was concerned with the spoke angle. He thought that might lead to premature spoke failure. With the 404's I've done two 3000 mile races and the associated training rides (probably around 10,000miles) without a spoke failure. I did break a rim when I hit a pothole at 50+mph. Take that for what it's worth. Good luck with whatever you go with.
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Old 12-04-11, 01:38 PM   #9
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Do you need to shave 1/100th of a second off your trip?

Among the practical problems and cost, it's a solution to a problem
I don't think you have.
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Old 12-04-11, 02:26 PM   #10
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So the 40mm to 50mm rim depth is the ideal for heavier riders it seems. I don't need to shave a 1/100 off my trip. It is purely a want over need situation. I just feel that a deeper wheel will look better on my bike and I haven't found any aluminum wheels that go deeper than 30mm. I would buy a set if I can find them at a good deal to keep cost down.
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Old 12-04-11, 02:38 PM   #11
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I was just wondering if carbon wheels are out of the question for a 300+ rider. I have a set of Easton EA50 Aero wheels and they are still true after about 1K in miles. I understand that Carbon has an unlimited fatigue life so in theory shouldn't they be stronger and last longer then the aluminum wheels? I hope someone can help with this question cause I have my eye on a set carbon wheels.
I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but at 300# are you going to see the benefit of carbon wheels? It's common knowledge that the faster you go, the more benefit you see from carbon wheels. Are you out there running 20+ mph all ride? If not, I doubt you will notice any difference at all (except for the dent in your bank account).

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So the 40mm to 50mm rim depth is the ideal for heavier riders it seems. I don't need to shave a 1/100 off my trip. It is purely a want over need situation. I just feel that a deeper wheel will look better on my bike and I haven't found any aluminum wheels that go deeper than 30mm. I would buy a set if I can find them at a good deal to keep cost down.
Soul makes some 40mm aluminum rims. I have not seen them in person so I don't know much about them. http://bikesoul.com/2009/index.php?o...id=4&Itemid=12
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Old 12-04-11, 03:07 PM   #12
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IAmCosmo- You didn't sound like a jerk but I do average 20mph on my 20-40 mile rides. My speed only dips below 20 on climbs. I'm not interested in any aero benefits cause at my size the bike can be the most aero on the planet, but it's no good if you have a giant sail like me piloting it. I just like the look of the deeper carbon wheels so it's purely a cosmetic issuse. I will look into the soul wheels I didn't know they made an aluminum wheel that deep. Thank you for the suggestion.
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Old 12-05-11, 10:06 AM   #13
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I'm getting very close to getting a pair of carbon wheels. For me, these are going to be every day wheels. Other people have already given a lot of good advice on this. One thing that hasn't come up, is that carbon clinchers have had some issues with heat build up on long descents. Since Clydes have more inertia than other riders, this might be worth thinking about.

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Theoretically, there's no reason you couldn't make carbon wheels to support a 1,000 lb rider. If there's an issue, it's likely to be because anything new and light was likely made as light as possible for racing applications. Ang that would be an issue regardless of whether the product in question was carbon, titanium, or what.
There's a set of carbon fiber wheels that are rated to hold a 1,400 pound rider. They're more expensive than most frames, but they're out there.

Weight isn't typically that important to racers, at least a lot of them. Aerodynamics are, unless the whole course is up hill. Even then, the UCI has a 15 pound (minimum) weight limit; if your bike weighs less than this, you'll have to add ballast under the saddle, so ultralight wheels don't make sense in competitive races.
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Old 12-05-11, 11:45 AM   #14
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So the 40mm to 50mm rim depth is the ideal for heavier riders it seems. I don't need to shave a 1/100 off my trip. It is purely a want over need situation. I just feel that a deeper wheel will look better on my bike and I haven't found any aluminum wheels that go deeper than 30mm. I would buy a set if I can find them at a good deal to keep cost down.
H-Plus SON makes the SL42 Alu rims at 42mm depth. It's their Formation Face rim with a machined sidewall. They're not lightweight, at 1200g/pair, but they're also $150/pair and available in 32 and 36h versions.
Many carbon deep sections run in the $750 and up category, and top out at 28h drilling. Sure, a pair is 300g lighter, but is that worth a 10x price premium?

Velocity makes the B43 Alu rim; 43mm depth and triple wall construction. It's also $75, tips the scales at a beefy 770g (each!) but it comes in drillings all the way up to 48h.
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Old 12-05-11, 06:11 PM   #15
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H-Plus SON makes the SL42 Alu rims at 42mm depth. It's their Formation Face rim with a machined sidewall. They're not lightweight, at 1200g/pair, but they're also $150/pair and available in 32 and 36h versions.
And they look like this...



Cost me right @ $400 to have them built up with 105 hubs. I hit a curb @ 25mph and didnt even phase these puppies.
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Old 12-05-11, 08:20 PM   #16
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I would suggest against it. Also, to the 230lb. guy with Zipp 404s on his tandem: Something is wrong with that. One of my wheelsets is a pair of Clydesdale-specific 404 Max wheelset. Those are rated at a max rider weight of 275 lbs. When I was looking, at carbon wheels, those were rated higher than the others I could find. Most carbon wheels are rated at under 200 lbs. with a few clyde-friendly models- which less than a handful of these even were recommended up to 250. BTW, 404s are race day wheels. They aren't practical for daily riding. There are other carbon wheels- like Easton EC series, that are better suited for daily riding. However, even those are questionable at Clyde's weight IMO. I would think that even if these wheels could handle the weight, any failures would leave you with a voided warranty due to weight limits.
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Old 12-05-11, 09:37 PM   #17
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And they look like this...



Cost me right @ $400 to have them built up with 105 hubs. I hit a curb @ 25mph and didnt even phase these puppies.
Where did you get them?
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Old 12-05-11, 09:58 PM   #18
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...Also, to the 230lb. guy with Zipp 404s on his tandem: Something is wrong with that. One of my wheelsets is a pair of Clydesdale-specific 404 Max wheelset. Those are rated at a max rider weight of 275 lbs....
I don't know what the "rating" was but if you read my whole post you would have read that my race team was sponsored by Zipp and it was their engineer (not salesman) who told us which wheels to use. I don't think they would have put us on wheels that were going to fail. My race team, with eight tandems, has done three RAAMs (two for me) on them plus all the training and pre-race miles. All with only one failure which was mine when I hit a pothole at 50+mph. I destroyed a 30mm aluminum rim in a similar incident.

I also have a set of standard Zipp 404's on my single bike. They've been on there since 2006 including two RAAMs. These wheels aren't as fragile as a lot of people let on. I ride many more miles than your average cyclist in often much worse conditions.

Really the only reason they aren't usually daily riders is that they are expensive. They are no less reliable than any other wheel.
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Old 12-06-11, 10:09 AM   #19
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I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but at 300# are you going to see the benefit of carbon wheels? It's common knowledge that the faster you go, the more benefit you see from carbon wheels.
For the record, you're talking about aerodynamic wheels, not carbon ones. Air resistance goes up with the cube of your speed, so the faster you're going, the bigger the dividend aerodynamics plays. You can make an aero shape out of any material (carbon, metal, wood, ...), and you can make light-weight but not very aero wheels out of carbon fiber. People do. Zipp's 202s buy very little in the way of air resistance, but weigh a feather.
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Old 12-06-11, 12:40 PM   #20
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average 20mph on my 20-40 mile rides. (????)
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Old 12-06-11, 01:01 PM   #21
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Well... it is possible. I do it on fast-paced group training rides in the area
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Old 12-06-11, 04:34 PM   #22
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Yep, quite possible. I've done solo centuries over 20mph and on group rides of 20-40 miles it's relatively easy. Especially if the terrain is cooperative.
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Old 12-06-11, 08:08 PM   #23
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I don't know what the "rating" was but if you read my whole post you would have read that my race team was sponsored by Zipp and it was their engineer (not salesman) who told us which wheels to use. I don't think they would have put us on wheels that were going to fail. My race team, with eight tandems, has done three RAAMs (two for me) on them plus all the training and pre-race miles. All with only one failure which was mine when I hit a pothole at 50+mph. I destroyed a 30mm aluminum rim in a similar incident.

I also have a set of standard Zipp 404's on my single bike. They've been on there since 2006 including two RAAMs. These wheels aren't as fragile as a lot of people let on. I ride many more miles than your average cyclist in often much worse conditions.

Really the only reason they aren't usually daily riders is that they are expensive. They are no less reliable than any other wheel.
I'm not saying that you are wrong in your experience but Zipp claims a max rider weight of 275 lbs. on their 404 Max wheels. I understand that your team is sponsored by them, but it seems odd that they would recommend a wheel for your tandem but not recommend it to others. I was 240 lbs when I bought mine and they are very strong for what they are designed for. However, I was just stating that for everyday wheels, they aren't practical. I had to have my front wheel replaced due to a crack in the rim. That's when I decided to use them as race only wheels. Theirs a local team in my area that are sponsored by Zipp as well. A few of the guys had to replace their wheels because of cracks as well. Maybe you are lucky or we have been unfortunate. I've spoken to quite a few wheelbuilders who say that they are race-day wheels and thatr I would be foolish to ride on them everyday. My other wheelsets? Velocity Deep Vs!!! BTW, I love the Dura Ace rings on the FSA crankset. It looks sweet.
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Old 12-06-11, 10:44 PM   #24
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Those max weight claims are written for lawyers. Just to be clear, the wheels on our tandems are pretty much one-offs. Zipp does not build/sell tandem wheels for the public. That's why they won't recommend it to others. ENVE does though. They are on par with Zipp and they have no weight limits on any of their wheels!

As far as using them for daily use, we may disagree but, I don't find them any less robust or reliable than any of my other wheel sets. The only reason (and it's a good one) to not use them daily is the cost of replacement if you do have an issue. If you trash a set of Deep V's it isn't going to set you back $2500! I think it's a moot point here anyway because the OP wasn't planning on using them daily.

The DA rings do look pretty sweet on the Calfee. They make the bike look as fast as it is!
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Old 12-07-11, 12:04 AM   #25
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Those max weight claims are written for lawyers. Just to be clear, the wheels on our tandems are pretty much one-offs. Zipp does not build/sell tandem wheels for the public. That's why they won't recommend it to others. ENVE does though. They are on par with Zipp and they have no weight limits on any of their wheels!

As far as using them for daily use, we may disagree but, I don't find them any less robust or reliable than any of my other wheel sets. The only reason (and it's a good one) to not use them daily is the cost of replacement if you do have an issue. If you trash a set of Deep V's it isn't going to set you back $2500! I think it's a moot point here anyway because the OP wasn't planning on using them daily.

The DA rings do look pretty sweet on the Calfee. They make the bike look as fast as it is!
You have a point there about max rider weight. Also, Deep Vs are darn near impossible to trash. Outside of a nuclear warhead, they probably can't be destroyed.
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