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Old 08-26-06, 01:33 PM   #1
Big Paulie
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Can A Wheel/Tube/Tire Be Too Light?

A few thousand miles back I replaced my Araya wheel set with a Sun wheel set, and the new hoops were much lighter. It was fun accellerating from stops and on climbs, but I noticed a lack of stablity at times, especially on descents over rough pavement. (Being a Rivendel, my bike is very stable. But I really dislike any twitchiness, especially on the front end.)

The other day I bought a set of thorn resistant tubes, just to see what kind of flat resistance they offered. Of course, they were much heavier that my standard tubes, and I really felt the weight increase as I rode. However, they were not so bad on long flat sections and descents, where the added stabilty of the weight overcame the sluggish feeling. After a few long rides with the heavy tubes, I'm yearing for something, weight-wise, in between my light tubes and heavy tubes.

Other than for racing or fast group rides, maybe the the ideal wheel weight isn't "the lighter the better," but something in between???

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-26-06, 01:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Big Paulie
A few thousand miles back I replaced my Araya wheel set with a Sun wheel set, and the new hoops were much lighter. It was fun accellerating from stops and on climbs, but I noticed a lack of stablity at times, especially on descents over rough pavement. (Being a Rivendel, my bike is very stable. But I really dislike any twitchiness, especially on the front end.)

The other day I bought a set of thorn resistant tubes, just to see what kind of flat resistance they offered. Of course, they were much heavier that my standard tubes, and I really felt the weight increase as I rode. However, they were not so bad on long flat sections and descents, where the added stabilty of the weight overcame the sluggish feeling. After a few long rides with the heavy tubes, I'm yearing for something, weight-wise, in between my light tubes and heavy tubes.

Other than for racing or fast group rides, maybe the the ideal wheel weight isn't "the lighter the better," but something in between???

Any thoughts?
As far as I am concerned- the lighter the better, providing the lightness does not detract from strength. That is on the wheels. Now on the Tandem- I have a set of Full Downhill spec wheels. Those wheels are solid- as a couple of cars, and trees, and a wall and other riders have found out. Nothing moves them but the weight penalty is horrendous. Effort to get the Tandem moving is heavy but I definitely do not want a wheel that has the remotest chance of folding on me at 40mph+. The stability of the tandem at speed is unbelievable, but that is probably dou to the long wheelbase. It may also be due to the centrifugal force of that weight aswell.
Now on the tyres- I have settled on just a couple of tyres for my use offroad. One for muddy conditions and one for not so muddy conditionss. I have tried others but when you start slipping in corners- so you try different pressure and it works but then squirms in the corners- I have decided that I will stay with the tyres I know.

In fact, one of the tyres I use has proved to be the most popular on our local hills. The other one I keep as a secret weapon for when the conditions suit them, and boy do they work.
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Old 08-26-06, 02:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by stapfam
The stability of the tandem at speed is unbelievable, but that is probably dou to the long wheelbase. It may also be due to the centrifugal force of that weight as well.
Since I am comparing wheel weights on the same bike, which I am very familiar, it must be the increase in centrifugal force that is causing the added stability with heavy tubes.

Thanks for the reply, Stapfam...
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Old 08-26-06, 04:14 PM   #4
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You may find the the extra weight of the tubes did make a real difference in stability, however, my experience has been that light does not have to be twitchy. I've just started using a set of Dura Ace wheels that are lighter than my old wheels. They feel a bit softer, which is probably due to design, spoke selection, etc. However, they are not twitchy at all. Unfortunately, I've also found that the requirements for really good design and build go up with lightness if you want strong, light, reliable, and stable wheels.
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Old 08-27-06, 05:34 AM   #5
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Those Campagnolo Vento wheels I had were LIGHT (bordering on ultra-light, for a person of my substance), but NEVER felt twitchy or flexy at all. I don't know how they did it, but those were the most impressive wheels I've ever ridden!
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Old 08-27-06, 07:43 AM   #6
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Unless a product is made from exotic materials being light
weight can mean "less robust" .

My suggestion is to restore your Riv back to it's orginal configuration as
that is the best enginerring compromise that these well built bikes
offered. In other words......."It wasn't broke so why'd ya hafta
fix it?"
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Old 08-27-06, 08:02 AM   #7
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Why not put your wheel reflectors back on?

Clearly, you need to call Rivendell as well -and let the know that their bikes handle poorly unless you add wheel weights.......

Better yet, post your comments in the "frame builders" forums - they need a good laugh as well........
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