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  1. #1
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    Could it be the wheels?

    Have any of you ever had one of those days whenever things just seemed to come together? Today was one of those days for me. I had been fighting with goat heads and broken spokes for weeks and finally decided to upgrade my wheels. I replaced my Alexrims DC-19 with some Shimano wheels and flat spokes. The Shimano wheels are quite a bit lighter but I didnít expect them to make a lot of difference. However today instead of feeling like a Rottweiler running with a pack of Foxhounds I felt like the fox. I stayed with the lead riders for the first 25 miles and then started to fade a bit on a long grade. After the road flattened out a bit I started to pull back to the lead group and then I could see we were coming to a short but rather steep hill. I hate hills. Then a miracle happened I caught them just as they reached the top of the hill. Yes I was sucking air and yes I had given it all I had but I was with them and we were about to run down a grade of at least 2 miles. Down hill my weight doesnít cost me like it does on a climb so I managed to catch the two leaders and stayed with them till the next long grade. Yes they started to drop me but I was third getting to the coffee shop and I was on their back wheel pulling into the parking lot. Do I believe they cut me some slack during the ride? Sure but I still felt like great at the end of the ride. Could it be the wheels?

  2. #2
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    Oh, I hope so. My new wheels (Neuvations) are being shipped Monday. I have been riding on mis-matched rims for a year.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
    '96 Giant ATX 760 MTB
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo Slim View Post
    Oh, I hope so. My new wheels (Neuvations) are being shipped Monday. I have been riding on mis-matched rims for a year.
    Well I don't know about you but my new wheels felt more responsive. Mine look a lot like the Neuvation Areo SL3 or 2 I donít remember which. Anyway one of our Club riders has the SLs and he loves them.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Velo Fellow's Avatar
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    No, it probably wasn't solely the wheels. It was largely you thinking it was the wheels because you weren't having faith in you. A few more rides, when the novelty of the new wheels wears away, you'll give proper credit to yourself, which in turn may cause you to go a bit faster, and because you're going faster, you will no doubt get the training advantage of going a little bit faster still. So, only indirectly was it the wheels that made you faster, but now you can take over and simply make yourself faster.

    There is mechanical advantage in the wheels, but no magic. Not to be trite, but the magic is in you, Robert Foster.

  5. #5
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    Thanks to the insight Velo Fello. The wheels do feel more responsive but I knew they weren’t the whole reason the ride went so well. One of the bigger factors was knowing the route. Normally when I see a hill I just grind it out but I felt I had enough to make this one. But it has given me a shot in the arm.

    Bob

  6. #6
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    My lighter wheels are on my lighter bike - so yes, it seems faster. I've also noticed a huge difference with better quality tires. The higher thread count - 120+ compared to 30 or 60 makes a nicer ride.
    Korval is Ships
    See my Hyperlite 411 it's the photo model on OutRiderUSA web page

  7. #7
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I'm a great believer in wheels do make a difference. I've got three sets of wheels that I can use on my favorite road bike, and the lighter ones do make climbing easier and my times just a bit faster. However, I don't use them the most. Probably because I'm not a small rider and the lighter wheels have a much lower spoke count, they are not as reliable as my favorite wheels (Mavic Open Pros on Ultegra hubs). They are out of true more frequently and I seem to break spokes more often. Additionally, they are stiffer and less comfortable on long rides.

    So, I think there may be some "they're new" impact on your perception, but they probably to make a wee bit of a difference all on their own.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Don't know what the stock wheels on your bike were- but OM wheels are not that good.

    Any one that knows me and my bikes will know that I pay a lot of attention to the wheels. Most of this experience was gained on MTB's but ALL of my Mountain bike wheels are hand built. The only exception is a pair of Mavic crossrides that were stripped and rebuilt by my wheelbuilder. So XT hubs and Mavic 217rims- XTR hubs and 217 rims- The Mavic crossrides and a pair of XT hubs and heavier freeride rims for winter use. All Hand built (Or rebuilt) and all in good condition.

    On the road bike- 6 months after I bought the OCR3- I thought I had made a mistake in getting it. I have a hill that I start at the top freewheeling and on the OM wheels on the OCR-I got 30 mph and the curve half way down was a bit hairy. Problem is that on the MTB with Knobblies on- I get 37mph and the curve is a bit more lean over. Had a chat with my LBS and they loaned me a pair of Krysiums. Don't know the variety but they changed the bike. Had a chat with the mechanic and he built me a pair of 105 hubs- 36 DB spokes and Mavic CXP rims. They transformed the bike and it became a good bike.

    Boreas came with a pair of rebuilt Shimano Ultegra wheels and I just accepted them as being good. Then the TCR came with Mavic Aksiums But I was not impressed. Changed the wheels to the Ultegras and a bit better but finally I put the Handbuilts on it and that works. So do the Aksiums now as they are the winter wheel and I got the mechanic to sort them.

    To me- wheels are the best upgrade you can get. Even if you can't afford the "Named" wheels- A pair of Handbuilts just as good. And they will not be as expensive.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  9. #9
    Senior Member Velo Fellow's Avatar
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    I am also a believer in quality wheels....although spending excessively for something beyond time-trialing only buys a disproportionate margin of improvement. I've settled on Open PRos handbuilt and Ultegra hubs as being the ideal balance for me of comfort, durability, responsiveness, and value. Low spoke count, radially spoked wheels aren't comfortable enough nor dependable enough for the sometimes crappy country roads I ride. Then comes the question of tires!

    That cycling is 75% mental and 50% physical/mechanical is another issue....but the OP should be proud of himself for his efforts and improvement more than just his wisdom in buying better wheels.

  10. #10
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    I had the same thing happen when I first put lighter weight and more aero wheels on my bike. It felt great. And yes, the novelty wore off and there are days when my legs feel like lead. Overall though they improved my outlook and made me ride harder, which in turn made me faster.

  11. #11
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    I guess I am still at that point where every improvement is more noticable to me and I am just more surprised when things just seem to come together like the ride I described.

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