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  1. #1
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    new bike vs a much better wheel set?

    I have a Klein q carbon 2003. I also have Mavic Ksyrium SL ssc wheetsets. My Ave speed on an flat century is 18.4 mph. I did a 4 day ride from Cleveland Ohio to Cincinnati where I ave 17.5. Would I get more bang for the buck with a new bike in the 2000 dollar range or a new wheelset for 900 dollars?

    Thanks

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    It depends. If the new bike is considerably lighter, it would accelerate a bit faster. Also if the handling characteristics allow for higher speed cornering, you may average a faster pace.

    But once you have a bike with about Shimano 105 components, you are probably getting about 95% of the performance you are going to get. A strong rider on a modest bike will outperform an average rider on a top of the line bike. The strongest rider in one large group I rode with rode the cheapest bike of the bunch by a long shot (tiagra) vs the Dura Ace of most of the riders.

    If you want a higher priced bike or the fancier wheels, by all means get them. But I would not expect any major speed improvements. What you might get is a nicer feeling ride.

    My wife bought a high end bike on sale (it was a demo). She loves the bike. But what she loves is the handling.

    By the way, years back, Scientific American had an article on the physics of bicycling. They calculated the top speed bikes powered by a "standard racing cyclist". The standard racing bike had a top speed of 31 mph. The top of the line experimental racing bike had a top speed of 32 mph. Finally, the "perfect" bike which was weightless, had no wind resistance and lost nothing to friction had a top speed of 33 mph. Even modest bikes are pretty amazing machines.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by apesrunner58 View Post
    I have a Klein q carbon 2003. I also have Mavic Ksyrium SL ssc wheetsets. My Ave speed on an flat century is 18.4 mph. I did a 4 day ride from Cleveland Ohio to Cincinnati where I ave 17.5. Would I get more bang for the buck with a new bike in the 2000 dollar range or a new wheelset for 900 dollars?

    Thanks
    Wheels.

    Spend that same $2K on a carbon wheelset, especially tubulars, and you will feel like you have a whole new bike. You'll take off about 500 grams (1 pound) off the wheels. That gives you better acceleration, better climbing.

    I did this about a year and a half ago. Made a huge difference. My bike is a 2007 Lemond (carbon frame) so it was reasonably light and responsive anyhow. What I found was that I could ride longer and my speed up hills went up significantly (like huge). I felt a lot less tired after longer mileage because I'm not pushing that weight around with each revolution of the wheel. I don't think the rims give me much different ride quality, but switching to tubulars did. I also now get, as a side benefit, about 1/6th the flats by going with tubulars. I don't know why that is, but it is. Last year (and consistent with years before) I got about 6 flats per 1000 miles. This year, one.

    j.
    Last edited by JohnJ80; 09-05-11 at 10:10 AM.

  4. #4
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    The Klein Q is still a pretty nice bike. If you buy a whole new bike at $2000 you're unlikely to end up with anything that's much better than what you already have. Buy the wheels.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  5. #5
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    JohnJ80, you do realize that after a comment like that the Flat Fairy has you in his sights now, pack lots of flat repair stuff for the next while.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by overthehillmedi View Post
    JohnJ80, you do realize that after a comment like that the Flat Fairy has you in his sights now, pack lots of flat repair stuff for the next while.
    Dang. You're right. So much for that. Although the goop in the tires might still help.

    j.

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Is the Klein worth a set of $2,000 wheels? I doubt it but what are you going to get for $2,000 in a bike?

    Krysium Elite SL's are a Sub 1500 gramme wheelset that are good. You can improve on them but unless you are into racing-I would not bother. That is a bl**dy good wheelset and it would cost a lot of money to improve on them Fractionally.

    So new bike? For $2k you can get something like a Giant TCR composite with 105 groupset and "A" set of wheels. I have the previous model of that frame and I like it. I would be happy with a new one but not the wheels as supplied.

    So putting your hat on--I could spend the money- which is a lot of money- On a set of wheels that would not be much better than the ones you have now or you could buy a bike that "May" not have the spec of your current bike but would be newer. It most definitely would not have the quality of wheels that you are currently riding.

    I'd go for the bike and put the Krysiums on the new bike and the OM wheels onto the Klein. N+1 but is it what you want.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member TacomaSailor's Avatar
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    More Physics?

    22 pound bike/170 pound rider/23mm tires - NO wind/level ground

    18 mph - 180 watts
    20 mph - 240 watts - that is a 33% increase in effort for 2 mph
    22 mph - 309 watts

    Now a lighter bike (wheels/frame??) 19 pounds- everything else the same

    18 mph - 179 watts
    20 mph - 239 watts
    22 mph - 309 watts

    I'm afraid the physics are against you here - once you get to the speeds you can average - wind resistance increases dramatically (square of speed) and the weight of the bike/rider makes very little difference

    Even when climbing the physics are not encouraging

    Same conditions - 7% grade

    22 pound bike 7 mph - 227 watts
    19 pound bike 7 mph - 225 watts

    new wheels will probably make your current bike a lot more fun to ride but I doubt they will help your average speed

    a new bike will be even more fun to ride - but unless it encourages you to get a lot stronger/more aerobically capable - it won't make you any faster

    I went with new wheels on my Specialized Roubaix and am very glad I made that choice - 'cause I'm probably not going to see much improvement in my cardo ability

  9. #9
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
    I went with new wheels on my Specialized Roubaix and am very glad I made that choice - 'cause I'm probably not going to see much improvement in my cardo ability
    Same route I have taken. Boreas came with Ultegra wheels and they are great. The TCR came with OM wheels and I changed them for Aksiums- Big mistake as they were too stiff for me. Finished up with the hand built wheels to sort the bike out.

    Ultegras are 1640 grammes and the handbuilts are 1650. I could put the lightest wheelset possible on either of these bikes and I would not get any faster.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  10. #10
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Whichever will make you feel more like riding more often, farther and harder, which is how you will get faster.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  11. #11
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    I buy bikes with ever smaller wheels, it seems,
    gone from A 622/700c>559/26">406/20" and > 349/16".

    I was off the back 20 years ago, so y'all go ahead..

  12. #12
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    At slightly above your pricepoint, Williams Wheels get great reviews. I rode a set of demo Zipp 404 carbon clinchers on a century yesterday and the overall ride quality and then the aero benefits above 23mph were quite nice. One thing though, those carbon rims didn't brake very well in the rain. I ride DA 795024CL wheels and I like them also. They certainly aren't as aero as the Zipps but are comfortable and roll well. They can be had from the UK for around $800 (or about 2.5x less than the Zipps). BTW, the Zipp 404s made my SWorks Roubaix feel like a completely new bike. Quite nice!
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  13. #13
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    You have nice wheels. Keep them. You do a lot of miles. Buy a cannondale synapse (hi mod SRAM if budget allows) or another brands "endurance" frames. The bottom bracket is really stiff and the ride smooth (translates to faster) I think you'd appreciate that more than a wheel set that will break or be like putting drag sheets on a porshe

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    Oops. That should read " drag wheels" not drag sheets!

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    Sell your current bike to offset the cost of the new one.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apesrunner58 View Post
    I have a Klein q carbon 2003. I also have Mavic Ksyrium SL ssc wheetsets. My Ave speed on an flat century is 18.4 mph. I did a 4 day ride from Cleveland Ohio to Cincinnati where I ave 17.5. Would I get more bang for the buck with a new bike in the 2000 dollar range or a new wheelset for 900 dollars?

    Thanks
    The biggest place to get better performance is also the cheapest, the motor. Especially if the motor is old, slow, heavy and needs an overhaul. Sure a new bicycle would be nice and so would new wheels, but the performance gain is going to be very small. Unless of course the current bike does not fit, in which case swapping it for one that does, might help a little more. 18.4MPH for a century isn't all that bad. Get a trainer and put some miles on over the winter, so you don't lose the legs and do some hill training in the spring, and you should be able to get that over 20MPH, with the current bike and wheels.

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    This was the original question:

    "Would I get more bang for the buck with a new bike in the 2000 dollar range or a new wheelset for 900 dollars?"

    The answer is simple - new wheels.

    J.

  18. #18
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    I don't think you could do much better than the Ksyrium SL's for $900.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    A lot of good advice has been given. I agree with gtragitt that for $900 you wonít do much better than your current wheels. Tacomasailor's data showing how many more watts are needed to ride at 20mph over 18 mph is telling. Have you considered a power meter? For about $1,300 you could get Kinlin 30mm rims built into a PT wheel set that would be heavier but more aero than your current wheels. I have CF tubular 58 mm wheels and a PT wheel set and frequently Iíll race with the PT wheel set as I donítí find a significant difference in the wheels. Following a training plan using power you could raise your LTHR and be able to ride at a higher mph.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  20. #20
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apesrunner58 View Post
    I have a Klein q carbon 2003. I also have Mavic Ksyrium SL ssc wheetsets. My Ave speed on an flat century is 18.4 mph. I did a 4 day ride from Cleveland Ohio to Cincinnati where I ave 17.5. Would I get more bang for the buck with a new bike in the 2000 dollar range or a new wheelset for 900 dollars?

    Thanks
    Most racers ,car, motorcycle,boat, etc. will work on getting more power outta the engine (for bicycles that engine is YOU) before they pack in the race machine which is what you wanna do.

    WHYY??

    Get yourself in primo shape before your start throwing money around like a drunk sailor!

    Good grief , already.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  21. #21
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Let's get back to the original statement here. You can average 18.4 for a CENTURY and want to go faster? Need I go on?..............

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  22. #22
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    The first money I would spend is on a true pro fit with your current bike. If it really fits you may be able to get some gains from the tweaks the fitter gives you. Even if you buy a new bike the dimensions can be used on the new one so the money is not wasted.

    Go test ride some candidates for replacement. Compare your current ride, darn nice in my book, with the "modern" bikes. You may find lighter and a bit more aero frames and maybe some nicer components but not for $2000. The only thing making me ditch the current bike is that it really does not fit or the ride quality is not what you want. New bike fever is hard to resist but can be done.

    If most of your riding is in the flat lands of Ohio a nice set of carbon clinchers either Sram or Mavic can be had in the $1000 range. No issues with rain with the aluminum brake tracks. No huge weight savings but you would get the aero advantage of a deeper wheel. You may have enough left over from the fit and the carbon clinchers to buy a decent set of lighter weight climbing wheels to round out what you need.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by apesrunner58 View Post
    I have a Klein q carbon 2003. I also have Mavic Ksyrium SL ssc wheetsets. My Ave speed on an flat century is 18.4 mph. I did a 4 day ride from Cleveland Ohio to Cincinnati where I ave 17.5. Would I get more bang for the buck with a new bike in the 2000 dollar range or a new wheelset for 900 dollars?

    Thanks
    Ksyrium SL weighs less than 1500 grams per set and it is unlikely you are going to get a 1000 gram wheelset for another grand. Zips weigh more than Ksyriums but are also more aeriodynamic and they will allow a bit more speed on the flats once you get rolling. Reynolds Carbon clinchers are close to 1800 grams ZIP 808 tubular wheels ar 1500 grams and it is unlikely you will get them for $2,000.00. You might look at Ceramic bearings so the wheel will roll better but the lighest wheelset I have looked at is the American classic Magnesium wheels at 1200 grams. I am still to heavy for them but they are less than 2k. Not saying there are not lighter wheels to be had for 2k. But unlike my friend Stapfam I like stiff wheels. Still I agree if you have 2k to spend get a new frame and switch the wheels. ( to be honest and not to disrupt any n+1 dreams I don't think the problem is the bike or the wheels.)

  24. #24
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with Ksyrium SL wheels. They are very very durable and reasonably light. However, they are the least aero wheels made except for perhaps the Mavic R-Sys. I have a set of Ksyriums that have been rolling for many years. They are a bit harsh riding compared to other wheelsets but if you want a pair that lasts, they are it. Actually the less expensive Ksyriums are more aero than the SLs. Those thick Al spokes don't help. If I rode mainly flat rides, I would be less concerned about weight and more about aero and comfort.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  25. #25
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    Why not do both? Sell the existing bike and get a new CF bike that you want with stock wheels. They purchase a set of deeper section carbon wheels for flat performance rides. If the roads are wet or rough, you ride the stock wheels. Otherwise, you ride the carbon wheels.

    Just to be clear, I assume your century time has a lot of paceline riding which means you ride in turbulent air. Deep section wheels offer advantage when one rides solo or off the front of a paceline. Sitting in at 18 mph is pretty easy and does not take much power. And the wind has to be at an angle for the wheel to offer lower drag. The HED website has a great set of tools to compare different wheels at different wind yaw angles to see the improvement.

    The other factor is control. A deeper section front wheel is harder to control in crosswinds. This is somewhat individualistic and depends on experience and rider weight. A deeper section rear wheel tends to stabilize the bike in cross winds and gusts.

    I own 58 mm deep section carbon wheels (tubies), trispokes and discs. I developed a love hate relationship with the higher performance wheels. They look great and are fast but, IMO, require certain road conditions to allow me to ride them. I will take 3 wheelsets to an event and decide at the start which ones I am going to use depending on the conditions.

    The other place where deep section wheels will not help at all is matching accelerations. In group rides or pacelines, there are typically accelerations for whatever reason. The heavier wheels accelerate more slowly and normally the amount of watts required to match accelerations are in the hundreds not a few that is being saved by a deep section wheel.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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