Originally Posted by 701
As part of my ongoing quest to improve my beloved mup8 I'm considering chancing the wheels from 406 to 451 rims.
It's fairly major surgery, involving modifying the brakes and obviously new tyres.
Has anyone tried this? Any thoughts about how significant a change that would be in terms of performance ?
Perhaps you can do another approach, because before you commit to 451 wheels, you need to be aware of one thing.
Larger wheels shine when you use bigger gears. That's right, when you put on 451 wheels, you'll notice that you have about an inch or few inches gears higher. This is nice if you are a really strong rider. Bigger gears means you can go faster and roll better a bit I suppose. This assumes that you won't down shift to maintain your riding cadence. Unfortunately for most people, they do tend to down shift to maintain riding cadence. In the end, it's a zero sum game, meaning that you up the gear inches only to down shift to ride with lower gears resulting in the same speed. Of course, your wallet will be a bit lighter in the end.
If you want to experiment with 451 wheels, may I suggest an intermediate solution instead?
Why not try a pair of Big Apple 406 20" tires, assuming it fits your Mu P8. For no more than $70 a pair, you get a pair of larger wider monster tire. The resulting circumference on this tire on your normal 406 rim will result in a bigger diameter wheel when inflated correctly.
Here's what I noticed with the Big Apples. You do go faster with these compared to the Stelvios with the same high gear I use on the Stelvios. Plus because it is a wider fatter tire, the ride comfort is spectacular (cushy and comfy). Higher pressure on smooth roads and 65psi on rough rural roads.
When you are on the Big Apples, you will notice a slight loss in acceleration, because it is a heavier tire plus a larger tire means it takes more effort to turn compared to a smaller tire like the Stelvio or Durano.
This way, you can be sure you are strong enough rider to justify those 451 wheels. Otherwise, 451 wheels look good, but will do you no good if you don't have the engine to take advantage of them. You don't need any brake extenders for this mod.
Lastly, I had ridden the Bike Friday Pocket Pro extensively in the past and can relay some experiences with 451 wheels, which was why I experimented with Big Apples on the Mu SL and have found a happy medium. The last ride with my friends showed that I could keep up with their carbon Madones and Cannondales within reasons.
Another thing I dislike about the 451 wheels is the limited tire selection than 406.
Hope this helps.