I saw Sting open for the Grateful Dead, and all he did was The Police tunes. Honestly, that was exactly what I would want him to do. I saw him ten years later in his island phase and it blew wild monkey chunks.
Any wheel less than 50 mm in depth is a Hot or Not failure just waiting to happen.
"Today me will live in the moment, unless it's unpleasant, then me will eat cookie." -Cookie Monster
I doubt there will ever be unbiased information regarding wheel sets unless someone has devised a blind testing method.
Expectation bias is also a factor.
That said, this is my experience. (mostly subjective conjecture)
My first real bikes were mountain bikes, 26" wheels that proved to be quite durable, and the tire had the most influence on ride characteristics.
My current setup uses 700c wheels with 28mm tires.
The stock wheels I started with were absolute rubbish. Machine built, with low quality cup-cone bearings, mystery metal spokes, and heavy v section 28 hole rims.
The back wheel started breaking spokes, after a few hundred KM. In an effort to try to salvage it, I replaced all of the drive side spokes with high quality stainless spokes, this solved the spoke breakage issue, and lasted about 6000KM until the drive side hub flange cracked, along with multiple hairline stress fractures around rim.
I now ride on my own hand built wheels, using Sheldon brown's instructions. DT spokes, Alex ACE-19 32 hole rims, and novatec hubs. The difference was night and day, the old wheels rode very harshly, yet still had noticeable lateral flex. The hand built wheels are amazingly smooth. On decent pavement I find myself questioning the tire pressure.
I'm not sure if there was much of a weight difference, the new wheels seem to launch a bit better off the line, but with this is probably subjective. More confidence probably means more power applied to the wheel.
My next project will have 26" wheels, I tend to punish my wheels more then most riders I know. I miss bombing down stairs, and jumping curbs etc.
It's really all about the decals. deep wheels with big flashy logos just seem to go faster. That's a true fact. I know because i read it on the interwebs a couple of years ago.
"I tried being reasonable, I didn‘t like it."
"I understand. I just don't care"
My wheelset cost me $100 including the shipping. R501 with R500 rims, R501 hubs, bladed spokes. I doubt I'll get good enough in 2014 where my wheels are holding me back. OP asking about $400 vs $2000? Yeah... I'm not even close to his cheapo wheels. When rims wear out, next wheelset probably Shimano RS31, which cost $200. Oh well.
I would imagine biking is no different than any hobby, diminishing return. Diminishes really fast after some price point. My guess $500... Since can get really great wheels for $500 from wheel warehouse and William's.
Last edited by zymphad; 01-03-14 at 10:04 PM.
whachu talkin bout?
"I tried being reasonable, I didn‘t like it."
"I understand. I just don't care"
Now this part is just my opinion: I expect that you're right that we won't see unbiased, analytical comparisons but not due to the technical difficulty of testing. Because it would be expensive, and I suspect that they'd show less difference than is commonly assumed, hence counter-productive for marketing. Without good marketing reasons there is no motivation to spend what it would take.
I'm still trying to figure out if even, in all situations, a heavier wheelset is necessarily detrimental in hilly routes. Or whether flexier wheels really rob you of power, or impact handling other than in extreme cornering. I know what people say, but people say a lot of things that don't necessarily hold up and that's particularly true of the things they've spent a lot of money for. Like you, I don't hold out much hope for objective testing though.
Do bike shops let you test wheels? I don't see how a biker could possibly determine if it's worth it for him to upgrade from $400 to $2000 wheel if he doesn't ride it for himself. Pretty sure bike parts and your body don't respond to forum posts, you won't magically become faster rider because forum member #2912 says you will be faster on 50mm carbon Zipp blah blah.
- But then not sure how a bike shop could afford to let you test a $2000 wheel and then decide you don't want it. Since any smart shopper wouldn't pay MSRP at a bike shop when you can get the wheel from some online warehouse at 40-70% off on a clearance sale. I know ALL, every single bike shop around here do not make money on bike sales, it's bike repairs and tune ups from weirdos who don't want to buy a bike tool kit for $50 when tune up costs $70... Boggles my mind.
Last edited by zymphad; 01-03-14 at 10:38 PM.
That's why I try to come on places like this and post up what I do. I feel my wheels offer a far better ride than stock and I've found I ride faster on them. If this is pure mental BS…so be it…all I have to go on is the data logs of my rides…and little else. I come on here, state what I've found and how I found it…and some simply demand some lab results and label me a fool. Such is life I guess.
I could make a list of the things I've upgraded…and how as a package they've effected my ride and how they individually have effected my ride. As a whole, I've reduced the weight of my stock bike by 10%…or 1.8lbs off of an originally 18lb setup. That's a good amount, 10% weight reduction on any machine will make a difference. Am I a cat 2 racer now? Nope. Have I better fine tuned my bike to my liking thus enabling me to be happier/more comfortable on the saddle and thus faster? Absolutely.
But then your post is really irrelevant to racing. Comfort and happiness with your purchase is pretty much all you said. Your performance you admit to mental bs.
Be easier to just say buy what you want. Otherwise, I can understand why someone would want you to substantiate your claims with lab tests, not something frivolous like your logs and how you feel.
Though as someone who has no intention of racing, I prefer your posts. Feel, comfort is much more important to me than some BS claims for performance increase. Keep posting your experiences
I tend to try my best to read the OP and their complete question. I saw nothing of racing, or hard statistics so I decided to answer. I feel wheels do make a significant difference in terms of how the bike feels and rides. In my first response, I addressed that and then gave a personal experience.
If many here want lab tests concerning anything piece of gear…they are barking up the wrong tree. All a vast majority here can offer is personal experiences…which are sometimes less frivolous than one might think. You can't measure a psychological effect very easily…and a happy/comfortable rider will perform better than one that is miserable.
I can imagine blindfolded riders.
Reminds me of a (Hans Ray?) video involving monkeys riding a bicycle.
When I really think about it, I bet most non-competitive riders have limiting factors that come into play well before the weight of their wheels.
As Peter white says: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/Wheels.asp
Let's be very clear about something. Rims for racing bikes, such as the Mavic Open Pro and Velocity Aerohead, are made for people who use bicycles in races. That's why they're called racing bikes; because people actually race with them! To be a competitive road racer, you will not want to weigh much more than about 160 lbs. Even at that weight, you'll find yourself at a significant disadvantage in many road races, at least those with any hills. Since the manufacturers of racing rims are aware of this fact, they don't bother making these rims strong enough for 230 lb cyclists, regardless of whether those 230 lb cyclists have the curious notion that it would be a good idea to ride a bike with "racing rims" and 23mm tires.
I have dousing who is a large fella…6' 3", 250+. He keeps wanting to get on my bike for a test ride and I won't let him, he gets all offended. I don't have the heart to tell him he's WAY too large for my equipment.