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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 05-26-14, 03:22 PM   #1
WISCONS1N
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Wheel upgrade advise

I have Fulcrum Racing 7s which came stock on my Cervelo R3. I haven't had any issues with them but was wondering if I could get any performance gains from upgrading. Any input?
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Old 05-26-14, 07:08 PM   #2
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They are not the lightest so you could shave some weight. The 7's are a good wheels though.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:25 PM   #3
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The biggest performance gains would come from getting deep rims. Switching from your current wheels to 60 mm carbons would give you 0.5 .. 1 mph on flats.
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Old 05-26-14, 08:14 PM   #4
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I have Fulcrum Racing 7s which came stock on my Cervelo R3. I haven't had any issues with them but was wondering if I could get any performance gains from upgrading. Any input?
Are you racing? TTs? Competitive group rides? Triathlons?
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Old 05-27-14, 06:15 AM   #5
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I don't race. I do ride occasionally with a fast group. I mostly ride solo, and the terrain is mostly rolling hills, some are fairly steep, but short. I want to ride more charity rides as well as fast group rides.
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Old 05-27-14, 06:47 AM   #6
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You could definitely shave weight and go more aero, which is about the best anyone can hope to do with their wheels! So yes, performance gains are there to be had.
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Old 05-27-14, 10:09 AM   #7
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Best performance gains is to drop weight and gain fitness. Having new wheels is fun though.
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Old 05-27-14, 10:27 AM   #8
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I have Fulcrum Racing 7s which came stock on my Cervelo R3. I haven't had any issues with them but was wondering if I could get any performance gains from upgrading. Any input?
Not really.
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Old 05-27-14, 11:19 AM   #9
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Your wheels weigh 1750 g. Let's say that you have enough $$$ stashed to buy a wheelset that weighs 1450 g. (Fulcrum Racing 1 clinchers weigh 1485 and they go around $1000, so it's an expensive proposition.) Let's also say that you and the rest of your bike weigh 160 lbs. That upgrade makes you 0.4% lighter. If you could climb a certain hill at 10 mph before, after the upgrade you can do 10.04 mph at the same power.

Now look at this chart. This is an estimate of speed-ups you get by switching from Mavic Open Pro (very similar to your Fulcrum Racing 7's) to Flo 60 (a 60 mm deep wheel with optimized aerodynamics). The chart is made by Flo 60's manufacturer, so you can expect some data fudging, but the magnitude of the effect should be accurate. The chart is showing the effect of one wheel. If you upgrade two wheels, you get double the effect.

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Old 05-27-14, 11:32 AM   #10
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Looking at the chart - 20mph on mavic wheels, if you had two deep dish wheels you can go 21.1mph? That's over a 5% increase in speed. And going from 20 to 21.1mph takes more than 5% effort, so that saves you a bunch of energy over an hour ride. I didn't think it would be that significant.
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Old 05-27-14, 12:31 PM   #11
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The difference between a basic wheel and a good 60 mm aero wheel is about 200 g of drag at 30 mph and yaw angle 10% (I'm using 30 mph because that's the standard testing speed for aero components).

50 grams of drag reduction = 6.5 watts of power savings at 30 mph, scaling as speed cubed. So, Two aero wheels are equal to extra 15 watt at 20 mph.

The chart definitely does some fudging, 15 watt do not translate into 1.1 mph at 20 mph in the real world. For starters, they seem to be using very low numbers for overall aero drag - Cd*A of 3.4 ft^2 is in the ballpark for a time trialist on aero bars, but would be hard to achieve on a road bike. And there's at least one other source of discrepancy. But it's not unreasonable to expect an increase of 0.5 mph.
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