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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-06-09, 10:41 PM   #1
radeane
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Why are the wheelsets so burly?

I have a Redline 925 and I noticed that the wheels are incredibly heavy, (to me).

I forget the exact weights but I know the difference between my DA/Open Pro front wheel and my Redline quick release front wheel was 2.2 lbs. Difference, not weight, , meaning my DA/Open Pro weighs in at almost 2lbs, and my Redline front wheel comes in at over 4.2lbs.

Is there any real/legitimate need for all the extra bulk on a fixed gear?

To be fair, the Redline hubs are smooth as glass, but the front wheel alone is over double the weight of my DA/OP wheel. Is there any compelling reason to keep the Redline front wheel on the bike instead of replacing with the DA/OP front wheel?

I'm new to the fixed gear world and I ride my fixed gear bike like a regular road bike. Meaning no curb hopping, no skills to skid or anything like that.

Anyone that can share some insight to a fixed gear newbie is well appreciated.

Thanks much,
-Ron.
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Old 12-06-09, 10:48 PM   #2
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well is the rim heavier of the hub? Cus I find with a heavy wheel you get the whole gyro action happenin' and the bike likes to stay in a straight line easier and seems to make the bike more lax.

And is this with tires or without? It could be the tires that are so much heavier...
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Old 12-06-09, 10:52 PM   #3
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i'm a road rider turned fixed gear so i dont know much about the redline wheels but a da/open pro is a great wheel and will be plenty strong.

my new campy record/dt1.2 front wheel has seen curbs and i'm 175lbs
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Old 12-06-09, 10:58 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure it's because a Dura Ace/Open Pro front wheel is going to cost nearly half what a Redline 925 complete will run you, not to mention that's a very light wheel build to begin with. I wouldn't take it as an example of all fixed gear wheels. I have some wheels that are built from a Formula Low Flange rear/Shimano 600 front with Mavic box-section rims (although I think they may be MA-2s I'm not sure, but they are double-walled, eyeletted, and from the 80's). Fixed gear wheels don't necessarily have to be heavy, but a lot of them are flashy, so they tend to be heavier. I guess it's just a matter of being the sum of their parts.
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Old 12-06-09, 11:00 PM   #5
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Apples to apples - Naked rim and hub on both wheels. I forget if rim strips were installed on either, but that is negligible.
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Old 12-06-09, 11:15 PM   #6
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Older DA/OP front wheels can be had for less than $100 on CL. I'm considering using my lighter front wheel from my road and for the FG bike and looking for a replacement rear wheel. If the weight of the rear wheel rear is anything like the front, (and it is) I can save 4-5lbs just on a wheel upgrade. I'm no card carrying weight weeine, but dropping that kind of weight off your wheels is significant, no? I'm just a little leery of the possible implications of going with a significantly light/lighter weight wheelset.

I've seen formula rear flip flop hubs and alex rims on CL for ~$50. I'm thinking it's a significant upgrade for the price.
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Old 12-06-09, 11:19 PM   #7
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True, I guess I was thinking about the cost of a DA/OP wheel brand new and hand built with nice spokes. You should also consider some of those Open Pro to Formula sets that are readily had on websites like BicycleWheelWarehouse.com, or if you're feeling saucy go to prowheelbuilder.com and have them lace you a set of awesomely wheels that will last you for a long time to come.
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Old 12-07-09, 01:11 AM   #8
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Fixed gear/track wheels are inherently heavier due to using a solid axle instead of a QR. That being said you are comparing a relatively low end stock Redline wheelset to one of the nicest traditional wheels available.
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Old 12-07-09, 01:14 AM   #9
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Because the DA wheel is nicer than the redline one. Don't overthink it.
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Old 12-07-09, 04:58 AM   #10
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I just took the SRAM S-7 internal gear hub'd wheel off my messenger and replaced it with the stock flip/flop wheel I can't believe how light the bike feels now! It's amazing how removing 4.5lbs of wheel off the back of the bike can lighten things up! [/threadjack]
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Old 12-07-09, 06:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radeane View Post
I have a Redline 925 and I noticed that the wheels are incredibly heavy, (to me).

I forget the exact weights but I know the difference between my DA/Open Pro front wheel and my Redline quick release front wheel was 2.2 lbs. Difference, not weight, , meaning my DA/Open Pro weighs in at almost 2lbs, and my Redline front wheel comes in at over 4.2lbs.
Sorry, but there is not a 2+ pound difference between your stock 925 wheel and a DA/Open Pro wheel. Your entire 925 wheelset (front and rear, without tires or cog) should weigh somewhere between 4-4.5 pounds. The weight difference between the two front wheels you mentioned should differ by maybe a hundred grams, but not by pounds. Are your weighing your wheel with the tire on? If you have two dramatically different sized tires, that might account for the weight difference. Usually tire weight is considered separately from wheelweight, because tires are easily changed.

At any rate, to answer your other questions, fgss wheels tend to be heavy for several reasons. (1) Deep heavy rims are fashionable, (2) high flange bolt-on hubs are fashionable, (3) wheels tend to be overbuilt built with straight guage spokes with more spokes than are really necessary. There is no practical need for all the extra weight. In theory, a FG/SS wheelset can be built lighter than a typical road wheel because the wheel is inherently stronger due to the lack of dish. Most cheap track wheelsets weigh on the order of 2000+ gms. You can easily build a 1400-1500 gm wheelset by using a road front hub, butted spokes, reduced numbers of spokes, and a shallow aluminum rim such as an OP or an Aerohead. However this ultra-light wheelset is still going to differ from more typical track wheelsets in weight by barely more than a pound.
Your estimate of a 2.2 pound difference between your two front wheels is erroneous.
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Old 12-08-09, 09:11 AM   #12
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You've been told!
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Old 12-24-09, 10:57 AM   #13
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Armed with my digital camera, a scale, and a day off I set out to show the responders that I know what I am talking about and that weighing and recording a weight outweighs a few stupid comments off the cuff.

Well, I have to eat humble pie! I found out that when I weighed my rim, hanging at the rim end of the spoke, the rim pushed onto the scale hook and thus skewed my results.

After weighing the wheel at a point where there is no interference (where the spoke laces cross), I got unskewed results. Results below and after weighing individual components and cross checking the numbers balance.

Complete Front Wheel
Redline DA/Open Pro Difference

grams lbs grams lbs grams lbs
Wheel 970 2.14 880 1.94 90 0.20
Tire 470 1.04 220 0.48 250 0.55
Tube 140 0.31 70 0.15 70 0.15
Mr. Tuffy 40 0.09 40 0.09 0 0.00


1620 3.57 1210 2.67 410 0.90

The weight difference is the wheelsets is nearly a pound and is mostly due to the Armadillo tire on my fixed gear as opposed to to the Conti 4000S on my DA/Open Pro wheel. Changing the wheel is not going to make a material weight difference in my setup.

A genuine thanks for all helpful responses. You just saved me a couple bucks since I was going shopping Craigslist for a lighter wheelset, (formula hubs and a decent rim)

To the others, ... what can I say.
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Old 12-24-09, 04:28 PM   #14
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well is the rim heavier of the hub? Cus i find with a heavy wheel you get the whole gyro action happenin' and the bike likes to stay in a straight line easier and seems to make the bike more lax.
lolwut
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Old 12-24-09, 04:58 PM   #15
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Lighter wheels will be noticeable when accelerating and when climbing. It has been found that aero wheels, those with rim depths greater than 40mm, will be faster due to lower drag but only at racing speeds. Deeper rims can allow for fewer spokes and these spokes are shorter so there's less wind resistance. A light rider on deep rims is at the mercy of crosswinds, though.

For the vast majority of cyclists, it's more important to have a wheelset with a reasonable number of properly tensioned spokes.

While my road bike has low end Shimano WH-500 wheels, I still manage to ride with cyclists that have $1k wheelsets just fine. On one century ride, I passed two riders who had managed to taco their high end wheels. Why someone weighing 220+ pounds would have a 16 spoke REAR wheel is beyond me. He did get to the finish line ahead me, though. In the broom wagon.
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