Hello all! I'm in need of some opinions... I'm building a new set of tubular race wheels for this season at the Colorado Springs velodrome, and I'm sort of at a loss (too many choices!). I found a pretty good deal on some high flange dura ace duplex hubs ($205/pair), and those are what I was thinking of building with, I like the idea of fast gear changes. My problem is I can't decide what to make my priority, weight or aerodynamics. For a light wheel I was looking at the Araya 16 or Mavic reflex, but then I think I might want to try something with a deep cross section (never had that before)... Do any of you have a favorite deep section rim? I've been thinking about the Velocity Pro Elite, but their claimed 560g makes me think twice. I'm not obsessed with weight, but that's pretty freakin heavy... I was also considering the campy pista wheelset, even though it's a bit more that I was originally intending to spend on this set. Oh, and I'm only about 135 lbs, if you think that makes a difference. Anyways, I'd love to hear whatever opinions you've got!
Let me add to that. I'm also looking at some used wheels (Zipps) and I was wondering weather you all think it's a good or bad idea to buy/race on 8 year old carbon rims. They're in great shape, and weren't ridden too much, I just don't know much about the lifespan of carbon rims.
Eight-year-old Zipp track wheels had problems with their hubs. You may want to avoid those.
As for Pro Elite's, they are extremely heavy and while they make a reasonably stiff wheel, they are heavier than they say they are and I've found the tire bed isn't shaped as well as I'd like for typical track tubulars.
How fast are you riding, or what category? Unless you're riding quite fast and winning, a non-aero rim won't necessarily kill your performance. If you're starting out, I'd suggest a classical pair of low-profile tubular rims like the Arayas simply because they are easy to true, durable, comfortable, and you'll always be riding on training wheels more than race wheels anyway.
If, like the rest of us, you just have to have some nice race wheels, I'd actually suggest new Zipp rims on some Phil Wood track hubs. Rich Sawiris, John Dacey, and others can build you a stellar pair of wheels that way and save you money over new Zipps and over most of the alternatives. Get them with the 360 track rim or, if you really want aero, the 808 road rims. I find the 360 has a bit more lateral stiffness which is more important on the track, but the 808s are virtually as aero as a full disc without the wind issue.
I should be start racing with the B's in the next week or so (I'm relatively new to the scene, but I've been doing quite well in the mass starts, and I'm running about 12.2 in my flying 200's), and I'm still on my training clinchers! I like to get off the front and go by myself sometimes, that's why I was wondering about getting onto some aero rims. That, and I like buying new things and looking cool at the track (who doesn't?). I'd love to build up some Zipp rims, but unfortunately I don't think it's in the budget (I'm trying to stay under $700 total). Now that you know a bit more about my situation, what do you think? I'm really leaning towards an aero rim, but I just don't know what's available and worth having (and not over 550 g)...
Aero rims only matter if they're really aero, which means a 45 mm or more profile according to most people who've done wind tunnel studies. That basically means most of your metal aero rims don't qualify. Also, the front wheel is much more important than the rear, so you could consider a deeper aero rim for the front and let the rear wait til later.
However, riders win all the time without aero rims and at your speed and skill they are worth a few watts that you can probably find anyway. They can be a psychological boost but won't necessarily give you enough physical advantage to win. Still, I'd suggest a basic low-profile rear tire for cost, durability, etc., and save for a deep aero carbon rim for the front. You could get a front Zipp on a Phil Wood hub from Rich Sawiris (www.wheelbuilder.com) for under $700 and have accomplished most of what you want. Then get the rear when you've won some prize money to pay for it. Rich is one of the best track wheelbuilders in America.
Yeah, all the reading I've been doing agrees with what you said, 11.4, about needing to go DEEP before it makes a difference. I don't think there's anything that'll quite fit my budget in the 45+mm range (I'd really like to do a front and a rear), so I think I'll just keep my eyes and ears open for somebody selling their old stuff at the track. If I can't find anything good there I'll just built up some light/cheap tubulars with the DA hubs and some mavic or araya rims and train a little harder Does anybody have a preference or warnings about any particular non-aero tubular rims? I like the looks of the araya 16b and the adx-1s, and I imagine the mavic reflex is a good solid rim... Let me know what you think.
One other idea: Check out Nimble Fly wheels. For your weight, they'd work well, they're aero, they're extremely light, and the price is much better than Zipps. Their web site is a mess, but the horse fly is a slightly heavier, tougher rim that can do well in sprints. And you can buy rims separately, though you have to hunt to find them. Then build them up to some Dura Ace hubs or whatever.