Wheelset Advice Needed!
Hi i have recently taken up cycling last year and this summer have had a go at track riding.
I have done reasonable well it seems and will be competing in the national champs in ireland in september.
The problem is i am riding a Dolan Precursa with very low end wheels, i feel an upgrade is warranted before the competition.
I have a set of zipp 404s on my road bike and have put a bolt on axle on the front so it can be used for the track but i need a rear wheel.
My coach, who is also the national coach (so i trust his opinion) has advised me that i need a very stiff wheel as he feels i might suffer in standing start events if i choose a wheel that is prone to lateral flex as im a 80kg (5ft 5in) ex rugby player with a reasonable amount of 'grunt' off the line.
Im on a budget and am hoping to get something second hand, i was going to buy a second hand zipp 404 road rear and rebuild it but the 32 spoke are hard to come by and my 24 spoke rear on my road bike flexes like hell when i get out of the saddle and put the power down so i feel i may need the track specific rim, any thoughts?
Any other choices i should be considering?
Im pretty new to this so if my fears are unfounded feel free to tell me also!
Thanks in advance
If you are a strong and/or big guy laying down lots of torque, a non-flexing wheel should be a priority, especially if you are doing standing start events like Kilo, Team Sprint, and Match Sprinting (where you jump from low speeds).
So, in your case (and mine as I am a similar rider), a stiff 32 or 36 spoke rear wheel is more valuable than an aero flexy one. Choose a wheel in this order:
Stiff and Aero rear:
- Mavic Comet disc (the standard)
- Zipp Disc (much more popular and easier to find from the road TT scene. Convert it to track.)
- Shimano Pro disc
- Zipp 808 Track rear
- Zipp 404 Track rear
(I'm sure that there are lots of really good lesser known brands out there, but I can't list them all)
Some Zipp discs are convertable to track, but you have to choose carefully: http://www.zipp.com/support/identify/discs.php
Then there are the inexpensive Chinese wheels that are becoming ubiquitous. They are probably fine, but you have to ask and do some research to make sure about the particulars.
Stiff and not Aero rear:
- Strong hand-built or at least hand-tuned 36 spoke wheel combined with your 404 front wheel. This is probably the easiest, fastest, and most cost effective option. Plus you can keep it as your training wheel. Being that fixed gear bikes are so popular, it's really, really easy to find really strong 36 spoke wheels for cheap...even worldwide. I would bet that you could find a strong wheel in your town this weekend.
Remember, of all of the aero components, some say that the rear wheel is the least important and should be purchased last after you've invested in the rest of the kit. This is because the rear wheel is shielded by the seat tube. So, being that you are a new-ish racer, before you buy a disc, I'd make sure that you have a skinsuit, aero booties, and aero helmet first while using a strong, stiff, and responsive 36-spoke rear wheel.
Maybe you can simply borrow a disc one for the week of nationals and spend the rest of the year taking your time to get the perfect wheelset
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thanks for this Carleton, so are you saying a disc would be stiffer than a spoked wheel? how do you find the extra weight in a disc effects the ability to accelerate the wheel? Also how versitile are discs? ie could i use it for the majority of track events eg short scratch races, standing start tt's etc?
do you think my 20 spoke zipp 404 road wheel will do for the track or shud i be looking for a front aswell?
Tony your wheels are well priced but it might cost me alot to get them to the uk, are they of the same stiffness of the likes of zipp? has anyone on this forum bought from you and can give me a quick review?
Borrowing a good wheel is your best bet, if possible!
80kg isn't too heavy. I use 24 spoke wheels in the rear, and that works great (although I am about 5kg under you). A good 24 spoke track wheel can be plenty stiff, but yes a good disk would be optimum.
Yes, a disc would be stiffer. Last season I had a Zipp 900 disc and a Zipp 808 Track rear...the disc was slightly stiffer and instantly responsive, albiet slightly heavier. Having both, I asked my coach at the time which I should use and she said, "Disc. Use the disc." There was no debate to be had on the subject.
Originally Posted by peterbennett9
Last edited by carleton; 07-16-11 at 12:54 AM.
I forgot to answer the other questions.
Originally Posted by peterbennett9
You will use the disc for all events.
Your 404 front is just fine. Make sure you have a nice tire for your track.
ok great info thanks, i think il just quit faffing around looking at wheel rims hubs etc an look for a 2nd hand disc, are all discs stiff? or do you get what you pay for? what brands should i be looking out for, i know mavic and zipp are good but incase something else pops up on ebay. I know it can be a mine field also trying to be sure which discs can be converted for the track too
I'm going to buck the trend here and say that if you have just begun track racing, there's a lot of other stuff to fix before you start worrying about equipment. At last week's races we had a guy place (in P1/2) with a 32-hole spoked rear and a warmup gear (he forgot to change). Yes, the fancy track bits are really cool, but they aren't going to make a significant difference in your world at this time. Something like a Mavic Ellipse would do you very nicely. Some shops also rent fancy wheels, which might be worth checking into. That way you can try before you buy.
The disc vs deep-section debate is rearing its head again, and it's an interesting one. I much prefer my 808 track to my 900 disc, so much so that I'm selling the disc. For me, it changes speeds better and jumps like a dream. The disc rolls better in the longer, faster stuff but being a big, dumb sprinter, I don't do very much of that.
Either way, if it's at all possible to try some things before you buy, that would be ideal. But I'd say key is to get plenty of racing/specific training under your belt, to make the most of the nice track bits.