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  1. #1
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Informal Reviews on Track Wheels

    In an effort to consolidate some information on the board and to create some threads to reference, I'll start this Track Wheel Review thread.

    I've owned and borrowed several track wheels over the past few years and have some thoughts on them.

    Please add your thoughts and experiences to this thread.

    Velocity Deep V clincher with Velocity/Formula hubs (and the like):
    Pros:
    - Great beginner wheelset for racing and training.
    - Very strong.
    - Even when the beginner graduates to fancy wheels, these will likely remain in the stable as daily training wheels.
    - The bearings are easy for a shop to replace after a few years of service.
    - 32 or 36 spokes on the rear will make a great wheel for sprinters training standing starts.
    - Easy to find online or at a local fixed gear shop for $200 or less. Even cheaper used from ebay or craigslist.
    - Bomb proof
    - Sealed bearings don't require service or attention.
    - Lots of colors
    - Stickers are removable

    Cons:
    - Lots of colors (hahaha)
    - High spoke count will create turbulence and therefore not be very aero.
    - Probably weigh more than others in this list.
    - Track nuts could be replace with Dura Ace nuts

    Conclusion:
    I highly recommend these type wheels for new racers.


    Velocity Deep V clincher laced to Dura Ace 7600 hub:
    Pros:
    - Same as above
    - Higher quality hub with nice bearings and track nuts.
    - Fully serviceable. You can order rebuild kits for it.
    - Stickers are removable

    Cons:
    - The DA hub does sometimes need bearing adjustment. It will get tight to the point of seizing if you don't check it regularly.
    - Ball bearings require maintenance. I keep cone wrenches in my track sack.

    Conclusion:
    The DA hub is just a really nice high quality hub. If you have the extra coin, why not?


    Zipp 404 tubular + DA hubs wheelset
    Pros:
    - Light-sh race wheel
    - DA Hubs
    - Great for racing in windy conditions, especially for lighter riders or ladies that would get blown around using a deeper front wheel like a 808.
    - Spin up quickly
    - Good aero benefits (sorry that I can't quantify this)
    - Zipp hubs are awesome (if you choose to get a stock setup). The axles are removable which is great for packing for travel.
    - Stickers are removable

    Cons:
    - Pricey, but worth it.

    Conclusion:
    Great track race setup either with stock hubs or custom hubs. The stock Zipp hubs are freaking amazing works of art. Probably the best hubs ever. Great for all-around riders. Great for weekly racing. Probably the best bang-for-the-buck aero setup for all-around or endurance riders.


    Zipp 808 Track tubular wheelset
    Pros:
    - REALLY aero. I can feel the air splitting around the front wheel. It was really noticeable on the very first ride even during warmup.
    - Handles really well at high speed and in the turns.
    - Cool sound
    - Very stiff for standing starts.
    - One Aeronautical Engineer and elite national champ says that the 808 track wheelset is just as fast as the 808/disc setup but the rear spins up faster.
    - Stickers are removable
    - Probably the best bang-for-the-buck aero setup for sprinters.


    Cons:
    - Lighter riders will hate the front wheel on a windy day. I'm a huge rider and I've gotten the willies when a gust comes by.
    - Pricey but worth it

    Conclusion:
    Great for weekly racing. Great for big sprinters who lay down lots of torque. Leave the front at home on windy days.


    Zipp 1080 laced to low flange DA hubs (custom build)
    Pros:
    - Very, very aero.
    - The 1080 wheels are as light as the 808.
    - Stickers are removable

    Cons:
    - It's pretty much like riding a front disc. Not fun on outdoor tracks.
    - The walls of the 1080 are thin, which makes them not as stiff and you feel them getting mushy in the turns when you are pulling Gs.
    - Expensive
    - Not for heavier guys. Not for lighter riders riding outdoors either.

    Conclusion:
    This setup isn't popular for a reason. That being said, I watch Dan Holt use the 1080 front with a Zipp 900 disc and win the 2010 Elite Points Race where he spent a lot of time riding solo as he lapped the field. Of course, he's a lighter rider and this was an indoor track.


    Zipp 900 tubular disc
    Pros:
    - Great moderately priced disc.
    - Very stiff and strong.
    - Very resilient. It's solid foam. I've seen several with dents, divots, and dings that work just fine
    - The axle is removable for packing for travel.
    - Great wooosh-whooosh sound!
    - Fast.
    - Andy Coggan has remarked that in his tests, the Zipp 900 with an 808 front is just as fast as the much more expensive Mavic Io/Comete setup.


    Cons:
    - Stickers are not removable (minor gripe)

    Conclusion: Great for weekly racing, time trials, big events. Best bang for the buck disc that I can think of.




    Mavic Ellipse clincher
    :
    Pros:
    - Great double-duty training and weekly race wheel set
    - 20 bladed spokes make the wheels noticeably less turbulent than the training wheels mentioned above.
    - Stickers are removable
    - These are VERY strong despite having only 20 spokes. At 250lbs, I rode a set daily through the streets of Baltimore on a commuter bike. Never had to true them. I know a 300lb guy that did the same on a set.

    Cons:
    - The rear wheel (20 spokes) isn't as stiff for standing starts by big sprinters as a disc or 32 spoke wheel will be. Some may notice some torque twisting.
    - More expensive than a standard track training wheelset. MSRP is $500 when a standard track setup is maybe $200.

    Conclusion:
    This is a GREAT wheelset. If a racer could only afford one wheelset, this is what I'd suggest. Great for weekly racing, too when you want to save the mileage on your fancy race tires on your race wheelset. Good for time trials, too.


    Mavic Io + Comete
    Pros:
    - This is a badass wheelset. When you put these on, you better be flying.
    - The front wheel is fast. Period.
    - The narrow rim bed of the front wheel combined with the right tire feels very nimble.
    - These wheels have been proven to be very strong and resilient, surviving crashes.
    - Stickers are removable
    - Did I mention that these were badass?...because they are.

    Cons:
    - You'll need to bring your big wallet to buy them.
    - Very rare on the used market, and even if they do turn up, you'll likely pay the same or more than a new set of Zipps will cost.
    - Very rare to buy new. Only a handful come into the US every year. I know guys with cash-in-hand that have trouble buying a set.
    - Not for weekly racing. Many people (including pros) save these for very special races. So, as far as actually getting use out of them, this is probably the worst bang-for-the-buck purchase you could make.




    These are just my experiences. Your experiences will probably vary. Please comment and let us know what you think.
    Last edited by carleton; 03-13-12 at 11:12 AM.

  2. #2
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Hell yeah, awesome reviews, thanks Carleton!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Huge thanks for doing this, Carleton.

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    That was quick, thanks!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member kleinboogie's Avatar
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    Where's the like button? Awesome post carleton. Thx.

  6. #6
    Member toasterweasel's Avatar
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    Carleton, big thanks for sharing your vast knowledge

  7. #7
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    No problem, guys. Glad to help.

  8. #8
    JMR
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    I'm guessing you like to remove the stickers from your wheels?!

    Thanks for the review... very interesting. Back's up my choice of training and racing wheelsets which is nice. I ended up going for the Velocity DeepV/DA 7600 hubs for training wheels and Zipp 808/900 Disc for racing.

    JMR

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMR View Post
    I'm guessing you like to remove the stickers from your wheels?!

    Thanks for the review... very interesting. Back's up my choice of training and racing wheelsets which is nice. I ended up going for the Velocity DeepV/DA 7600 hubs for training wheels and Zipp 808/900 Disc for racing.

    JMR

    I'll put the stickers back on when they pay me! Haha!

    I like a clean, minimal look. I hate when manufacturers force you to advertise their product by using non-removable stickers or paint.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Any thoughts on Corima four spokes?

  11. #11
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
    Any thoughts on Corima four spokes?
    Never used one nor do I have any 2nd hand reviews on them.

  12. #12
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    Hed 3 and Specialized Tripsoke

    I lumped these wheels together as they are essentially the same wheel.

    Pros:
    - Hed version is relatively lightweight. Older Specialized models are heavier.
    - Great aerodynamics.
    - Available in a deep version if you want a more aerodynamic wheel.
    - Can be had in carbon tubular, or aluminum hooped clincher versions. Older models also came in aluminum rimmed tubular.
    - Good wheel for light to medium riders on all but the tightest tracks.
    - Uses cartridge bearings, so maintenance/replacement is easy.

    Cons:
    - A little mushy under heavier/stronger riders (190lbs and over, or big sprinter types)
    - Not the lightest option available.
    - Not the strongest wheel available. Have damaged two front wheels in crashes (I weigh 200lbs)
    - G forces on tight tracks cause funky steering in bends.

    Hed Disc
    Pros:
    - Can be found used relatively cheaply.
    - Older models are good for freewheels and track cogs. Just use a bottom bracket lockring for a track cog.
    - Aluminum rimmed. Can easily double duty for road use. Good one disc solution if you can only afford one wheel that needs to do it all.
    - Relatively light as it is hollow and lenticular. Each skin is made of a carbon/foam/carbon sandwich.
    - HUGE valve access hole, no need for elbow adapters.
    - Great for lighter to medium weight riders.
    - Cartridge bearing for ease of maintenance.

    Cons:
    - Relatively flexy compared to most other discs.
    - Design is dated compared to newer options.
    - Not good for bigger/more powerful riders.

    Corima Disc
    Pros:
    - Stiffer than Hed Disc and Zipp 900.
    - Comes in an ultra stiff High Modulus version. Good for bigger/powerful riders or tandems.
    - Durable.

    Cons:
    - If you want to purchase, relatively hard to find.
    - Not the lightest disc out there, but not that much heavier than Zipp.

    Corima 4 Spoke
    Pros:
    - Like the disc, can be had in ultra stiff version.
    - Much stiffer than Hed 3.
    - Proven equipment choice at the World Cup level.
    - Good for outdoor tracks as rim depth in shallower than most composite wheels.
    Cons:
    -Visible mold flash lines. Not a structural problem, but this may bother some.
    - May be too stiff for lighter riders on bumpy tracks.
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

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    Nice taras0000. Thanks for the details!
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for the 4-spoke info, Taras. I know they are burly, and I have the special tandem/sprinter/fat guy version, but does anybody know if they're considered fast? I got mine for a reasonable price, and I can't afford anything else, I'm just curious. And that extra molding flash that you mentioned-- has anyone removed this? Is it safe to do so? Seems like that alone would considerably clean up the aerodynamics of the wheel.

  15. #15
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Thanks, Taras!

  16. #16
    Senior Member kleinboogie's Avatar
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    Thanks Taras. I've been looking at a trispoke for TT as well and it's good info to know their a little mushy. I'll be sure to ride it before purchasing.

  17. #17
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    The Corima 4 spoke is a fast wheel. I've never ridden 808's, 1080's or Io's so I can't compare to them. They are a quick wheel that spins up fast because of the shallower rim depth. As far as the mold flashing being structural, I couldn't tell you for sure. It's not something that I would file off, as the carbon fibers on the seemed to make it's way into the flash to some degree. This could be an optical illusion due to clear coat over the carbon distorting how it looks. I've never taken a file to it, and wouldn't recommend it. If it has any effect on aerodynamics, I thing that it would be negligible. The french national sprint team used to win races all the time with these wheels so they definitely are performers.

    And the mushy Trispoke thing, that's only an issue for large riders, or tight tracks. I think that they are a great first purchase for an aero wheel if you can find them used. Buy an older rear wheel and you can swap out the axles to use as a front wheel, track wheel, or road TT rear. Once up to speed they are really fast, it's just that you'll waste some energy getting there compared to some of the newer wheels.

    My first aero set up that I had was a Trispoke/Hed disc combo. I got the pair of them for $375 total in almost perfect condition. I was a junior who weight 165 lbs and couldn't tell them apart from any of the stronger wheels that I had been borrowing up until I started to get stronger and break 185lbs.

    And remember that no matter what wheels you get the psychological benefit will be greater that the advantage gained through their improved physics. I've gone faster on wheels that have felt slow, and done PB F200's on wire spoke 36's. My fastest Kilo was done with a Trispoke on the front at Rochester Hills. I had an old 404 on the back for that one. The fastest wheel is the one that will match your riding style, events, and facility the best. Enduro's love Trispokes, Sprinters hate em. A Corima on a wide smooth outdoor track is perfect for just about anyone. 32/36 wire spoked Deep V wheels are almost as fast as 808's at FCV. An 808 or 1080 wheelset won't do you any good if the handling aspects of that wheel start to scare you, causing you to hold yourself back. If you know what your goals are and your track, than the info in a thread like this will steer you to your ideal wheel.

    And thanks Carleton for getting the bright idea to start a thread like this. Useful for sure, as I remember wishing I had something like this but dealing with which tires are recommended for certain tracks.
    Last edited by taras0000; 03-21-12 at 01:55 PM. Reason: to thank Carleton!
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

  18. #18
    VeloSIRraptor
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    Well, most the wheels I'd review have already been covered!

    but anyway, here goes-

    Handbuilt Alloy tubulars - these vary based on rims & hubs, but everyone should have a set. Whether for training, using as "miss-n-out" wheels, or backups, these can be had/made cheaply and are the basis for any real quiver of wheels. For your track gear, begin at the beginning people :-)

    Zipp 808 - great wheel, available rather cheaply 2nd hand. I have one, like it, no complaints. (Zipp wheels have never tested as particularly "stiff" in lab tests head-to-head with other wheels, but as a light-weight enduro guy, this is all hear-say to me)

    Hed Disc (full carbon w/ brake track) - agreed with above post, a bit heavy-ish, but easily adaptable between road & track usage. Again, available pretty cheaply & readily 2nd hand.

    Hed Jet 60 - not a track-wheel as-per-say, but on shallower tracks, a decent enough one for light folks. It isn't especially stiff, so folks that flex stuff should probably stay away. That said, for lighter racers who look like noodles (me), it has been great.

    Hed Singer 9 - the newer generation of wide-rimmed wheels doesn't mate up well with narrow 19mm or 21mm tyres, but they feel very fast with 22mm tyres, and they 'spill' wind much better than the older 'V' profile carbon wheels.
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hida Yanra View Post
    Well, most the wheels I'd review have already been covered!

    but anyway, here goes-

    Handbuilt Alloy tubulars - these vary based on rims & hubs, but everyone should have a set. Whether for training, using as "miss-n-out" wheels, or backups, these can be had/made cheaply and are the basis for any real quiver of wheels. For your track gear, begin at the beginning people :-)
    Any rim/hub recommendations? Would this suffice for my first foray into tubulars? http://www.planet-x-usa.com/pPLANET%...ck-Wheels.aspx

    I ride at Bloomer in Rochester MI (200m wood outdoor track), am 37 years old, 2nd year riding/racing at the track, we do mostly scratch / points /miss-n-out, and I hope to learn the Madison this year (practiced a few exchanges last year). I ride a stock Trek T1 with the addition of a 15t cog.

  20. #20
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bh357 View Post
    Any rim/hub recommendations? Would this suffice for my first foray into tubulars? http://www.planet-x-usa.com/pPLANET%...ck-Wheels.aspx

    I ride at Bloomer in Rochester MI (200m wood outdoor track), am 37 years old, 2nd year riding/racing at the track, we do mostly scratch / points /miss-n-out, and I hope to learn the Madison this year (practiced a few exchanges last year). I ride a stock Trek T1 with the addition of a 15t cog.
    Those look great to me.

    I'm not a Madison racer, but I think lateral stiffness is important for those who race that event due to the forces coming at odd angles during exchanges.

  21. #21
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    My Fuji Track Pro 2008 came with Alex Crostini R1.1, 32-hole rims on Formula High flange hubs which have been bomb proof training wheels and fine for starting out racing.

    For front race wheels I currently use either a Zipp 404 or Hed Stinger 90 from my road ITT wheel collection and bolt on skewer. Only limitation in sharing wheels between the track and road is I am using Vittoria Evo CX road tires - a slightly slower compromise indoors compared to a pista tubular shellaced on.

    One rear disc option not yet covered is-

    Zipp Predator/1150/950 Disc

    Pros:

    - Relatively cheap as the two sided track/road hub only takes a road screw on cluster up to 8 speed so most road users have moved on from these. I asked around on a local triathlon forum if anyone had one of these gathering dust in their garage and were willing to sell cheaply. I ended up getting my Zipp Predator gratis!
    -The bearings are press fit sealed bearings readily available.
    - Sealed bearings don't require service or attention.
    -Bomb proof and stiff (can only compare with my Zipp 900 on my road TT bike and cannot fault either wheel).

    Cons:

    - No track axle conversion kits available anymore. I had a friend machine new custom axles out of stainless stock.
    -Old. First started to be made back in 1988! Check the hub is still securely glued to the disc (I have heard of one accident where the glue bond failed causing a crash).
    -Hub can be replaced by Zipp to a new track hub but cost outweighs going with the wheel in the first place. When I looked into this years ago it would have cost $300. Expect this to cost more if the service is still available.

    Conclusion:
    I recommend these wheels for budget conscious endurance racers if you can find one cheaply and have contacts who can turn an axle.
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  22. #22
    Member Pista86's Avatar
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    Carleton the Velocity Deep-V what spokes you recommend Champion or competition spokes? I been checking all the Deep-V for sale online all under $200 come with Champion spokes. would they still be just as stiff?

    I'm 210LB

  23. #23
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pista86 View Post
    Carleton the Velocity Deep-V what spokes you recommend Champion or competition spokes? I been checking all the Deep-V for sale online all under $200 come with Champion spokes. would they still be just as stiff?

    I'm 210LB
    I have no idea.

    Maybe someone else can comment, or maybe ask in Bike Mechanics.

  24. #24
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Has anyone on here given Planet X wheels a try?
    PedalRoom

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  25. #25
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    Right now I have a Mavic Comete rear disk that I only got because I got a deal that I could not pass up. I know the front wheel is even more important. Currently if I were to race tomorrow, I'd have to run the Mavic Ellipse in the front. What would be an affordable best case option for an aero front wheel? Because there's no way I'm spending $3000 or whatever for an io (and I'm not fast enough to justify owning one, anyway). Or is the Ellipse front just fine for now? That's what I sort of suspect.
    "Go out hard. When it hurts... speed up"
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