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Race wheels: Weight vs. Depth

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Race wheels: Weight vs. Depth

Old 10-08-12, 11:42 AM
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umcade
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Race wheels: Weight vs. Depth

Hello,

I apologize if this is a little too 41-ey, but I was wondering if there are any recommendations around here regarding rim weight vs. depth? I will be purchasing some race wheels for myself for next season, and I primarily do flat road races and triathlon. Is there any disadvantage to getting the deepest rims I can afford? (I have been looking at the Boyd C50's and Boyd C85's). Does the difference in depth make up for the additional weight? What would you recommend being more important for flat-ish races when I am around 140 lbs? Should I be concerned about crosswinds?

I'm having trouble finding non-marketing speak to describe how deep rim wheels perform for light folks, any advice is appreciated.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
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Old 10-08-12, 11:50 AM
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C50s seem like the best compromise for depth and handling in crosswinds. At your weight, I'd consider the C85s only for TTs with little to no wind. Several folks on my team race Boyd's and I've yet to hear any complaints.
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Old 10-08-12, 12:08 PM
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A full disc rear is mass-start legal and the weight penalty is more than overcome by the fact that you can hide a quite powerful motor in the hub.
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Old 10-08-12, 12:09 PM
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Serious answer: you won't know until you actually get a pair of wheels out in the crosswinds. I've seen very small riders handle gusty winds just fine on 808's, while big riders find 303's too twitchy in the same conditions.
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Old 10-08-12, 12:11 PM
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Alright, I'll see if I can borrow some equivalent depth wheels and give them a spin
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Old 10-08-12, 12:51 PM
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The wheel rim profile greatly affects how it handles in cross winds.
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Old 10-08-12, 03:58 PM
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I just got off the phone with someone that I regularly talk wheels with. I told him, and I'll say it again here, my ideal wheelset revolves around mid-height 60mm rims, with a taller rear (90) for faster conditions and a shorter front (40?) for super gusty stuff. I may even consider going to a 25-30 mm front. I've accumulated the 60s, the 90, and now am working on the front. The 60s weigh about 1400g, tubulars, so they are light to me.

On the other hand I got a 60/90 clincher set of wheels. They weigh close to 2000 grams. I tried training with them, tried racing with them, and found no real appropriate time to use them. In training I go too slow or want lighter wheels for getting up to speed (sprinting after trucks). In races they're too heavy and kill me when I'm accelerating. I know the numbers say they shouldn't kill me due to weight, I know the aero is supposed to help me, but for the life of me I can't make what the numbers say and what I experience to match. In fact I'm going to sell them as soon as I finish convincing myself not to give them "just one more try" (it's been 2 years since I've been giving them one more chance).

Although I am convinced it's important to train on an aerodynamically similar front wheel as my race wheel I've skipped that and have been training on the HED wide clincher rims (Bastogne wheelset, approx 1600 or 1800g, now called HED Ardennes something-else). I train infrequently enough that most of my riding is on my race wheels in races. If I had a 90mm front race wheel I think I'd want to train on a 90 front, but a (Stinger) 60 is pretty normal.

That's all to say that get the 50s first. The 85s would probably be good for a tri or if you're a solo-off-the-front type road racer. The front wheel is more important aerodynamically so maybe get a used TriSpoke/HED3 front wheel for time trials? I'd even use them in road races, and I used the set I have in crits for many, many years. Bob Mionske (the lawyer guy that used to write a column for Velonews) got the bronze I think in the 1988 Olympic RR on a set of TriSpokes (before HED bought the rights and renamed them HED3).
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Old 10-09-12, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
Bob Mionske (the lawyer guy that used to write a column for Velonews) got the bronze I think in the 1988 Olympic RR on a set of TriSpokes (before HED bought the rights and renamed them HED3).
actually Monskie was 4th place, just like Frankie in '96 and Phinney in '12
ouch
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Old 10-09-12, 05:13 AM
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^ wow, right, ouch. thanks for the correction

I forgot to say that he placed in the road race on the TriSpokes.
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Old 10-09-12, 10:52 AM
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Is going as low as a 38-40 too low?

I'm a little heavier than the OP. My strengths are climbing and sprinting, not soloing off the front. With that in mind and points from carpediemracing's post, I've been leaning away from anything over 60+.

Am I right on this? Is there an advantage going with a 40 over a 50 wheelset?
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Old 10-09-12, 02:47 PM
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To me 40 or 50 is basically the same - both are a bit too low but better than 24 or similar. I know that Zipp etc will argue and say they're as fast as an old 58 etc but I think with aero wheels now the coarse benefit is there with pretty much all the taller wheels. HED I think pointed out that they're not saving a minute over 40k anymore, now they're talking seconds from one wheel to another because even the slow wheels are relatively fast. Of course in a group it's less about aero and more about things like acceleration and tactics. At that point the exact wheel is less important.

I'd still stick with the same formula - 60 mm or so pair of main wheels, under 1400g. Add a tall rear (you can descend as fast as you want on a tall rear wheel - at 135-145 lbs I used to race with a disk rear and a TriSpoke front). I can't find a picture of that set up quickly but I could find a similar set up - this is at a sprint workout at SUNY Purchase NY, the disk rear but with a normal box section front:


Finally add a short front for descents or gusty wind conditions (meaning over 30 mph gusts or over 50 mph descents - until then I'd race a 60 front). My fastest ever descent was with a Zipp 440 rear (58 mm) with a box section front. I was super confident in the bike and broke 65 mph in a tuck on a closed part of a road race course (I was off the back as I got shelled on the first hill).

For road races I'd start with a short front wheel (paired with whatever rear, taller the better) so I could descend at 100% confidently even if I didn't know the descent at all. After riding a 60 mm front on this bike I swapped it out for the Ardennes rim wheel, the 24 mm one. Felt fine, and the 90 rear gave me stability and some sail type speed. The set up as pictured would be a good template, for me, for any ride with very fast descents or gusty wind (like when drafting a truck):

Last edited by carpediemracing; 10-09-12 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 10-09-12, 03:42 PM
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Just got a smokin deal on a set of new tubular Bontrager 5 D3's...really looking forward to riding them.
https://dedhambike.wordpress.com/2012...oton-magazine/
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Old 10-11-12, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by umcade View Post
Alright, I'll see if I can borrow some equivalent depth wheels and give them a spin


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I see what you did there
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