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Reasons for wheel upgrade?

Old 08-19-16, 06:56 PM
  #26  
cyclodrome
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
OP was talking 'road applications'. Speed. You seem to be fixated with speed. But no, not really. I prefer to think in 'energy expended' or efficiency.

I've ridden many a wheel that wasted a bunch of energy, BUT - properly tune and tension that same wheel and it'll make a butt-load of difference! 36, 32, 40, or 28-spoke is, for the most part, irrelevant. Yes, yes, you have more aero drag with more spokes, I know that. But comparing a 20-spoke 'race wheel' that is improperly tensioned to a 36-spoke that tensioned properly? Guess which one will be faster, 9/10 times!

By that same thought, a properly tensioned set of wheels can make even a heavy 'gas-pipe' frame seem faster than a lighter CrMo, butted CrMo, Al or CF with 'bad wheels'.

A 'good' set of wheels is always the best 'bang-for-the-buck'. Sure, you can cut a half-kilogram of the frame or other components and try to justify the weight savings as the reason for improvement, but a properly-built set of wheels can make or break your riding experience!!!
You say "A properly-tensioned and trued 36-spoke wheel will be within 2% of a 'race' wheel"

Where is the data that proves your assumption?
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Old 08-22-16, 10:08 AM
  #27  
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Many thanks for all the responses.
I did not care about wheels until recently (up until when I could afford to more expensive wheels). So, I'm a newbie in wheel upgrades. It is informative for me to realize that speed is not the main reason for wheel upgrades for many riders.

I've done two upgrades recently on two bikes:
1. Entry level (Fulcrum Racing 7) --> First class (ROL D'Huez)
2. Below entry level (ALX220) --> Medium class (Shimano RS81 C24)

My main purpose of the upgrades was speed, and in both cases, I was about 0.5 ~ 1 mph faster, and I am happy about it. There might have been other factors (reliability, control, ...) but I had not noticed them enough to tell about.
Maybe I can feel the difference if I put back those lower level wheels.
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Old 08-22-16, 01:42 PM
  #28  
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It's hard to describe the difference this upgrade makes, but I really like it. Upgrade to cartridge bearings; they are tight, smooth and "accurate". I was so taken by this, that I bought a Phil Wood BB and I love that too. Life is nicer with great bearings. bk
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Old 08-22-16, 02:29 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
And that all applies to a pro cyclist, who already has an incredibly tuned engine. A pro TT suit is doing nothing for me but making me look ridiculous!
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Old 08-22-16, 03:38 PM
  #30  
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I'm going to upgrade this winter(ish) to get a wider wheel.

Will be going from 17.2mm inside width to 21mm.
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Old 08-22-16, 03:43 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by dingadinga View Post
Other than speed, do people often look at comfort, handling, look, ..., as the main reason for wheel upgrade?
I sold the Vision Metron 55 carbon aero wheels that came on my Cannondale and ordered a set of custom, hand-built wheels (alloy and definitely not aero) from PSIMet.com because I wanted something really comfortable — and I got exactly that.
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Old 08-22-16, 06:32 PM
  #32  
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Reasons I upgraded to new wheelset:

Half the weight of previous set
Deeper rim section
Lower spoke count [Makes adjusting BB7 pad from inboard side much easier through the spokes]
I like the look of straight pull flat bladed spokes
Nice to have a backup wheelset
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Old 08-23-16, 07:48 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by ab antiquo View Post
You can certainly buy speed. To claim that you can't is just silly.


Silly me. I claim that you can't buy speed. It's silly to believe simple truths that have been born out of generations of experience.


I suppose that one can buy an improved fit. One can buy better hub bearings. One can buy better aerodynamic form.


One cannot buy a better engine. That must be built, which was the point of the @fietsbob comment...
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Old 08-23-16, 12:27 PM
  #34  
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I am upgrading the rear wheel of a Trek 720 disc (my main commuter) due to breaking spokes. When I bought the bike from the original owner, I should have done my homework a bit more thoroughly, considering the 720 comes with 24 spoke wheels in all sizes. For a bike designed as a credit card tourer, I assumed it could handle my weight (250 lbs and getting lower) in the largest size, 61cm. Why not scale up the spoke count by size? The last two spokes were just yesterday on my commute home, for a total of five spokes in three weeks now. The twang of the first spoke happened 15 miles from home, followed by the second twang just at the chosen pickup spot. Thankfully the wife agreed to come get me 5 miles from home and met me with "Order a wheel." Took that to heart and ordered it several hours beforehand!

Ordered the wheel from Velocity, which Rivendell uses for their wheel builds last time I checked. 36 spokes with the Chukker rim, so hopefully it will handle my fat rear end. Being a tightwad I am holding off on the front wheel (no spokes yet!). Or may finally try my hand at wheel building with a dynamo hub so I can toss the battery lights. There is another reason for a new wheel, getting back to the topic at hand.
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Old 08-25-16, 05:13 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
One cannot buy a better engine. That must be built, which was the point of the @fietsbob comment...
Of course you can buy a better engine. Is Dr. Michele Ferrari still in business?
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Old 08-29-16, 07:47 AM
  #36  
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Here show my story of speed improvement over different bikes and different wheels:
Schwinn Prelude ($250 bike 15 years ago, about 30lb): 17mph on sprint triathlon
Felt S32 2005 (with stock wheel): 18~19mph on sprint triathlon
Felt S32 2005 (with Shimano RS81 C24)): 19~21mph on sprint/olympic triathlon

Specialized Sports Elite (2004, 3x9 speed, Shimano 105): 19~20mph average on 20~30 mile flat road riding
Bianchi Infinito C2C with stock wheel (Fulcrum Racing 7): 20~21mph average on the same road
Biahchi Infinioto C2C with ROL D'Huez wheel: 21~22mph average on the same road

So, in my case, those wheel upgrades were always for speed and they paid me off. My question is whether I could further improve the speed from first class wheels (ROL D'Huez) to top class wheelsets, like Dura Ace C24 or Fulcrum Racing Zero? My guess is, maybe not as much.
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Old 08-31-16, 02:05 PM
  #37  
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I consider the following in order of importance: 1 wheels & tires, 2 frame, 3 crankset, 4 components. I restore old 80's era Japanese bikes. The first thing to go is the original wheels. Even the cheapo $135 dollar a pair new wheels off Amazon are superior to most of the vintage wheels I encounter.
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Old 08-31-16, 07:07 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by dingadinga View Post
Other than speed, do people often look at comfort, handling, look, ..., as the main reason for wheel upgrade?
My two reasons were
1. Adding a power meter compatible with any pedals and any crankset
2. Adding a dynamo hub so long rides don't require an external USB power pack for my Garmin and headlight battery swaps

What would be expected for intermediate riders (20~22mph avg on flat road) from first class to top class wheelsets?
At that speed range there's about 5-7W between a modern shaped alloy rim and 50mm deep carbon fiber.

That speed takes me about 210W. At that power, an extra 7W gain would yield 1% more speed going from 22.0 MPH to 22.2 MPH.

With 70-80% of bike+rider drag coming from the meat bag on top, that's where your big gains are. An aero jersey which fits is almost as good as a skin suit, and still has pockets. I got a nice previous season Louis Graneau custom program Mondo size sample for $45.

Moving from decent (GP4 Season) to better (GP4000SII) tires can yield 15-20W.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 08-31-16 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 09-08-16, 06:31 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
My two reasons were
1. Adding a power meter compatible with any pedals and any crankset
2. Adding a dynamo hub so long rides don't require an external USB power pack for my Garmin and headlight battery swaps

At that speed range there's about 5-7W between a modern shaped alloy rim and 50mm deep carbon fiber.

That speed takes me about 210W. At that power, an extra 7W gain would yield 1% more speed going from 22.0 MPH to 22.2 MPH.

With 70-80% of bike+rider drag coming from the meat bag on top, that's where your big gains are. An aero jersey which fits is almost as good as a skin suit, and still has pockets. I got a nice previous season Louis Graneau custom program Mondo size sample for $45.

Moving from decent (GP4 Season) to better (GP4000SII) tires can yield 15-20W.
Thanks.
I'll change the tire and work on more aero dynamic jersey and helmet. Then, will continue work on building a better engine.
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Old 09-08-16, 08:54 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
It's hard to describe the difference this upgrade makes, but I really like it. Upgrade to cartridge bearings; they are tight, smooth and "accurate". I was so taken by this, that I bought a Phil Wood BB and I love that too. Life is nicer with great bearings. bk
Congratulations. Best post ^^^^ of the thread. All other posters are too busy shouting down others and chest bumping their semantics.
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Old 09-08-16, 10:55 PM
  #41  
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I don't care about weight or performance much, so for me the main reason I had for replacing my wheels was to replace the crappy stock Giant wheels that kept breaking spokes. I bought a pair of Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels about 3 years ago and they've worked perfectly since then with no spoke issues. They're not light, but they roll well and they're pretty sturdy, which is all I ask for in a wheel set.
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Old 09-09-16, 06:42 PM
  #42  
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I upgraded my 700C wheels to 27" alloys - the brake advantage from the 4mm the rim moves was enough to make it a useful upgrade. Going from 700x25/23 (rear/front) to 27x1 1/4 was a good upgrade in ride too.
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Old 09-09-16, 06:53 PM
  #43  
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My reasons for wheel upgrades were for the bling factor, this is when I was younger, I got a set of Phil Woods because they were the best.

Now I want to get Phil's for the bulletproof touring bling factor. I don't know any other reason that I want them or what better excuse. I haven't had any wheels fail under my Clyde weight, even when touring or under any normal use.
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