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Question about road wheels

Old 01-24-19, 10:31 PM
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Question about road wheels

Hi all, I'm a recreational road cyclist with a 2 year old carbon frame $2500 bike that I'm happy with. I live in Colorado and ride a mix of steep climbs and flatter/hillier terrain. Looking to upgrade the crappy stock wheels to something carbon. I've read Zipp firecrest 303 is a good all-around option, any thoughts on this and any other recommendations? Thanks!
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Old 01-25-19, 04:02 AM
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I would love to recommend these wheels which are 1357g, ICAN 2019 Aero series
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Old 01-25-19, 04:43 AM
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for climbing wheels I would go with a light weight aluminum not Carbon wheels unless you have disc brakes. Dura Ace C24s would be great for where you live I think. Carbon wheels can be a bit of a problem for long periods of braking on steep descents.
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Old 01-25-19, 08:24 AM
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Tubular will get you the lightest weight wheelset. If that matters to you.
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Old 01-25-19, 09:40 AM
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I wouldn't put that much money into wheels for a $2500 bike. I'd stick with a reasonably light aluminum rims. I've had good luck with Campy and Fulcrum wheels - they can be had with Shimano compatible rear hubs. I ride the same type of terrain in the Loveland/Fort Collins/ Estes Park areas. I just built a new Colnago with Campy Chorus and used Zonda wheels that are a good bang for the buck. The bike ended up weighing 16 lbs, 10 ounces with pedals, 2 cages and the computer. Not ultra light, but I've got Colnago's cheapest frame.

I've lived in Colorado since 2003 and ridden a lot of mountains, including Mt. Evans, 6 times. When you're doing a big climb like that, you'll never notice the difference, having really high-buck wheels.

Here's an example of a decent wheel for the price:

Last edited by DaveSSS; 01-25-19 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 01-25-19, 12:05 PM
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Lots of things to consider when upgrading wheels. First steep descents and carbon clinchers can lead to problems, especially if you are not very confident descending and ride the brakes or have some technical descents require frequent hard braking. The resin used to make the rims can reach the transition temperature to glass meaning it gets soft causing deformation or delamination of the rim. Neither of the are good! If your bike has disc brakes this problem is avoided!

For rim brakes, pro riders use tubular wheels which because they have the tire glued to the rim have a different construction with more material in the tire bed and brake track area and are much more resistant to this problem. Also carbon clinchers can heat up a blow the tire off the rim.

Mfgs have largely addressed these issues with today’s wheels however mountain descending frequently would be the one area which would give me cause for concern. Additionally, if your are a bigger rider that is a further concern as it necessitates higher braking forces.

Final thing with respect to mountain descending, wind particularly gusty crosswinds. Depending on your conditions, moving in and out of protected areas can with a deeper section front wheels can lead to considerable input to the steering of the front wheel. Zipp Firecrest wheels are designed to have the steering input from wind minimized however it is not eliminated.

Last thing to consider is the carbon wheels can give a stiffer ride than aluminum wheels. They are good at absorbing road buzz but in my opinion can be a bit less compliant over small to midsize bumps. So depending on the road conditions you ride on this may or may not be important. This can be somewhat offset by running 25c tires and dropping the pressure a bit.

I own several sets of Zipp carbon clinchers 303, 404, and 808 so I am not bashing Zipp or carbon clinchers for flat, rolling, or light descending but serious mountains**********

I also own own a pair of Dura Ace 7850 c50 wheels aluminum with carbon brake track, which have a more v rim profile and are terrible in the crosswinds when descending.

The wheels I ride for hill are Dura Ace 7900 c24, one of the best all around wheelsets I have owned. Lightweight for climbing but are very compliant over bumps and chip seal roads, aluminum brake track for solid braking and otherwise bomb proof wheel set. Yes spoke count is low but Dura Ace spokes are made of super high strength steel which allows them to be tensioned to double the amount of standard spokes.

Another wheelset to consider would be the Hed Jet+ series (many depths) aluminum rim carbon fairing, similar construction to the c24’s.

I am mostly a flat lander but have recently been spending time in the Phoenix area and have learned about what descending is all about, I can only imagine CO!

BTW I am currently about 230 lbs.
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Old 01-25-19, 06:08 PM
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ENVE 3.4. Light weight and super quality. The SES series brake track is by far the best rim brake surface going. Downside? Price.
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Old 01-25-19, 07:03 PM
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Agree with the recco to go with a light set of aluminum wheels. Personally, I've had a great experience with ROL wheels. I've been riding a pair of D'Huez 24/28 for the past 5 years (about 8k miles) and they have been flawless.
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Old 01-26-19, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jcooper5205 View Post
Hi all, I'm a recreational road cyclist with a 2 year old carbon frame $2500 bike that I'm happy with. I live in Colorado and ride a mix of steep climbs and flatter/hillier terrain. Looking to upgrade the crappy stock wheels to something carbon. I've read Zipp firecrest 303 is a good all-around option, any thoughts on this and any other recommendations? Thanks!
you're a recreationalist, so stick with aluminum wheels and save your money.
btw, stock wheels don't roll any slower than brand name wheels. What stock wheels do is weigh about 200 grams more than custom/brand name.ones. That's it. To put things in perspective, if you climb 1mi at 5%, then a 200g weight reduction will save you about 3 seconds, 10mi climb saves you 30 sec.
30 sec is a lot for a TdF GC racer, but for recreationalist?
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Old 01-26-19, 03:24 PM
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Boyd wheels. I have a set of carbon Boyd 44mm carbon clincher wheels and love them. I have them custom built at my LBS and outfitted them with White Industries hubs. Love these wheels. Awesome for climbing and wicked on the descent.

My previous carbon wheel set was a pair of Reynold Assaults. I enjoyed those wheels too.
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