Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

38 vs 55mm depth?

Old 10-19-15, 05:11 AM
  #1  
dvdslw
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38 vs 55mm depth?

If you had to choose just one, which would you get? I'm looking at two wheelsets by the same manufacturer that are 28mm wide outside, 19mm inside, one set is 38mm deep weighing 1473g and the other is 55mm deep and 1690g. I am just north of 200lbs, there's no rider weight limit on either set, I ride mostly solo fast pace rides of 20-25mph depending on length and to be completely honest like the looks of the 55's over the 38's. On paper I think I'd benefit from the deeper set more than the shallow set based on the type of riding I do plus the fact there's no hills at all where I live. Then there's the 38's that would lighten my bike up a bit and do feel a bit more lively but would 17mm less depth with 220g less weight make a huge difference over the 55's? I've been struggling for quite some time on this decision and its time to pull the trigger, just looking for some input to nudge me one way or the other and hope to hear from riders who own two sets of wheels with similar depths to get their impressions, thanks!

Note- the 55's have an advertised weight of 1,690g but every display at interbike, eurobike, or reviews from bike radar, etc.. have them at 1,580g. Not sure why the numbers are off by so much but I called the manufacturer and they said the average set weighs right at 1,600g.
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Old 10-19-15, 05:15 AM
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55. If you're going to put an aero wheel on there, put an aero wheel on there. If all your riding is flat, weight doesn't matter. Wind may matter, but even big wind is no big deal with 55s.
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Old 10-19-15, 05:50 AM
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38mm looks more elite , most of the time
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Old 10-19-15, 06:10 AM
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I've got wheels close to those and I prefer the deeper ones. The aero benefit is more, offsets the small weight difference, isn't noticablly worse in stiff cross winds. Plus I like their look more too.
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Old 10-19-15, 06:14 AM
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I have both depths on wheels and I prefer the 38s. They seem to spin up/accelerate quicker and the gusty downhills are less scary.
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Old 10-19-15, 07:00 AM
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You and your bike weigh over 90,000 grams, do you think reducing 200 grams (about 0.2% weight reduction) will make any difference? A fart probably weighs more than that. If what you are looking is for an aerodynamic advantage then take the wheels with less drag (I hope the manufacturer at least gives some drag data.) If not just take the better looking ones.
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Old 10-19-15, 07:02 AM
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I get blown around in strong winds on 38s, but I'm 70 pounds lighter. If I were OP's weight, I'd definitely choose the deeper rims. Other than that it wouldn't be a huge difference, maybe only a difference in feel in hard accelerations (I have lighter and heavier wheels, and that's the biggest practical distinction). And that's not important if all your riding is just riding along solo.
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Old 10-19-15, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
You and your bike weigh over 90,000 grams, do you think reducing 200 grams (about 0.2% weight reduction) will make any difference? A fart probably weighs more than that. If what you are looking is for an aerodynamic advantage then take the wheels with less drag (I hope the manufacturer at least gives some drag data.) If not just take the better looking ones.
I know the weight doesn't affect as much as people might think but during a recent experience demoing a set of Assaults (41mm) and Strikes (62mm), I noticed a pretty big difference in perceived feel between the two sets. The Strikes did roll good but the Assault's seem to accelerate much better and maybe it was the rim height difference, weight, build, spoke tension, who knows? The wheels I'm looking at are the Easton Aero 55's and they claim to have performed better than their previous 90mm TT wheels and beat the Zipp 404 Firecrest's in the tunnel at all wind angles using both 25mph and 30mph tests. I'm sure they know how to manipulate the numbers to be in their favor but I'd assume most of the newer shape wheels from the big guns out there to be close in comparison to where it doesn't really matter. I've also read that wheels don't really start showing any real aero gains until they get up over 50mm deep so anything shallower is really meant for climbing which I don't really need where I live.

Last edited by dvdslw; 10-19-15 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 10-19-15, 01:52 PM
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55's
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Old 10-19-15, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw View Post
I know the weight doesn't affect as much as people might think but during a recent experience demoing a set of Assaults (41mm) and Strikes (62mm), I noticed a pretty big difference in perceived feel between the two sets. The Strikes did roll good but the Assault's seem to accelerate much better and maybe it was the rim height difference, weight, build, spoke tension, who knows? The wheels I'm looking at are the Easton Aero 55's and they claim to have performed better than their previous 90mm TT wheels and beat the Zipp 404 Firecrest's in the tunnel at all wind angles using both 25mph and 30mph tests. I'm sure they know how to manipulate the numbers to be in their favor but I'd assume most of the newer shape wheels from the big guns out there to be close in comparison to where it doesn't really matter. I've also read that wheels don't really start showing any real aero gains until the get up over 50mm deep so anything shallower is really meant for climbing which I don't really need but I also hope that if I go with the 55's that I get used to the feel compared to a lighter wheel.
It sounds like you've already made up your mind. You probably won't notice the slight difference in weight. Even if you don't get much additional aero benefit, they will look faster.... Anything that gets you to ride more is a good thing. So sounds like the pro's vs con's leans towards the 55's. I ride Zipp 404's and don't get tossed around by the wind much, so at your weight I doubt you will either.
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Old 10-19-15, 02:17 PM
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55 ftw.
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Old 10-19-15, 02:42 PM
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It's settled then, thanks for the input!
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Old 10-19-15, 02:55 PM
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you could also go with a mixed set - 38f/55r. I have a set of 55's and they are great for most everything but a higher speed downhill run with a heavy crosswind can get kinda hairy. thinking going to shallower front would help on this
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Old 10-19-15, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
You and your bike weigh over 90,000 grams, do you think reducing 200 grams (about 0.2% weight reduction) will make any difference? A fart probably weighs more than that. If what you are looking is for an aerodynamic advantage then take the wheels with less drag (I hope the manufacturer at least gives some drag data.) If not just take the better looking ones.
I think if your fart weighs half a pound, then you're gonna need to clean the **** out of your panties.
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Old 10-19-15, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by dbf73 View Post
I have a set of 55's and they are great for most everything but a higher speed downhill run with a heavy crosswind can get kinda hairy.
What he said. ^^^
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Old 10-19-15, 04:07 PM
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I run a generic 50mm, at 140# it was kind of tricky to balance. They required me to actually scrub speed to maintain stability, rather than increasing speed.

Now at 150# they are more managable (only 1380g), and I like them more, but I am still thinking about building up a 38mm for more stability at my relatively low weight.
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Old 10-19-15, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jtaylor996 View Post
I think if your fart weighs half a pound, then you're gonna need to clean the **** out of your panties.
Oh My!!!
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