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How many tenths of an MPH/KPH from new wheels/tires?

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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

How many tenths of an MPH/KPH from new wheels/tires?

Old 07-22-17, 12:16 PM
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OUGrad05
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How many tenths of an MPH/KPH from new wheels/tires?

Obviously this can be dependent on original wheels/tires and which ones you switch to. As I get used to riding my road bike and looking at speeds of others I'm wondering how big of a difference does the gear make?

The first hour of today's ride I averaged right at 18mph with very little wind. The last 35 minutes the wind started to pick up and I had to ride into it for a bit to get back home. Also had a substantial hill toward the end of the ride, all served to bring the average down to a finishing speed of 16.8.

Riding the routes I normally ride, my speeds are usually 17.1 or so with a reasonable amount left in the tank. I could probably average 18 to 18.2 if I pushed fairly hard.

I'm thinking next spring I may upgrade my wheels/tires and see if I can't squeeze another 2-3 tenths of an MPH out of the upgrade. Is that expecting too much?
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Old 07-22-17, 12:23 PM
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One.
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Old 07-22-17, 12:25 PM
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It all depends on how susceptible the rider is to the placebo effect.
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Old 07-22-17, 12:29 PM
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Will the tires make you hit more green lights?
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Old 07-22-17, 12:30 PM
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How much harder will you pedal?
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Old 07-22-17, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
How much harder will you pedal?
So basically sounds like it's not worth the upgrade...

No clue if I will pedal harder, I don' have a power meter. I use a heart rate monitor to see my effort.
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Old 07-22-17, 12:42 PM
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Could be some speeds, could be many speeds... could be negative speeds.

Truth is, bending your elbows more and getting your head lower will add more speed than any tire ever could.
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Old 07-22-17, 12:43 PM
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If you can get to 20-21 you might feel the diff with aero wheels.
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Old 07-22-17, 12:45 PM
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Wheels: hardly any.

Tires: could be substantial.
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Old 07-22-17, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
If you can get to 20-21 you might feel the diff with aero wheels.
I get to 25+ on every ride, but with the small rolling hills I can't average 20 and our winds sometimes are brutal especially by the end of my rides (at least this time of year).
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Old 07-22-17, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 12strings View Post
Wheels: hardly any.

Tires: could be substantial.
You are kidding, right?
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Old 07-22-17, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by OUGrad05 View Post
So basically sounds like it's not worth the upgrade...
There's so many factors that go in to the rough figures that you're talking about that it'd be impossible to tell you what to expect and, in terms of tangible improvements, it might not be huge. OTOH, changing to a lighter weight, well-built wheelset and good tires can change the handling feel of your bike in a very noticeable way.
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Old 07-22-17, 12:51 PM
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I saw 3-4 kph difference between commuting on studded winter tires vs Conti GP4000s. You're unlikely to see anything close to that.

For a rough estimate it's easily possible to save 15-20W with decent tires. Your power to go 18mph is likely in the 150-200W range so you might get an extra 10% power applied to moving you forward. That will make you roughly 3% faster or 18.5mph instead of 18.

What kind of wheels/tires are you riding now?
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Old 07-22-17, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by OUGrad05 View Post
So basically sounds like it's not worth the upgrade...
On the other hand it's not worth riding on crappy tires.
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Old 07-22-17, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I saw 3-4 kph difference between commuting on studded winter tires vs Conti GP4000s. You're unlikely to see anything close to that.

For a rough estimate it's easily possible to save 15-20W with decent tires. Your power to go 18mph is likely in the 150-200W range so you might get an extra 10% power applied to moving you forward. That will make you roughly 3% faster or 18.5mph instead of 18.

What kind of wheels/tires are you riding now?
I just bought this bike, my first road bike. It's the standard wheel/tire setup on the Roubaix Elite. The wheels are Axis Elite Discs and the tires are the specialized 26mm
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Old 07-22-17, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by OUGrad05 View Post
I just bought this bike, my first road bike. It's the standard wheel/tire setup on the Roubaix Elite. The wheels are Axis Elite Discs and the tires are the specialized 26mm
If those are specialized turbo they're decent tires so you are unlikely to see much of an improvement by changing them.

edit: This article compares the rolling resistance of a number of tires including the turbo pros that come on the Roubaix:Specialized Road Tires 2014 - Slowtwitch.com Could be a reasonable difference.

Last edited by gregf83; 07-22-17 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 07-22-17, 01:21 PM
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gregf83 is talking sensibly, and don't let others bring you down. IF you have stock tires, or otherwise relatively speaking crappy tires, then easy rolling tires will make a difference.
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Old 07-22-17, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
If those are specialized turbo they're decent tires so you are unlikely to see much of an improvement by changing them.

edit: This article compares the rolling resistance of a number of tires including the turbo pros that come on the Roubaix:Specialized Road Tires 2014 - Slowtwitch.com Could be a reasonable difference.
They are Turbo's it says it on the tire, Just looked.
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Old 07-22-17, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by OUGrad05 View Post
They are Turbo's it says it on the tire, Just looked.
Specialized has numerous tires with Turbo in the name. Turbo cotton, S-Works Turbo, Turbo Pro etc.
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Old 07-22-17, 01:31 PM
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As a wheel builder I can answer this with authority: It's not about the wheels.
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Old 07-22-17, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Specialized has numerous tires with Turbo in the name. Turbo cotton, S-Works Turbo, Turbo Pro etc.
Doesn't say much else on it, says "Turbo Pro" in red/white and then big black letters along the side it says "Specialized" so I suspect its a somewhat generic tire that they make.
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Old 07-22-17, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by OUGrad05 View Post
Doesn't say much else on it, says "Turbo Pro" in red/white and then big black letters along the side it says "Specialized" so I suspect its a somewhat generic tire that they make.
It's in the report I linked earlier. There's a substantial difference in power required compared to a GP4000s.
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Old 07-22-17, 01:47 PM
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For a normal person, and it seems like the OP certainly falls in that category, tires matter, wheels don't, barring reliability issues. Also..tires are a personal thing. Many might trade everything for a slightly but measurably faster/more comfy ride. Others might never want to change a flat. Also, as others mentioned...there is a huge range of quality in tires. If your current ones are not top end, you may have significant room for noticeable improvement with minimal $ expenditure.

Regardless, tires are the cheapest meaningful upgrade/change on a bike. Find what you want, and get the best you can afford that does it before making any other changes to the bike, IMO.
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Old 07-22-17, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
It's in the report I linked earlier. There's a substantial difference in power required compared to a GP4000s.
Yes that was super helpful if I'm reading those graphs correctly.
Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
For a normal person, and it seems like the OP certainly falls in that category, tires matter, wheels don't, barring reliability issues. Also..tires are a personal thing. Many might trade everything for a slightly but measurably faster/more comfy ride. Others might never want to change a flat. Also, as others mentioned...there is a huge range of quality in tires. If your current ones are not top end, you may have significant room for noticeable improvement with minimal $ expenditure.

Regardless, tires are the cheapest meaningful upgrade/change on a bike. Find what you want, and get the best you can afford that does it before making any other changes to the bike, IMO.
Good to know the sausage king of Chicago rides bikes

I'm going to buy a turbo trainer so I can ride year 'round, something I haven't done previously. I may also get some gear that will allow me to ride when its down in the 30s or 40s. Much cooler than that with our winds though and I'll probably ride the turbo trainer. I'm hoping that plus tires/wheels will have me closing in on significantly higher average speeds next year.

I was pleased with my first hour today at 18.0 mph. I had a touch left in the tank but probably not more than 18.3 or so if I was really killing it. The heat probably didn't help the last 40 mins of the ride along with the winds starting to increase.
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Old 07-22-17, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
For a normal person, and it seems like the OP certainly falls in that category, tires matter, wheels don't, ...
I never understand what motivates someone to spread such clearly wrong information.
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