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Caliper brake, carbon wheel lifespan

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Road Cycling ďIt 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.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Caliper brake, carbon wheel lifespan

Old 08-06-19, 01:00 PM
  #26  
Princess_Allez
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Originally Posted by GreenAnvil View Post
I have the Cometes and am very pleased with them, primarily because of tubeless comfort and low rolling resistance (plus Iíve been saved from flats at least a couple of times that I know of). Once up to speed they hold speed nicely. As to braking, I live in FLatland... but when I have to touch my brakes stopping performance is excellent in the dry; no experience in the wet yet. You probably know all of this already since you own the Cosmic Pros.

I havenít gone disc because Iím very utilitarian and have no need for another bike when what I have meets all of my cycling needs currently. My bike isnít holding me back at all. If I were to buy another bike Iíd probably look at discs since I had them before on a hybrid and my experience with them (in Colorado) was positive.



No 10 yr review but Iím happy with them; they are solid.
Thanks for your contribution. Do you have the regular Comete or the SL version? I've read that taller profiled aero rims are inherently more flexible. Do you notice much flex when sprinting out-of-the-saddle? I'm primarily thinking of making the switch because I found them for a killer deal and I like the look of deeper dish rims. If it's faster, that's a bonus. If it's more flexible, then I'll stick with the Cosmic.

After making the switch to Mavic UST, I'm unsure which positive traits can be attributed to the UST tire or the rim/spoke/bearings. As a whole, it's better in every way when compared to my prior setup: box-section, Roval slx24, gp4ks2 clincher. I have the basic cosmic wheel, non-SL. I wonder if the SL version is worth the price difference and whether the upgraded bearings make it less durable.
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Old 08-06-19, 03:20 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
Thanks for your contribution. Do you have the regular Comete or the SL version?
I have the SL version.

Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
I've read that taller profiled aero rims are inherently more flexible. Do you notice much flex when sprinting out-of-the-saddle? I'm primarily thinking of making the switch because I found them for a killer deal and I like the look of deeper dish rims. If it's faster, that's a bonus. If it's more flexible, then I'll stick with the Cosmic.
I donít think they are flexy. At first I thought they were rubbing my brakes in out of the saddle efforts. I contacted Phil Gaimon, who also has them (via text or Twitter, I canít recall), and he told me to check for proper bearing adjustment. So I did. Turns out what I was experiencing was uneven radial wheel balance due to the valve stem. My wheels came with a short valve stem and an extender, and they were heavy enough that when the wheel spun faster it would wobble ever so slightly, but you could hear the ďwhoop, whoop, whoopĒ. That and the carbon magnifying the sound of uneven pedal strokes. After ordering some lighter 80mm valves and working on my pedal stroke, I havenít felt a thing. I run my pads fairly close and there is no rub at all, and I feel the bike respond well when I stomp on the pedals off the saddle. For full disclosure I am 70kg. I donít go out sprinting on these; they are mostly for my solo interval work.

Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
After making the switch to Mavic UST, I'm unsure which positive traits can be attributed to the UST tire or the rim/spoke/bearings. As a whole, it's better in every way when compared to my prior setup: box-section, Roval slx24, gp4ks2 clincher. I have the basic cosmic wheel, non-SL. I wonder if the SL version is worth the price difference and whether the upgraded bearings make it less durable.
I got mine a full $500 less than what my LBS was asking, so I decided to take the plunge. Positive traits IME:
1) Yksion tires and rim play well together. Could seat them with a floor pump w/o any drama.
2) They roll well.
3) They are comfortable (80F/85R)
4) Theyíve saved my bacon (flats) twice.
5) Anything north of 20mph you can feel a slight aero benefit. They hold speed well.
6) Braking sounds like a turbo-mothership slowing down to earth...

U-hum traits:
1) They are not the fastest accelerating hoops, but at 64mm that is to be expected.
2) They are fairly stable in crosswinds; just donít take off your vest nor try any other no-handed-riding buffoonery...
3) When you coast everyone will know...

You could go to a certified Mavic dealer and try them before you buy. Many of them have a set that you can rent for the weekend.

Last edited by GreenAnvil; 08-06-19 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 08-07-19, 04:23 PM
  #28  
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Just a note on "flexiness." In general, a deep section wheel will be less "flexy" than a shallow wheel. The depth of the rim section will add stiffness, plus the spokes will be shorter, and therefore a little stiffer. Of course, spoke designs vary, so it's not universally true, but it's directionally correct. There was a link in a different thread a while back (sorry, can't find it right now) that explained that tire rub during hard efforts was the result of a flexing frame combined with a stiffer wheel. Hopefully I remembered that correctly. You may find that a super stiff wheel affects the ride quality of the bike a little. I have a set of 45mm carbon wheels and also some good quality aluminum wheels. The aluminum wheels definitely ride just a bit softer, even with the exact same tires and pressures. It's not night and day, but it is noticeable.
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Old 08-07-19, 05:03 PM
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I've found the opposite to be true. I went from 31mm deep alloy to 50mm deep carbon, and the ride is definitely "smoothed out." Same tires, same internal rim width.
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Old 08-07-19, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I've found the opposite to be true. I went from 31mm deep alloy to 50mm deep carbon, and the ride is definitely "smoothed out." Same tires, same internal rim width.
He believes, what he believes. Don't waste your time correcting him.
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Old 08-07-19, 07:26 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
He believes, what he believes. Don't waste your time correcting him.
I've had more than one person say they had installed carbon handlebars and "couldn't tell the difference." So it takes all kinds.

I'm sure that with wheels, everything from spoke count to spoke type to type of hub makes a difference... all I know is my cheap carbon wheels with cheap hubs smooth out the ride better than my cheap-hubbed cheap alloy wheels.
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Old 08-07-19, 08:50 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I've had more than one person say they had installed carbon handlebars and "couldn't tell the difference." So it takes all kinds.

I'm sure that with wheels, everything from spoke count to spoke type to type of hub makes a difference... all I know is my cheap carbon wheels with cheap hubs smooth out the ride better than my cheap-hubbed cheap alloy wheels.
Put me in the "yeah, it makes a noticeable difference" crowd.... and carbon bars are definitely a little flexier too, which is fun.

I thought you were religiously opposed to carbon wheels? What'd you end up with?
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Old 08-07-19, 09:02 PM
  #33  
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Now a card-carrying member of C^5: the Cheap Chinese Carbon Clincher Club. The wife bought me a pair of ICAN FL50s for Father's Day. I've no complaints.

Well, the included brake pads were garbage, but I can't complain too much about free brake pads. I just switched them out for some Token pads, which are significantly better... but I'm still not taking this thing out in the rain.
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Old 08-08-19, 08:39 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by GreenAnvil View Post
I got mine a full $500 less than what my LBS was asking, so I decided to take the plunge. Positive traits IME:
1) Yksion tires and rim play well together. Could seat them with a floor pump w/o any drama.
2) They roll well.
3) They are comfortable (80F/85R)
4) Theyíve saved my bacon (flats) twice.
5) Anything north of 20mph you can feel a slight aero benefit. They hold speed well.
6) Braking sounds like a turbo-mothership slowing down to earth...

You could go to a certified Mavic dealer and try them before you buy. Many of them have a set that you can rent for the weekend.
I have experienced #2 and 3 and I find #6 to be an interesting characteristic of cf rim brakes.

That's not a bad idea. I'll see if there's a local dealer for me to try them out. I've found a set -direct from France- for $1k non-sl and $1450 for SL. Since durability is at the forefront for me, and not speed or weight, I'll likely get the regular version.
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Old 08-08-19, 09:10 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by MikeEckhaus View Post
Just a note on "flexiness." In general, a deep section wheel will be less "flexy" than a shallow wheel. The depth of the rim section will add stiffness, plus the spokes will be shorter, and therefore a little stiffer. Of course, spoke designs vary, so it's not universally true, but it's directionally correct. There was a link in a different thread a while back (sorry, can't find it right now) that explained that tire rub during hard efforts was the result of a flexing frame combined with a stiffer wheel. Hopefully I remembered that correctly. You may find that a super stiff wheel affects the ride quality of the bike a little. I have a set of 45mm carbon wheels and also some good quality aluminum wheels. The aluminum wheels definitely ride just a bit softer, even with the exact same tires and pressures. It's not night and day, but it is noticeable.
I watched a video on youtube that explained why taller profile rims are prone to more flex. The guy had a jig setup and tested multiple sets of wheels. He also concluded that spoke tension has little to no affect on lateral wheel stiffness, however, spoke count did.
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Old 08-08-19, 09:12 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I've had more than one person say they had installed carbon handlebars and "couldn't tell the difference." So it takes all kinds.

I'm sure that with wheels, everything from spoke count to spoke type to type of hub makes a difference... all I know is my cheap carbon wheels with cheap hubs smooth out the ride better than my cheap-hubbed cheap alloy wheels.
I noticed a very slight difference between carbon and aluminum handlebars. I could easily see why someone wouldn't notice a difference.
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Old 08-08-19, 09:14 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
He believes, what he believes. Don't waste your time correcting him.
I don't remember being corrected in a prior post.
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Old 08-08-19, 09:16 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
I don't remember being corrected in a prior post.
You weren't the one being corrected.
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Old 08-08-19, 11:04 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
You weren't the one being corrected.
Ya, I donít know who that post was referring to either; I hope this thread doesnít get derailed by personal attacks (which can apparently happen very quickly around here...).

Back to the OP. Lifespan. I havenít had mine long enough (coming up on 1k) so the jury is still out. I only run the Mavic yellow pads. They do leave a yellow residue but itís minor and I donít care. Mavic recently came out with black pads (I just received two sets; not needed yet but I like to have replacements ready just in case). The reason I mention this is because you may void your warranty if you use different pads. Others run Black Prince, cryo-blue, etc. IMO rim/pad choice may be a factor in wheelsí lifespan, along with riding conditions (rain?), riderís weight and others. However @ $40 USD a pair (meaning, just one caliper set) the Mavic pads are not cheap.... >:-/

Last edited by GreenAnvil; 08-08-19 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 08-09-19, 08:53 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by GreenAnvil View Post
Back to the OP. Lifespan. I havenít had mine long enough (coming up on 1k) so the jury is still out. I only run the Mavic yellow pads. They do leave a yellow residue but itís minor and I donít care. Mavic recently came out with black pads (I just received two sets; not needed yet but I like to have replacements ready just in case). The reason I mention this is because you may void your warranty if you use different pads. Others run Black Prince, cryo-blue, etc. IMO rim/pad choice may be a factor in wheelsí lifespan, along with riding conditions (rain?), riderís weight and others. However @ $40 USD a pair (meaning, just one caliper set) the Mavic pads are not cheap.... >:-/
I was doing some research on the black prince pads. I don't know if Mavic has their own special compound, but from what I've read they did not support use of it on their rims. They concluded that it works and has better bite, but that it could wear the brake track down at a faster rate.

The yellow pads wear out pretty quickly. I'd say it's a fair trade-off between eating brake track vs pads. In fact, it seems to wear so quickly that I purchased a second set of pads just in case. I think I found mine across the pond for ~$60 (front+rear). It wouldn't surprise me if these pads only get a couple hundred miles out of them.
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Old 08-12-19, 07:06 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
Any idea how many miles people are getting out of their rotors and discs? If I go disc, it would be shimano 105 hydraulic.
Not sure on the road. My gravel bike got about 1100 miles out of the factory pads. I'll chalk a lot of the wear up to a 30 mile ride on a rainy day, basically blasted them to the minimum thickness from the grit thrown up by the tires. BTW, that was also my first experience on discs in wet conditions and I was decidedly not impressed. It took a lot of effort to stop and they made constant noise whether on the brakes or not.
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Old 08-12-19, 11:36 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
Not sure on the road. My gravel bike got about 1100 miles out of the factory pads. I'll chalk a lot of the wear up to a 30 mile ride on a rainy day, basically blasted them to the minimum thickness from the grit thrown up by the tires. BTW, that was also my first experience on discs in wet conditions and I was decidedly not impressed. It took a lot of effort to stop and they made constant noise whether on the brakes or not.
What brakes are you using? My 105 hyd discs have been fantastic in the rain (on the road and the gravel), and even more so in the dry. Everyone touts discs brakes for wet weather, but they are also vastly better than rim brakes in the dry, especially when rider/bike are 200+lbs and doing a lot of descending. My next road bike will absolutely have hyd discs (and possibly di2, starting to get tired of cable issues already lol).
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Old 08-13-19, 06:24 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
What brakes are you using? My 105 hyd discs have been fantastic in the rain (on the road and the gravel), and even more so in the dry. Everyone touts discs brakes for wet weather, but they are also vastly better than rim brakes in the dry, especially when rider/bike are 200+lbs and doing a lot of descending. My next road bike will absolutely have hyd discs (and possibly di2, starting to get tired of cable issues already lol).
SRAM Rival hydaulic, factory organic pads. I don't have any mountain descents in Michigan to contend with so don't get much if any benefits in the dry, only the obnoxious noises.
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Old 08-13-19, 06:42 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
I'm curious to know the lifespan that people are getting out of them. What wheelset are you using? Which brake pad? How many sets of pads have you gone thru? Approximately how many miles are on them?

....
They should last a really long time, depending on conditions. On clean dry roads I would not be surprised if quality carbon rims last as long or even longer than alloy rims. On wet roads my alloy rims would leave little slivers in the brake pads that then chew up the brake track, my carbon rims don't make slivers. After a rainy ride I do wipe off my rims and brake pads, but this is an absolute necessity for alloy rims.

I have run a few sets of rim brake tubular carbon rims, almost always with Swiss stop black prince pads:
zipp 303 for about 15,000 miles, no noticeable wear on brake tracks
Easton ec90 about 6000 miles, no noticeable wear on brake tracks
Mercury 30mm, about 1000 miles, zero wear
Bontrager Aeolus, various, over 10,000 miles, no noticeable wear on brake tracks - exception is one rim I picked up cheap on ebay that had been raced in muddy snow for cx, that has obvious brake track wear
Ax lightness, about 2000 miles, no wear and excellent stopping power

Now I use the Aeolus and Enve 2.2, with the textured brake track. Braking is powerful and better than alloy rims. And sounds like a jet engine. Enve says to use their branded pads, they seem the same or very similar to the swiss stop black prince fwiw.

The newest generation brake tracks from Zipp, Bontrager, and Enve are just as good as alloy. I've only tried Enve but hear the others are the same.

My conclusion is for a lighter bike, modern rim brake carbon is GTG. Disc would be recommended for a heavier rider, poor weather, long descents. Also, disc brakes allow the use of wider rims, which helps aero if you use wider tires.
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Old 08-14-19, 12:22 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by bikebreak View Post
They should last a really long time, depending on conditions. On clean dry roads I would not be surprised if quality carbon rims last as long or even longer than alloy rims. On wet roads my alloy rims would leave little slivers in the brake pads that then chew up the brake track, my carbon rims don't make slivers. After a rainy ride I do wipe off my rims and brake pads, but this is an absolute necessity for alloy rims.

I have run a few sets of rim brake tubular carbon rims, almost always with Swiss stop black prince pads

My conclusion is for a lighter bike, modern rim brake carbon is GTG. Disc would be recommended for a heavier rider, poor weather, long descents. Also, disc brakes allow the use of wider rims, which helps aero if you use wider tires.
Lots of reassuring info here. From what I understand, tubular cf rims are better at distributing heat than clincher/tubeless wheels. I'll give the black prince a shot after I wear down out my second set of yellow kings. I'm using Mavic wheels so they have the "iTgMax" brake track. The braking isn't as powerful as a traditional alloy rim track. The initial bite isn't quite as powerful, but the modulation feels similar. I was getting metal flakes in my pads with my alloy rims. I don't ride in the wet and had only put a few hundred miles on them. Zipp's raised and serrated brake track makes an awesome noise. I had the chance to ride a bike setup with the 808s and they had a unique feel and sound to them.

I agree with your disc conclusion. If I rode long descents or in rain, the choice to go disc would be a no brainer. I just got into the sport of cycling at the beginning of the year. I'm still deciding if I'm the type of person to travel to ride. Right now, I use cycling as a form of exercise that's fun. If I do, then I could see myself doing long descents and would definitely go disc.
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Old 08-14-19, 09:47 AM
  #46  
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I really enjoy riding in different places and great scenery. Traveling to ride is worth it.
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Old 08-15-19, 12:35 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I really enjoy riding in different places and great scenery. Traveling to ride is worth it.
Once I get some more miles under my belt, I'll venture out. That's probably when the real cycling addiction begins.
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Old 08-15-19, 03:17 PM
  #48  
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What you CAN do not having discs and what is regularly done for market may be different. I have several double disc brake bikes, more with rim brakes and some with both. My tandem came with double discs. I "right sized" and have a disc in the rear and rim brake on the front. I have the ENVE serrated brake track tubulars which I hate (the non smooth track). So I rarely use the front, but they work fine for a fast stop. I have not done long mountain descents riding the brakes, or dealt with water and mud - nor will I.

The tandem switch allowed me to move to a lighter fork. I saved about 220g. The rotors were huge, I saved there. I did some lighter cables and lighter wheels and - saved 5 lbs. That is not exactly a fair comparison, but there is more to discs than the calipers and rotors. Doing tubulars will knock a lot of weight off. Clincher rim braked tandems have left me with the brake track blown off, more than once.

My (kid's) lightest bike could be lighter, but I kept the steel and Di2 RD. It is just under 12#. His lightest disc braked bike is over 15#. It is not apples to apples. But I think that was my point. The kind of bike that requires discs will likely be different in other areas.

I was rather surprised the number of rim brake bikes I saw in the TdF. There there is no penalty in weight for having a disc as they have to add weight to get to that 6.8kg, might as well have a disc. They do not spool up as fast, but sure good for F1 style decents.
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