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Choosing a set of carbon wheels

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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
View Poll Results: Which wheel set should Broctoon buy?
Go really big! Figure out how to afford something even taller.
3
12.50%
Get the 50/50 set. Itíll make you faster, itís not much more, and matching is cool.
11
45.83%
Just get the 36/50. Because you wonít even notice that 14mm difference, and youíll save a few bucks.
5
20.83%
Neither! Carbon is over rated.
5
20.83%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

Choosing a set of carbon wheels

Old 10-29-21, 01:15 PM
  #1  
Broctoon
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Choosing a set of carbon wheels

Iím getting ready to buy a set of road bike wheels. Iíve narrowed it down to two sets I like and can afford. Help me choose!

First set is 50mm tall, front and rear

Second is 36mm front and 50 rear

Other than the profile height, theyíre virtually identical, except for the following:

The 36 front rim is about 60 grams lighter than the 50. Total weight for the set is something like 1460 vs. 1520 grams. Itís also 60 bucks cheaper: $960 vs. $1020.

Hubs and spoke count are the same. Obviously, the 50/50 set will be slightly more aero. Both sets are lighter and more aero than the wheels I have now.

Iím not a time trial rider. I like stuff that is versatile and durable. Iím sure with either set Iíll see marginal gains over the alloy rims I have now, nothing huge, but to me worth the cost.

What say you?
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Old 10-29-21, 01:19 PM
  #2  
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Most modern, moderate-depth rims will handle well and predictably in the wind. Assuming that these aren't some horrid, ye olde rim profiles that'll have winds buffeting you around, I'd go with the 50/50.
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Old 10-29-21, 01:30 PM
  #3  
seypat
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There must be a reason you can't get the 2nd set 50/50?
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Old 10-29-21, 01:44 PM
  #4  
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I don't think I would use either the 60g or the 36 v 50 rim height as a decider here. Are they the same manufacturer? Same carbon layup etc?
Personally I wouldn't be that fussed about rim height within the 35-50 mm range for a versatile wheel set. 50 mm is probably about the height where you might start to notice some crosswind effects.
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Old 10-29-21, 02:00 PM
  #5  
Seattle Forrest
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I have Enve wheels, deeper in back than front. The look has really grown on me. I'd get the asymmetric pair for looks.
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Old 10-29-21, 02:10 PM
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PeteHski
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I have Enve wheels, deeper in back than front. The look has really grown on me. I'd get the asymmetric pair for looks.
I quite like the staggered look too, which is getting quite popular.
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Old 10-29-21, 02:48 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Are they the same manufacturer? Same carbon layup etc?.
Yes, they are the same in every way except profile height. They're from Hunt, in England. Pretty good stuff. The model is Carbon Wide Aero, and it comes in two different heights, so you can get a set with 36/36, with 36/50, or with 50/50... moderate price increase with each step up. Both heights are tubeless, 27mm external width, with 20 front and 24 rear spokes.
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Old 10-29-21, 05:06 PM
  #8  
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36mm isn't really that deep. I weigh around 130lbs and have 56mm rims. Not a big deal. I'd go with 50 front because the additional aero is going to (marginally) beat the 60g saved.
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Old 10-29-21, 07:06 PM
  #9  
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Light Bicycle Wheels

https://www.lightbicycle.com/
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Old 10-29-21, 07:15 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
They're from Hunt, in England. Pretty good stuff. The model is Carbon Wide Aero, and it comes in two different heights, so you can get a set with 36/36, with 36/50, or with 50/50... moderate price increase with each step up. Both heights are tubeless, 27mm external width, with 20 front and 24 rear spokes.
These wheels look good and are reasonably priced. Does anyone have experience with the rim brake versions? Or should I forget about carbon wheels until I get a disc brake bike?
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Old 10-29-21, 07:22 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
These wheels look good and are reasonably priced. Does anyone have experience with the rim brake versions? Or should I forget about carbon wheels until I get a disc brake bike?
You live in southern California, where it never rains. This means that rim brakes work modestly well on carbon rims.
In the rain, well.....
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Old 10-29-21, 07:45 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
You live in southern California, where it never rains. This means that rim brakes work modestly well on carbon rims.
In the rain, well.....
What is modestly well? About 80% of the stopping power of Shimano R55C4 on alloy rims?

I try to never ride in the rain, and have only been caught in the rain twice in 5 years of road cycling.
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Old 10-29-21, 08:42 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
What is modestly well? About 80% of the stopping power of Shimano R55C4 on alloy rims?

I try to never ride in the rain, and have only been caught in the rain twice in 5 years of road cycling.
I have not measured it. Maybe somebody else here has. The stopping power, dry, is definitely not as good as on alloy rims, but I'm mostly comfortable. In a total emergency, would the difference be crucial? I can't say for certain, but if you are very risk averse, then it's a consideration.

When wet, the rim brakes on carbon wheels scare the bejeesus out of me. Not safe, in my book. And one of the key reasons I wanted a disc brake road bike.

I do ride in the rain. Also, in the midwest, you may not think you are going to ride in the rain and then you are surprised. Having lived in southern CA, i know that doesn't happen there. If rain is coming, you know it well in advance.

An alternative is to buy carbon wheels with an alloy rim track, like HED jets. If I remember reading it right, I think HED basically said that they couldn't stand behind the safety of the carbon wheel/rim brake combination and so wouldn't sell them. Maybe somebody here knows more about that.

Last edited by MinnMan; 10-29-21 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 10-29-21, 09:20 PM
  #14  
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There's absolutely no trouble riding, say, my Mavic SLR45s or my Light Bicycle R45s in windy conditions at all (the Mavics are slightly better) up to the kinds of winds where riding doesn't make sense. Like how both have no nipple holes which is nicer when running tubeless.

So with a modern set of 50s, you won't go wrong, although Hunt strikes me as typical rebadging Chinese carbon kind of company. For another CF wheelset I'd probably go deeper still with 60/80, but if you have only one, 45-50mm is a great all around option.
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Old 10-29-21, 09:41 PM
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I have a couple of sets of Light Bicycle 55 mm rims, and when I first got them, dealing with gusty cross winds took some getting used to. It's for sure not the same as riding classic alloy rims. But it doesn't really bother me now. I can ride a well-controlled line with those wheels and pretty strong cross winds. (You know, not 20 mph gusts, but 10-12 mph, no problem. Maybe 14-16 mph I'm needing a little extra concentration).

That's 55's, which are maybe on the edge of OK for strong cross winds. My friends who ride 70s avoid them on very windy days.
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Old 10-29-21, 10:12 PM
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I had a set of Boyd carbon hoops back in the day. Stopping power was good enough in the dry to ride around the city and do twisty mountain descents on narrow roads. Brake pads made a lot of difference. Being black, they heated up in the sun which obviously isn't a problem in Seattle but it required more judicious braking then I was used to on some of those long twisty descents when I'd take the bike to the other side of the Cascades.
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Old 10-30-21, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
Hunt strikes me as typical rebadging Chinese carbon kind of company.
No, I think Hunt are a cut above that level. They have fully qualified in-house engineers in the UK and development and manufacturing suppliers in Taiwan.
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Old 10-30-21, 05:25 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
Yes, they are the same in every way except profile height. They're from Hunt, in England. Pretty good stuff. The model is Carbon Wide Aero, and it comes in two different heights, so you can get a set with 36/36, with 36/50, or with 50/50... moderate price increase with each step up. Both heights are tubeless, 27mm external width, with 20 front and 24 rear spokes.
I'm UK based and I see a lot of Hunt wheels around at events. They are very popular over here and appear to be of very decent quality at a reasonable price. I don't have any first hand experience of them, but they would be high on my shortlist for a new set of wheels.

Looking at their website over here, they also offer 40/50 and 44/54 options. I would just pick the depth you prefer the looks of because you are not going to notice any real difference out on the road within this sort of range.
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Old 10-30-21, 07:16 AM
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If for no other reason 36/50 because they can ship next week, while hunt site says the 50/50 wouldn't be til December
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Old 10-30-21, 07:26 AM
  #20  
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For rim brakes I'd get Campy zonda or fulcrum racing 3.
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Old 10-30-21, 07:34 AM
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For rim brakes I'd get Campy zonda or fulcrum racing 3.
https://www.probikekit.com/bicycle-w.../11349819.html

https://www.probikekit.com/bicycle-w.../11680538.html
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Old 10-31-21, 03:58 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I had a set of Boyd carbon hoops back in the day. Stopping power was good enough in the dry to ride around the city and do twisty mountain descents on narrow roads. Brake pads made a lot of difference. Being black, they heated up in the sun which obviously isn't a problem in Seattle but it required more judicious braking then I was used to on some of those long twisty descents when I'd take the bike to the other side of the Cascades.
I was on Boyd 50/58 for years and switched to 60/60 no problem at all and I weigh 135. They have textured tracks now and with Black Prince pads and direct mount calipers they stop as well as al rims in the dry. Wet forget it
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Old 10-31-21, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
I was on Boyd 50/58 for years and switched to 60/60 no problem at all and I weigh 135. They have textured tracks now and with Black Prince pads and direct mount calipers they stop as well as al rims in the dry. Wet forget it
Yeah, Black Prince pads work best, in my experience. And it pays to keep them clean.

"As well" is not my experience (dry) (with Dura Ace 7900 brakes), but as noted above, they do work pretty well. (My Light Bicycle rim tracks are also textured- not all are, but it's a feature you can request.)
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Old 10-31-21, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I have a couple of sets of Light Bicycle 55 mm rims, and when I first got them, dealing with gusty cross winds took some getting used to. It's for sure not the same as riding classic alloy rims. But it doesn't really bother me now. I can ride a well-controlled line with those wheels and pretty strong cross winds. (You know, not 20 mph gusts, but 10-12 mph, no problem. Maybe 14-16 mph I'm needing a little extra concentration).

That's 55's, which are maybe on the edge of OK for strong cross winds. My friends who ride 70s avoid them on very windy days.
I just got a set of Light Bicycle wheels, 46 mm deep with Carbon Ti hubs. I have their graphene brake tracks, which may have been pure marketing fluff.

Brakes are Campagnolo Record with Campagnolo carbon rim pads. Brake performance in the dry was acceptable, but not quite as good as Campagnolo alloy pads on alloy wheels. I have Dura Ace on another alloy wheel bike and I would say that the Record / carbon setup is comparable.

I rode in 20 MPH sustained with gusts to 30. I didn't notice any issues with cross winds when compared to my Rolf 33 mm alloy wheels.

And, yes. When I compared my time to a ride on the Rolf wheels with similar wind conditions I was about 1-2 MPH faster on the straight into the wind section, and bupkis on the cross wind section.

I would say don't worry about cross winds with a 50 mm wheel vs a 35 mm wheel.
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Old 10-31-21, 05:54 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Thanks, although I am not sure that either are upgrades to the Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels I am currently riding.

I am after the psychological boost from the "thrum" of taller carbon wheels cutting through the air, but the conventional wisdom slating the stopping power of rim brakes on carbon wheels has thus far held me back.

Maybe when Broctoon starts setting new PRs with his wheels ...
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