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Carbon vs alloy wheels

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Carbon vs alloy wheels

Old 12-09-21, 09:21 AM
  #26  
N2deep
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I like the look of Zipps and Enves but the math doesn't work for me. My old Trek Paradigm Comps weigh in at 1600 grams and a nice set of carbon wheels might save 200 grams, thats about $10 per gram. Look at HEDs as they sell lighter alloy rims that potentially make the weight savings worth the cost and their quality is first rate. In all honesty if I skipped a few meals I could shave more weight than buying lighter rims. As stated earlier in a post above carbon rims look great but sometimes alloy rims are the better deal.
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Old 12-09-21, 09:27 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by N2deep View Post
In all honesty if I skipped a few meals I could shave more weight than buying lighter rims.
Do lighter wheelsets come with a chaperone that makes sure that you don't skip any meals?
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Old 12-09-21, 11:17 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Do lighter wheelsets come with a chaperone that makes sure that you don't skip any meals?
Did you mean "do" or "don't"? Yes, an upgrade wheelset does come with a chaperone that encourages you to skip meals; the problem is that the chaperone leaves after a few rides.

I upgraded from Mavic Aksium to Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels. According to Mavic specifications that was a weight loss of just over 300 g, which I could feel on my first few rides. But after I got used to them, I no longer remembered to keep skipping meals every now and then.

I can buy even lighter alloy wheels but at most those are another 100 g less; so I am with N2deep. I also considered carbon fiber wheels but doubt the aerodynamic advantages outweigh the decreased braking performance on a rim brake bike for me.
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Old 12-09-21, 11:38 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
Did you mean "do" or "don't"?
I meant what I wrote. It's exceptionally common for someone on BF to criticize or rebut the purchase of a lighter XYZ by trotting out the ol' standbys like:
  • Lose that weight from your body, instead.
  • Only carry one water bottle instead of two.
  • Just take a dump before your ride - hur hur hur!

It doesn't take difficult mental gymnastics to conclude that these "solutions" aren't mutually exclusive - one can buy lighter stuff and still retain their ability (and need) to poop.

Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
I upgraded from Mavic Aksium to Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels. According to Mavic specifications that was a weight loss of just over 300 g, which I could feel on my first few rides. But after I got used to them...
That the sensation was normalized doesn't mean that the effect was no longer there.
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Old 12-09-21, 12:23 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
I upgraded from Mavic Aksium to Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels. According to Mavic specifications that was a weight loss of just over 300 g, which I could feel on my first few rides. But after I got used to them, I no longer remembered to keep skipping meals every now and then.
​​​​
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
That the sensation was normalized doesn't mean that the effect was no longer there.
​​​​​​Every now and then I ride a loop on my old mediocre wheels, one of my normal routes, and I fall in love with my god wheels all over again.
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Old 12-09-21, 02:32 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
... one can buy lighter stuff and still retain their ability to poop.
Can someone tell me how to make this my signature line?
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Old 12-09-21, 03:11 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Can someone tell me how to make this my signature line?
You'll find it somewhere in your profile / signature settings.

That's BF gold
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Old 12-09-21, 03:19 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
... one can buy lighter stuff and still retain their ability (and need) to poop.
Not if one is too uptight about other slower, less-deserving folk (like me) also buying lighter stuff!
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Old 12-09-21, 03:51 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by tankist View Post
The bike is very comfortable but feels a bit sluggish compared to my other older road bikes.
Same experience here. I'm riding a fresh Giant TCR with discs and stock wheels. Tires are Conti 5000 clinchers: 28 up front and a 32 in the rear. Bike rides like a farm tractor compared to some of my old bikes. My 1973 Gitane TdF feels more 'responsive' and faster than the Giant. This should be a common experience to older folks who rode on tubulars. New road bikes, even those priced >$5k, are a serious disappointment.

First problem is the discs - not just the 1-2 pound general weight penalty, but that the weight has to be added to the fork and wheels, due to the braking forces involved. So the fork is considerably heavier and less compliant.

Second problem is the clinchers: at least 200 grams per set extra weight due to the inferior clincher (or tubeless - same thing) rim profile. Tubulars rims are inherently lighter and stronger.

Then there is the tire pressure. Sure, 75psi feels plush, but I'm not a fatty, and bottom line is that 23mm tires pumped above 100psi roll a lot faster, both in terms of rolling resistance and more aero. And the big tires and rims are heavy!

You want a fast and responsive bike for the pavement: the ultimate sweet spot is an team-level road bike from about 5 years ago. Rim brakes, tubular carbon wheels, T1000 carbon frame (before it became almost unobtainable) and 23-25mm tires pumped hard. This bike will sing.
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Old 12-09-21, 10:03 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
​​​​

​​​​​​Every now and then I ride a loop on my old mediocre wheels, one of my normal routes, and I fall in love with my god wheels all over again.

Praise the lord!
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Old 12-10-21, 09:38 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by tankist View Post
Thanks everybody for the useful info you provided. I'm a casual rider of 61 years young, do it mostly for pleasure and health. For this year I have about 7,000 km of distance and 66,000 m of climb. I weight about 87 kg, my current tires are Conti 5000 TL 32mm pumped to max (6 bars) pressure. I think I'll stick with my current wheels for now but will try Conti 5000 TL 28 mm when the current tires wear out. And will take a look at other carbon alternatives to have a better perspective.
I'd try lower tire pressure as recommended by the pressure calculator at zipp.com. If you're running tubeless, running lower pressure without pinch flats is an improvement. Also be sure that your pressure gauge is accurate.

I chose fulcrum racing 3 disc brake wheels for my bikes. They're a great value and require no rim strips for tubeless.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-10-21 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 12-11-21, 07:23 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by tankist View Post
I have Orbea Orca carbon bike with SRAM Force eTap AXS and Fulcrum Race 4 wheels. The bike is very comfortable but feels a bit sluggish compared to my other older road bikes. Maybe this is because of heavier disc brakes vs lighter rim ones on the other bikes. Maybe because of 32mm tires with lower pressure vs 25 with higher. I'm wondering would there be a noticeable difference if I upgrade the wheels to carbon like Fulcrum Race Zero? These wheels are quite more expensive - would they be worth it? I'm looking for more sporty ride.
My initial response is this. I switched a while back from 25s to 28s and noticed the ride quality was surprisingly different, almost sticky. At first what I mistook for sluggishness was just really good contact and a softer feel. I can’t imagine how wildly different a 25 and 32 feel back to back, especially if you’ve been on them for a long time, so maybe try a 30 or 28? Heck of a lot cheaper than wheels. Also, do you have data that you’re slower on the Orbea? May just feel that way. I was about a mph faster on 28s compared to 25s though it did feel a little squidgy at first.

However, my additional response is this: if those new wheels are going to make you happy, then I say do it. Enjoy your passion how you choose!
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Old 12-14-21, 11:05 AM
  #38  
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One thing not specifically mentioned here. The weight savings between carbon and alloy wheels is (usually) all in the rims, which sits very far outboard on the rotating mass scale. 200g in on the bike probably isn't noticeable, but 200g on the rims? Definitely noticeable.

Same goes for lighter tires.

With carbon wheels, you get both a lighter and more aero rim, so it's a win-win. It probably won't make you any faster, but it sure does feel nice and look cool.
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Old 12-14-21, 05:03 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by dilbert2000 View Post
They look cooler.
Agree...
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Old 12-14-21, 09:35 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
​​​​

​​​​​​Every now and then I ride a loop on my old mediocre wheels, one of my normal routes, and I fall in love with my god wheels all over again.
God wheels, eh? Good float when you're riding through/over standing water?
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Old 12-14-21, 11:26 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Greiselman View Post
God wheels, eh? Good float when you're riding through/over standing water?
God wheels do not float but provide much better hydroplaning resistance through the parting of standing water.
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Old 12-14-21, 11:34 PM
  #42  
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This is why I don't proof read. 🙂
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Old 12-15-21, 03:07 AM
  #43  
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6 bar on a 32 mm tire?? Way over inflated unless you are on glass smooth roads.

Try 4 bar. Then, try 5 bar.
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Old 12-15-21, 05:35 AM
  #44  
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Find a bike shop that will let you road test some higher end wheels, see if you can tell the difference. Whenever differences are "quantified" by terms like sluggishness, responsiveness, twitchiness, etc I think that is the only way to go.
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Old 12-15-21, 10:32 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
One thing not specifically mentioned here. The weight savings between carbon and alloy wheels is (usually) all in the rims, which sits very far outboard on the rotating mass scale. 200g in on the bike probably isn't noticeable, but 200g on the rims? Definitely noticeable.

Same goes for lighter tires.

With carbon wheels, you get both a lighter and more aero rim, so it's a win-win. It probably won't make you any faster, but it sure does feel nice and look cool.
I compared a BTLOS carbon rim to a common DT Swiss alloy rim and found that they weigh about same, around 450g. Deep profile carbon rims weigh 80-90g more, per rim. You're supposed to assume that the aero advantage outweighs the increased rim weight.
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Old 12-15-21, 01:15 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
I compared a BTLOS carbon rim to a common DT Swiss alloy rim and found that they weigh about same, around 450g. Deep profile carbon rims weigh 80-90g more, per rim. You're supposed to assume that the aero advantage outweighs the increased rim weight.
Surely if you can afford even budget(y) carbon rims you can afford some pretty high end alloy rims too. At the same(ish) price point, can someone quote some weights to compare the real weight benefit of of carbon?

Does the rim itself actually matter all that much? I have to assume lacing, spokes, spoke tension, etc has a lot of influence on the final wheel too.
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Old 12-15-21, 01:43 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
Surely if you can afford even budget(y) carbon rims you can afford some pretty high end alloy rims too. At the same(ish) price point, can someone quote some weights to compare the real weight benefit of of carbon?

Does the rim itself actually matter all that much? I have to assume lacing, spokes, spoke tension, etc has a lot of influence on the final wheel too.
I’m not sure I follow what your saying, but take for example:

aluminum HED Emporia GA Pro 700c wheels, 25mm internal, 24mm deep, 1,625g, $950

carbon fiber Lun Grapid 700c wheels, 25mm internal, 38mm deep, 1,413g, $800
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Old 12-15-21, 06:00 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
I compared a BTLOS carbon rim to a common DT Swiss alloy rim and found that they weigh about same, around 450g. Deep profile carbon rims weigh 80-90g more, per rim. You're supposed to assume that the aero advantage outweighs the increased rim weight.
BTLOS rims are available at 385 g. The lightest (?) DT Swiss rim is 435 g.
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Old 12-16-21, 11:28 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I'd hazard a guess that the increased lateral stiffness is a side-benefit that comes from deeper aero rim shape. IOW, carbon fiber wheels aren't made deeper to solve a stiffness issue, but to improve aerodynamics. If (does?) anyone made a 24mm deep CF box shaped rim, would it be any stiffer than a same sized alloy rim?
The thing is deep CF wheels have shorter spokes which equates to a stiffer wheel. If you have a stiff bike you notice it out of the saddle.
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Old 12-16-21, 11:48 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by dilbert2000 View Post
They look cooler.
and that's all that matters.
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