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is it the wheels or what?

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

is it the wheels or what?

Old 07-28-05, 02:33 AM
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cryogenic
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is it the wheels or what?

This is something I've been noticing when riding with the group lately and it's got me curious as all heck. I weigh 130, by far the lightest in the group but on downhills when we all coast I actually manage to coast up on people's tails who weigh a good 50-60 lbs more than me. Mind you, this is not while drafting at all. I'm riding Mike Garcia-built wheels with Niobium30 (30mm deep) rims and Speedcific hubs with bladed spokes. Others in the group are riding Ksyrium Elites or SL's, Bontrager Race Lites, Ultegra/OP wheels and probably a couple others that I can't remember right off-hand. So what's the deal? Why is it that I'm not getting dropped like a sack of dead babies on the downhills? Is it the aero rim? Aero spokes? Lower resistance in the hubs? I would assume it's NOT the tires as most of the others are riding on far superior tires than what I'm riding (Michelin Carbons for me, Vittoria Open Corsa CX and other similar-level tires for much of the group). Thoughts? Opinions?
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Old 07-28-05, 02:50 AM
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I too would think your speed on descents is more about reducing your wind resistance than your hubs. The total friction losses on a bike should be less than 1% so any friction in the hubs would be pretty minor.
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Old 07-28-05, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Ben Cousins
It's most likely your riding position. Are you smaller in height and breadth than the rest of them? Are you in more of a tuck?
This was something I was also investigating... I think I'm ever so slightly more aero just because my top tube is technically too long for my body so I end up being bent over too much. I will say that all of us in question are on the hoods at the same time or all in the drops. It's not like I'm comparing myself in the drops to them on the hoods or anything. I will say that when we're on really fast descents and start pedaling, I get slaughtered as I just can't put out the kind of power that someone 5'10, 190lbs can put out.
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Old 07-28-05, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Ben Cousins
I think I mentioned this before, but the maximum aero advantage you will get from wheels is roughly equal to dropping your head into more of a tuck by another inch.
Not too surprising really. I figured there was a small amount of aero advantage to a 30mm wheel and bladed spokes, but I wasn't exactly expecting miracles. I guess I was just rather surprised at how much more speed I gain downhill on my road bike vs my old mtb.
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Old 07-28-05, 04:58 AM
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See this is interesting as there was a similar post a few days ago where I was told the reason was because I was heavier than the other rider by 50-60 lbs. As you know I also have a set of wheels from Mike on my Salsa. Something my father pointed out is that when he gets an overhaul near the time of a large group ride his bikes roll much better than others in the group so maybe it is simply that your bearings are still good and well lubed and others have inferior and or dry bearings causing more friction.

I guess what we really need to do is find someone that is slower down a hill and do a few runs swaping wheels to see of it is the difference.
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