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Lighter rims also stronger?

Old 08-08-07, 12:24 AM
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permanentjaun
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Lighter rims also stronger?

Quick question - Are lighter rims also as strong or stronger than their heavier counterparts? Is it generally accepted to only save the lightest wheels for race day as they won't take the abuse of day to day training and general riding? Or are they engineered well enough that they can take a beating too?
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Old 08-08-07, 12:42 AM
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Not necessarily. Some light weight rims use better alloys, and the quality of the build is also a big factor. For example, Rolf Prima Vigor and Elan wheels are just as tough as most wheels 200-300g heavier. I ride mine all the time for the last three years. Still true, even after tons of general riding.

The new Niobium 30's out on the market are also known for being one of the toughest, yet also one of the lightest 30mm rims going.
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Old 08-08-07, 06:35 AM
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There are too many variables to make a sweeping statement. If a wheel gets its light weight from fewer spokes and/or a shallower rim, it will be weaker. If it gets its light weight from carbon fiber, then it can be quite strong.

Some components are stronger and lighter, like double-butted spokes. Then you have to consider AL nipples, rim tape vs. hole covers, and tubular vs. clincher.

Then there's the whole hub thing. The lowest rolling resistance hubs are also the most durable -- and heaviest (loose ball Campy and Shimano).

If you're looking for durable wheels, I don't recommend you buy any wheel with a name. To me, "durable" would mean 20k-30k miles. Get them built and have the builder select appropriate parts for you, your routes, and riding style. You can build a 32h wheel (very strong) for less money and less weight than most $1000 boutique wheelsets.

Race wheels are for race day. Of course only the really fast racers save them for race day (pros). I've had many friends come to me with spokes breaking or cracks around the spoke holes from 2-year-old (or less) boutique wheels, while my handbuilts keep rolling.
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Old 08-08-07, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by permanentjaun View Post
Are lighter rims also as strong or stronger than their heavier counterparts?
'Quick question' doesn't mean stupid question.

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Old 08-08-07, 11:31 AM
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light, strong, cheap; pick two.
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Old 08-08-07, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by permanentjaun View Post
Quick question - Are lighter rims also as strong or stronger than their heavier counterparts?
no way! That's the big tradeoff with 'performance' wheels: durability....and stiffness

There's no way a 1500g alu wheelset is gunna be as strong (or stiff) as my beastly 2100g wheels -- something's gotta give to cut 700g, and it's usually stiffness and strength/durability. No addition of a drop of magnesium or niobiom here or there is gunna add enough strength to make up for big weight reductions.

If you're talking about $3000 carbon wheels, then that might be another story
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Old 08-08-07, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
light, strong, cheap; pick two.
But I wanted aero wheels.
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Old 08-08-07, 01:13 PM
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I'm building up some velocity deep V's w/ dura ace hubs and DT swiss comp. double butted spokes (32 hole 3x front and rear). They may be heavier than my current wheelset, but I fully expect to be faster and handle better than my 20 and 24 spoke Bontrager selects.
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Old 08-08-07, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by smurf hunter View Post
I'm building up some velocity deep V's w/ dura ace hubs and DT swiss comp. double butted spokes (32 hole 3x front and rear). They may be heavier than my current wheelset, but I fully expect to be faster and handle better than my 20 and 24 spoke Bontrager selects.
You're gonna love those wheels. Very very nice.
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