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

aero wheels question

Old 07-25-08, 05:18 PM
  #1  
bklein
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aero wheels question

I live in S Florida so I'm not climbing many hills, only bridges. I want to upgrade wheels to something more aero. Currently I have a deep v 14 bladed spoke rolf vector on front and an old mavic 23 hole with campy hub on rear.
I see lots of bikes with 50mm carbon rims on rear only or on both. Some bikes seem to have a more aero wheel in rear, like hed 3 spoke wheels.
If budget is low (as it is) does it make more sence to invest in rear wheel?
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Old 07-25-08, 05:20 PM
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Are you racing?

If not, then don't worry about it, because aero benefits are only seen at speeds above Cat 5.
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Old 07-25-08, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BananaTugger View Post
Are you racing?

If not, then don't worry about it, because aero benefits are only seen at speeds above Cat 5.
that doesn't stop LOTS of CAT 5s
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Old 07-25-08, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dmb2786 View Post
that doesn't stop LOTS of CAT 5s
LoL
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Old 07-25-08, 05:42 PM
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If you don't have a big budget just the front wheel is fine. I used to race with a front TriSpoke (now sold as a HED3) with a somewhat normal spoked rear wheel.

Regardless of the other comments an aero front wheel will help you go faster, although it's most noticeable once you're rolling along pretty well (mid 20s mph, although that's debatable depending on conditions). You should be aware that a tall rim will catch more wind and so will force you to be more careful with your bike handling skills.

cdr
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Old 07-25-08, 05:44 PM
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i guess som put them on the back to avoid that effect?
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Old 07-25-08, 06:26 PM
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No real races. I ride in groups with speeds in low, mid and high 20's. Occassional sprints which are sort of little races. Will begin riding a monthly Loose Canon race in Miami. In formal race with group start, mid check point and ends at a local bar.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:31 PM
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+1 to cdr. Listen to him, aero front.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bklein View Post
No real races. I ride in groups with speeds in low, mid and high 20's. Occassional sprints which are sort of little races. Will begin riding a monthly Loose Canon race in Miami. In formal race with group start, mid check point and ends at a local bar.
Unless there's a wad of cash on the other side of the line waiting for you, there really is no need to get super leet race wheels.

But, if you want to think you look awesome...
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Old 07-26-08, 05:52 AM
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I rode out of Coconut Grove a few hours before Hurricane George (?) hit. I forget the hurricane but it caused the cancellation of a pro-am crit there. I only had my TriSpokes/HED3s but I couldn't resist pestering my two friends to go out on a ride. Steady 50 mph winds, 80+ mph gusts, everyone's windows boarded up, etc etc etc. I told them I wanted to see how fast we could ride with a 50 mph tailwind. Since they also rode with me in my Summer Street Thursday Night Downtown Sprints they were the type to say yes.

Rode out into a 50 mph headwind (price to pay), over some big bridge thing "causeway", that goes to some islands or something. Struggled in our bottom gears (back then 42x21 or so) just to get over the stupid bridge. Rode until the road was closed due to the hurricane.

On the way back I was rolling a 53 (maybe a 54) x 15 up the bridge, barely any effort. I told my friends that this is where I make my top speed run. I sprinted away in my 11T and held about 60 mph for about a mile, passing one of the few cars we saw that must have been going about 50-55 mph. Then I totally exploded.

Moral of the story is that if you ride an aero front wheel all the time you will learn how to handle it in some of the more extreme conditions you might see. The front wheel accounts for something like 2/3 of the aero advantage of aero wheels - the rear is about 1/3.

Note: having said that, if it was that windy I'd normally go looking for a box or lower-profile type wheel for the front. But 25-30 mph winds I stay on my aero wheels. The only time this isn't true won't apply to you but it's on 50+ mph descents. Then a box section front wheel feels much safer, especially in a full aero tuck.

cdr
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Old 07-26-08, 07:05 AM
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When building my modern bike (I was 8-peeder till this year) I bid on 2 sets of wheels on ebay -- one was regular mavic reflex and the other one was old Zipp 330's. The 2 high bidders retracted on the zipps and I got them for cheap. <300 and they were NOS.

So although I know it's ridiculous to use them as everyday wheels, I used the Zipps anyway. Since they are older and supposedly tougher, I don't worry about breaking them.

Yes they do make a difference compared to my Mavic reflexes and GEL-280's. Solo on flat's mild uphills I can maintain a good speed at least 5 mph or better. I was only gonna use them for races but I am using them everyday. I still have my old 8-speed for commuting and some training rides.
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