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What makes a wheel fast?

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What makes a wheel fast?

Old 12-22-10, 04:38 PM
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lust4bikes
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What makes a wheel fast?

I rode Mavic ES's for the last 4 years. Then a woman in my club who is usually slower than me became faster than me overnight. The difference: Bontrager Race XXX lite wheels. So I got a pair and now I am faster than her again and a whole lot of others as well. I am amazed at the difference wheels make (even more than the frame). So I bought some sub 1400 alloy hand made wheels and became slower. I can only conclude that it was from too much flex. I weigh anywhere from 175 to 180 lbs.

Is it stiffness that makes a wheel fast? Mavic's are stiffer than most other alloy wheels...I forgot to mention that I rode some carbon 50mm clincher for a short spell (hand made in Taiwan?) They were fast but not nearly as fast as the bonty's . So is it the hub that makes it fast. The carbon wheels had sapim cx rays and the bonties have dt swiss aero , so I figure the spokes are a wash...

Can hand made wheels be as fast as high end production wheels? The Mavic ES sold for $1200 in 2006 and the Bontrager Race XXX lites' goes for about $2700 new...

Are there lower cost alternatives that can match the performance of the Bontragers'?

I will appreciate all thoughts on this... I'm running out of money in testing all these wheels and I don't feel that I'm any closer to being enlightened on what makes wheels fast?
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Old 12-22-10, 04:45 PM
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Wheels had nothing to do with it. Training, rest, and placebo did.
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Old 12-22-10, 04:56 PM
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Get ready...
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Old 12-22-10, 04:58 PM
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I make wheels fast...or rather...I make my wheels fast...in the same fashion you make your wheels slow. Or something.
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Old 12-22-10, 04:59 PM
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i know on the same wheels I was faster after i had the hubs repacked. i was also a lot faster coasting down a hill than other people on fancy wheels and pedalling like mad. i assume hub smoothness is important.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:01 PM
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I can make my wheels fast by giving them to a faster rider.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by lust4bikes View Post
I'm running out of money in testing all these wheels and I don't feel that I'm any closer to being enlightened on what makes wheels fast?
Welcome to the club.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:03 PM
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You're producing the same FTP (functional threshold power) but equipment can save you watts thus making you "faster".

Something as stupidly simple as latex tubes can "give" you 20 watts of power or some such. Incredibly expensive wheels perform better at high speeds, specific yaw angles etc.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:08 PM
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What makes a wheel fast??

Where is umd when we need him?

What makes a wheel fast? A person riding the bike!
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Old 12-22-10, 05:24 PM
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you don't want to know my thoughts.

occam's razor points to "failure to properly measure the key variable"



Originally Posted by lust4bikes View Post
I rode Mavic ES's for the last 4 years. Then a woman in my club who is usually slower than me became faster than me overnight. The difference: Bontrager Race XXX lite wheels. So I got a pair and now I am faster than her again and a whole lot of others as well. I am amazed at the difference wheels make (even more than the frame). So I bought some sub 1400 alloy hand made wheels and became slower. I can only conclude that it was from too much flex. I weigh anywhere from 175 to 180 lbs.

Is it stiffness that makes a wheel fast? Mavic's are stiffer than most other alloy wheels...I forgot to mention that I rode some carbon 50mm clincher for a short spell (hand made in Taiwan?) They were fast but not nearly as fast as the bonty's . So is it the hub that makes it fast. The carbon wheels had sapim cx rays and the bonties have dt swiss aero , so I figure the spokes are a wash...

Can hand made wheels be as fast as high end production wheels? The Mavic ES sold for $1200 in 2006 and the Bontrager Race XXX lites' goes for about $2700 new...

Are there lower cost alternatives that can match the performance of the Bontragers'?

I will appreciate all thoughts on this... I'm running out of money in testing all these wheels and I don't feel that I'm any closer to being enlightened on what makes wheels fast?
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Old 12-22-10, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by lust4bikes View Post
What makes a wheel fast?

The legs.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc View Post


Get ready...
Share? I'll join you.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:30 PM
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To add, umd should be un-banned for this thread.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by grumpy mctrumpy View Post
occam's razor points to "failure to properly measure the key variable"
/thread
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Old 12-22-10, 05:38 PM
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A combination of rigidity, aerodynamics, and the hub's rolling resistance.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:41 PM
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on the bright side, the fact that the OP made the assertions surely means that country is still damned good at marketing bullocks and selling hype
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Old 12-22-10, 06:06 PM
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Old 12-22-10, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by lust4bikes View Post

I will appreciate all thoughts on this... I'm running out of money in testing all these wheels and I don't feel that I'm any closer to being enlightened on what makes wheels fast?
You're doing it wrong!
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Old 12-22-10, 06:50 PM
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This post is packed with incredible, rich, fascinating, highly accurate reality. This is why I come to this forum.


Originally Posted by lust4bikes View Post
... slower than me became faster than me overnight. The difference: Bontrager Race XXX lite wheels. So I got a pair and now I am faster than her again and a whole lot of others as well. I am amazed at the difference wheels make ...
Originally Posted by kabex View Post
... latex tubes can "give" you 20 watts of power or some such. Incredibly expensive wheels perform better at high speeds, specific yaw angles etc...
Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post
A combination of rigidity, aerodynamics, and the hub's rolling resistance.
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Old 12-22-10, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JaceK View Post
This post is packed with incredible, rich, fascinating, highly accurate reality. This is why I come to this forum.
There's lots of research on latex tubes online:
https://www.competitivecyclist.com/re...-tube_435.html
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Old 12-22-10, 07:00 PM
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To the OP: These answers may not seem helpful. But they are pretty accurate, in my opinion. I have little doubt that some wheels are better than others in terms of performance, but it is a difference of degree, not a difference of kind.

Originally Posted by stedalus View Post
Wheels had nothing to do with it. Training, rest, and placebo did.
@OP: This is likely to be true. How many data points do you have that you can draw your conclusion?

Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
I can make my wheels fast by giving them to a faster rider.
@OP: Another skeptic. Answers your question directly and accurately.

Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
occam's razor points to "failure to properly measure the key variable"
@OP: Another skeptic.

Originally Posted by Velo Gator View Post
To add, umd should be un-banned for this thread.
Sorry. I disagree. umd should be unbanned to be helpful. Not so that we (collectively) can annoy him. If that's where you were going...

Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
You're doing it wrong!
@OP: Another skeptic. Put your checkbook away, for now.

Frankly, and with all due respect: Are you certain you're seating the wheel properly in the frame? I think that dragging brakes, however unlikely, are still a more probable explanation than different wheels. And at your stated weight, I doubt the wheel flex hypothesis is a likely explanation either.

The best advice I can give would be to pick one of those wheelsets, doesn't matter which, make sure that they are in good working condition and mounted properly. Then ride.
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Old 12-22-10, 07:03 PM
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Old 12-22-10, 07:09 PM
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good tires.

what produces the most noticeable difference in cars? the tires.
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Old 12-22-10, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by lust4bikes View Post

the Bontrager Race XXX lites' goes for about $2700 new...

Are there lower cost alternatives that can match the performance of the Bontragers'?
IMO of course....
These


Or these:
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Old 12-22-10, 11:21 PM
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I'll bite. Don't laugh at me, please.

For "easier" training rides (17-19 mph solo, 20-21 mph group), I find my non-aero clinchers work well, better than the aero ones. I spend so little time at significant speeds that the 1-2? lbs weight penalty is significant. I've tried to compromise by using just the rear aero wheel, but it's still much less responsive on hills and when accelerating (responding to surges).

Based on what I read, I felt that the aero wheels would be faster due to their aero-ness, but I struggle on the wheels (Jet6 front, Jet9 rear). For "normal" rides I use the Bastognes (non-aero).

Even for races I'll use the Bastognes because the accelerate much easier. I use a lot of my reserves accelerating hard to counter attacks and just get out of a corner. I used my aero wheels for a few weeks but got totally shelled because the third or fourth super hard acceleration just killed me.

(When I used aero tubulars which are lighter and more aero than my clinchers, I did fine.)

So until you go really fast in a group (25-27 mph avg speed) heavy aero wheels seem to be a disadvantage. A steady state 25 mph to me screams aero wheel. Jumpy races which average 25-27+ mph scream aero tubulars.

The Bontragers you mention are carbon rimmed clinchers. They're extremely light. They will spin up very quickly, allowing you to accelerate with low perceived effort. If you don't use them all the time they'll feel really, really fast when you do use them. Until you hit about 35-40 mph. That's when they'll feel pretty sloggy. Aero wheels really come into play over 30 mph, and really at 35+ mph. Those slight downgrades when you want to move up in the group and the group is going 35-40 mph... aero wheels really help. Me, anyway, they help me.

My aero wheels weigh somewhere south of 1400g per pair, and they feel fast. My clinchers weigh more, with heavier tires, and feel less fast. The aero clinchers are like Mack trucks - they take forever and again to get going but feel great at speed.

cdr

Clarifications:
- "my aero TUBULAR wheels weigh somewhere south of 1400g..."
- When I say I race Bastognes, that's at the Tues Night training race (avg speed 25-27 mph, I used the tubulars in the faster ones). I race the tubular aero wheels most of the time. In the rain I use the Bastognes.

Last edited by carpediemracing; 12-23-10 at 08:22 AM. Reason: Some clarifications....
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