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Performance Wheelset Decision on New Tandem?

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Performance Wheelset Decision on New Tandem?

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Old 04-15-18, 08:05 PM
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Performance Wheelset Decision on New Tandem?

Okay folks ... need some feedback if you could help a guy in need.

I was considering the Spinergy Stealth Carbon wheelset until I noticed they are 2060 grams. Love the looks, don't like the weight whatsoever. I currently run the 2010 Rolf Prima Tandem alloy and they work fine, but they are 9sp and selling them with my current tandem as soon as the new one comes in.

What about the new Rolf Carbon Tandem wheelset? Good weight it appears. But, can't find any reviews or opinions from those who are riding them.

I'd like to find something that is both aero and lighter in weight if possible without spending huge money on the ENVE's.

We are a 290 to 300 lbs team (I fluctuate) and can ride decently fast when we feel like it in the mid / end of season. We do have some steep climbs, but none that are more than 3/4 mile typically.

Any other questions I can answer to help you help us?

Thanks for any feedback - it is much appreciated.
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Old 04-15-18, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcycl View Post
Okay folks ... need some feedback if you could help a guy in need.

I was considering the Spinergy Stealth Carbon wheelset until I noticed they are 2060 grams. Love the looks, don't like the weight whatsoever. I currently run the 2010 Rolf Prima Tandem alloy and they work fine, but they are 9sp and selling them with my current tandem as soon as the new one comes in.

What about the new Rolf Carbon Tandem wheelset? Good weight it appears. But, can't find any reviews or opinions from those who are riding them.

I'd like to find something that is both aero and lighter in weight if possible without spending huge money on the ENVE's.

We are a 290 to 300 lbs team (I fluctuate) and can ride decently fast when we feel like it in the mid / end of season. We do have some steep climbs, but none that are more than 3/4 mile typically.

Any other questions I can answer to help you help us?

Thanks for any feedback - it is much appreciated.
Just confirmed, the Rolf Carbon wheels are 515 grams or 1.15 lbs lighter than the Spinergy Stealth Carbon wheels. WOW!

Am I correct in thinking that is a huge difference? Especially in rolling weight?

I have to admit, I like the looks and appearance of the Spinergy Stealth much more. But the Rolfs are still a nice deeper profile rim with nice appeal also.
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Old 04-15-18, 11:55 PM
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We had a set of custom wheels built by Wheelbuilder .com that consist of ZIPP 404 carbon rims with 28 Sapim bladed spokes on White Industries CLD hubs. I don't have the exact weight but they are very light and super aero. We have at least 6k miles on them and have never had to touch them, perfectly true and zero spoke issues. We are not a super light weight team at about 320. We have black logos so they are not blingy but just plain fast. Don't be afraid to to go custom. I think I paid about the same as the Rolfs you are looking at.
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Old 04-16-18, 08:17 AM
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We've been using the 2017 version of the Rolf carbon wheelset for about a year.

So far performance has been flawless with no trueing required or evidence other problems.

Only issue noted is the tall rim profile may have contibuted to a high-speed wobble we experienced under some conditions, but sensitivity to this issue and some adjustment in stoker positioning has largely eliminated the problem.

We spec'ed them based on the low weight, as our old engines no longer put out sufficent watts to take advantage of the aero benefits in most situations.

My philosophy on tandem wheels is different than some on the board: Tandems are such a small market that it can be difficult for many vendors to gain sufficient experience. Rolf has been in the tandem market for a long time and that buys them a lot of credibility with me (We've seen the improvements in their alloy tandem wheel design as a result of lessons learned over the years).

We've never used Spinergy, but they seem to have similar experience.

I would need a lot of familiarity with a custom builder to have the same confidence in their product for such a niche market as tandems.

Let me know if you have further questions.

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Old 04-16-18, 12:10 PM
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Thanks for the feedback! Depending on additional cost over the Spinergy Stealth Carbon wheels ... I may go w/ the Rolf Carbon ones. Otherwise, back to the Rolf Alloy but the new 2018 model.
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Old 04-18-18, 08:59 AM
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Decision finally made -- Rolf Carbon Wheelset with black decals. Once we get the tandem, I'll post an update here of my impressions and after a 1000 miles or more another update. Thanks for all the input.
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Old 04-22-18, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcycl View Post
Decision finally made -- Rolf Carbon Wheelset with black decals. Once we get the tandem, I'll post an update here of my impressions and after a 1000 miles or more another update. Thanks for all the input.
I just decided to go with the Spinergy Full Carbon 3.2 (32mm depth) on our new tandem, having used Spinergy TX-2s (light but not very aero) and Spinergy Stealth (aero but not very light) over the past few years. Picking up the new bike in a little over 4 weeks, I'll post some pics and any impressions of the wheels then.
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Old 04-22-18, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan_F View Post
I just decided to go with the Spinergy Full Carbon 3.2 (32mm depth) on our new tandem, having used Spinergy TX-2s (light but not very aero) and Spinergy Stealth (aero but not very light) over the past few years. Picking up the new bike in a little over 4 weeks, I'll post some pics and any impressions of the wheels then.
Would love to hear your thoughts and experience with them Alan F! Look forward to it. Maybe we can help those in the future make better and more informed decisions.
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Old 04-22-18, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan_F View Post
I just decided to go with the Spinergy Full Carbon 3.2 (32mm depth) on our new tandem, having used Spinergy TX-2s (light but not very aero) and Spinergy Stealth (aero but not very light) over the past few years. Picking up the new bike in a little over 4 weeks, I'll post some pics and any impressions of the wheels then.
Alan F ... I have NOT seen these in all my research. I only noticed the two you mentioned having used in the past. But, never the Stealth FCC 3.2. Wow, I like these and the looks compared to the Rolf Carbon. I left a voice mail for Mel at Tandem's East to ask if we can switch to these given they are ~ 100 grams lighter and, retail at least, $640 less expensive. So, fingers crossed.

Thanks for mentioning them!!

EDITED TO ADD: Alan ... these don't show up as a Tandem specific wheelset on Spinergy's website. Thoughts?
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Old 04-23-18, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcycl View Post
Alan F ... I have NOT seen these in all my research. I only noticed the two you mentioned having used in the past. But, never the Stealth FCC 3.2. Wow, I like these and the looks compared to the Rolf Carbon. I left a voice mail for Mel at Tandem's East to ask if we can switch to these given they are ~ 100 grams lighter and, retail at least, $640 less expensive. So, fingers crossed.

Thanks for mentioning them!!

EDITED TO ADD: Alan ... these don't show up as a Tandem specific wheelset on Spinergy's website. Thoughts?

There is a tandem-specific version of these wheels, but it looks like neither Spinergy nor House of Tandems (the Spinergy tandem distributor) has any info about them on their web sites. AFAIK they are available in all the usual tandem hub options. Ours will be dual-disc with a 145mm rear hub and DaVinci disc spacing (25mm offset instead of 15mm offset). I forget how many spokes they have but I just sent an email to H.o.T. to inquire about that and will post the answer when I get it. I've also asked DaVinci to weigh the wheels when they arrive and I'll share the results here.


<--EDIT>The tandem full carbon clinchers are 24 spokes front and rear and built on tandem-specific hubs. The claimed weight is just under 1,600 grams. I'll should have a real-world weight to post in about a week.
<--/EDIT>

The tandem wheels should be heavier than the single bike wheels due to higher spoke count and wider rear hub, and they are $2,000. So they probably weigh at least as much as the Rolf Carbon and the price difference is not quite as big as you thought from looking at the single bike wheel price.

I'm a big fan of the ride of the Spinergy PBO spokes. The difference in ride quality over small cracks in the pavement is very noticeable. The Hadley hubs they use are super easy to maintain and should a spoke break they are easily field replaceable (even on the drive-side of the rear wheel). Like any wheels they can have issues... some friends of ours had cracks start to develop in their TX-2 rims and switched to Rolfs. I had a bearing issue with my TX-2 rear wheel but House of Tandems replaced the wheel at no cost (they even covered the shipping).

So the Rolf wheels are probably a bit lighter and they are more expensive. They have center lock rotor mounting which I would consider a plus, but not a big enough plus for us to select them over the Spinergys. I know there are a lot of riders who have had great experiences with Rolf wheels and you'll probably be happy with either choice.

I'm just wondering how long I can hold out before I need a set of Spinergy FCC 4.7 (the deep 47mm version of these wheels).

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Old 05-01-18, 09:10 PM
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We’ve had very good results with both the alloy and carbon Rolf wheels on our tandems. The carbon ones are very light, stiff, aero. Never had to touch or true them, we are about 290lb team and they became our go-to set of fast wheels. We just had a custom pair of Zipp 404 built to explore some TT options, so we may thin the herd and sell the carbon Rolf’s if they outperform them.
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Old 05-15-18, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan_F View Post
There is a tandem-specific version of these wheels, but it looks like neither Spinergy nor House of Tandems (the Spinergy tandem distributor) has any info about them on their web sites. AFAIK they are available in all the usual tandem hub options. Ours will be dual-disc with a 145mm rear hub and DaVinci disc spacing (25mm offset instead of 15mm offset). I forget how many spokes they have but I just sent an email to H.o.T. to inquire about that and will post the answer when I get it. I've also asked DaVinci to weigh the wheels when they arrive and I'll share the results here.


<--EDIT>The tandem full carbon clinchers are 24 spokes front and rear and built on tandem-specific hubs. The claimed weight is just under 1,600 grams. I'll should have a real-world weight to post in about a week.
<--/EDIT>

The tandem wheels should be heavier than the single bike wheels due to higher spoke count and wider rear hub, and they are $2,000. So they probably weigh at least as much as the Rolf Carbon and the price difference is not quite as big as you thought from looking at the single bike wheel price.

I'm a big fan of the ride of the Spinergy PBO spokes. The difference in ride quality over small cracks in the pavement is very noticeable. The Hadley hubs they use are super easy to maintain and should a spoke break they are easily field replaceable (even on the drive-side of the rear wheel). Like any wheels they can have issues... some friends of ours had cracks start to develop in their TX-2 rims and switched to Rolfs. I had a bearing issue with my TX-2 rear wheel but House of Tandems replaced the wheel at no cost (they even covered the shipping).

So the Rolf wheels are probably a bit lighter and they are more expensive. They have center lock rotor mounting which I would consider a plus, but not a big enough plus for us to select them over the Spinergys. I know there are a lot of riders who have had great experiences with Rolf wheels and you'll probably be happy with either choice.

I'm just wondering how long I can hold out before I need a set of Spinergy FCC 4.7 (the deep 47mm version of these wheels).

Real-world weights for the Spinergy Full Carbon Clincher 32mm (FCC 3.2) - disc brake hubs with 145mm x 25mm rear spacing - 895 grams rear, 732 grams front - 1,627 grams total.
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Old 05-15-18, 02:01 PM
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Alan_F ... that is a nice low weight for a deep rim wheelset! Very nice.
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Old 05-16-18, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcycl View Post
Alan_F ... that is a nice low weight for a deep rim wheelset! Very nice.
Personally I wouldn't count these as a deep rim wheelset. The 47mm version is deeper, probably more aero, and probably more of a handful in crosswinds. The 32mm are just a general use wheel. My personal experience with deep rims on a tandem (Bontrager tandem, Spinergy stealth) is that the natural stability of the tandem keeps things pretty controllable even in crosswinds, but I decided to go with the 32s to balance weight and aerodynamics.

9 days until we pick up the new bikes, not that I'm counting or anything.
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Old 05-16-18, 11:33 AM
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Doubt you will realistically notice much variance in performance between 1600 and 2000 gram wheelsets based on weight unless you are regularly
racing and have combined steady state power levels in the 500 or so watt range. IME we did our fastest century (~5H 5') on a 44# tandem and
never matched that speed when we switched to a Macchiatto with Rolf aluminum wheels a few years later. Of course our combo weight in the 380#
range and combo age in the 130 range may have contributed. Light weight wheels are mostly noted in acceleration, either on the flat from lower
to higher speed or in climbing, which requires you to accelerate at some cosine of the local gravitational constant in order to keep your speed
constant.

Aero wheels can be a benefit if you can stay above ~20 mph consistently and really come into play above 25mph but cross winds can be a *****.
FWIW we noted the use of aero bars would result in a speed change of +2 mph if the pilot went from the drops to the aero position at 28 or so mph.

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Old 05-21-18, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by diabloridr View Post
We've been using the 2017 version of the Rolf carbon wheelset for about a year.

So far performance has been flawless with no trueing required or evidence other problems.

Only issue noted is the tall rim profile may have contibuted to a high-speed wobble we experienced under some conditions, but sensitivity to this issue and some adjustment in stoker positioning has largely eliminated the problem.

...
Let me know if you have further questions.
I'm curious why you think a tall rim profile would cause high-speed wobble? There's a great - and technical - discussion about high speed wobble on Lennard Zinn's blog on VeloNews. Every bicycle will exhibit high-speed wobble if high enough velocity is reached. And since higher velocities are often reached on tandems, its occurrence would be more common. I also understand that more mass in the front wheel tends to prevent onset at lower speeds. So if your tall rim profile were lighter than another front wheel that didn't exhibit the problem, I'd assume mass is the issue. But usually deeper v rims are heavier and should result in less high speed wobble issues.

Here's a technical take:
Technical FAQ: Bifurcation and high-speed shimmy | VeloNews.com
Scroll to the bottom for the discussion. Specifically, high speed wobble comes down to this:

"For the bicycle scenario, the parameter in the engineering phase could be increasing the stiffness build of the bike — a stiffer bike will be more resistant. The several design parameters could all be “nondimensionalized” to a single, non-dimensional parameter as is necessary to explain with Hopf since it is a one-parameter phenomena (this concept is called co-dimension-1 bifurcation). Or once the bike is designed and built, then the parameter is speed. Each bike has a critical speed at which it will cross the Hopf bifurcation value, and then steady state becomes unstable and wobble becomes the stable state. This, by the way, is why it is very, very dangerous to try those 150 mph downhill bicycle attempts!"

I rode and raced with Erik in college, only to come home to listen to him and my other roommate discuss math and physics at a level far above my pay grade!

Anyway, I thought I'd share.
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Old 06-30-18, 05:18 PM
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Recent cautionary tale:

Cyclists were going 47 mph near Huntington when 'their wheels disintegrated from impact'

Wheels were Zipp, apparently low profile carbon and low spoke count. This is a good example of why you don't want to dance with the devil (tempt fate by using sketchy tandem wheels).


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Old 07-02-18, 09:17 AM
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Ugh! -

Going down at 47mph and having your front wheel pretzel!

Looks like he is lucky to be alive & standing!
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Old 07-02-18, 02:25 PM
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I read the attached article and it doesn't sound like this was necessarily a wheel failure. Hitting a pothole at 47mph could pretzel most any wheel.

A cautionary tale for all of us!
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Old 07-02-18, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
I read the attached article and it doesn't sound like this was necessarily a wheel failure. Hitting a pothole at 47mph could pretzel most any wheel.

A cautionary tale for all of us!
I saw pictures of the pot hole and it did not look that deep.
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Old 07-03-18, 10:48 AM
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We don't do descents much over 40 recently. We have gone over 50 in the past. I love the feeling of speed but often afterword, I think about the consequences of a failure. I've thought the most likely catastrophic failure would be a tire. However, a pot hole at speed could be bad - even if it didn't collapse a wheel. The only time we do fast descents lately is when I am very familiar with the road & road surface.

With some bad anecdotes, my rationalization is to figure out why that wouldn't be me. In this case it would be pretty easy to see how it could be me. That is why I think it is a cautionary tale for us all.
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Old 07-04-18, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
I read the attached article and it doesn't sound like this was necessarily a wheel failure. Hitting a pothole at 47mph could pretzel most any wheel.

A cautionary tale for all of us!
No, the crash was not initiated by wheel failure, however I believe a stronger wheel would have survived and the coulpe may have fared better as a result. Perhaps only a tire blowout would have occurred, but maybe not a complete pretzel as in the OP photo.

Not sure if they just didn't see that hole - could have been in shadows from the trees, following a car, etc. It does look bunny-hopable. No idea.

This was all it took for them to bite it so badly....



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Old 07-05-18, 08:53 AM
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Wow! Was it marked that clearly before they hit it (or was it marked after the crash)?

The tire most certainly blew out but it would take some real forensics to determine if the blowout caused the rim collapse of vise-versa.
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Old 07-07-18, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
Wow! Was it marked that clearly before they hit it (or was it marked after the crash)?

The tire most certainly blew out but it would take some real forensics to determine if the blowout caused the rim collapse of vise-versa.
Marked after. Not sure if it was police accident investigation or by a cycling club to emphasize the poor conditions to whomever maintains that road.
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Old 07-09-18, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
I'm curious why you think a tall rim profile would cause high-speed wobble? There's a great - and technical - discussion about high speed wobble on Lennard Zinn's blog on VeloNews. Every bicycle will exhibit high-speed wobble if high enough velocity is reached.
Our observation was instability was only initiated in crosswind conditions. The tall rim profile provide more area to interact with the crosswind.
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