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Old 08-13-07, 10:56 AM   #1
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Performance gains from new wheelset?

It looks like we're going to have an opportunity to replace the rear rim on our Burley Duet, but before we buy the new rim and have it rebuilt, the question has come up as to whether there might be any noticeable performance gains by going with a performance wheelset like the Rolfs or Bontrager Light Tandem wheels as a replacement for our stock 40 spoke wheels.

We're a light team at 285 lbs, so I wouldn't be worried about that aspect, but can't we can't decide if it would be a waste of money to put the "go fast" wheels on a steel framed bike that is anything but lightweight.

What would you recommend?

Last edited by twilkins9076; 08-13-07 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 08-13-07, 11:17 AM   #2
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Weight reduction will be an imperceptible improvement, about like taking a good
solid swig or two out of your waterbottle. Granted rotating weight is a little more
noticeable than stationary weight, you are talking about well under a half pound
difference. An aero rim might be more to the point, quite strong, very beneficial
in tandem use but most effective above 22-25mph. If your team spends a lot
of time in that area that would be a cheaper and more effective route than $500
wheels whose longevity is up for question based on recent threads on tandem lists.
(Based on retail of ~$900 for the Rolf high zoot tandem pair.) If you are a racing
team then intangibles take over in considerations of weight/aero parameters but
here better returns are found by buying a tandem in the 28-32# range.
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Old 08-13-07, 11:23 AM   #3
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I can't speak for how it will work on a tandem....but on a single, a lighter and /or aero wheelset makes a huge difference. I'm sure the aero would apply to a tandem.

As far as the boutique wheels....I would check with a good wheel builder first. I had Mike at oddsandendos build me a set for my single that is lighter, stiffer and more aero than Ksyriums...for 1/3 the price! Peter White in NH is also a great wheel builder ( and I know he does tandem stuff)
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Old 08-13-07, 11:44 AM   #4
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We upgraded from 40h stock wheels in our Santana Soverign to a set of sweet 16's. We love how they ride and how they look... worth $1,000??... you bet! We hated the fact that we had to re-tension the wheels several times in the first 500 miles... then they worked fine for about 5,000 plus hard miles... then the rear rim showed some hairline craks. Santana gave us a new rear wheel... nowadays we do most training on the old 40h wheels and save the 16's for especial events.

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Old 08-13-07, 01:13 PM   #5
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If you are into performance/speed, a lighter /aero wheelset will make a slight difference.
However, upgrading to a much lighter frameset/tandem than a Duet would be even more noteworthy.
We went from a 34 lbs tandem to a 26 1/2 lbs tandem . . . noticeable? You bet, especially when climbing!
However, are we much faster? Heck, we are in our mid-70s . . . so *f-a-s-t* is no longer part of our vocabulary! Easier? Yup!!!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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