Author Topic: Lightweight Wheels  (Read 6700 times)

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2016, 12:45:42 pm »
Im always amused by the people who say a given bike wont be faster than another given bike.

Im even more amused by it since I purchased a power meter (which also measures wind resistance) and compared commutes on different machines.

It just tells me what I already knew. 

On my commute it isnt a huge issue. On a 200k audax it can be the difference between winning and losing.


Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2016, 01:05:07 pm »
I'm always amused when people are trying to track down a bike shop 40 miles from the nearest town to buy a new wheel, when I'm carrying spokes to retrue a conventional wheel.

Mainly I'm amused at myself, managing to say soothing words to an idiot.

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2016, 01:14:13 pm »
I'm always amused when businesses manage to survive despite completely misunderstanding what their customers want  ;D

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2016, 01:52:12 pm »
The upshot of "high spoke count good, low spoke count bad" orthodoxy that discounts rider weight, wheel rim, spoke, hub and build quality and component age is people at the start of Audaxes asking what you're going to do if you break a spoke. That can be annoying though it's probably meant well.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2016, 03:25:41 pm »
comparing the wheelsets i ride, they make a massive difference to how the bike feels depending on their weight and spoke type and count.

lightweight (1.4kg) wheels with aero spokes - bliss, bike is so responsive and just floats over the road. with the heaviest (at 2.6kg) wheels the bike feels like a tank, however it's not that much slower overall*, only climbs ~10% longer and takes a little while to accelerate.

as long as riders are aware and accept the risks that lighter wheels may break more often i see no reason why they should be told to only ride overbuilt and uninspiring wheels.

*at risk of sounding braggadocious i've finished a couple of 200k audaxes on it in 7:xx hrs.

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2016, 09:45:31 pm »
Wheels make a massive difference to how the bike feels, more than anything apart from perhaps tyres.
I have an old steel Super Galaxy from the mid 80s which I use for commuting.  It normally has clumpy old wheels with fat Marathon tyres and rides solidly but a bit stodgily.  Once when I had a slow puncture I just swapped in a front wheel from a much better bike. From the way the bike felt I could have sworn that I was riding the better bike. 
Certainly it's not right to persuade people to ride wheels underbuilt for them, but overbuilt wheels are not good either!

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2016, 10:39:44 pm »
Tor's original post mentioned wheelsets with too few spokes in, laced to rims that are not strong enough.  Such wheels fail often enough but if they are used by a strong, heavy, enthusiastic rider in all weathers, they are very likely to be insufficiently  reliable.

 The spoke tensions tend to be higher than in other wheels, and thus the local rim loadings and fatigue loadings are too. Winter road salt very greatly lowers the stress threshold at which cracks will propagate in the rim, so this is exactly what happens.

  I have seen dozens of wheels (very many different makers of wheel and/or rim) with cracked rims. In every case the wheels were built too light for the task in hand.

They would have lasted longer if they had been better protected from corrosion; there's not much point in applying an anodising treatment to the rim if you then breach it by drilling holes for the spokes right through it; this creates the perfect storm of

- a crevice to retain a pool of ever-strengthening brine
- a perfect site for corrosion to attack, with no coating on it
- the very highest stresses

all in the same place! Genius!

  It is also the case that if a single spoke breaks in a minimally-spoked wheels, the wheel is less likely to be rideable.

On the other side of the argument there seems to be an appetite for conflating 'wheels with more spokes in'  with 'heavy wheels' or 'slow wheels'.  What utter pish!    The lightest and nicest-riding wheels I own have lots of spokes in;  I also own several sets of minimally spoked wheels, which have almost without exception shown themselves to be heavier, less reliable, and less comfortable to ride on (yes even with the same tyres). Their sole advantage is aerodynamic, and that advantage is relatively slight.

  It is my earnest belief that the main reason people buy minimally spoked wheelsets is because they are swayed by fashion; the mindless scribes in various cycling journals don't help either....

Oh, and no-one should be surprised that any lightweight wheel is nicer to ride on that one fitted with a heavy tyre like a Marathon.

cheers

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2016, 10:44:57 pm »
There are good low spoke count wheels and bad low spoke count wheels.  Sounds like you bought a shit pair.

The solution to this is to be a little better informed next time you go shopping.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2016, 10:52:21 pm »
<shrug>

On the bike I ride most Audaxes on, I usually run modest Mavic Ksyrium wheels.
These have what would count as low spoke count here.

But:
-I've never been frowned at by a grey-beard at any Audax ( that I've noticed ).
-It's not an issue when it comes to replacing spokes 300k in to the Old Scrote 400, because *they don't break in the first place*.



Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2016, 11:01:54 pm »
There are good low spoke count wheels and bad low spoke count wheels.  Sounds like you bought a shit pair.

The solution to this is to be a little better informed next time you go shopping.

well make that several shit pairs then.  And I've seen plenty of others that were even shitter, all of which have been widely lauded by people that ought to have known better... ::-)

 By way of contrast I offer you a rear wheel I built over thirty years ago. 36DB spokes, a rim that weighs 430g, lives outdoors in the rain, over 50000 miles to date, still going strong. Never broke a spoke yet either.

cheers

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2016, 06:25:26 am »
A thirty year old rim with 50000 miles on it.

It must be a fixed gear  ;)

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2016, 12:54:50 pm »
When rims were all much of a muchness in terms of construction, there was a general rule of thumb relating rim weight to rider weight (e.g. rims under 400g for a 700c were only suppused to be for light riders and racers).  I'm not sure that still holds, since rims vary a lot; they haven't necessarily got better (IME Mavic make some absolute rubbish now) but some rims just take higher spoke tensions without pringling or cracking.  I've never been a particularly lightweight rider but I've used some very light wheels and never had any problems except with Other People's Builds and with that Goldtec hub that just crumbled after two years of winter salt (the spokes and rim are still going strong, four years later). 
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2016, 12:55:38 pm »
A thirty year old rim with 50000 miles on it.

It must be a fixed gear  ;)

Or chromed steel.  Mind you, it would probably be a Brompton rim - the first ones were steel - to weigh 430g!
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2016, 04:12:29 pm »
I weigh 63kg (65 after Christmas, normally!) and most bike stuff is overbuilt for me.
I have a pair of wheels which weigh 1350g for the pair, with 20 thin gauge spokes at the front at 24 mixed thin / heavier at the rear. 
I've ridden these wheels down non-tarmaced roads a number of times, and they are still true and not cracked and the bearings are still fine.

Choose your equipment based on your weight, and you'll be alright.  If anyone tells me that I should be riding 32 or even (shudder) 36 spoke wheels I'll tell them to do one, though.

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2016, 05:02:03 pm »
Doesn't it also depend on what the intended use is?  On my audax bike I have the proverbial open pro/dura ace wheelset.

On my new cervelo I have dura ace C24"s which weigh practically nothing, but I'll only ever be using that bike for (relatively) fast short blasts.

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #40 on: November 13, 2016, 07:33:08 pm »
Why not use it on a 600k?

Provided you are careful with potholes, I dont see an issue.

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2016, 05:08:37 pm »
I'm  70kg and I got some new wheels earlier this year for the Transcontinental. 

The builder persuaded me that he was confident that he could build me wheels which would be extremely robust without using lots of spokes.  I ended up with DA hubs with 18/24 spokes, along with some pretty robust rims (Kinlin XR31). 

They are lovely wheels to ride, and they got me + 10kg of luggage to Turkey with no problems.  I hit a few potholes on the way, and did 20km of off-road in Macedonia, but they are still perfectly true. 


LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #42 on: November 14, 2016, 05:19:45 pm »
Given they are 500 gram rims (touring weight, back in the day), I'm not surprised they are holding up well. Lighter rims and more spokes (to the same total weight) gives a lower radius of gyration, which feels nicer to ride. More aero drag though.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2016, 05:24:29 pm »
Yes, the 31T is my preferred rim now. It manages the strength, value and 'aero' equation really well. For higher spoke counts the 22T is also good.

My GF Ti wears the 31T laced 24:28 on a Shutter Precision SV-9 front and Hope Mono RS rear. The rear is an asymmetric drilling and spokes are laser except for DS rear, which are Aci Alpina. Nice wheels, if I say so myself.

Mike

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2016, 04:44:58 pm »
I'm  70kg and I got some new wheels earlier this year for the Transcontinental. 

The builder persuaded me that he was confident that he could build me wheels which would be extremely robust without using lots of spokes.  I ended up with DA hubs with 18/24 spokes, along with some pretty robust rims (Kinlin XR31). 

They are lovely wheels to ride, and they got me + 10kg of luggage to Turkey with no problems.  I hit a few potholes on the way, and did 20km of off-road in Macedonia, but they are still perfectly true.

So, have you changed your mind since PBP then?


Be careful!  A broken spoke on a low spoke-count wheel could end your ride. 
It's a big risk for a tiny speed gain which also involves sacrificing some comfort with a stiffer wheel.  After PBP you hear an awful lot of people complaining about numb hands but I've yet to hear anyone say they wish they'd got round 10 minutes quicker by skimping on half a dozen spokes!

I guess dynamos is a bit of a religious thing - people either believe in them or don't - but I'd be very surprised if it really would be faster to cut back on spokes whilst having a dynamo nibbling away at your power output the whole time. 

I'll be using the same wheels as last time: Ultegra hubs / 32h.  I'll also most likely use the same lights as last time: two Hope Vision 1s.  In 2011 I rode through two complete nights, plus a few hours on a third.  I took one spare set of batteries with me and changed them half way, because I had them, but all three sets had power left when I finished.   

:-)
“That slope may look insignificant, but it's going to be my destiny" - Fitzcarraldo

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #45 on: November 16, 2016, 06:05:37 pm »
 ;D

That kinda shows how we're all guilty of forming "religious" views on kit that has worked well for us.

I'm sure there is some psychological/social-science term for it, but we do rush to find evidence that supports our chosen path, and brand nay-sayers as foolish :P

Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #46 on: November 16, 2016, 07:26:26 pm »
I'm sure there is some psychological/social-science term for it

Tradition?

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #47 on: November 16, 2016, 08:17:18 pm »
Confirmation bias?

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #48 on: November 17, 2016, 08:47:05 pm »
I'm  70kg and I got some new wheels earlier this year for the Transcontinental. 

The builder persuaded me that he was confident that he could build me wheels which would be extremely robust without using lots of spokes.  I ended up with DA hubs with 18/24 spokes, along with some pretty robust rims (Kinlin XR31). 

They are lovely wheels to ride, and they got me + 10kg of luggage to Turkey with no problems.  I hit a few potholes on the way, and did 20km of off-road in Macedonia, but they are still perfectly true.

So, have you changed your mind since PBP then?


Be careful!  A broken spoke on a low spoke-count wheel could end your ride. 
It's a big risk for a tiny speed gain which also involves sacrificing some comfort with a stiffer wheel.  After PBP you hear an awful lot of people complaining about numb hands but I've yet to hear anyone say they wish they'd got round 10 minutes quicker by skimping on half a dozen spokes!

I guess dynamos is a bit of a religious thing - people either believe in them or don't - but I'd be very surprised if it really would be faster to cut back on spokes whilst having a dynamo nibbling away at your power output the whole time. 

I'll be using the same wheels as last time: Ultegra hubs / 32h.  I'll also most likely use the same lights as last time: two Hope Vision 1s.  In 2011 I rode through two complete nights, plus a few hours on a third.  I took one spare set of batteries with me and changed them half way, because I had them, but all three sets had power left when I finished.   

:-)

Ha ha, well spotted!
Yes I have!  I was persuaded by the wheel builder.  I told him what I wanted them for and he said, if it's a race you want fast wheels and these will be fine.  I expressed my doubts but he said words to the effect of 'trust me, I'm a wheelbuilder' ....   
I was most concerned about potholes and hitting one on a descent in the Balkans at night.  He said that hitting a pothole might dent a rim but wouldn't break a spoke.  It didn't, so I guess he was right.
As LWAB says they are pretty chunky rims so not what I'd race a crit on, but for audax type rises where you are rolling along, not accelerating repeatedly, that are great.
Digressing completely onto my wheels, the one thing that I regret is having got an offset drilled rear rim.  I'm sure it is stronger, which I'd the purpose, but with tubeless tyres it is impossible to reinflate without changing the rim tape.

The other factor of course is that Redfalo, who I was warning off minimal spoke counts, is a touch more than 70kg!

Re: Lightweight Wheels
« Reply #49 on: November 19, 2016, 08:16:01 pm »
It probably also makes a difference whether you ride lightly on bad surfaces, by dodging potholes and getting out of the saddle when you can't avoid bumps, or just sit on the saddle like a sack of potatoes.  Mind you, most of us do the latter at the end of a very long ride.

As an analogy, it's often observed that experienced riders get far fewer punctures.  Some of this may be because they buy better tyres -  but it's mostly because they actively avoid sharp road debris* and the sort of potholes that cause pinch punctures.

*this also means using the road instead of psyclepaths, which should bear a "Marathon Plus or solid tyres only" warning sign.
Never tell me the odds.