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Now this age old debate is unlikely to be ended by this thread, but I might come away enlightened.

So a few basics to begin with, I am 75 kg (usually a tad lighter) I have been looking at wheels from Soul and wheelsmith within their lightweight classes. I have sportive aspirations in the near future and racing in the slightly less near.

At 1300g for a wheelset at about £400 that represents a lot of weight saving for the money, but is it with forgetting about weight and going for a rim with more depth for the aero benefit? Baring in mind that sportives tend to be hilly, am I going to see greater benefit for a lighter quicker spinning up wheel. Is like to hear from both sides of the fence if possible

In case you want to have a look,

http://2013.bikesoul.com
http://www.wheelsmith.co.uk/race23

Also if anyone has recommendations for other lightweight wheels or handbuilt wheels i would like to hear them, handbuilt all the way for value

Thanks

23 comments

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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I use a set of aero wheels, and a set of lighter (by around 200g) non aero.
I've run them both on a few similar routes, similar-ish conditions.

On the flatter rides, the aero have a bigger advantage.
Hillier rides they still hold some advantage, just not as much though. Might be a little more work on the ups, but you gain more on the down and flats as well.

If you go for something like the new generation of aero wheel, that are fatter so a shallower rim is more aero than a narrower deeper one (especially at yaw angles), in say a 38mm depth, you can pick up the Wheelsmiths which come in at just over 1400g, (at £740 not £400 though) you get a decent all rounder, doesn't give too much of a weight penalty, and still has aero gains.

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mrmo [2069 posts] 2 years ago
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what I would caution, deep wheels and side winds, if you have two sets of wheels fine. I wouldn't want to be riding deep rims as an only option. I know a few people who have been caught out by strong cross winds, to the point the bike ers to unrideable.

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Simon E [2652 posts] 2 years ago
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Aero trumps weight on all but the steepest hills. Some numbers:
http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40020&t=12619269&p=15290443

If you're not racing then I wouldn't worry about the very small benefit either would bring. The benefit of lightweight / aero / fat rims is grossly exaggerated IMHO.

If you just have to spend some money then pick a pair that takes your fancy and/or has some good reviews.

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Tjuice [183 posts] 2 years ago
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There was a nice little thread on the same topic last week, which you might find interesting to get further points of view:
http://road.cc/content/forum/112006-real-deal-deep-rims

Might be worth trying the forum search function as well - I am pretty sure I have seen the topic come up a few times in various guises over the years.

I paid ~£400 and got aero wheels with nice bearings that were just as light as the non-aero wheels I was considering. Yes, there are compromises, but they were right for me and I really feel like they are a material upgrade over the Fulcrum Racing 5s I had before.

If you are doing most of your riding in a group, or doing plenty of climbing, I am not convinced deep section will give you much benefit.

I do *most* of my riding solo, at speed, with only limited hills and like to compete in Duathlons, so I felt aero would suit me best.

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Miles253 [198 posts] 2 years ago
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Well I live in Kent, so it's pretty hilly no matter the direction, naturally my club runs cover lots of hilly terrain too. So on paper a lightweight set makes sence but with so much information pointing to an advantage using aero equipment up until 6 percent it might be a more worthwhile investment.

On the subject also, does anybody have any experience with lightweight wheels specifically? Are they more likely to wear out quickly in the rims or hubs or buckle under pressure than say, a 1500g pair ? That could also be an important factor for me.

@Simon E which wheels did you get in the end? And thank you for the links I shall do some searching around.

@Mrmo, are you saying that I am unlikely to feel the difference? Marginal gains and all that? I am looking for improved performance over my current wheels which are about 1600g

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mrmo [2069 posts] 2 years ago
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Miles253 wrote:

@Mrmo, are you saying that I am unlikely to feel the difference? Marginal gains and all that? I am looking for improved performance over my current wheels which are about 1600g

Nothing to do with "performance" as such, just cautioning that having deep rims as an only set is probably not a good idea. Strong cross winds, such as we have been having for the last few months are not pleasant. The front wheel in particular will catch the wind and make for interesting handling!

Yes there are benefits, just a matter of whether the benefits out way the downsides.

Although where I live, Cotswolds, the 6% rule actually suggests that deep rims are probably not the way to go.

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Shep73 [211 posts] 2 years ago
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I believe lightweight rims to be more advantageous on climbs over aero rims. Obviously a light weight set of aeros won't be any where near £400 and cheap ones will be fairly heavy compared to a decent set of hand built wheels.

Rode in a large group last sunday for the first time since getting mine and I was even more impressed with their performance. Others were easy pedalling and I could coast and still keep up with them on descents.

Mavic Open Pro rims, Hope RS Mono hubs, DT Swiss SS spokes, 32RR cross/radial- 28 FRT radial. Not the lightest set in the world due to the spokes used but they are light where it matters and they roll like a dream. Also very responsive and stiff. I paid £325 all in for mine but I do get decent discounts at my lbs.

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Tjuice [183 posts] 2 years ago
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Shep73 wrote:

Obviously a light weight set of aeros won't be any where near £400 and cheap ones will be fairly heavy compared to a decent set of hand built wheels.

Agree in general principal that aeros are heavier than non, but the above statement is not quite true.

My Planet X 50mm deep carbon wheelset was £400 and was ~1300g for the combined wheelset. I regard that as pretty light (e.g., Fulcrum Racing Zeros are >1400g).

The compromises were that this was a tubular wheelset (could be seen as a positive by some), and the wheels are not laterally as stiff as other wheelsets at that price.

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ajmarshal1 [411 posts] 2 years ago
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I am no faster or slower on my usual routes with either my lightweight alloys or my deep section carbons on undulating terrain. The only time I've had a noticeable difference is climbing Great Dunn Fell on deep sections, I won't do that again.

Aero rims are massively over egged outside the pro peloton or Cat 1/2 and above crits IMO.

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Miles253 [198 posts] 2 years ago
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Tjuice wrote:
Shep73 wrote:

Obviously a light weight set of aeros won't be any where near £400 and cheap ones will be fairly heavy compared to a decent set of hand built wheels.

Agree in general principal that aeros are heavier than non, but the above statement is not quite true.

My Planet X 50mm deep carbon wheelset was £400 and was ~1300g for the combined wheelset. I regard that as pretty light (e.g., Fulcrum Racing Zeros are >1400g).

The compromises were that this was a tubular wheelset (could be seen as a positive by some), and the wheels are not laterally as stiff as other wheelsets at that price.

I've looked at PX and have always been impressed. But I dont think tubular is the best option for the current riding I do. Obviously a light aero set is the ideal, does anybody have any experience with handbuilt aero wheels? Possibility for aero and light weight without a killer price tag?

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tonesclonmore [5 posts] 2 years ago
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+1

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Simon E [2652 posts] 2 years ago
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Miles253 wrote:

@Simon E which wheels did you get in the end? And thank you for the links I shall do some searching around.

Have ridden & raced Grammo carbon 50mm and Shimano RS80s. Weight almost identical, I am much happier with the RS80s. Less affected by sidewinds or turbulence from overtaking traffic, better braking and they don't feel any slower. It's the rider that's preventing the bike from going faster, not the wheels.

If your current wheels are 1600g I doubt you'll find something that blows them away without spending lots of money. If you're not committed to racing I really don't understand why you'd bother with aero wheels when the benefit is so small.

Bear in mind that some lightweight wheels are built with fragile hubs so the rims, where the inertia is, are no lighter than average.

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Miles253 [198 posts] 2 years ago
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How can somebody possibly know where the weight in a wheel is unless they have built in themselves. You've sold me on lightweight, now I just need to find a durable set as I can't be dealing with buying new wheels every 5000km if I can help it.

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il sole [62 posts] 1 year ago
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just seen this thread as i'm seriously contemplating getting some aero wheels...I ride 2 bikes, a 6.7Kg wilier with campag shamal ultra wheels which are nice and light and great for climbing and an 8.5Kg boardman CXR cross bike with handbuilt velocity aileron disc wheels (approx 30mm depth). I run 25mm tyres on the wilier and 32mm on the boardman. After a week of commuting on the CXR, I find the wilier very sluggish on descents and the flat. In fact there are a couple of approx 1min strava segments on the flat where i'm about 5 seconds slower on the wilier...
To me it just feels that the deeper section aero wheels hold onto speed so much easier - could this be right? I can't see that the extra 2kg of weight would really affect things that much as combined with my (73Kg) and all extra accessories etc, it's hardly anything.
so basically, although i'd love some bora ultras, but can't justify spending over £2k, I was wondering if a slightly heavier aluminium aero wheel might offer something extra...Going on reviews of other Spada products how about these?

http://lead-out.co.uk/index.php/spada-breva-crystal-aero38.html

plus they're only 80g or so more than the shamals and look pretty cool to me!!

any advice - cheers!

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Metjas [362 posts] 1 year ago
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as pointed out earlier, it s important to break down the weight of a wheel in hub, rim and spokes/nipples - increased rim weight (and tyre/tube) will have a bigger impact on how a wheel gets up to speed (rotational inertia). Also, don't underestimate the contribution a top quality hub (and its bearings) in reducing drag and therefore speed.

if you live close to a wheel builder, you may well be able to demo a set on your routes.

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Mrmiik [162 posts] 1 year ago
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il sole wrote:

just seen this thread as i'm seriously contemplating getting some aero wheels...I ride 2 bikes, a 6.7Kg wilier with campag shamal ultra wheels which are nice and light and great for climbing and an 8.5Kg boardman CXR cross bike with handbuilt velocity aileron disc wheels (approx 30mm depth). I run 25mm tyres on the wilier and 32mm on the boardman. After a week of commuting on the CXR, I find the wilier very sluggish on descents and the flat. In fact there are a couple of approx 1min strava segments on the flat where i'm about 5 seconds slower on the wilier...
To me it just feels that the deeper section aero wheels hold onto speed so much easier - could this be right? I can't see that the extra 2kg of weight would really affect things that much as combined with my (73Kg) and all extra accessories etc, it's hardly anything.
so basically, although i'd love some bora ultras, but can't justify spending over £2k, I was wondering if a slightly heavier aluminium aero wheel might offer something extra...Going on reviews of other Spada products how about these?

http://lead-out.co.uk/index.php/spada-breva-crystal-aero38.html

plus they're only 80g or so more than the shamals and look pretty cool to me!!

any advice - cheers!

Firstly - what chainset is on that CXR - it is a cross bike so you may have a 46/36 on there - this will affect climbing and descending compared to the compact (I presume) you have on the Wilier.

Frankly 30mm are not going to make a huge aero difference - its around 50mm mark where things get exciting.

Your position will make a big difference, it could be that the tighter 'cross geometry is causing you to haunch up more when descending giving a better air flow over your person. One thing I can say is that my cross bike climbs and descends terribly - completely different experience I'm afraid.

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Mrmiik [162 posts] 1 year ago
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One point, I've been amazed by how damn flexy even high end carbon tubs are - I'd pick lightweight alu any day if I was looking to climb lots.

I think a 50mm tub setup from wheelsmith isn't going to kill you when climbing and they are very well priced.

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il sole [62 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

Firstly - what chainset is on that CXR - it is a cross bike so you may have a 46/36 on there - this will affect climbing and descending compared to the compact (I presume) you have on the Wilier.

both run campag compacts with 12-29 cassettes, so i know it's not to do with that! in all honesty, the geometry is much longer on the cross bike and less hunched, so I reckon it is down to the wheels...

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crikey [1252 posts] 1 year ago
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This thread confirms my suspicions about light and/or aero wheels; people talk bollocks about both and never, ever back up all their superlatives with anything approaching evidence.

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Jif [15 posts] 1 year ago
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Both will have negligible advantages overall, if any, buy whatever wheels make you want to get out and ride your bike more as the resulting fitness improvement will make you faster.

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700c [859 posts] 1 year ago
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Having just put the summer (deeper, lighter) wheels on this week, it gave me a good opportunity to compare..

It just feels easier to hold a given speed, so
I'd say the rim depth is probably going to make the biggest difference, if you had to choose..

Then again, just going quality (hubs, tyres) is going to improve your experience - there's nothing like the feeling of a sorted bike humming along smooth roads with the feeling of low resistance and high efficiency - that's probably the biggest benefit I noticed when I put the nice wheels on again

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3000ST1 [6 posts] 10 months ago
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Always worth keeping in mind that the rider contributes to approx. 80% of the total aerodynamic drag in road cycling and anywhere between 80-90% of the overall train weight (bike and rider)

Two most influential items wrt to aero drag are riding position and clothing. You need to find a balance with position that give you good enough drag reduction vs comfort (you can't generate good speeds or averages if you're hideously uncomfortable as it causes fatigue and ruins your pedalling mechanics). If your clothes are flapping in the wind then you're losing watts all over the place, more-so the faster you go. After that look at the helmet you're wearing (remember when Team Sky went to Kask helmets with less vents in them and started wearing skin suits for normal stages and not just time-trials).

Aero wheels only start to give a good return in saving watts around the 18-20mph mark, this is not to say there aren't some benefits at lower speeds but they are less pronounced. Forget the average speeds over a ride and look at the time you are most likely to spend around those speeds - if it's a small % of the time then aero rims aren't going to give you a benefit vs the investment, and may actually hinder you on climbing/rolling terrain as they inherently carry more outboard inertia due to the deep rim sections.

If you do a mix of flat and hill riding and still want a bit of aero then start around the 40mm rim depth as a good balance, 50mm+ is aimed more at flatter terrain so weigh up the trade off (and be honest with yourself about what type of riding you really do, how fast you actually are and if you could actually benefit from better training and nutrition rather than bashing your bank balance).

Rotating mass on the bike is far more important than static mass - shaving 100-200g from wheels is equivalent to 2 or 3 times that in terms of static weight.

In terms of outright benefit and usefulness, most people would probably gain significantly more from spending £800-1000 of their money on a power meter for training/riding rather than put that wedge into a flash wheel-set (unless you have a really crap set of wheels to start with). Remember it's no good having top notch kit if the engine isn't tuned and can't produce the output - I've had this experience first hand by having my ar$e handed to me by a 49 year old former racer riding a £1200 bike.

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Chris James [381 posts] 10 months ago
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3000ST1 wrote:

Rotating mass on the bike is far more important than static mass - shaving 100-200g from wheels is equivalent to 2 or 3 times that in terms of static weight.

Rotating weight in only a maximum of twice static weight, and this is only true for a theoretical wheel where ALL of the wheel weight is located at the perimeter (rim). As more of the weight is taken up by hubs and spokes then the difference between static and dynamic 'weight' is reduced.

It also is only true for when a bike is accelerating, and there is no effective difference between heavy wheels or light wheels for steady state riding on the flat.