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dd74
08-05-2011, 01:44 PM
I'm really intrigued with carbon wheels, have never ridden them, but have had some fairly light aluminum wheels.

So what's the deal with carbon wheels? How do you guys who ride carbon wheels like them in comparison with some of the lighter, but stiffer aluminum wheels?

Yes, I want a fairly stiff wheel, something that transmits power.

In short, are they worth it compared to some of the lighter Campy, Mavic, Topolino (which are think are sharp looking) wheelsets, etc., especially as they are half the price and maybe 200 grams heavier compared to carbon wheels?

Awaiting advice and comments.

Thx.

ergott
08-05-2011, 01:54 PM
My 24mm carbon wheels were a lot lighter than any alloy wheels. They were 975g. I still have the rims and plan on building them up again. They will probably be even lighter.

Bottom line, you have to be more specific in your comparison. I don't ride carbon wheels that have an aluminium counterpart. Whether it's the wheels mentioned above or the 6.7 wheels I have now, The are on the performance edges.

It's not to say you can't ride hard with alloy wheels. The Hed rims I built up are a super solid set of clinchers. I had no problem chasing down a few riders off the front doing 30+ with them.


If you want carbon wheels, I think you should make the best of the material. Carbon is excellent for ultra light wheels that feel great when you're dancing up a climb. Carbon is still king for making seriously aerodynamic wheels that are appreciated most when hammering on the flats and rollers. In an ideal world, you have both and some more wheels in between for when it doesn't matter.

1centaur
08-05-2011, 01:55 PM
I have a lot of both and think that carbon wheels are only worth it for aero with a weight savings, and somewhat fun because they sound different and absorb vibration a little differently. Plus they look good in pictures. But for normal riding, I have gravitated back to alu clinchers for light weight, good ride quality and best braking. The lightest CF clinchers I have (Edge 45s) seem harsher/stiffer than the Reynolds wheels I find most pleasurable ride-quality wise.

dd74
08-05-2011, 02:00 PM
I have a lot of both and think that carbon wheels are only worth it for aero with a weight savings, and somewhat fun because they sound different and absorb vibration a little differently. Plus they look good in pictures. But for normal riding, I have gravitated back to alu clinchers for light weight, good ride quality and best braking. The lightest CF clinchers I have (Edge 45s) seem harsher/stiffer than the Reynolds wheels I find most pleasurable ride-quality wise.
Yes, that's what I was wondering. Ride quality is important, and I've heard they don't brake as well as aluminum. The wheels I would consider would not be all carbon, but rather carbon rims, lightweight hubs, bladed spokes - but not a full carbon wheel - those are super expensive, and I'm not sure about their durability against the crap L.A. roads I ride on.

dd74
08-05-2011, 02:02 PM
Maybe something like these Topolino TrueBlack CTR 2.0 Clincher wheels might be an alternative, or Campagnolo Shamals...I don't know...

zap
08-05-2011, 02:19 PM
Topo.........no. :no:

FlashUNC
08-05-2011, 02:35 PM
A guy on our Saturday ride has a pair of the Cosmic Carbones. Really seems to like them, especially as he rides away from me on every hill. But I think that has very little to do with the wheels, and more to do with my fat butt.

1centaur
08-05-2011, 02:46 PM
Topolinos REALLY soften up an overly stiff frame, and that's where I think they fit in the quiver. Apples to apples, somewhat anti-aero and some complain about wheel flex, but I think newer generations probably reflect that feedback and may have improved.

Cosmic Carbones are really fast and really heavy.

Carbon rims with aluminum brake tracks, such as Shimano CL24, can be very very good wheels, but they don't feel like carbon wheels in the vibration department.

BTW: Not to be forgotten in the total experience is that a lot of all carbon wheels produce brake squeal if the pads are not just right, including toe-in angle, and just-rightness is not set and forget. When you want a nice quiet ride, sometimes carbon brake squeal can be your enemy.

socalspeedsk8r
08-05-2011, 02:53 PM
Yes, that's what I was wondering. Ride quality is important, and I've heard they don't brake as well as aluminum. The wheels I would consider would not be all carbon, but rather carbon rims, lightweight hubs, bladed spokes - but not a full carbon wheel - those are super expensive, and I'm not sure about their durability against the crap L.A. roads I ride on.


Get a set of Reynolds Attacks, all carbon clincher wheelset. You can pick them up fairly reasonable and they are a good all around, ride everyday wheel. If you going to get a carbon wheelset then go all carbon and not the hybrid with alu breaking surface. The brakes on carbon wheels these days work fine, you won't notice unless your riding in the rain. I ride in LA and ride the Reynolds a lot of miles and never any issues. Plenty stiff.

The Mavic Cosmic's are heavy and ride like junk. My favorite carbon hands down for the money is my Dura Ace C24 carbon tubulars. 1200gr. c
Climb and spin-up fast.

Scott

SoCalSteve
08-05-2011, 02:53 PM
I only ride carbon wheels on crap L.A. Roads and have never had an issue.

I find they feel better than alloy wheels and can truly be an advantage when going FAST.

Don't compromise, get a full carbon set or don't get anything at all. Mavic Carbones are truly a compromise.

Good luck!

Likes2ridefar
08-05-2011, 03:00 PM
I've found the newer brake pads and carbon rims are not so sensitive to pad setup. recent zipps, reynolds, and hed wheels i've used were all easily silent with reynolds cryo blue pads, zipp composite cork pads, and/or swiss stop yellow pads.

notably, the blue cryo pads are excellent performing and in dry conditions are as good as any aluminum wheel i've used.

reynolds are significantly cheaper pads and work great. they also work well on aluminum brake surfaces although i can't say if they are recommended.

old_fat_and_slow
08-05-2011, 04:18 PM
(Disclaimer: My comments refer to clincher wheels only.)

I would not buy a set of carbon wheels to be my only wheels. I would have a nice set of alloys for all around use, and then buy a set of carbon wheels for a second set.

I have had several pairs of carbon wheels, but none of them have been uber-lightweight. Unless you are a super-serious triathlete, or somebody who does a lot of time-trialing, I would say you don't need carbon wheels, and you probably aren't going to notice a big difference in your ride enjoyment.

Sure, they look cool, but they're not going to magically transform you from a Cat 5 rider to a Cat 1.

I would ask one of yer buddies if you can borrow some of their wheels for a test spin to see how you like them, before shelling out big bucks for them.

If you try, you can build some pretty lightweight wheels with aluminum hubs and rims.

YMMV

SamIAm
08-05-2011, 04:29 PM
I'm not one of these cyclists that think equipment can make you faster. But, last year I acquired, thru raffle, some Zipp 404 carbon wheel and I can discern a noticeable difference in performance on any bike I put them on. They work and it pains me to say that because I am a bit of a traditionalist.

To draw on a golf analogy. I was and I guess still am a pretty competent golfer. I use the same irons I did back in high school 26 years ago, but I don't use the same set of woods. I look at the evolution in frames like I do irons, yeah maybe it can change your game a bit, but not a lot. I look at wheels like the woods, the newer technology matters.

palincss
08-05-2011, 04:55 PM
If you want carbon wheels, I think you should make the best of the material. Carbon is excellent for ultra light wheels that feel great when you're dancing up a climb. Carbon is still king for making seriously aerodynamic wheels that are appreciated most when hammering on the flats and rollers. In an ideal world, you have both and some more wheels in between for when it doesn't matter.

Which stands up better to riding into a pothole?

I ask because early this summer N___, a woman in my bike club, rode into a pothole with a carbon wheel and destroyed the wheel. Replacement cost was $2,000.

A couple of years ago, I rode into a similar pothole and got a slight bend in the rim that caused a little hop in the tire. I rode it for around 9 or 10 months before I finally got tired of it and had the rim replaced. The replacement cost was under $200.

I know what happened to my wheel is fairly typical, in fact I had the same thing happen to one other wheel perhaps ten years before (rode that for over a year before replacing it). I have no idea whether what happened to N___'s wheel is typical or a freak occurrence.

forrestw
08-05-2011, 05:52 PM
Which stands up better to riding into a pothole?
(snip)
I know what happened to my wheel is fairly typical, in fact I had the same thing happen to one other wheel perhaps ten years before (rode that for over a year before replacing it). I have no idea whether what happened to N___'s wheel is typical or a freak occurrence.

I don't think that's all that typical. I haven't noticeably dimpled a wheel in 5 years / 19k miles of riding. The last one I did eff up in a pothole was back when I didn't build wheels as well as I do today. The worst I've seen since then (and I ride in Boston, we have a LOT of potholes) has been to throw an open-pro or similar rim out of side-side alignment by 1/16 - 3/32".

"Good" carbon wheels are almost certainly stronger than aluminum in high-impact situations, I believe any pothole that would break a Zipp 303/404 would taco/destroy an Open-Pro rim. Now if it does go, the replacement is steep, maybe $800 for a Zipp rim? more? Anyhow a taco-ed wheel stops spinning. I've had it happen, not fun.

To the OP -- Go for it if you got the $. I've left my Zipps on for training this season just because I was having so damn much fun riding them.

I agree with an earlier poster, Mavic's Carbone is imho crap but there are plenty of very credible carbon wheel makers out there.

dhoff
08-05-2011, 06:29 PM
I like kool sh$%.

I am not expecting my equipment to make me into a fast rider. I am slow. But I like kool S&%t.

I recently got a set of Reynolds 46 wheels and absolutely love them. In the first few hundred miles they made noise on braking and the valve stems rattled until I figured out that I needed to wrap them in tape. These are only about 200 Grams lighter than what I was riding. I love the feel; they are stiff and responsive but vibration dampening is great.

I say try them. I think my next set will be built for me rather than bought. I expect that Mr. Ergott and company could have built me something that suited my needs perfectly for a comprable price, and I like doing business with humans.

I did take into account in buying these the availability of parts, the Reynolds Assurance Plan ($200 replacement warrantee) and the quality of the parts if I ever wanted to take these apart and change something.

Oh, and they look great.

-d

ergott
08-05-2011, 07:13 PM
Which stands up better to riding into a pothole?


I hit a hole in the road hard enough to pinch flat a Continental Competition tire. The impact hurt my wrists. The rims were fine (Edge 68s). I've also hit a piece of exhaust in the road with my front wheel at 24mph sending me over the bars, separating my shoulder and lots of road rash. The front wheel was a Reynolds 66mm rim. The wheels were fine and true as the day I built them.

I've ridden the previously mentioned 24mm rims (Edge again) and had a rear puncture. It was the second one that ride and I was about 8 miles from the start. I rode it back all the way completely flat and the the rim was fine.

So my answer to you is, if you get the right carbon wheels, you are good to go. Not all carbon wheels are created equal.

I've had so many different sets of carbon wheels that I can't remember all of them. I have had times where I was without a set and only had alloy. Now, I won't even consider not having at least one set. I just love everything about them.

In answer to the braking question, I know some of the big companies have addressed this. I have the new Enve 6.7 rims and the braking performance is as good if not better than the Hed alloy rims I also use. The brake tracks are perfectly smooth and when combined with their pads (they come with the first set), you get perfect modulation and stopping power.

I strongly urge people that haven't been on the latest, best offerings not to recommend against what they haven't personally tried. The differences between the newest rims and ones from even 2-3 years ago is huge.

veloduffer
08-05-2011, 07:14 PM
Take a look at the Bontrager Race XXX Lite carbon wheels - very light (~1320 grams for clincher and 1190 grams tubular) and low profile. Very good reviews and durable, and would make an ideal all-rounder wheelset. Not cheap at $2250 a set.

I rode a set of these on a demo and they felt so light, like something to ride up Mt Washington or the Col du Galibier.

yakstone
08-05-2011, 08:24 PM
I asked myself the same question a year ago and ended up getting a set of Reynolds forty-six wheels.
I enjoy the ...... out of riding them.
That said, I do have a couple of other sets of wheels that I ride to fit whatever situation I come across.
I say go for it. Changing wheels makes your bike ride completely different.
Ideally you would have carbon wheels on one rig and aluminum on the others.