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  1. #1
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    Impact of going from 11-28 to 12-27

    My current bike is a Specialized Allez Apex with a 11-28 cassette. I am looking at buying a lightly used set of wheels which includes a Force 12-27 cassette. I don't have a lot of experience with the different tooth sizes, curious what "impact" this will feel like. I am pretty happy with my gearing now, but then again its all I know for a double so I may like the other better/worse. Where I live if pretty flat, but I will be moving for work soon and don't know where yet so it may be more hilly. Thoughts?
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte105u View Post
    My current bike is a Specialized Allez Apex with a 11-28 cassette. I am looking at buying a lightly used set of wheels which includes a Force 12-27 cassette. I don't have a lot of experience with the different tooth sizes, curious what "impact" this will feel like. I am pretty happy with my gearing now, but then again its all I know for a double so I may like the other better/worse. Where I live if pretty flat, but I will be moving for work soon and don't know where yet so it may be more hilly. Thoughts?
    That's about as minimal of a change as you can get, so if you like the wheelset and the price is right I say go for it and don't fret over the gearing, especially considering you're relocating in the near future.

    Besides, you could always swap your 11-28 over to the 'new' wheelset. If you've never done any wrenching it's a good place to start, and the tools needed are inexpensive and can represent your foray into the wonderful world of wrenching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    That's about as minimal of a change as you can get, so if you like the wheelset and the price is right I say go for it and don't fret over the gearing, especially considering you're relocating in the near future.

    Besides, you could always swap your 11-28 over to the 'new' wheelset. If you've never done any wrenching it's a good place to start, and the tools needed are inexpensive and can represent your foray into the wonderful world of wrenching.
    Thanks for the quick response. My short time on the boards has let me see that one can count on good input from you. I do appreciate that as I am sure others do as well.

    While you're checking, what are your (or anyone else's) thoughts on the Easton EA70 with a force cassette in very good condition for $200?
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte105u View Post
    Thanks for the quick response. My short time on the boards has let me see that one can count on good input from you. I do appreciate that as I am sure others do as well.

    While you're checking, what are your (or anyone else's) thoughts on the Easton EA70 with a force cassette in very good condition for $200?
    It's a good price but those wheels wouldn't be much of an improvement over many wheels. What are your stock wheels? I probably wouldn't bother unless those would be an improvement. Then again it never hurts to have a spare set.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    It's a good price but those wheels wouldn't be much of an improvement over many wheels. What are your stock wheels? I probably wouldn't bother unless those would be an improvement. Then again it never hurts to have a spare set.
    Stock is DT Swiss 2.0. In some reviews I read for my bike, the one biggest complaint by the reviewer was that the wheels were anchors. They said they put on EA90s and it was great. Keeping my eyes open for some at a good price, also considering Blackset or Neuvation (not trying to hijack my own thread). But when I saw the Force cassette as well, allowing me to have a indoor trainer/rain set and upgrade my cassette I was very interested. Heard many say good things about the EA70 also
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte105u View Post
    Thanks for the quick response. My short time on the boards has let me see that one can count on good input from you. I do appreciate that as I am sure others do as well.

    While you're checking, what are your (or anyone else's) thoughts on the Easton EA70 with a force cassette in very good condition for $200?
    I have a set of Easton EA-70's and IMO/E they're an excellent wheelset for the price I paid ($380). If you can get them in VG (or better) condition for $200, I suggest you do so. I have little doubt you'll find them to be a substantial upgrade over your OE wheelset.

    Just as a FYI, the EA-70's are Easton's next generation of their Circuits, which had an excellent rep for value/ performance.

    EDIT: One afterthought on this.. Hopefully you're buying the Easton's locally. If so, before committing to the purchase, check for hub/ bearing play by mounting the wheels and (using thumb and forefinger) rock the wheel left/ right. There should be no indication of play, but the wheels should spin freely.
    Last edited by PJ352; 10-06-2012 at 05:48 PM. Reason: addition..

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    Looking at either a set of EA90s for 350 of EA70s for 200.
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte105u View Post
    Looking at either a set of EA90s for 350 of EA70s for 200.
    Depends. For that price, I'm assuming the EA-90's aren't new, so condition/ miles logged matters.

    Also, there are at least three EA-90 wheelsets (Aero, SL, SLX) so model and spoke count would matter. Spoke count because (depending on rider weight, road conditions, riding style) durability may suffer.

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    I wouldn't do a wheel like the EA70. Funky spoke counts, funky spokes on some model years, and at the end of the day it's still a shallow aluminum rim.

    You can get a lot of bang for your buck out of nice tires and I could swear I can feel a bit of a difference with lightweight tubes. But when the amount of money becomes significant, I want more than what I believe a different set of alloy clincher wheels will give me, relative to what I've got. If there's nothing actively wrong with your wheels, I really don't see that you'll get much of a return.

    Read reviews with a grain of salt. A lot of people are trying to buy fitness or speed in one way or another. And, keep your goals in mind. Does it really matter if you can do something 2% faster?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I wouldn't do a wheel like the EA70. Funky spoke counts, funky spokes on some model years, and at the end of the day it's still a shallow aluminum rim.
    You're entitled, but same applies here as with any wheelset purchase - buy based on your main criteria for doing so, total weight, tire size, road conditions, style of riding... but generally speaking, I'd say the EA-70's would serve most riders ~160-170 lbs. well.

    Re: shallow rims, IMO even if true, it may be moot. Most any product is designed around an intended use and lifecycle, with compromises made. If the EA-70's were trouble prone in some way, given this being an information age, that would likely become known - similar to Gossamer cranksets, MegaExo BB's, Bonty wheelsets (to name but a few). To my knowledge, that's not the case.

    Beyond all that, many folks simply don't care for boutique style wheelsets, me (sometimes) included. And I do understand the concern over the use of proprietary spokes.

    On balance, most upgrading to these types of wheelsets already have another (and sometimes, another), so they have a fallback in the (unlikely, IME) event of a problem.

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    I just don't see that the EA70s would confer any advantage to me (or anyone else, for that matter) over the CXP22s on 105 hubs with 32 spokes and 3-cross that my bike had when it shipped. However, when I wore out the brake tracks on the CXP 22s, I was able to do a direct swap for some Velocity Aeroheads. It pulled my repair cost down to about $80 and some of my time, although in retrospect I'd have saved myself a bit of trouble if I replaced all the nipples at the time.

    Since I do enjoy riding my bike, I'd prefer to stick to wheels that are fun to ride. But any 15 mm double-walled aluminum rim already meets that criterion. After that, I'm all about strength, service life, and serviceability. I just don't see paying more for a wheel that I'm less likely to be able to repair/rebuild/part out when parts of it start to hit their lifespan or get damaged in an accident.

    I have a few wheels on second rims/second hubs/whatever. It was on its way out anyway at the time, but I had a wheel that I replaced a few spokes on, one while waiting on the parts to build its replacement so I could at least keep that bike rolling. While I'd certainly consider something more exotic for a race wheel if I thought it could help me get a few more Omnium points, I don't see that the Eastons go far enough in that regard, while they've already given up on a couple aspects of serviceability.

    I realize people make different choices here. I'm probably right on the cusp of my time being worth too much to spend it on rebuilding a wheel. But sometimes one gets backed into that kind of thing anyway. And at the end of the day, it sounds like the OP is proposing to replace one functional set of shallow-rim alloy wheels with another set of shallow-rim alloy wheels. Kind of like replacing a black stem with an anodized stem of the same dimensions.

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    I appreciate the input AndrwSwitch. What you say makes a lot of sense. If you are going to pay the money do it so you really notice the difference... or else don't do it at all. The $200 for the EA70s fell through. I see someone online selling a pair of circuits with less than 1k miles for around $100. May move on those.

    My issue is I don't know what it will feel like to have better wheels. I don't know what 200 grams in the wheels for a high end race vs Blacksets vs Neuvations vs EA70s vs my stock (no idea their weight) will do. I ride in town a lot so would lije something that spins up fast. But I don't plan on having race wheels alone. The way some people talk having new wheels makes a huge difference. I am curious to see what that feels like. But I don't want to drop 600-800 (I could if someone could sell me on the upgrade vs 400 for Neuvations) just to be disappointed because the differences are more style and neuance than bang. Hence where I am. Bargain shopping just to test the waters.
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte105u View Post
    I appreciate the input AndrwSwitch. What you say makes a lot of sense. If you are going to pay the money do it so you really notice the difference... or else don't do it at all. The $200 for the EA70s fell through. I see someone online selling a pair of circuits with less than 1k miles for around $100. May move on those.

    My issue is I don't know what it will feel like to have better wheels. I don't know what 200 grams in the wheels for a high end race vs Blacksets vs Neuvations vs EA70s vs my stock (no idea their weight) will do. I ride in town a lot so would lije something that spins up fast. But I don't plan on having race wheels alone. The way some people talk having new wheels makes a huge difference. I am curious to see what that feels like. But I don't want to drop 600-800 (I could if someone could sell me on the upgrade vs 400 for Neuvations) just to be disappointed because the differences are more style and neuance than bang. Hence where I am. Bargain shopping just to test the waters.
    Yes, I understand Andrew's logic as well, and fall on that side at times. Thus, my earlier comment that what we decide on should be based on our main criteria for the purchase.

    At times, I fall on the side of durability/ ease of serviceability. At others (as is sometimes the case with 'upgrading' wheelsets), I look at what I'm getting for the money, so when I went for the EA-70's the price/ performance ratio was pretty good.

    Having three sets of wheels, in this instance while I cared enough to get a sense of their durability, it wasn't of major concern. And in reality, once you start looking at 'lighter', there's going to be a trade-off in durability. Same goes for bike frames, among other products. However, IME the EA-70's have proven to be durable.

    Regarding what you'll 'see' in an upgraded wheelset, given your OE wheels and comparing them against something in the EA-70 category, I think you'll perceive a slightly more refined feel and (because of the slight drop in rotational weight), the bike will feel more agile. That said, don't expect any real performance gains, because I don't think you'll see any.

    As an example, I have a bike weighing ~18.5 lbs. with Shimano RS-10 wheels, another weighing 16.4 lbs. with the Easton's. Performance difference? Near zero, but the lighter bike feels faster spinning up and in transitions (steering), FWIW.

    It's your money and your call, but I think you're looking in a moderate price range that has some decent offerings that may just satisfy that need to experience something a little more refined. My take, and given the topic, defining 'better' here is highly subjective, so YMMV.
    Last edited by PJ352; 10-08-2012 at 12:39 PM. Reason: addition/ correction..

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte105u View Post
    My issue is I don't know what it will feel like to have better wheels. I don't know what 200 grams in the wheels for a high end race vs Blacksets vs Neuvations vs EA70s vs my stock (no idea their weight) will do. I ride in town a lot so would lije something that spins up fast. But I don't plan on having race wheels alone. The way some people talk having new wheels makes a huge difference. I am curious to see what that feels like. But I don't want to drop 600-800 (I could if someone could sell me on the upgrade vs 400 for Neuvations) just to be disappointed because the differences are more style and neuance than bang. Hence where I am. Bargain shopping just to test the waters.
    Depending on where you're located, trying before you buy could be a definite possibility.

    Mavic sometimes does demo tours. Tri shops rent out wheels. Get on the phone and call some shops.

    My attitude about anything I'm skeptical about on a bike (I'm more of a mountain biker, so full suspension is a great example) is that the manufacturer and product need to come to me, and convince me that it's worth it for me to spend money on them. And if you look around, they do actually do a fair amount of this stuff.

    I have an embarrassing number of bikes at this point - I'm up to five. The way they're equipped varies. One's a 26" hardtail with 2.25" tires. Not sure about weights in numbers, I don't own a scale. But that's a lot of rubber. At the other end, my LeMond with the Aeroheads and racy 23 mm clinchers is probably the lightest, and I have an inexpensive track bike, a commuter with cheaper 25 mm tires and a 'cross bike with 34 mm tires in between. While the handling effort certainly varies, the four drop bar bikes, especially if I take the locks off the back of the commuter, are clustered pretty close together in how they feel. The mountain bike feels like a bit of a pig on the road, but that's not what it's for. I think you'd probably notice a difference between your current wheels and some really light ones if you rode them back to back. If you still have the stock tires, I don't think it would be as big a difference as buying some fancier tires and some lightweight tubes while you're at it. And, while I notice when I switch from my commuter to my nicer bike, it really only lasts a few minutes either way - then I'm back to being the cyclist I always am, in the riding position I'm always in. It's really only the track bike that feels radically different, and it's set up for races that don't last more than 12 minutes yet.

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    Circuits ended up going for more than I wanted to spend on a used pair of wheels of that age on Ebay. Before I was looking at the Vuelta Corsa Lites from Nashbar, but when they had a 20% off sale and I didn't jump I figured I would go another way. They had a Columbus Day sale for 20% off again, figured it was fate to have another bite at the apple so pulled the trigger. Nice weight, good spoke count, tons of great reviews on Nashbar, good reports on this site as well. Figure for the cost ($200 +shipping, but shipping was $25 for the full order so divide that amongst several items) they give me a good place to start. If I love them, I ride them until they die and know what to look for next time. If I don't like them, I am not out a lot and gain experience. Ordered some Michelin Pro3 tires and Vittoria Ultralight tubes to go with them. Also ordered the chain whip and cassette lockring tool. All the above $300 shipped. I think I am coming out pretty well. Thanks for all the input guys. Even though I didn't go in any one of the specific directions, it helped me put things into perspective.
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte105u View Post
    ... I was looking at the Vuelta Corsa Lites from Nashbar... so pulled the trigger.
    Nice weight, good spoke count, tons of great reviews on Nashbar, good reports on this site as well.
    Congrats on the purchase. I think you used sound logic and agree, the reviews are very good.

    Once you log a few miles, I'd be interested to get your riding impressions.

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    Wheels came in Thursday. They look nice. Quite the tease for them to arrive faster than the tires, tubes, or tools to swap the cassette. They looked a little cluttered with the decals and the red wouldn't look good with my bike's orange so stripped most off except the while name. Once I get them on and some miles in I'll post my thoughts.



    Before



    After decal removal
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    IMO the wheels look better in your 'after' pic.

    I did similar with my Eastons, but went a step further and stripped ALL the decals. The bike is all black, so I was compelled...

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    OK, so the tools/tires/tubes came in, and got it all taken care of last night. Cleaned the cassette thoroughly before remounting since it was off. After putting them on the bike, I decided to take the name off the wheels as well. They look better bare IMO.

    Went for my first ride this morning and was very pleased. The new tires call for a lower pressure, which made the ride more comfortable. While not a huge difference in weight lifting the bike (though noticeable), there is a huge difference in how it performs. Handle was less squirrelly, faster to spin up, easier to climb, easier to fight a head wind.

    For a test, I decided to try and go head-to-head with my ride from yesterday (which was a solid ride). I did the exact same course. I wore the same shorts/tights, gear, and windbreaker. The only difference was the long sleeve shirt under the jacket, but it was comparable. Weather was 5 degrees warmer today, but all else seemed about the same. The weather said today was windier, but I did not notice much if any difference on the bike.

    Did a 20.5 mile ride. The first section has some decent hills (decent for north/central Louisiana at least). The second section has a great mostly flat mostly straight area that is a good time trial simulation. Usually have a head wind in this section as well.

    Overall my performance was better today. I tried to isolate the variables as much as possible, but since it was not a blind test the results could be psychological as well. Yesterday my average speed was 18.4 mph, today 19.0. Max speed went from 31.7 mph to 32.2 mph. The section that was more time trial, yesterday I held about 19 mph, though much more variation in the speeds which I attribute to the wind. Today I was able to hold a much more consistent speed right at 20 mph with comparable wind, which lends me to attribute some of this to the aerodynamics of the wheels. While I know you cannot judge off just one data point, and I know some of it could be mental as well, it does tend to point towards improved performance. My legs felt a little tired as well, so even better is possible. I think a big indication of performance enhancement is the fact that I achieved the better metrics, but my average heart rate went from 157 bpm yesterday to 152 bpm today. This to me says that I achieved better metrics using less effort. Add in the improved ride quality and I am very pleased.

    I will weigh in after I have had a chance to do a few more trips, hopefully with a longer ride or two as well. Thought I would share.


    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Thanks for the update. Aesthetically, I think the wheelset complements your Allez. Nice looking wheelset, especially sans decals.

    As far as riding (and overall) impressions, I think you presented some very balanced, realistic feedback. Judging from my own experiences, there is a psychological aspect to this (I call it the placebo effect), so after you get a few more rides in, you may end up thinking that the wheelset was a worthwhile upgrade, but those before/ after performance stats will come together a little. In the absence of a controlled study, hard to know, but even given a 1 lb. + weight saving, those are big gains you speak of.

    BTW, I'm not being negative about anything you've offered. I actually think you made a good call on the wheels. But I do think their 'effects' will fade with time, partly because you'll become accustomed to the new feel of the bike, partly because the psychological aspect will diminish. Nothing to fret over, though. By comparison, I spent ~$4,500, lost ~ 2 lbs. of bike weight and netted near zero in performance gains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    Thanks for the update. Aesthetically, I think the wheelset complements your Allez. Nice looking wheelset, especially sans decals.

    As far as riding (and overall) impressions, I think you presented some very balanced, realistic feedback. Judging from my own experiences, there is a psychological aspect to this (I call it the placebo effect), so after you get a few more rides in, you may end up thinking that the wheelset was a worthwhile upgrade, but those before/ after performance stats will come together a little. In the absence of a controlled study, hard to know, but even given a 1 lb. + weight saving, those are big gains you speak of.

    BTW, I'm not being negative about anything you've offered. I actually think you made a good call on the wheels. But I do think their 'effects' will fade with time, partly because you'll become accustomed to the new feel of the bike, partly because the psychological aspect will diminish. Nothing to fret over, though. By comparison, I spent ~$4,500, lost ~ 2 lbs. of bike weight and netted near zero in performance gains.
    No worries. Tempering expectations with realism is never a bad thing, especially when done constructively. That is a big part of why I didn't want to spend a lot. The potential for disappointment if unrealistic gains are not realized is even greater if more money were involved. The desire for an improved ride experience was my goal and I am happy there. I also reached a slightly elevated performance level and whether from gains in the wheelset or purely mental it has been achieved and now is the new benchmark to go for. Thanks for the feedback, and the pseudo retro look of the bike's lines and whitewalls was what I was going for. Glad others can appreciate it as well.
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Nice choice.

    I agree with PJ: lighter wheels are a nice upgrade but like most upgrades they don't make you significantly faster. Back on the sprocket question, I personally prefer an 11-28 over a 12-27 but the different is small and I'm not a light rider and I like to go pound the steepest hills I can find. So I use my 27 or 28 regularly. At any other gear I don't notice the difference.

    I also believe having a second wheelset is valuable simply because wheels are wear items and when you find a crack in the rim or a popped spoke you're not stuck waiting for a repair.

    Of course shedding weight is a rewarding experience. It doesn't make a measureable difference unless you're extremely competitive. A light bike accelerates a bit quicker, feels more nimble, and if it's more appealing to ride then that's good too.

    Dave

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    I've got over 4000 miles on a set of Neuvation Aero M28 wheels. They are still going strong, but I have kinda been shopping around for some new wheels because I do not like the large blade spokes in a cross wind. Those wheels you got look sweet.

    Also, back on the Cassette swap - I hesitated to jump in on this thread due to the great advice you have already gotten from the forum sages, but during tonight's ride I was thinking about this thread and thought I would weight in.

    My bike came stock with a Shimano 11-28 and a compact 50/34 crank. I found in just a months time that at my cruising speed of around 19, with my desired 88-92 RPM cadence there was a 2 tooth jump from the 15 which was too hard and slow cadence to the 17 which was too easy and fast cadence. By switching to a 12-27 I got a single tooth jump from 12-17 (the 11-28 was a single tooth jump from 11-15) adding a 16 tooth that the 11-28 did not have. That 16 tooth hit my sweet spot for cadence and the speed I wanted to cruise at. I hope this make sense. And I know SRAM may be different ratios ...

    But Just my .02. Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by MRM1; 10-18-2012 at 05:17 PM.

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    Thought I'd update. Did a nice 35 mile ride yesterday. One section with moderate hills and turns, return was (by way of a force road closure detour) a long, flat, straight. Still as happy as I was. Time will tell on the longevity of the wheel and tires (I have seen mixed reviews on the Michelin Pro 3) but I am very happy with the upgrade vs. the money I spent.
    Specialized Allez Comp Apex- '12 56cm
    Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro- '12 56cm

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte105u View Post
    ... I am very happy with the upgrade vs. the money I spent.
    Glad the wheelset is working out for you.

    Some unsolicited advice re: tires.. consider trying Conti GP 4000 or GP 4000s. Great all-rounders IMO/E.

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