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  1. #1
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    Deep dish rims-do they really make a difference?

    I have Rolf Vigor wheels- 34 mm, factory claim weight of 1470 gr, & low spoke count. I think these are about as good, in terms of performance, as I will find in terms of aero, weight for an traditional clincher rim. Disclaimer: I'm not saying these are "better" wheels than some other brand or make.

    The deep dish lust has struck. I do a few road races, a few ralley rides as though they were races and fast race team training rides several times a week. I'm no longer serious about racing, but like to hang with good riders as long as I can. The routes are flat to rolling. A typical Saturday 55 mile ride in the "hills" will have 1800-2400 ft of climbing. Nothing really long or steep. When riding in excess of 20 mph (last Thursday I lost a lung going 35.5 on the flats with no significant tail wind that I was aware of) would 50 mm CF rims make any noticeable difference in performance over the Rolfs? I guess I'm asking would I be able to ride the same speed (20+) and produce less watts at a leve I would be aware of? The wheels I'm thinking about are inexpensive (thanks to our friends in the far east) CF clinchers without Al braking rim and weigh 1630 grams.
    "The problem with losing your mind is that by the time you realize it's gone, it's too late to get it back."
    Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

  2. #2
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    Deep wheel advantage

    Before I answer the question, a quick rant -

    There is no such thing as a "deep dish" wheel! The dish of a wheel is due to the aligning the rim off-center from the flanges on a rear wheel (to correct the assymmetry of the flanges due to making room for the cassette on the drive side)! A "deep dish" is a style of pie, not a wheel!

    Your question really has two parts:

    Q: Will deep rims make a difference?
    A: Yes, deep rims can decrease drag, slightly increasing speed a given power, or reducing power at a given speed.

    Q: Will the difference be noticeable?
    A: Probably not. Speed increases/power reduction is quite small, so if often requires a stop watch to actually measure the difference. Compared a traditional wheel with a shallow rim and 32 spokes, the very best aerowheels will increase speed/reduce power by only a few percent. Given all the other variables involved in cycling (terrain, wind, pavement condition, or just how the rider is feeling that day) the improvements with the aerowheels can get lost in the noise.

    You're Rolf Vigor wheels already have a fairly deep rim and a reduced number of spokes, so going to any even more aerodynamic wheel is likely to result in an even smaller, less noticeable difference.

    If you want to ride faster (or ride at the same speed with less effort), a more cost effective way (i.e. more improvement per dollar) is to hire a coach to maximize the performance of your engine.

  3. #3
    The Wanderer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McM
    If you want to ride faster (or ride at the same speed with less effort), a more cost effective way (i.e. more improvement per dollar) is to hire a coach to maximize the performance of your engine.
    Well said...

  4. #4
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    thanks. That's what I suspected. But I would look so much faster Think I'll save the money and train harder.
    "The problem with losing your mind is that by the time you realize it's gone, it's too late to get it back."
    Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

  5. #5
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    Of course the 'just get fitter/lighter' advice is valid.

    However, this assumes riders are completely insensitive to technological improvement.

    Your max speed will increase. Your average speed will increase. You may set a new speedrecord on your favorite 'rollout'. Certainly you'll be thrilled with improved acceleration at higher speeds.

    Areo rules and so does speed you can buy.

  6. #6
    I am, Specialized!
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    Don't kid yourself, looking fast is a great mental upper! ( I have a great imagination! ) I just got my new Easton Vista SL Aero's and I feel way faster, although I'm probably not! Did notice side wind effects though, not so good. I can really feel the wind push the rim. Really, it was a great upgrade from what I had and glad I spent the money. I noticed the smoothness of the hub more than anything. Upgraded from Alex 290 wheels.

  7. #7
    Yo no fui.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rger8
    Don't kid yourself, looking fast is a great mental upper! ( I have a great imagination! )
    It sort of cuts both ways. Few things make you feel like more of a bad-a$$ than passing someone on a bike that's nicer than yours.

    I am skeptical of the physical advantages of big rims. However, nice wheels with quality hubs and bearings are significant.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    I am skeptical of the physical advantages of big rims.
    What are your feelings on this gravity thing?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    What are your feelings on this gravity thing?
    It's a downer
    Blows your hair back.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    What are your feelings on this gravity thing?
    I understand that big ol' rims and high tech wheels offer advantages, e.g. rotational weight blah, blah. However, I am skeptical about the significance of such advantages.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    I understand that big ol' rims and high tech wheels offer advantages, e.g. rotational weight blah, blah. However, I am skeptical about the SIGNIFICANCE of such advantages.
    Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    I am skeptical of the PHYSICAL advantages of big rims.

  12. #12
    Yo no fui.
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    Geez, what is this, cross examination? I'm skeptical about the significance of the physical advantages of these rims. I used the word "physical" to distinguish from the mental and psycological benefits discussed by rger8 in post #6. What can I say, I'm a skeptical guy.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    Geez, what is this, cross examination? I'm skeptical about the significance of the physical advantages of these rims. I used the word "physical" to distinguish from the mental and psycological benefits discussed by rger8 in post #6. What can I say, I'm a skeptical guy.
    well, as long as we don't know what you mean by significant, the discussion is kinda moot.
    Blows your hair back.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker
    well, as long as we don't know what you mean by significant, the discussion is kinda moot.
    It seems like for the vast majority of riders, including most competitive riders and racers, the advantage gained in speed from deep rims is minimal. This advantage seems very small and thereby would seem to be an insignificant factor in how fast a bike can be ridden and in accompanying competitive results.

    From what I understand, and my understanding is certainly not perfect in this area, deep rims decrease air restsience and rotational weight to a rather small degree that translates into very little extra velocity resulting from the different rim. So, it seems like if you had two riders, assuming all other things equal, which of course would never happen in real life, the guy with deep rims would only go a touch faster. In reality, it seems like you could make up this slight loss in speed through other means.

    Further, at least to me, and I understand that everyone has difference economic means and would do their own cost-benefit calculation, this benefit seems minor compared to the additional monetary cost.

    Of course, it's all subjective: my insignificance is others' significance.

    I guess that's sort of what I mean by "significant" in this context.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  15. #15
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker
    well, as long as we don't know what you mean by significant, the discussion is kinda moot.
    Well, what I would mean as significant in (agreement with Pablo) is that the riders that drop me now would still drop me no matter what wheels I'm riding. - TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboTurtle
    Well, what I would mean as significant in (agreement with Pablo) is that the riders that drop me now would still drop me no matter what wheels I'm riding. - TF
    well, the same is true no matter what hub or bearing you used but Pablo claims that is an important factor in a wheelset.
    Blows your hair back.

  17. #17
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    I was always under the impression that bearings make a bigger difference than rims. I may be wrong.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    I was always under the impression that bearings make a bigger difference than rims. I may be wrong.
    at around 15mph, wind resistance becomes the dominant source of resistance.
    Blows your hair back.

  19. #19
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    But wouldn't bad bearings still slow you down no matter how fast you're going, like when you're going uphill, or in all conditions, like when there's a cross or tail wind?
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    But wouldn't bad bearings still slow you down no matter how fast you're going, like when you're going uphill, or in all conditions, like when there's a cross or tail wind?
    yes but the term will still only be a linear fuction of speed, unlike drag which goes as the speed square.
    Blows your hair back.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker
    yes but the term will still only be a linear fuction of speed, unlike drag which goes as the speed square.
    That I did not know. Hmmm. But bearings are still important, are they not?
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    That I did not know. Hmmm. But bearings are still important, are they not?
    Well anything can be important if the differences you're concerned about are small enough. Drivetrain losses account for about 2% of total power. That includes chain deflection (by far the greatest contributor) jockey wheels, wheel, bottom bracket, and pedal bearings. So take that 2%, take the small fraction due to wheel bearing losses, take the small differences between different bearings, and I'd say there isn't a lot left to be important. Now, if you're competing in time trials where hundreths of a second over an hour might matter (0.001%), then yes, bearings might be important.

    And a clarification: the force to overcome bearing friction is independent of speed, the force to overcome aero drag goes as speed squared. The power to overcome bearing friction is linear in speed, and the power to overcome aero drag is cubic in speed.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    It seems like for the vast majority of riders, including most competitive riders and racers, the advantage gained in speed from deep rims is minimal. This advantage seems very small and thereby would seem to be an insignificant factor in how fast a bike can be ridden and in accompanying competitive results.

    From what I understand, and my understanding is certainly not perfect in this area, deep rims decrease air restsience and rotational weight to a rather small degree that translates into very little extra velocity resulting from the different rim. So, it seems like if you had two riders, assuming all other things equal, which of course would never happen in real life, the guy with deep rims would only go a touch faster. In reality, it seems like you could make up this slight loss in speed through other means.

    Further, at least to me, and I understand that everyone has difference economic means and would do their own cost-benefit calculation, this benefit seems minor compared to the additional monetary cost.

    Of course, it's all subjective: my insignificance is others' significance.

    I guess that's sort of what I mean by "significant" in this context.
    Minimal, small, insignificant, very little, touch, minor. All words with absolutely no meaning. Why use these vague meaningless descriptions when there is verified quantitative data available from which people can make informed decisions. Switch from the standard 32 spoke box section rim to a 50 mm aero rim, and you'll go about 0.5 mph faster. There it is. Now decide if it's worth it to you based on your competitive and financial situation. There's no one right answer to fit everynbody, and it's absurd for anyone to try to tell somone else what is or is not minimal, small, significant, minor, ...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    Minimal, small, insignificant, very little, touch, minor. All words with absolutely no meaning. Why use these vague meaningless descriptions when there is verified quantitative data available from which people can make informed decisions. Switch from the standard 32 spoke box section rim to a 50 mm aero rim, and you'll go about 0.5 mph faster. There it is. Now decide if it's worth it to you based on your competitive and financial situation. There's no one right answer to fit everynbody, and it's absurd for anyone to try to tell somone else what is or is not minimal, small, significant, minor, ...
    I don't agree that they have absolutely no meaning, although they lack an absolute meaning. It's all relative. That's pretty much what I said previously ans summed up as: "Of course, it's all subjective: my insignificance is others' significance." Moreover, it's no so absurd to opine on this subject when someone requests such opinions in a thread.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schneiderguy
    I have Rolf Vigor wheels- 34 mm, factory claim weight of 1470 gr, & low spoke count. I think these are about as good, in terms of performance, as I will find in terms of aero, weight for an traditional clincher rim. Disclaimer: I'm not saying these are "better" wheels than some other brand or make.

    The deep dish lust has struck. I do a few road races, a few ralley rides as though they were races and fast race team training rides several times a week. I'm no longer serious about racing, but like to hang with good riders as long as I can. The routes are flat to rolling. A typical Saturday 55 mile ride in the "hills" will have 1800-2400 ft of climbing. Nothing really long or steep. When riding in excess of 20 mph (last Thursday I lost a lung going 35.5 on the flats with no significant tail wind that I was aware of) would 50 mm CF rims make any noticeable difference in performance over the Rolfs? I guess I'm asking would I be able to ride the same speed (20+) and produce less watts at a leve I would be aware of? The wheels I'm thinking about are inexpensive (thanks to our friends in the far east) CF clinchers without Al braking rim and weigh 1630 grams.

    A deeper profile wheel will offer you some aerodynamic advantages, particularly in non drafting events like a time trial or the bike portion of a tri race. Whether the speed improvements are worth it to you or not only you can judge. In amateur racing I really do not see the point of these wheels, yes they will make you a bit faster, but did you end up faster because you trained harder or performed better? No. What you did was you used a credit card and purchased some additional speed, that's it. If you had finished a minute slower on standard clinchers would that result suddenly become shameful compared with your Reynolds Stratus result which was 60 seconds faster due to the wheels aero advantage? No.

    Personally, in amateur races I'm a bit surprised that racing authorities do not put some type of reasonable limit of rim depth since a real deep aero wheel is obviously going to be a faster TT wheel than say a standard clincher and not all amateurs can afford Zipps or Reynolds deep profile carbon wheels. These are afterall, amateur events, not pro races and it seems a bit disingenuous in my mind that a person can essentially buy a 1 minute plus time advantage over another amateur competitor in these events. Obviously, racing authorities can't put limits on all equipment or else you'd have the guy running Centaur complaining about the guy running Record, but wheels and in partiucular deep profile TT type wheels seem like an awful unfair advantage particularly in in amateur TT and triathlete events, to those competitors who can't afford them. Unlike pros who have to ride this stuff for sponsorship and marketing purposes, amateur competition at its sole is supposed to be about the competitors and their efforts, not how much extra speed their wallet can buy to give them an advantage over those who can not afford it. That's my rant for today, flame away.
    "The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force."

    Adolph Hitler, 1934

    "The great mass of people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one."

    Adolph Hitler 1935

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