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  1. #1
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    How much benefit will I get with some lightweight carbon tubulars?

    Hi, I'm going to do about 15 road races this year. Right now, I have 1480 gram alloy clinchers - nice 30mm niobium rims with WI hubs. Will I realize much benefit going to some, say, 46mm deep carbon tubulars? They will be lighter and more aero but how much will it help? Thanks

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    If you are going to climb a lot so defenatly it will make difference. Also what is your weight?

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    I'm 160lb. I won't be climbing much - more like rollers and short punchy climbs

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    200 to 300 grams weight reduction will make a significant difference. I find that good body aero position is more beneficial than the aero wheels but a combo of both will be even better. Stiffness of the wheels will make a diff too. But to get stiff light 45-46 mm carbons we are talking ~$2K. and then you will be dealing with tubular tires. Big expense and a bit of trouble. But if you have the $ why not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by martinot View Post
    200 to 300 grams weight reduction will make a significant difference. I find that good body aero position is more beneficial than the aero wheels but a combo of both will be even better. Stiffness of the wheels will make a diff too. But to get stiff light 45-46 mm carbons we are talking ~$2K. and then you will be dealing with tubular tires. Big expense and a bit of trouble. But if you have the $ why not?
    How you describes good aero position, what it looks like and what the rules?

    Also you can find on eBay not new but used in good condition tubular carbon for $1k and you have a nice set of wheels. I have one tubular carbon Zipp 404 2007 which are great in great condition and I have Mavic Cosmic SL which are aero, roll very fast very robust but obviously way heavier from the Zipp. For hilly terrain I'll use the lighter one.

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    Being subjective, you will be the only one to know how much of a difference it will make to you. For me, I felt a huge difference going from clincher Eurus wheels to Reynolds DV 46T's and tubular tires. The acceleration feels much faster because the wheel is lighter. A 45-46mm wheel makes me feel like I am expending slightly less energy to maintain speed, but
    I have to be going about 22-24 mph to realize the difference. The new Zipp Firecrest 303 tubulars feel a bit faster than my Reynolds, and the 404's, even a bit faster than that. The
    perception of going faster is noticeable, but it is not a huge difference. It won't make a Cat 5 racer into a Cat 2. YMMV.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudigrinfeld View Post
    How you describes good aero position, what it looks like and what the rules?

    Also you can find on eBay not new but used in good condition tubular carbon for $1k and you have a nice set of wheels. I have one tubular carbon Zipp 404 2007 which are great in great condition and I have Mavic Cosmic SL which are aero, roll very fast very robust but obviously way heavier from the Zipp. For hilly terrain I'll use the lighter one.
    Good aero position - I can only say from experience that a lighter rider with less aero bike can often be faster on a downhill (no pedalling) than the heavier almost similarly buit guy. I'd say that they key is to resemble the downhill skier position in the upper body: minimize all the gaps in the neck area by tucking in head between the shoulders and squeezing ion elbows - this creates airfoil like shape of your upper body. legs and knees together as much as possible - we don't need the wide stance of the downhill skier :-). Etc. It's also worth checking some pixs of the pros doing the descents - might give you ideas of different positions ....
    I'd think that the major diff will be in the reduced weight. So from the existing 1400+ you'd need to get to 1,200 grams level to see some benefits. 1,200 grams tubulars might be hard to come by at $1K - not impossible and certainly; nothing wrong with used ones too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by martinot View Post
    Good aero position - I can only say from experience that a lighter rider with less aero bike can often be faster on a downhill (no pedalling) than the heavier almost similarly buit guy.
    That has not been my experience, on the contrary it's exactly the opposite I have observed on my rides.

    It's only fair, afterall.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcgriz View Post
    That has not been my experience, on the contrary it's exactly the opposite I have observed on my rides.

    It's only fair, afterall.........
    Exactly the point.
    Heavier guy on a more aero bike should be faster but surprisingly I am able to often pass them (being lighter an on less aero bike). My explanation is - a better aero body position.

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    If I had to hedge a bet between lbs and aero, I would pick the lbs!

  11. #11
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    For anything other than an uphill only race, aero beats lighter weight (for reasonable values of aero and lighter).

    You can see for yourself: http://analyticcycling.com/

    The aero benefits of the deeper tubular wheels will outweigh (so to speak) the lighter weight. But the change won't be dramatic. I notice it mostly on descents where I'm a little faster than I would normally be. Lighter wheels feel faster but the "spin up" effect is actually very small.

    Not only will the wheels not make a cat 5 into a cat 2, they won't make a 4 a 3 or even put a mid pack 4 in the top 10. The best way to buy speed is to get a coach.

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    or instead of buying speed, just ride a lot at a high intensity and you will get stronger and faster. see if your area has training crits or rides, they will help whip you into shape, and will certainly make you a stronger more controlled rider. In my opinion buying a race license is cheaper than carbon wheels

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by velorider View Post
    Hi, I'm going to do about 15 road races this year. Right now, I have 1480 gram alloy clinchers - nice 30mm niobium rims with WI hubs. Will I realize much benefit going to some, say, 46mm deep carbon tubulars? They will be lighter and more aero but how much will it help? Thanks
    Not much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike1217 View Post
    or instead of buying speed, just ride a lot at a high intensity and you will get stronger and faster. see if your area has training crits or rides, they will help whip you into shape, and will certainly make you a stronger more controlled rider. In my opinion buying a race license is cheaper than carbon wheels
    By high intensity you refer to high cadence or heart rate?

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    I found myself thinking about this the other day.

    It seems to me that the biggest benefits to having a more aero system, whether that's from you, an aero frame, or aero wheels, would be in bridging or in a breakaway. Especially bridging.

    Glancing at the Analytic Cycling link, it looks like the difference is even smaller than I'd assumed. (Which was pretty small. )

    If one of your sponsors offers your team aero wheels at a nice price, like competitive with what you've got, sure, why not. It'll take you longer to wear out your other wheels. And if you're buying new wheels in the first place, between a 0% advantage and a 1% advantage, it's a no-brainer, unless something else is involved like you don't want to pay a few times as much for the tiny advantage.

  16. #16
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    If you're talking about race only wheels nevermind but you need to ask yourself the most important question. Do you want to deal with tubular?
    Not trying to imply you shouldn't but it should be the first consideration.

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    By high intensity you refer to high cadence or heart rate?
    Heart rate. Hill and sprint intervals and the like. Or just going out fire a ride, and going as hard as you can for as long as you can, then go harder.

    "It never gets easier, you just get faster"

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    @mike 1217 ever heard of base training? I finally threw down and started paying a coach, he looked at my garmin data for the previous months and reduced the amount of time i ride at a high intensity. I do some harder intervals but mostly a lot of zone 2 riding. It really paid off and i have progressed much faster than my peers. During last weekends race I placed higher than a few of them who had regularly beat me.
    Get a coach first then spend some money on some sweet tubular wheels

  19. #19
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    I switched from Kysrium SL to 1180g 38mm carbon tubulars a couple of years ago and they did make me faster by about 1 mph. They're also more comfortable and look cooler. Well worth the $700 I paid for them (not much - cheap Chinese carbon rims). The rims aren't great and the braking leaves something to be desired, but for the money they've been fantastic.

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    Makes sense. .

    Quote Originally Posted by dcgriz View Post
    If I had to hedge a bet between lbs and aero, I would pick the lbs!
    If you live in the Alps.

  21. #21
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    Have also noticed improvement around 21 mph, easier to maintain speed. I have flashpoints they are heavier, also have planet x tubular and these climb and accelate much better. With enve 5 year warranty and half price crash replacement, these will be next and all other wheel sets will be for sale.

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