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  1. #1
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    Road wheels for rough pavement?

    I'm looking for good wheels for racing on chip seal, rough pavement, and cobblestone. I currently use 700 x 28 on Velocity A23 rims. I think I want a slightly wider (heavier) and more shallow rim suited for 28 tires.

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I'd recommend first trying different inflation pressures, and then different/better tires. A really good tire can make it feel like you are riding a whole different bike.

    If there is a perceptible compliance difference between different wheels, it is both markedly outweighed by, and also filtered by, the tires.

    There may be some to be gained by going to a slightly wider rim, but the difference between an 18 inside (your A23s) and a 20 inside rim won't be a world of difference. Certainly nothing close to going from 14 or 15 inside to 18.

    This is a wheel builder telling you this. Tires are the dominant part of the equation you're considering.

  3. #3
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    Yeah N-Dave could promise you the world and tell you everything you want to hear about new wheels but he didn't. He gave you the truth. Any extra rim compliance will be measured in thousandths of an inch - which can't be felt by the human bottom. Changing your tire pressures (depending on what you now have relative to your body weight and tire suppleness - none of which you gave us) will have the potential to gain you a 1/4" (or more) of extra cushion.

    And if you don't have the ride you want, after making sure tires and their pressures are optimal for you, then you need to fit bigger tires - even if that means a different frame.
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    I'm thinking more about lateral stiffness in the wheel, and of course finding a wheel that is most suited to the 28 tires.

    I've looked at the carbon wheels available, and they are wider for sure; but I'm not wanting to spend that much more, and I don't trust them for longevity.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigormortis View Post
    I'm thinking more about lateral stiffness in the wheel, and of course finding a wheel that is most suited to the 28 tires.

    I've looked at the carbon wheels available, and they are wider for sure; but I'm not wanting to spend that much more, and I don't trust them for longevity.
    If you are looking for more lateral stiffness, you should be looking at wheels with MORE SPOKES. As Dave said, you will not notice any difference going from 18mm to 20mm.

    If you are looking for more cushioning, you should either run your tires at lower pressures or try wider tires.

    Shallower rims serve no purpose other than reducing a little weight, if that matters to you.

    You are correct to not trust carbon rims....that is unless you spend tremendous amounts of $$$$.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigormortis View Post
    I'm thinking more about lateral stiffness in the wheel, and of course finding a wheel that is most suited to the 28 tires.
    As Lom says - get more spokes............and choose hub flange spacing wisely.

    I've looked at the carbon wheels available, and they are wider for sure; but I'm not wanting to spend that much more, and I don't trust them for longevity.
    If you ever think about any carbon rim - read November Dave's blog posts about them first.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    As Lom says - get more spokes............and choose hub flange spacing wisely.
    Not sure I understand what you mean here, Mike. Could you explain?
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  8. #8
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    The A23 rims are very well suited to 28mm tires. If you feel you must spend money, and thus something wider is needed, the velocity quill or HED ardennes+ are good. However, the first response is the best advice, alter you tire pressure and/or get a nicer tire. I'm not sure what tires you're running or at what pressures but as mentioned, those are your keys to bliss.

    As a tire reference look into an open tubular like a vittoria corsa (or an old pave' if you can find one), a challenge roubaix, or vulcanized tire like a GP4000 (measures wide so be careful on tire clearance), a spesh roubaix or turbo cotton. Compass tires look very promising on paper but I've personally never tried them due to getting discounts for other tire brands since learning of compass but this year may be the year.

    I ride 28's on crap pavement and gravel on a regular basis, weigh 240 lbs, and use A23's a lot (aileron for disc-equipped). Running my training tires, maxxis refuse, compared to vittoria pave' and conti GP4000's is a night and day difference. Pretty much any race tire will ride better than any training tire as they favor a better ride at the cost of flat resistance, but crap pavement doesn't necessarily mean debris ridden so a supple tire may be your magic carpet ride. There's lots of glass on many of the roads by me so the convenience of a very thick tire outweighs the convenience of not having sore ass many days of the week.

  9. #9
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    I'm running 28 spokes on the front wheel right now. 32 in back. The A23s are fairly light (450 g), and that appealed to me once; but heavier rims might be stiffer.

    I'm looking for stability in the wheel. The 28 tires I'm currently running are at 80 pounds.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Not sure I understand what you mean here, Mike. Could you explain?
    The OP stated "I'm thinking more about lateral stiffness in the wheel". You told him to consider more spoke, and I agreed.. Are we in agreement that the further apart hub flanges are, the stiffer the wheel, laterally? This gives a wider base to the hub/spoke/rim triangle. And the wider the base the more stable the pyramid yes? But the DS flange, due to the fact that its distance from the hub center line is more or less defined by cassette width, is kind of chiseled in stone, give or take a couple of mm.

    This then leaves mostly one variable (let's not bother about flange diameter right now eh?) - and that is the distance from the DS flange to the NDS flange. But the further we get our NDS flange away from the DS flange, the more unequal the ratio of flange-to-bike center line becomes and this presents us with other issues like DS to NDS spoke tension ratios. We cant win here.

    More recently (on road bikes) we've had brake discs to contend with. This limits how far out the NDS flange can be and we have to be careful of caliper to disc clearance too. So due to cassette clearance, disc location, narrow flange spacing (read: pyramid base width) we're left with a fuster-cluck of pyramid base width and base spacing (relative to rim c/l - hence the upsurge to OC rims).

    So my comment "choose hub flange spacing wisely" stands but it would take an engineer to find the definitive hub spacing from all the hubs available.

    But maybe, just maybe, all available hubs are good enough.

    I'll bet if you asked all last weekend's Paris-Roubaix pro racers and most of their mechanics what their rear hubs' geometeries were, they would almost all go "Huh?"
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    Everything above, up to that blue line, is IMO IMO.

  11. #11
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    The tires I currently have are Continental Ultra Sport 700 x 28 at about 80 psi.

  12. #12
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    I picked the asymmetrical rim for the rear because it makes a lot of sense to have the spoke lengths and tensions as close to the same on each side as possible. You see this on motorcycle rims.

    What other good road rims have the off-center geometry?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    So due to cassette clearance, disc location, narrow flange spacing (read: pyramid base width) we're left with a fuster-cluck of pyramid base width and base spacing (relative to rim c/l - hence the upsurge to OC rims).

    So my comment "choose hub flange spacing wisely" stands but it would take an engineer to find the definitive hub spacing from all the hubs available.

    But maybe, just maybe, all available hubs are good enough.

    I'll bet if you asked all last weekend's Paris-Roubaix pro racers and most of their mechanics what their rear hubs' geometeries were, they would almost all go "Huh?"
    Ahhh, yes. Larger flanges make for a stiffer wheel (in theory), but then you have more unequal DS and NDS tensions. Some narrower wheels have OC verisons, but this presents other issues. I do remember a wheel builder on this forum who claimed he has seen that OC rims are more prone to spoke hole cracks.

    So in the end, if you want wider flange spacing, get a single speed?

    A question for the OP: I think your first post led us to believe you were looking for something that rides less harshly. But it appears you are more concerned with stiffness (stability?). Am I right? If it is stiffness and a more stable feeling you are concerned with, I am thinking a deeper, not a shallower rim is the way to go. If you look at the dimensions of your Velocity A23s, you will see they are already quite shallow - around the same depth as most box rims! In the excellent detailed rim review below, you will also see that the A23 did not get a very good stiffness review:

    Alloy Rim Roundup - Fairwheel Bikes Blog
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
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    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    A question for the OP: I think your first post led us to believe you were looking for something that rides less harshly. But it appears you are more concerned with stiffness (stability?). Am I right? If it is stiffness and a more stable feeling you are concerned with, I am thinking a deeper, not a shallower rim is the way to go. If you look at the dimensions of your Velocity A23s, you will see they are already quite shallow - around the same depth as most box rims! In the excellent detailed rim review below, you will also see that the A23 did not get a very good stiffness review:

    Alloy Rim Roundup - Fairwheel Bikes Blog
    Yes, more stiffness is what I want, I think.

  15. #15
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    Imagine coming down a steep (10% grade), bumpy descent, with washboards and potholes to avoid, and entering a corner where the vibrations threaten a shimmy. That's the worst case of the roads I ride. Many of the roads are also chip seal, with 1" minus, and patches of dirt/gravel.

    I'm also addressing the tendency to speed wobble on these uneven surfaces. Without the wobble, I would probably not be looking for a change--just dealing.

    Looking at the link to "Alloy Rim Roundup" reinforced my idea to look into the DT Swiss RR440.
    Last edited by Rigormortis; 04-12-2017 at 10:55 AM.

  16. #16
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    The largest volume, lowest pressure, most supple tire is the best way to deal with bad road.
    Too old to ride plastic

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigormortis View Post
    Imagine coming down a steep (10% grade), bumpy descent, with washboards and potholes to avoid, and entering a corner where the vibrations threaten a shimmy. That's the worst case of the roads I ride. Many of the roads are also chip seal, with 1" minus, and patches of dirt/gravel.

    I'm also addressing the tendency to speed wobble on these uneven surfaces. Without the wobble, I would probably not be looking for a change--just dealing.

    Looking at the link to "Alloy Rim Roundup" reinforced my idea to look into the DT Swiss RR440.
    I am thinking two words - WIDER TIRES. If your bike frame will fit 32c tires or even 35c tires, go in that direction.

    A better rim option (and less expensive too) would be the DT Swiss RR460. They are 18mm wide, 24mm deep. I just built a set of these mated to Dura Ace 9000 hubs and they are excellent. The Kinlin XC279 also looks like a good choice for your purpose. I would not use the DT Swiss R440 for your type of riding - too shallow and too narrow.

    However, I still think wider tires will do more for your stability than new wheels.

    As far as shimmy, yes, I did see your other post. As others responded there, that can be caused by a number of different things including being inherent in your bike frame design. But if you are using process of elimination to solve your problem, change cheap stuff first, hint, hint, WIDER TIRES.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    So in the end, if you want wider flange spacing, get a single speed?
    My track bike wheels - early '70s vintage Campagnolo Piste large flange track hubs, 36/36 spokes with (cough) Mavic Open Pro rims. I won't tell you that they're tied & soldered too as I don't want WW111 to kick off. No flex in those babies!
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigormortis View Post
    Yes, more stiffness is what I want, I think.
    You should be aware that a few years ago, MAVIC built a number of wheels with significantly different lateral stiffness and asked riders to evaluate them. No one could reliably tell the difference. All the advice you have been getting is right - focus on supple tires with lower pressures.

  20. #20
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    OP, your theoretical descent scenario screams different tires or different bike to handle those conditions, it's not what a road bike is intended for. Can it handle them? Absolutely, but there are trade offs like control and comfort.

    GCN recently did a video about which bike is faster over pave' from the Paris-Roubaix, road with 28mm tires, cx with 35mm semi-slick cx tires, and an mtb with semi-slicks. To skip right to the conclusion, the xc mtb won, then the CX, and the road bike the slowest of the bunch. They commented that the road bike felt like it had the least control by a fair amount and the mtb was well planted and felt good in the bumpy turns.

    Of course, at the end when they re-directed to "which bike would you ride for Paris-roubaix, the road bike was the clear winner because the race is mostly paved road. My point being that if you gear your bike for a small section of the ride then you compromise for the rest. If most of your ride is bumpy descents and such then I would recommend something different but looking at the wheels to fix the situation isn't the right place and even tires might not improve entirely but there are certainly better tires available than the conti ultra-sports which are an entry level tire. I highly recommend jumping to a GP 4000 or if that cost too much just try the grand prix which is has most of the benefits of the GP 4000 at a cheaper price. Obviously there are other brands to choose from but I picked them simply because of the familiarity you may have with continental tires.

    Also, depending on you're weight, 80 psi is pretty high. I run that on smooth pavement at 240 pounds and will run closer to 65-70 for rougher stuff. I like 55-60 for 32mm tires which are my choice for that type of riding assuming there's a bit of pavement involved.

  21. #21
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    In a few days, the Tour of the Gila Stage 5 - Tour of the Gila will be running one of the roads where this issue has come up for me. Spectators wait at the curves we call "Snakebite" to watch wrecks and riders missing turns and winding up in the ditch.

    The mountain roads in the Western states that have these kinds of awesome views, climbs, and descents are numerous. One world-class 100-miler is between Skagway, Alaska, and Carcross, Yukon, on the Klondike Highway--all with "chunk seal" and non-existent shoulders, and long, windy descents. The race I have participated in for the last 25 years is the 150-mile Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay, which features lots of climbs and a 3000-foot descent. These are the conditions my bike was built for, and it functions well except for those sketchy hairpins.

    When I selected the Velocity A23s, I didn't know they were so flexy, which is fine on long flats and cranking up the hills. And they might be okay on the curves too, if I had the right fork. My ENVE 2.0 fork has too much rake, leaving me only 52mm of trail, which is great for maneuvering but bad for the high-speed descents. I'm also using 362mm of steerer tube, which results in three times the steerer tube flex than a 250mm stem (cube of the length).

    I'm looking at the DT Swiss rims 440 or 460 series, and some better tires perhaps. I do like the economy of the Continental Ultra Sport, because they cost only about 20 bucks and hold up for a full year if I don't skid. The higher priced Continental Grand Prix don't hold up any better, and maybe have weathered faster, but I do think they might run slightly smoother. Weight is absolutely an issue for race tires, but I haven't found really light tires that have the stiffness I need for rough cornering. I figure the pros have it nailed for exactly the conditions I'm encountering.

  22. #22
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    Too much to address here but simply, tires shouldn't have stiffness for any cornering. That's why silk tubulars are so highly prized in cross. Your tires need to yield to and comply with the surface, not argue with it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigormortis View Post
    I'm looking at the DT Swiss rims 440 or 460 series, and some better tires perhaps. I do like the economy of the Continental Ultra Sport, because they cost only about 20 bucks and hold up for a full year if I don't skid. The higher priced Continental Grand Prix don't hold up any better, and maybe have weathered faster, but I do think they might run slightly smoother. Weight is absolutely an issue for race tires, but I haven't found really light tires that have the stiffness I need for rough cornering. I figure the pros have it nailed for exactly the conditions I'm encountering.
    What makes a pro level tire a pro level tires is it's suppleness. AKA lack of stiffness.

    If you want stiffness though go to walmart or similar and get the cheapest tires they have and the heaviest tube they sell.

    But if you want to corner better you'd be better off with tires that are anything but stiff and latex tubes.

  24. #24
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    I believe the OP really means stability when he says stiffness.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  25. #25
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    Before you start spending money on parts, spend some money on some good supple tires and see if that changes anything. I've been running Compass and others here have their favorites, but a good high volume supple tire will give you better road contact and will go a long way in improving your bikes handling.

    I don't know if tires will improve the shimmy that you have going on but they will improve your handling and if they don't help the shimmy, you've still got good tires, but if a fork doesn't cure the shimmy you've spent money for nothing. Compass tires are about $60 apiece $78 if you want the ultra light.

    Good tires will improve the handling and may help the shimmy, but if they don't help the shimmy you can always get the fork.
    Too old to ride plastic

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