Most stable/predictable aero wheels?
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  1. #1
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    Most stable/predictable aero wheels?

    Are there any studies that compare specific models of wheels for crosswind stability for wheels that are 40+mm deep? Or perhaps brands? For example, Boyd vs ENVE vs Hunt vs Mavic vs November vs Reynolds vs Roval vs Zipp? If no studies, is there relatively consistent anecdotal evidence that one brand is more stable in crosswinds than the others?

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    I can't imagine there's any difference in one 40 depth rim versus another in a cross wind. Years ago, I had a set of Spinergy Rev-X wheels with the deep rims and the big spokes. They were fast wheels, but terrible in a cross wind.

    For just general riding, I don't get why anyone would want anything other than a standard aluminum rim. Around here, I see (or used to see) guys riding a $2000 set of carbon wheels commuting to work wearing a bigass backpack. Yeah, they look cool, but beyond that, I don't get it. Anymore, I just get custom built sets from Pete's Wheels, or Psimet. I was the first to hop on the per-built wheel band wagon with Mavic Helium wheels, but after years of riding, I've concluded you're better off with a good custom set.

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    Reynolds Blacklabel Aero 65 series (rim or disc) is both fast and stable. It uses the NACA profile (teardrop); they're the only wheels on the market that has as close to an ideal teardrop shape as you can get. No other wheels on the market right now that I'm aware of have this profile.

    Forget about all the U-shape marketing from Zipp. NACA profile is the only proven profile to work best.

    I've used many other highend aero wheels: Zipp 303 and 404 Firecrest, Enve 3.4, 4.5, 6.7 series, Easton Aero 55, Bontrager Aeolus 5 (wide rim), Bontrager XXX 6, Lightweight from a friend, Campy 50mm from a friend. And it's in my honest opinion that none of them compare to the Reynolds Blacklabel 65 series both in terms of aero performance and crosswind stability (and I'm only 120-122 lbs). I remember using the Zipp 404 FC and they were the worst aero wheel experience I've ever had in crosswind (remmeber, I'm only 120 lbs so I'm very sensitive to front wheel torque steering by the wind). With the Reynolds 65, I'm so confident that I can even go doggie-paws-on-bar position if the crosswind is only slight (of course in strong crosswind nobody would do this). I'm absolutely sold on the NACA profile.

    This guy Hambini explains aero wheels very well here



    Hambini also gives a high rating for Lightbicycle wheels too. Apparently the aero advantage from Lightbicycle wheels come not so much from its rim-body profile but come from the tire-hook interface. LB is able to optimize this interface. So if you're looking for aero wheels that are 50mm+, LB wheels are a great value proposition to consider.
    https://www.lightbicycle.com/carbon-road-bike

    You are not going to find any peer-reviewed study comparing specific wheelsets because I don't think anyone is going to fund such study without also presenting a conflict of interests. And I would not trust any manufacturer's literatures either. Your best source of "evidence" is listen to people who are experts in aerodynamics and have no conflicts of interest. And Hambini guy claims to have a PhD in this field and he represents no manufactuers, he has gotten into a few heated roasting of guys on Slowtwitch forum and calling out big manufacturers for their claims. And probably listen to some anecdotal evidence too, but anecdotes can be very vague and imprecise and how good an anecdotal evidence is depends on the experience of the person telling it. If it's somone who has used a lot of aero wheels in varying conditions, then his words mean something. If it's just someone raving about his first set of aero wheels, then he's probably a bit overjoyed to rave about his wheels, in addition to his placebo "feel good, feel fast" effect too. Who knows.
    Last edited by aclinjury; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Forget about all the U-shape marketing from Zipp. NACA profile is the only proven profile to work best.
    That depends on how you choose to define best. NACA profiles might show the lowest drag over the widest range of yaw angles, but if you limit yaw to real world conditions or include stability as a criterion, it isn't obvious NACA shapes are always "best."

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    That depends on how you choose to define best. NACA profiles might show the lowest drag over the widest range of yaw angles, but if you limit yaw to real world conditions or include stability as a criterion, it isn't obvious NACA shapes are always "best."
    That's why I also look at real world anecdotes and experience. I've ridden the Zipp 404 FC, which has a U-shape and 58mm depth, Enve 6.7 with 60mm front wheel, Easton Aero 55 with 55mm depth and U-shape, Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6 with 60mm depth. The Reynolds 65 is the most stable for me, but the Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6 feels very similar (the Bontrager XXX 6 have a thin traling edge, not U-shape). The faster the speed, the faster and more stable the NACA wheels behave.

    The others factors that are pluses (as performance goes) for the Reynolds is that they use internal nipples. That's gotta be worth some watts saving over external nipples regardless of rim shape. They also use Sapim cxrays spokes, Industry 9 hubs made in the US, and carry a lifetime warranty. And among big brand names, they're probably the lowest priced, got mine for just a bit over $1200 + shipping. Zipp, Enve, can't beat that. Even smaller brands like Yoleo, Boyd, Mercury, can't beat the price I got.

    But, i'm opened to any reading or opinion or anecdotes of any non-manufacturer sources that says otherwise, or have different personal experience.
    Last edited by aclinjury; 4 Weeks Ago at 05:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    ...they use internal nipples. That's gotta be worth some watts saving over external nipples regardless of rim shape.
    We tested internal nipples and found that the difference didn't make it outside the margin of error, and even then it wasn't consistent in any direction. Having consumed a ton of wind tunnel data before, this wasn't very surprising, but having a few minutes left in that chunk of tunnel time, we taped the cap of a Bic Biro pen to the valve stem of a wheel and ran it again in a "surely this must make a big difference" bid. One half of one watt, to have a +/- 1" long and 5/16" diameter pen cap taped to the valve stem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by November Dave View Post
    We tested internal nipples and found that the difference didn't make it outside the margin of error, and even then it wasn't consistent in any direction. Having consumed a ton of wind tunnel data before, this wasn't very surprising, but having a few minutes left in that chunk of tunnel time, we taped the cap of a Bic Biro pen to the valve stem of a wheel and ran it again in a "surely this must make a big difference" bid. One half of one watt, to have a +/- 1" long and 5/16" diameter pen cap taped to the valve stem.
    I believe you. But, the thing about using internal nipples is that on the carbon rim edge where the spokes exit.. has to be tight with almost no gap. If rim contruction leaves a big gap where the spokes exit, then that's not good. Regarding this, the Reynolds 65 rim construction is as best as I've seen it for wheels using alloy spokes. Only better integrate wheels are 100% carbon wheels with carbon spokes built right into the rim (in this case there is zero gap).

    But one thing that I can vouch for is stability of the Reynolds 65 in real world. Being ~120 lbs, I'm better than many at vouching for this, a slight wind translates to handlebar movement to me, and sometimes scarry movements too if there's a local swirl! For example, the Enve 6.7 at 40 mph down a mountain descent is just unstable and unpredictable for me even, with almost zero wind (but there are local swirls coming around corners though). I've found the Bontrager XXX 6 to behave very similar to the Reynolds 65 in terms of stability.

    I still find it very odd that the Zipp 404, at 58 mm, with their U-shape, can be so twitchy for me, I constantly have to correct my steering with this front wheel. It got to the point that I wasn't even using this wheelset, sold them eventually in barely used condition. I'm sure a bigger guy would have no issue with front wheel stability.

    What I like most about the Reynolds is its stability at high speed, above 25 mph, and there the crucial speed where I operate at and deemed most important. At lower speed, say under 20 mph, the Reynolds' behavior feel just like another deep wheels, nothing to brag about, but like I said, it's when speed goes over 25 mph is where the money is.
    Last edited by aclinjury; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    I believe you. But, the thing about using internal nipples is that on the carbon rim edge where the spokes exit.. has to be tight with almost no gap. If rim contruction leaves a big gap where the spokes exit, then that's not good. Regarding this, the Reynolds 65 rim construction is as best as I've seen it for wheels using alloy spokes. Only better integrate wheels are 100% carbon wheels with carbon spokes built right into the rim (in this case there is zero gap).
    You're talking about a 2mm spoke going into a 2.15 or 2.2mm diameter hole. No part of that would ever be considered a "big gap."

    Internal nipples have at best a negligible benefit to aerodynamics - at best you might see it consistently to one side of the error margin. This has been tested and put to rest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by November Dave View Post
    You're talking about a 2mm spoke going into a 2.15 or 2.2mm diameter hole. No part of that would ever be considered a "big gap."

    Internal nipples have at best a negligible benefit to aerodynamics - at best you might see it consistently to one side of the error margin. This has been tested and put to rest.
    tested and put to rest? well sounds like there is an overwhelming body of quality evidence to put this to rest then? Care to cite the evidence?

    In the meantime, I'm going with what Hambini says, internal nipples are better for aero.

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    well here's a timely review of an inexpensive chinese wheelset by Hambini.
    Wheelset is the "Winspace Hyper" in 50mm.
    I think the days of expensive Zipps and Enves are over.


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    Since the citation of testing that I've done (which had no agenda other than to learn) didn't make a dent, I'll pass on dredging up the old Zipp, Bontrager and HED stuff about internal/external. Hambini's own testing rankings don't correlate with internal/external, and the wheels in this video have external nipples. That's it for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by November Dave View Post
    Since the citation of testing that I've done (which had no agenda other than to learn) didn't make a dent, I'll pass on dredging up the old Zipp, Bontrager and HED stuff about internal/external. Hambini's own testing rankings don't correlate with internal/external, and the wheels in this video have external nipples. That's it for me.
    thank you for taking your precious time to reply to me.

    The "science" (using the term loosely) of bicycle wheels aerodynamic doesn't have much (if at all) peer reviewed articles, and many of the data being floated on the net in bicycle forums are either from manufacturers or magazines (with advertisers, ie, potential conflicts of interest). And the people who are qualified (aerodynamicists by training and profession) to talk on this topic without any conflict of interest,.. are even rarer. Hambini is one of these person who has a PhD in this field, he works in this field, and he as no affilicated sponsors. He is as close to being neutral as you can get. If you follow him, you'd know that he has gotten into heated exchange and rebuttals in calling out big brands about their claims, you don't do that if you're not sure of your science. I'm trusting Hambini's methodology at this point for the reasons I've mentioned above.


    And yes, the Winspace Hyper wheels have external spokes, but he has said (at least two times) in the video that internal nipples would make them faster. And if performance is a part of your goal in purchasing a deep wheelset, then why not go with internal nipples? Road wheels, if well built (I'm hoping my Reynolds is) will not be needing trueing much, so the inconvenience of using internal nipples are negligable (IMO).

    You're more then welcome to go to his chanel and debate with him. He will engage with you if you present alternative evidence to dispute his position. But I reckon you won't have the time. I'm not an expert but I wouldn't mind watching opposing experts present their positions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    And the people who are qualified (aerodynamicists by training and profession) to talk on this topic without any conflict of interest,.. are even rarer. Hambini is one of these person who has a PhD in this field, he works in this field, and he as no affilicated sponsors. He is as close to being neutral as you can get.
    Don't fool yourself. By posting on Youtube, Hambini is in the business of getting clicks not presenting reliable information. That is his conflict of interest.

    And while rare, people qualified to judge almost uniformly hold him in contempt and dismiss Hambini as a joke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Don't fool yourself. By posting on Youtube, Hambini is in the business of getting clicks not presenting reliable information. That is his conflict of interest.

    And while rare, people qualified to judge almost uniformly hold him in contempt and dismiss Hambini as a joke.
    and that's fine. Anyone can call out anyone on the net, but I want to see their presentation and the quality of their rebutals. If Hambini is such joke, then it shouldn't be that hard to dispel the guy a few simple rebutals. I've seen Hambini go back and forth with a few folks on Slowtwitch and Weightweenie, and I haven't seen anyone who could explain this stuff better he can, and this shouldn't the case if he's a joke.

    and regarding getting "clicks"
    well first the video I posted of him (about the Zipp wheels) is from a year ago, and since that time, that video has 81,531 views, and his subscribership is 60k,.. hardly a business model on youtube montary gain,.. furthermore, his videos have no in-video ads.. no monetary gain there either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Anyone can call out anyone on the net, but I want to see their presentation and the quality of their rebutals. If Hambini is such joke, then it shouldn't be that hard to dispel the guy a few simple rebutals.
    One of the first things you learn in academia is that before pursuing a line of research, much less presenting any results or opinions, you do a thorough literature review. This is both to make sure your work isn't redundant but also to make sure you're familiar with the state of the art in the field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Don't fool yourself. By posting on Youtube, Hambini is in the business of getting clicks not presenting reliable information. That is his conflict of interest.
    That is not a conflict of interest. No more than Consumer Reports has a conflict of interest by selling magazines.

    One of the first things you learn in academia is that before pursuing a line of research, much less presenting any results or opinions, you do a thorough literature review. This is both to make sure your work isn't redundant but also to make sure you're familiar with the state of the art in the field.
    Feel free to present any literature (not from a wheel manufacturer) which dispels any of his results or opinions.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    One of the first things you learn in academia is that before pursuing a line of research, much less presenting any results or opinions, you do a thorough literature review. This is both to make sure your work isn't redundant but also to make sure you're familiar with the state of the art in the field.
    redundancy itself can be a quality all in itself. PLENTY of redudancy in academia research.

    But let's stop beating around the bush. I presented Hambini as a source of what I think is good alternative information to manufacturer's literature. And I do so after watching his videos which seem to be well thought out (at this level of discussion), and I've seen some of his rebuttles on Slowtwitch and Weighweenie (the more "technical" bicycle forums on the net). Then you came in and said he's a joke. Well then, the way I see it, it's up to YOU to make your case. Show us your presentation and evidence? Let's not beat around the rhetorical academia bush. I appreciate cold hard technical discussions more. Feel free to go to his channel and post your rebutals there and let the world be the judge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Well then, the way I see it, it's up to YOU to make your case. Show us your presentation and evidence?
    Having done it repeatedly, I don't feel like I'd enjoy another round.

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    https://www.veloveritas.co.uk/2020/0...crash-so-much/

    From the story...

    One other reason they crash so much is the aero wheels.
    Too old to ride plastic

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Having done it repeatedly, I don't feel like I'd enjoy another round.
    you have nothing to contribute, ok got it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    you have nothing to contribute, ok got it.
    For me, warning people that Hambini is not credible is contribution enough. If that doesn't satisfy you, I'll have to find some way to survive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    For me, warning people that Hambini is not credible is contribution enough. If that doesn't satisfy you, I'll have to find some way to survive.
    warning people huh? oh I take you're an expert in this field? Why do you even bother responding, judging from your tone, is baffling. More you talk, less smart you sound.

  23. #23
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    For me, warning people that Hambini is not credible is contribution enough. If that doesn't satisfy you, I'll have to find some way to survive.
    He's an aerospace engineer. I believe PHD

    You're some anonymous person on the interwebs typing words and refusing to support anything you say.

    We should be warned about you

  24. #24
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    Sometimes I really hate this site. I typed up a long-ish reply with more info and questions, hit "Post" and it came back with "token expired" and wiped out my entire post. I really, really hate that, It has done it to me many times in the past, no other site does that to me, I keep trying to remember to copy my post before clicking so I can paste it back in if the site screws up on me again, but it's the only site that does that, so it is hard to remember.

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    The catalyst for my original post is that I dislike high speed, but really enjoy riding/racing with a few people/groups that hit 40-50mph a few times each ride. I live/ride/race in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the Denver/Boulder area and there are almost always winds and crosswinds of some magnitude. I seem to be more sensitive than most to crosswinds because it is not unusual for me to mention it after a ride and others didn't really notice it.

    I recently experienced a "death wobble" at 40+ mph that has me pretty rattled. I don't know for certain that it was caused by a crosswind or by the road surface or a combination, but I thought for certain I was going down.

    Ever since then, I've been more hyper-aware of crosswinds than ever before. And they happen on my Roval CLX50s more than my ENVE 5.6s. So I'm wondering if the CLX50s are more susceptible to crosswind effects. It seems like, anecdotally, Zipps are worse than the mythical "average" and ENVEs are better. I feel like my ENVE 5.6s are more stable than the Roval CLS50s all the time, especially in crosswinds, but of course I can't do a double-blind test. I always know which wheels I'm on, so it may be a placebo effect.

    I've recently heard from two different people who swear that Reynolds Aero with DET are the very best in crosswinds. But when I look at that pointy profile, it's tough to believe. And online reviews differ -- a few say they are worse, a few say they are better.

    I am considering selling the CLX50s if I could replace them with something that would be better in crosswinds. Is there a consensus on a wheelset brand/model that offers some aero advantage with a minimum of crosswind instability? Or any kind of instability?

    I debated about whether to mention this, but a friend of mine is very similar physically (6', 170 pounds) and rides CLX50s on his Specialized Venge, consistently hits higher speeds than me by a few mph, and loves his bike/ride. I'm on a Parlee RZ7 wit either CLX50s or ENVE 5.6s and get nervous about crosswinds at 40mph. I frequently find myself feathering the brakes and when I glance down, it is almost always at 40mph or 41mph. So it may just be me.

    Bottom line: I don't want to spend a bunch of time/energy/money swapping wheels if it won't improve my ride enjoyment.

    I just copied my post into the copy-paste buffer just in case. Here goes my "Submit Reply" attempt!

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