What difference will I feel
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  1. #1
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    What difference will I feel

    I have a 2012 specialized allez with stock wheels and tires, Alex s480 32h and I can imagine they are pretty heavy. I'm going to upgrade my wheels and tires and I'm just curious as to what difference will I feel from this. I ride 4-5 days a week consistently and have been for about a year now, I've even done a few races last year. But I honestly have no experience with any other wheels or bikes. I'm pretty light at 136lbs and ride and race on mostly flat/ hilly roads, not too climbs around my way.

  2. #2
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    This is entirely dependent on what wheel you want to upgrade to. Some wheels will feel no different, while others will have substantially better ride quality.

    Don't expect any new wheels to make you a whole lot faster though.

  3. #3
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    When I got new, lighter wheels, I was shocked at how fast they would spin back up to speed..

  4. #4
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    I think you might feel quite a difference depending on what you do.

    I went from decent quality wheels that weighed 2,000 grams for the pair (older, "original" Mavic Aksium, they're lighter now) to fairly decent, but not super expensive ~1600 gram wheels (Reynolds Alta Race - now known as Solitude).

    I also upgraded to good tires and tubes and lost another 400 grams total (seriously, weighed all of this). So I lost a good 800 grams, over 1 3/4 pounds in the wheels/tires alone. Remember 1/2 of this weight was in the tires and tubes, the very cheapest way you can shed a lot of wheel weight and total bike weight. Plus you will probably get a better ride.

    I will have to tell you that IF I'm faster because of that, it was marginal, it wasn't night and day. It didn't cause me to be faster than guys I ride with who have always been faster. But they definitely felt "quicker" - they just seemed to pop up to speed a little better when I accelerated. This was a feeling, definitely subjective, but it was a fun feeling! I also thought I could keep up a bit better with guys I'd been riding with, but that could easily have been because I rode quite a bit more because I thought it was more fun with the new wheels and tires!

    So, within what you can afford, I think it can be fun to upgrade wheels AND tires AND tubes. Also, think about the design of the wheels. My Aksiums have blades spokes, but fairly shallow rims (around 23mm) The Reynolds have round spokes and deeper (30mm) rims. The Aksiums really buffeted in a cross wind, and felt squirrlier at high speed down hill (like >30 mph). The Reynolds, in spite of the deeper rims, feel much less buffeting in cross winds and feel much more solid and stable going fast downhill.

    Summary: it can be a lot of fun having better, lighter wheels and tires. Go for it!

  5. #5
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    If you want to make a big difference, go tubeless. Much better ride quality and you can arguably save some weight with the right set up.

  6. #6
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    You should give us a budget so we can make a better comparison.The difference between the wheels you have and a $3000 wheel set would be massive. Some manufacturers claim almost 60 seconds faster over 40km with their 60mm wheels compared to a normal box section rim. Personally I can fell a substantial between my stinger 6's and ksyrium equipes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warpdatframe View Post
    You should give us a budget so we can make a better comparison.The difference between the wheels you have and a $3000 wheel set would be massive. Some manufacturers claim almost 60 seconds faster over 40km with their 60mm wheels compared to a normal box section rim. Personally I can fell a substantial between my stinger 6's and ksyrium equipes.
    Well i don't exactly have a budget to stay within. I don't want to spend thousands because its only a $700 bike new. I mostly do solo rides with the occasional group ride and plan on doing a handfull of races like i did last year, maybe 5-10.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith View Post
    I have a 2012 specialized allez with stock wheels and tires, Alex s480 32h and I can imagine they are pretty heavy. I'm going to upgrade my wheels and tires and I'm just curious as to what difference will I feel from this. I ride 4-5 days a week consistently and have been for about a year now, I've even done a few races last year. But I honestly have no experience with any other wheels or bikes. I'm pretty light at 136lbs and ride and race on mostly flat/ hilly roads, not too climbs around my way.
    Some numbers: on the flats saving weight is virtually meaningless. When climbing a 6% grade shaving off 450 gm will increase your speed enough to save 35 seconds per hour of climbing. On the flats, the fastest aero wheels on the planet will give you 0.3 mph at 20 mph (0.5 km/hr at 32 km/hr). That's significant if you're racng time trials for prizes but 4.5 minutes over 100 miles kind of gets lost in the noise.

    Spending several $100 on upgrades to a $700 bike is not a real good return on investment. You might be better to save your money for a new bike. You definitely would notice the difference with a $1500 bike.

  9. #9
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    My Scott Foil 15 came stock with Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels which are decent slightly aero wheels that cost about $500 per set by themselves. Their claimed weight is 1770g. I upgraded to the ROL Race SL's which were 10% off until the end of 2012, so I paid $562.50 (normally $625). At 1520g per set they are considerably light for aluminum aero clinchers. Now, the weight difference between the two converts to only 8.82oz, but that's enough to lower the rotational inertia substantially. For the money these wheels are very fast both on flats and climbs, and the reviews of the long-term owners say that they stay true.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    Now, the weight difference between the two converts to only 8.82oz, but that's enough to lower the rotational inertia substantially.
    That amount of weight savings would be good for about 20 seconds per hour climbing a 6% grade and essentially nothing on the flats. Rotational inertia is only meaningful when changing speed - it has zero influence at steady speed. Lighter wheels accelerate faster and they slow down faster when you coast. They may feel different, and that feeling may imply "better" but the performance impact is very small.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    That amount of weight savings would be good for about 20 seconds per hour climbing a 6% grade and essentially nothing on the flats. Rotational inertia is only meaningful when changing speed - it has zero influence at steady speed. Lighter wheels accelerate faster and they slow down faster when you coast. They may feel different, and that feeling may imply "better" but the performance impact is very small.
    Yep for sure. Lighter wheels do feel more sprightly and they probably do spin up faster but that means almost nothing on a ride of any duration. When we're cruisin' the weight loss means no more than weigh loss on the whole bike or body. Here's an illustration that hopefully will get some people thinking.

    My small full waterbottle weighs 648g. If we went from 2000 gram wheels down to 1352 gram ones we'd be giddy with excitement with the thoughts of how much faster we were gonna be and whose arse we were gonna kick. But if we did two flat-out 30 mile rides - one with that waterbottle and one without I'll bet we wouldn't think twice about any performance difference - and we wouldn't notice one either.
    .

  12. #12
    T K
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    Yep for sure. Lighter wheels do feel more sprightly and they probably do spin up faster but that means almost nothing on a ride of any duration. When we're cruisin' the weight loss means no more than weigh loss on the whole bike or body. Here's an illustration that hopefully will get some people thinking.

    My small full waterbottle weighs 648g. If we went from 2000 gram wheels down to 1352 gram ones we'd be giddy with excitement with the thoughts of how much faster we were gonna be and whose arse we were gonna kick. But if we did two flat-out 30 mile rides - one with that waterbottle and one without I'll bet we wouldn't think twice about any performance difference - and we wouldn't notice one either.
    So I think you are saying, to be the fastest, use the lightest wheels and drink your bottle of water before the ride.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by T K View Post
    So I think you are saying, to be the fastest, use the lightest wheels and drink your bottle of water before the ride.
    Noooooo. Drink the water first and you'll have to stop for a pee and all your riding buddies (if they're smart) will vanish down the road.
    .

  14. #14
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    esadtydfi
    Last edited by mellowman; 01-29-2015 at 03:18 PM.

  15. #15
    T K
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    Hmmm. This has got me thinking. Are my legs considered rotational weight? If they were skinnier would I be faster?

  16. #16
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    What difference will I feel

    Reducing the weight of a 1600 gr wheelset to 1400 gr results to a 11.7% savings which may be significant if it is looked at by itself. However, since wheels need a bike and a rider in order to roll, this 200gr reduction results to a not so significant 0.2% savings when compared to a total weight of 100kg.
    IMO, the amateur racer, wknd warrior and cycling enthusiast that are into increased performance will benefit much more if the power generated by their legs is transferred to the wheels and then to the ground as efficiently as possible.
    With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important.

  17. #17
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    What I found on better wheels was also the better hubs. Comparing most stock wheels to decent aero ones, what I noticed was that I spun less. In a group ride, I would just free wheel without having to put any effort. Save my energy for later..

  18. #18
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    My 2 cents..

    Better wheels for future upgrades and durability may be the most practical. A good set of Ultegra hubs with Mavic Open 4 rims with less spokes will be as reliable as a hammer, lighter and can be used on any Shimano bike in the future.

    Pair those up with good tires and tubes and your set, once you get your top line carbon bike these will be your training wheels...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by T K View Post
    Hmmm. This has got me thinking. Are my legs considered rotational weight? If they were skinnier would I be faster?
    I've sometimes wondered about this - it seems like there's a correlation between people with big legs and lower cadences, and people with lighter legs and higher cadences. But I haven't studied it in any real way.

    OP - I notice a quicker handling feel with lighter wheels and tires, but my segment times don't. I do have a soft spot for fancy tires, however. They feel smoother, and I could swear that I get better reliability from something like the Grand Prix 4000 than various random cheap tires that also claim flat protection.

    For me, most "upgrades" that replace a functioning component are a waste of money. While swapping out wheels has a little more effect than some other swaps, it's still not much. I realize this is your second thread on this topic and I wrote a longish post in the first, so I'll avoid repeating it.

  20. #20
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    Hi,

    on the topic of american classic 420 3's i've been offered these with tubes and tyres for 600 GBP or a set of Mavic K10's with tyre/tubes for 600 GBP...your thoughts and prefences please my knowledge is poor and looking to upgrade my basic wheel set, thanks.

    I'm looking for general training, TT, Tri's and over various roads.....

  21. #21
    cmg
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    an experiement to try and see if you notice the effect of rotational weight would be to insert an extra tube (split down the middle , valve removed) or a an additional tire with the beads removed inside the existing tire/tube setup. this would add an additional 70grams for the tube or 200 grams for the tire per wheel. Do that and see what it feels like.

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