To aero or not to aero

edhunter1999
edhunter1999 Posts: 5
edited October 2010 in Road beginners
Ok I decided to upgrade the shimano wheelset on my new specialized roubaix. After weeks of deliberation I went for the mavic cosmic carbone sls. I have to say I have been surprised at what seems like almost no difference in performance. Drat! I wanted a higher speed at the to end. Maybe I got an extra half mph and slightly slower excel due to a slight weight increase.
Heres the question.......How can I get a better increase in performance?
'm thinking about changing them for some Zipp 404 alu, some Reynolds Assault or Attack all carbon, Spinergy....? Or just some lightweight conventional wheels such as Mavic.
Has anyone got any advice and tips for me?
I don't race, I just want the exhileration of speed while training.
Or am I just wasting my time and money chasing a gain that just isn't there?
Would it be best to just stick with the stock wheels and the cosmics?
Any help greatly appreciated!

Comments

  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,624
    Cycle!

    bettiniphoto_0026544_1_full.jpg

    Getting out and training makes a HUUUGE difference, and the fitter you are, the bigger the flexibility you can be in terms of effort, speed, and distance.

    Ultimately, the bike makes up a very small percentage of the performance, as long as it is a proper road bike, which yours is.
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    Just keep putting the miles down and the improved performance will come.

    Then start worrying about shaving off 10th seconds with fancy wheels...
    Ben

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  • Pokerface
    Pokerface Posts: 7,960
    edited October 2010
    Fancy wheels don't make you go 20mph faster. But they can improve your speed by a mph or two. No guarantees.

    Usually they will help you hold those higher speeds for longer as they take less energy.

    And they may help you go faster downhill. :)


    Lighter wheels will help acceleration from slow speeds or maybe in climbing, but that's it.


    Deep section, full carbon wheels will give you the biggest all-round boost - but still won't turn you into a speed racer overnight and will cost you a LOT.


    Train, train and train some more.
  • You're largely wasting your cash. Aero wheelsets make a huge difference in racing where every second counts, but very little difference otherwise. The only way to get a major increase in speed is to substantially reduce your frontal area, substantially increase your power or both.

    A TT bike will feel significantly faster, a lowracer recumbent will feel faster still, but your best bet if you want to feel the thrill of speed is to get seriously fit and join a fast chain gang.
  • batch78
    batch78 Posts: 1,320
    I have the same wheels, I noticed a 1mph average gain on my training loop for the same perceived effort.

    I did however notice a 4mph gain from 49mph to 53mph descending Duncton Hill :twisted:

    If you work on your top end speed training wise you will notice its easier to maintain with the more aero wheels.

    And they look, and sound, much better in my opinion. Thats gotta shave seconds off. :wink:
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The benefits of aero wheels don't really kick-in until about 35-40kph, otherwise you're just dragging additional weight. There's no easy way, you have to get stronger and fitter to ride faster and the best way is to ride with better cyclists.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • trailstar
    trailstar Posts: 114
    i think this is proof that the average cyclist can get sucked into hype (me too by the way).

    aero wheels look amazing, sound superb and have a really good feeling when riding on them.. but i truely don't believe they offer that much of an advantage for non-racing riders.

    When your average rider is told aero wheels can make them faster, they will jump at them because its just another small persuasion to edge them from "hmm maybe i shouldnt splash this cash to go aero, but they look so good.... hmm" to "well they make me faster, and the looks are a benefit".

    i'm not saying this is anyone in here, but it does happen.. a lot. I'm in the process of working out what wheels for the sub £750 mark.. and the aero question has come up a lot. I don't think i need them, but they look badass.

    :-(
  • I bought my FP3 with Dura-ace deep sectioned wheels, they make the bike look great, really balanced.

    However, if you ride in windy conditions they can quite scary. I rode in Cornwall in the summer (joke) it was a real effort to keep the bike in a straight line with the stiff breeze that was present a lot of the time.

    I converted my Mavic's to Shimano fit for the winter to keep the Dura-ace's and tyres in good shape for the Summer months. I have to say that the difference is marginal for clubs rides, if anything the ride is a little smoother on the Mavics.

    In the spring I'll try to do some proper testing to see if there is more of a difference, but for now the Mavics will do, what with the potholes that are unlikely to get better any time soon! Just my take.
  • Pokerface
    Pokerface Posts: 7,960
    Over a 50 mile ride, a 1 MPH increase in speed equals 12 minutes. So, if you consider that just shaving a few seconds off.....

    They may not make you FEEL like you're going faster, but can save quite a bit of time over the long haul.
  • trailstar
    trailstar Posts: 114
    Pokerface wrote:
    Over a 50 mile ride, a 1 MPH increase in speed equals 12 minutes. So, if you consider that just shaving a few seconds off.....

    They may not make you FEEL like you're going faster, but can save quite a bit of time over the long haul.

    depends if its 50miles with 10,000ft of climbing.. or 50miles riding along the flats! :P
  • Pokerface
    Pokerface Posts: 7,960
    trailstar wrote:
    Pokerface wrote:
    Over a 50 mile ride, a 1 MPH increase in speed equals 12 minutes. So, if you consider that just shaving a few seconds off.....

    They may not make you FEEL like you're going faster, but can save quite a bit of time over the long haul.

    depends if its 50miles with 10,000ft of climbing.. or 50miles riding along the flats! :P


    Sorry - I should have clarified. I was working with a relatively easy 15 MPH average speed.

    If you were doing a lot of climbing and going slower, a 1 MPH difference would actually save you more time!

    Point is - it doesn't just 'shave a few seconds off' and aero wheels aren't 'just for racers'. You just need to have realistic expectations.
  • sub55
    sub55 Posts: 1,025
    Pokerface wrote:
    Over a 50 mile ride, a 1 MPH increase in speed equals 12 minutes. So, if you consider that just shaving a few seconds off.....

    They may not make you FEEL like you're going faster, but can save quite a bit of time over the long haul.

    :!: is it :?:
    constantly reavalueating the situation and altering the perceived parameters accordingly
  • trailstar
    trailstar Posts: 114
    its well known that aero wheels take more effort to get upto speed. Therefore if your going slower and climbing with them it will take MORE effort for climbing.

    aero rims are good for hammering along in a group where you can be sheltered from the wind if you need to be. Huge benefits there, also if the ride means you'll be doing a higher average speed.. great benefits again.

    However if you do a lot of solo riding or groups of 2/3.. i just don't see the benefit of aero wheels. You'll end up splashing a lot of cash on them, when a good set of low profile rims will do the same job.

    I'm not arguing that they don't have their place in cycling, they definately do. I'm just saying that aero is not the be all and end all of rims that a lot of people are making them out to be.
  • twotyred
    twotyred Posts: 822
    Or am I just wasting my time and money chasing a gain that just isn't there?

    Probably

    Wheel drag uses about 8% of the power available to propel the bike forward so if you were able to totally eliminate aerodynamic drag on your wheels you would effectively be 8% more powerful. Would being 8% more powerful give you the feeling of exilerating speed you are after? Probably not and in reality your new wheels will be delivering much less aero benefit than that and a more aero wheel only a little bit more.

    If you want to go faster spend the money on a power meter and a coach. At the end of the day you can't buy speed you can only earn it.
  • Pokerface
    Pokerface Posts: 7,960
    sub55 wrote:
    Pokerface wrote:
    Over a 50 mile ride, a 1 MPH increase in speed equals 12 minutes. So, if you consider that just shaving a few seconds off.....

    They may not make you FEEL like you're going faster, but can save quite a bit of time over the long haul.

    :!: is it :?:


    Is it what?
  • Pokerface
    Pokerface Posts: 7,960
    trailstar wrote:
    its well known that aero wheels take more effort to get upto speed. Therefore if your going slower and climbing with them it will take MORE effort for climbing.


    That's odd. My aero wheels spin up much faster than my non aero ones.
  • softlad
    softlad Posts: 3,513
    Pokerface wrote:
    trailstar wrote:
    its well known that aero wheels take more effort to get upto speed. Therefore if your going slower and climbing with them it will take MORE effort for climbing.


    That's odd. My aero wheels spin up much faster than my non aero ones.

    rotating weight will define acceleration - not how 'aero' the wheel is.....
  • trailstar
    trailstar Posts: 114
    softlad wrote:
    Pokerface wrote:
    trailstar wrote:
    its well known that aero wheels take more effort to get upto speed. Therefore if your going slower and climbing with them it will take MORE effort for climbing.


    That's odd. My aero wheels spin up much faster than my non aero ones.

    rotating weight will define acceleration - not how 'aero' the wheel is.....

    this is true. Apologies for confusion. comparing a set of 1750g 50mm Dura Ace Wheels to a set of say.. 1000g 20mm carbon clinchers from wheelsmith is stupid.

    quick question, what is the lighest set of deeper rimmed wheels? Lightweights Obermayers?

    i'd love to have a go on something like those. Bit scary on the low spoke count.. but if the Christian Knees (6ft 5 and muscular) from Milram can ride a TDF on them im sure they are beasts.
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    trailstar wrote:
    aero rims are good for hammering along in a group where you can be sheltered from the wind if you need to be. Huge benefits there, also if the ride means you'll be doing a higher average speed.. great benefits again.

    However if you do a lot of solo riding or groups of 2/3.. i just don't see the benefit of aero wheels. You'll end up splashing a lot of cash on them, when a good set of low profile rims will do the same job.

    Not so sure this is quite right. Surely if you ride in small numbers or solo as in TT'ing you want to be as aero as possible so the wheels make sense then. Group riding would mean that any aero benefits would only be worth it when you are on the front.

    I managed to knock off 25 seconds on my 10TT time first time out with my 50mm carbon tubs. As I had saved nearly 500grms over my previous wheels I could certainly feel the benefit whilst climbing.
  • Pokerface
    Pokerface Posts: 7,960
    markos1963 wrote:
    trailstar wrote:
    aero rims are good for hammering along in a group where you can be sheltered from the wind if you need to be. Huge benefits there, also if the ride means you'll be doing a higher average speed.. great benefits again.

    However if you do a lot of solo riding or groups of 2/3.. i just don't see the benefit of aero wheels. You'll end up splashing a lot of cash on them, when a good set of low profile rims will do the same job.

    Not so sure this is quite right. Surely if you ride in small numbers or solo as in TT'ing you want to be as aero as possible so the wheels make sense then. Group riding would mean that any aero benefits would only be worth it when you are on the front.

    Agreed - you get MORE benefit from aero wheels on your own! In a group you can 'sit in' and do less work to get dragged along.
  • inseine
    inseine Posts: 5,788
    You got to pick your way carefully through these replies to get any sense.
    Firtsly, aero 'works' at any speed, it's just a question of how much, and usually balancing weight against aero. if the wheels are no heavier then you can't loose!
    Aero wins against weight at surprisingly slow sppeds and steep hills, but of course there is a compromise.
    Despite this I think the benifits though real and pretty small compared to all the other ways to go faster (ride on the drops?) and the 12mins over 50 hills seems extreemly optimistic.