Forum home Road cycling forum Amateur race

Wheel Choice: Lightweight vs Aero

CakeLovinBeastCakeLovinBeast Posts: 312
edited April 2012 in Amateur race
I suspect that I know the answer, but I'd just like to confirm what I think I know...

I'm a relatively new 4th Cat. First season riding, comfortable in the bunch but not really competing for points at the minute. So far everything I've raced has been crits, though I do have my eye on some road racing soon. I'm also on the heavier side, at 6'1" and 90Kg. I'm not looking at new wheels/kit as a quick fix, but I'm looking at upgrades made in conjunction with training that will hopefully help in the long term. As I can't afford a spangly new carbon race bike, I'm looking to upgrade parts of my current bike (Cube Attempt) with a view to then buying a new frame later and having better components to transfer across.

With that in mind, my first prospective purchase is some new race/best wheels. Currently I've got Fulcrum 7's, which are perfectly fine, but aren't the lightest in the world. What are the prospective merits of lightweight versus aero wheels? Everything I've read seems to suggest that aero come into play more at higher speeds, but given that most of my racing is on relatively fast circuits, that might make most sense. There are wheels like the Planet X carbon 50's which fit the bill and budget (up to ~£450, maybe a little more), though they don't offer any real weight saving. Alternatively, I could go for something like a Shimano RS80 C24, or Ksyrium Elite, which will give me 300g+ of weight loss, but no aero benefits.

Any advice/pointers that could be provided would be appreciated.
Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
«1

Posts

  • If I had the cash, i'd be asking the same question. I think i'd end up with something like the American Classic Aero 420. A good middle ground, 34mm and less than 1600g for £500.

    They are very...distinctive though.

    Personally i quite like the look of them, even on this specialized.

    2413.jpg

    Tredz had a set of the white ones for £370 a little while back, gutted I didnt pick them up.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    For factory all rounders then Ksyrium Elites are pretty good imo.

    I've done a fair few thousand miles on my set, raced them, trained on them, this that and the other, they great. AND if you do crash then they're quite tough, whereas maybe if I crashed on my zipps they might crack etc.

    I do ride 404's for road races though, but I'm sure the difference wouldn't be massive if I used the mavics, when you're sat in a pack of people then aero wheels are probably not such a concern.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    I would go for something strong and stiff. You probably won't get good quality deep sections for your budget.
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    Planet X r50 are aero and weigh under 1300g...
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • napoleond wrote:
    Planet X r50 are aero and weigh under 1300g...
    The only thing with them is that:

    a). They're slightly over budget. And;
    b). I'm right on the edge of what they recommend as the max rider weight for them! I'm sure I'd probably cry if I broke them because I was too fat. At the minute I'm up and down between 88 - 92 kilos depending on how much willpower I have.

    I don't object too much to tryin to save a bit more: I'd seem some potential wheel sets around the £6-700 mark, but it just strikes me as a bit daft on a £1k bike. Sure, I'll be able to move them to whatever new bike I move onto down the line, but something just doesn't sit well with me. I'm a 4th cat, at the end of the day!

    Ben, I actually like those American Classics too... Both colour schemes would work with my frame, too. Thanks for adding something else into the mix!

    Ultimately, I should probably just MTFU and train harder, and stop looking for excuses... Thanks for all of the input so far.
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    Back to my boring commendation of Ksyrium Elites then!

    I've had wheels ranging from bottom to top end, the Ksyrium elites are the best wheel/£ out there IMO. Light enough, well made, stiff as fook (very important for the more robust rider) and look good!
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    They are decent, they are noticeably slower than zipps when you are solo at speed, but in races that is not going to happen too often I guess.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • okgo wrote:
    They are decent, they are noticeably slower than zipps when you are solo at speed, but in races that is not going to happen too often I guess.
    Not mine, anyway! :D
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,508
    I'm in a similar position myself and had settled on the the RS80s (C24) at Planet X which are light and semi-deep rimmed. They had some in stock earlier in the week but in the time it has taken for the cheque to clear that is giving me the funds to pay for them they sold out. Apparently more in stock next week but might not be as cheap :(

    For me, I'd rather go for light semi-deep rimmed wheels. I don't fancy road racing on deep rims and that will be the bulk of my racing, time trials will be limited to a couple of opens and my club events. If the RS80s are more expensive when they come back into stock then I'm thinking of getting some Pro-Lite Braccianos, they seem very light and the reviews I've read have been positive so I'd be interested in hearing from anyone with experience of them. I currently run a R500 on the front and Aksium Race on the rear with heavy training tyres and tubes so hoping the new wheels with Pro Race 3s and light tubes will take around 500g off the wheel weight.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Whilst you might not solo at speed very often in a road race the times when you do are probably the most important bits of the race - trying to bridge a gap, get a gap, sprint for the line. I'm asking myself the same question at the moment though - trouble is getting something light and properly aero and ideally with an aluminium brake track comes in at over a grand - losing any one of those three requirements brings the price down considerably.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • I've thought about buying nicer wheels for bunch racing several times. I always come back to the same conclusion. At 4th cat level - crashing is not out of the question - and could I afford/justify replacing them if something happened...?

    Plus - last time I helped run a RR (a 2/3/4) the guy who won it was on what looked like old school no-name 32 spoke alu rimmed wheels from 1985... And he was in a 2 up break for basically the whole race... Made me think twice, then again, about whether bling kit was necessary!!!!
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • ..Made me think twice, then again, about whether bling kit was necessary!!!!
    I keep coming back to this one as well... So, the options seem to be:

    1 - Light, stiff, non-aero: Ksyrium Elite or similar.
    2 - Light(er), not too-aero: American Classic, RS80 C24's, or similar.
    3 - Light, stiff, aero, but potentially breakable (at my weight): Planet X R50.
    4 - Light(er), stiff(er), aero, unknown quantity: eBay Chinese carbon wheels.
    5 - Very light, very stiff, aero, probably breakable, out of budget: Zipps, FFWD, Cosmic's, etc
    6 - Same weight, same stiffness, same aero: MTFU, train better and use the money on buying better food so you're not so fat.

    With the exception of option 5, which is unobtainable, any of those could produce benefits. They could equally produce nothing (though that is less likely for option 6, at least). The little voice in the back of my head is telling me to save my money again - do I really NEED any of these wheels? At a higher category, or if I was challenging for points, then there could be some (albeit not a lot) of justification. Realistically, anything I get is going to look nice and might have a psychological effect, but any performance benefits are likely going to be negligible.
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • glasgowbhoyglasgowbhoy Posts: 1,341
    Whilst you might not solo at speed very often in a road race the times when you do are probably the most important bits of the race - trying to bridge a gap, get a gap, sprint for the line. I'm asking myself the same question at the moment though - trouble is getting something light and properly aero and ideally with an aluminium brake track comes in at over a grand - losing any one of those three requirements brings the price down considerably.

    http://www.cruiseracingproducts.com/
  • furragfurrag Posts: 481
    I've thought about buying nicer wheels for bunch racing several times. I always come back to the same conclusion. At 4th cat level - crashing is not out of the question - and could I afford/justify replacing them if something happened...?

    Plus - last time I helped run a RR (a 2/3/4) the guy who won it was on what looked like old school no-name 32 spoke alu rimmed wheels from 1985... And he was in a 2 up break for basically the whole race... Made me think twice, then again, about whether bling kit was necessary!!!!
    This is essentialy it for me too. Got a FFWD F6R/Sram S60 for TT's, and also DT Swiss Mon Chasseral 1450g wheelset for slow hill climbs.

    For bunch racing, I race on a 2kg wheelset (RR450 powertap and Fulcrum R5). Last 3 results at Hillingdon for me is 1st, 4th and 2nd from breaks as I'm not much of a sprinter. Would I have had an aero advantage when finishing 4th/2nd? Yes. Would it have made a difference to the results? Nope. Do the bunch chase down quicker a bike all blinged out? In my experience, certainly. That results in more time riding in the bunch, less chance of success, and an increased chance of some knob denting my wallet for hundreds of pounds and leaving me with a nightmare of a journey home.

    To answer the OP's question. Aero everytime, unless windy.
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    In reality the aero or weight benefits are minimal. Decent wheels will feel a lot nicer though and that's worth a lot. You don't NEED them but I don't think you will regret buying better wheels.

    Definitely avoid anything with a weight limit. At your weight and price range carbon is out IMO. I imagine you could get some very nice handbuilts for £450.
  • One of the features of wheels that usually gets overlooked is how well do they roll? I run a pair of Campagnolo Neutron Ultras with some Continental grand prixs(chose as I wanted the 24mm widths) on my Boardman Team and I noticed a big difference.

    They are super smooth, super stiff where it counts, have great compliance vertically so that they feel comfortable, appear to be very strong (perfectly true even after a few unavoidable potholes) and come in at a very respectable weight.

    The option below them is the Campag Neturons, which fall within your budget. These are very similar in weight and build quality but don't have a carbon fiber hub. I have read in a lot of places that these are said to be some of the best bang for buck wheels out there and it was only a great offer that made me go up to the ultras. Another option is the Campag Zondas(around £350 currently) with 24mm front and 30mm rear rim depths and are around 1550grams. You can get 2-way fit for tubeless if you want to as well.

    BTW, I changed from the Mavic Askiums that came with the stock boardman and run 105 on it currently.
  • I think you meant to say...
    6 - Same weight, same stiffness, same aero: MTFU, train better and flick the Vs at everyone with bling kit when it pays off and you beat them on your 'censored ' wheels.

    It's that dream that basically keeps me from spending my money :-D
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    I do have to say, my Zipps were noticeably easier at 25mphish. But all my top 10 finishes came on my 'free' Alex Rim front that came with my TT bike and a 32h Open pro powertap rear...
    I didn't want to risk smashing up my Zipps in a chipper race. After that decision I sold them...
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • ozzzyosborn206ozzzyosborn206 Posts: 1,340
    I wouldn't bother getting anything deep dish for less than a grand, i mainly use my ksyrium ES's for racing i also have a set of easton ec 90s and a rear zipp 404 but that fact that tubs cost so much puts me off using them in every race. If i were you i would go for Ksyrium SLs they cost a bit more than elites but are that extra bit cooler without being stupidly expensive, also they will last for years much longer than i imagine planet x wheels lasting
  • jimmurrayjimmurray Posts: 128
    James,

    Dont spend your money yet. Ive got rs80, kysrium sl, cosmic carbone and ffwd f6r's wheels you can try. I'm in Kingsteignton tonight or at club tomorrow morning and can give you any set of them apart from the ffwd as im using them tomorrow.

    Jim
  • jimmurrayjimmurray Posts: 128
    Ive aLso got the American Classics but they are on my track bike but there is a velodrome trip being organised in June so you could try them there.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,508
    Pressed the button on some Pro-Lite Braccianos in the end. All the reviews I read were positive, very light for the price (£315 and a claimed weight less than 1500g).
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    As a 4th or 3rd cat you'll ride more crits than anything. Light wheels, not aero are what you need for these as you're accelerating out of bends all the time.

    I wouldn't worry about a blingy carbon bike either, handling is the most important thing, and you WILL crash at some point.

    If you go to Belgium you'll see many amateurs riding alloy, even steel, bikes, and ordinary spoked wheels - and the racing is much, much faster than the UK!
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,715
    You can have lightweight and aero for racing.

    Look at the planet X carbon R50 rims (or complete wheels). I think they're a damn good deal for the price and absolute feathers
  • You can have lightweight and aero for racing.

    Look at the planet X carbon R50 rims (or complete wheels). I think they're a damn good deal for the price and absolute feathers
    Thanks Ugo, always appreciate your input... NapD mentioned them on the first page there, but I need to (permanently) shed another couple of kilos still: Max recommended rider weight is 90Kg and at the minute I'm fluctuating between 88 and 92. Whilst I'm sure I'd probably be fine, I don't want my gut to be the cause of me breaking a set of £500 wheels!

    EDIT: I didn't notice that they did the rims by themselves... Given that you know more about handbuilts than me, do you think it would be possible to buy the rims and get them built up to be slightly stronger, for a sturdier rider?
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    At your weight I'd go shallow rims, stiff as possible and then look at light.

    Although I love the feel of my RS80's (and have been impressed by how trouble free they have been) I wouldn't race them in crits even at 70kg, the low spoke count makes for a lot of brake rub for me if I push them.

    The kysrium elites would probably be better in that way. Handbuilts I'd consider something like an IRD Aero30 rim built up 28/32 to whatever the toughest hub you can afford is. At that spoke count you'll have a wheel that should be reasonably light, reasonably aero and tough as boots.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,715
    You can have lightweight and aero for racing.

    Look at the planet X carbon R50 rims (or complete wheels). I think they're a damn good deal for the price and absolute feathers
    Thanks Ugo, always appreciate your input... NapD mentioned them on the first page there, but I need to (permanently) shed another couple of kilos still: Max recommended rider weight is 90Kg and at the minute I'm fluctuating between 88 and 92. Whilst I'm sure I'd probably be fine, I don't want my gut to be the cause of me breaking a set of £500 wheels!

    EDIT: I didn't notice that they did the rims by themselves... Given that you know more about handbuilts than me, do you think it would be possible to buy the rims and get them built up to be slightly stronger, for a sturdier rider?

    I think they're as strong as they can be built. If they did a version with 28 spokes at the rear it would be better for you, but they only come in 20 and 24. They use mini-bladed spokes, Sapim or Pillar, they're pretty sturdy spokes. If you only race crits on decent roads and use them for TT, they might be OK.
    I looked into building them up, but with bladed spokes I can't make them cheaper than they do, so no point.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,715
    At your weight I'd go shallow rims, stiff as possible and then look at light.

    Although I love the feel of my RS80's (and have been impressed by how trouble free they have been) I wouldn't race them in crits even at 70kg, the low spoke count makes for a lot of brake rub for me if I push them.

    The kysrium elites would probably be better in that way. Handbuilts I'd consider something like an IRD Aero30 rim built up 28/32 to whatever the toughest hub you can afford is. At that spoke count you'll have a wheel that should be reasonably light, reasonably aero and tough as boots.

    Yes, but those you mention are wheels for every day use... if one wants a racing only wheelset, tubolars are a must.
    Some light carbon rims can be built into wheelsets at just over 1 Kg... and cheaper than the Ksyrium Elites... :D
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,508
    My Pro-Lite Braccianos arrived yesterday. At first glance they certainly look the part, I haven't weighed them but claimed weight is under 1500g, they have a reasonably aero profile although obviously not properly aero and have bladed spokes (they are also, apparently, hand built). When I looked at them they seemed to have a high spoke count although they are apparently only 20 front and 24 rear and they look robust (time will tell, although I'm much lighter than I was I'm still around 80kg).
  • JAngleseaJAnglesea Posts: 28
    Not heard of those wheels before but they sound good from reviews. Slightly higher spoke count too which is a good thing for stiffness (and reliability) I guess? Bit late to this thread and I'm sure others have said it but I find that as a bigger rider (~90kg) I found the stiffness of the wheel the most important thing. It's no good having an aero wheel if you're rubbing the brake blocks every time you kick out of a corner. I do have a pair of the 50mm Planet X Carbon 50s but had this problem with them. I'd use them in a TT I guess.
    I normally ride a pair of Dura Ace aluminium clinchers for road racing. The hub bearing surfaces are like mirrors, superbly made. Tempted by some Cosmic Carbones though. Personally I wouldn't go for carbon clinchers as they often have a weight limit that I'm close to if not over.
Sign In or Register to comment.