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Weight Difference for Wheels v Speed

blimzwblimzw Posts: 17
edited November 2015 in Road general
Just a quick question! Im considering a new set of wheels - it is known that wheelset upgrades are the most impacting on ride quality and speed. This new wheelset is approx 350g lighter than my old one; same rim height and assuming same stiffness, and same hubs (both DT Swiss) - what will the impact on speed be? (I am a newbie and probably am making a ton of assumptions but just curious in the science / reasoning to help me make my first wheelset upgrade)

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  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,990
    Maybe a couple of seconds up a climb depending on its length.
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    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,720
    Just a quick question! Im considering a new set of wheels - it is known that wheelset upgrades are the most impacting on ride quality and speed. This new wheelset is approx 350g lighter than my old one; same rim height and assuming same stiffness, and same hubs (both DT Swiss) - what will the impact on speed be? (I am a newbie and probably am making a ton of assumptions but just curious in the science / reasoning to help me make my first wheelset upgrade)

    You may be disappointed with just how little difference something like this will make to your overall speed.
  • Light wheels tend to make a bike feel more lively but as Nap D and Imposter say don't make much difference to your speed. If you get some 50-60mm aero wheels they will make you a little faster but it's still just a few seconds here and there - maybe adding up to a minute/minute and a half on a 50-60 mile ride or something like that depending on the variables. Light and aero is obviously best but you'll have to have very deep pockets or go for some decent tubs to get that and that's a whole different thread - in fact several different threads as a search will reveal. Nothing you can buy for your bike makes a big difference unfortunately, and no doubt someone (probably a coach) will be along soon to tell you if you want to go faster to spend your money on a coach instead :wink:
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,276
    You should aim for wheels that increase your riding enjoyment and 350 g off the rim and spokes might help with that.They should accelerate a bit easier and might encourage you to ride harder so could well make you quicker because of that.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 19,058
    Maintaining an ideal aero position makes the biggest difference.
    And it is free! :P
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Your position and clothing choices make the biggest differences followed by shaving your legs and arms where you wear short and short sleeves. Wheels do make a difference if they are aero. Depth is not the only thing that makes a wheel aerodynamic. Width helps too in fact a 30 mm deep alloy clincher will be nearly alway the way there is the aero game.

    Saving a few hundred grams on wheels make the bike feel different in a good way but does jack all for your pace when riding.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Reading the replies here makes me wonder why so many people and cycling magazine reviews recommends that so many bikes, even relatively expensive ones, are good but they recommend upgrading wheels as soon as you can afford it.
  • Reading the replies here makes me wonder why so many people and cycling magazine reviews recommends that so many bikes, even relatively expensive ones, are good but they recommend upgrading wheels as soon as you can afford it.
    Well, they have to say something don't they?

    A lot of complete bikes are based on frames which are of a higher standard than the components. All groupsets work. A seatpost is well, a seatpost. So what's left? If you want to change something, undoubtedly wheels make the most difference, because they do make some difference and pretty much nothing else does.

    But if you really want value for money, get better tyres.
  • mfinmfin Posts: 6,726
    Reading the replies here makes me wonder why so many people and cycling magazine reviews recommends that so many bikes, even relatively expensive ones, are good but they recommend upgrading wheels as soon as you can afford it.

    Entry level wheels are generally heavy though, that's why. I don't think you'll find anyone who's gone from a £100 set to a £300-£500 set and not thought it was worth it. If your measure is speed alone, then maybe it would make it not worth it, but moving to a lighter more lively wheel can transform how a bike feels to ride for what is not a mad amount of money.

    If you start to spend low amounts of money on aero wheels then you might see that aero benefit, don't expect to see it in whole mph's though cos it won't. Plus, wheels like this might look nice if you're into that kind of thing, but you won't get the spritely feeling unless you can pay enough to get light AND aero.

    That's a basic outline of it.
  • It's not just the weight though is it, stiffness makes a big difference in how responsive a wheel is, and whether it moves under heavy load like climbing and fouls the brakes.
  • most durable, easiest to maintain or prettiest, the only three things to consider.
  • I'd have thought that properly maintaining the big (in my case) lump of flesh on top makes the most difference.

    *goes on another fad diet*
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • Don't forget letting a bit of air out of your tyres makes a huge difference to comfort ...... if not maybe speed.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    most durable, easiest to maintain or prettiest, the only three things to consider.

    Not quite that simple. Durable and maintainability isn't necessarily necessary for best bike wheels and, of course, the very, very important thing that the reviews never, ever consider is rider weight and power.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,990
    Good quality light wheels are nice to ride. That's about the main difference really. I have aero wheels (Tri spoke front, disc rear) on my TT bike as IMO the small gains are worth it.
    Insta: ATEnduranceCoaching
    ABCC Cycling Coach
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