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carbon or alloy wheels in the mountains

campagonecampagone Posts: 270
edited August 2016 in Road general
Hi all, I'm going to the Dolomites in August for a week in the mountains, I'll be taking my own bike with me. I'd like some advice please, would I be unwise taking my 'new this year' carbon tubs (Vittoria Qurano 46) with me, or would I be better taking my old faithfull alloy Mavic Ksyrium's which I've used numerous times before in the Alps? I think tour operators generally advise to 'leave your nice carbon wheels at home'. Climbing with the carbon wheels doesn't concern me, they climb just as well as the Mavics, it's the going down that worries me particularly if its wet. I've just fitted some SwissStop Black Prince brake pads but Ive only used them once in the dry so I don't know what they're like in the wet but I expect they'll be fine, I believe the pros use them.

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Personally I'd go with the tried and trusted ksyriums
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,740
    A friend did the Raid Pyrenees a couple of years ago on carbon rims. Expensive, no expense spared.
    His reports of descending in the rain put me off carbon wheels for life.
    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.
  • mugensimugensi Posts: 558
    Stick with the Mavics!
  • joe2008joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    campagone wrote:
    Hi all, I'm going to the Dolomites in August for a week in the mountains, I'll be taking my own bike with me. I'd like some advice please, would I be unwise taking my 'new this year' carbon tubs (Vittoria Qurano 46) with me, or would I be better taking my old faithfull alloy Mavic Ksyrium's which I've used numerous times before in the Alps? I think tour operators generally advise to 'leave your nice carbon wheels at home'. Climbing with the carbon wheels doesn't concern me, they climb just as well as the Mavics, it's the going down that worries me particularly if its wet. I've just fitted some SwissStop Black Prince brake pads but Ive only used them once in the dry so I don't know what they're like in the wet but I expect they'll be fine, I believe the pros use them.

    I have family in Colorado where the descents are very, very long; Mount Evans is 28 miles long. I would only ride tubulars in the mountains, the sight of a clincher blowing out and the tyre and rim parting company on a high speed descent is frightening.

    However of course, it does depend on how your rims perform in the wet. I find my FarSport 38mm rims with Duraheat-R braking surface, brake as well as alloys, wet or dry, using Wiggle Lifeline carbon brake pads.

    And, how many pros switch to alloy clinchers in the mountains?
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    campagone wrote:
    Hi all, I'm going to the Dolomites in August for a week in the mountains, I'll be taking my own bike with me. I'd like some advice please, would I be unwise taking my 'new this year' carbon tubs (Vittoria Qurano 46) with me, or would I be better taking my old faithfull alloy Mavic Ksyrium's which I've used numerous times before in the Alps? I think tour operators generally advise to 'leave your nice carbon wheels at home'. Climbing with the carbon wheels doesn't concern me, they climb just as well as the Mavics, it's the going down that worries me particularly if its wet. I've just fitted some SwissStop Black Prince brake pads but Ive only used them once in the dry so I don't know what they're like in the wet but I expect they'll be fine, I believe the pros use them.

    I ve got the Vitt Qurano 46 and with std pads in the wet, there is a slight delay in braking and then they provided power and modulation that was more like a disc, they were amazing and very predictable, far better than an alloy rim in the wet.

    Tour op's dont like folk using carbon clinchers, You ve got tub's so you dont need to worry about heat build up wrecking the rim or blowing up the tire, and if you puncture you ve also got the added security of knowing the tire wont come off.

    I m off to a semi mountainous region of France next week, 2nd part of hol will be in the Pyrenees and i ll be taking the Qurano's, no way will i bother with my alloy fulcrums.

    dolomites are a drier region too :)
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    campagone wrote:
    I think tour operators generally advise to 'leave your nice carbon wheels at home'.


    Soooo you could go with the people who run these trips or ask advice from strangers.

    I'm surprised you're even asking.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,440
    The operator's advice might not be down to descents... maybe they take you "off the beaten track" using roads which are ehm... less than perfect. If they advise to leave the best wheels at home, I would take their advice, or if in doubt, give them a ring and ask for details
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,930
    Get a disc bike...
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    Disc braked bikes are absolutely not needed in the mountains. There's the additional weight penalty for starters.

    Just stick with the old Ksyriums, they'll be fine.
  • simon_mastersonsimon_masterson Posts: 2,740
    joe2008 wrote:
    And, how many pros switch to alloy clinchers in the mountains?

    Basically not this. If you feel the need to drag the brakes on descents and you want to go to the alps, you may want to consider using alloy rims, and/or tubs. That doesn't make it a good idea, and you should improve your descending technique, but if you want to err on the side of caution, you may also want to consider using alloy rims, and/or tubs.
  • Disk breaks would be perfect if you are carrying too much weight, enter corners too fast and take the wrong line.

    For everyone else just ride what you normally ride, allowing for gusty & wet conditions.

    Generally I like tubs as when they puncture they don't always fully deflate.

    Get out there and show them who's boss
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • I would leave the carbon at home. Trying to stop a carbon rim at 70kmh+ on a mountain descent is a far different proposition than stopping one at 35kmh on a flat road. I have seen a number of riders try it and as soon as they hit the brakes for the first time they come to the same realisation and lose confidence which makes it even more dangerous.

    The Dolomites (and Italian climbs in general) are also much more technical, not many long sweeping stretches of road as in the French Alps/Pyrenees. They have shorter sections, lots of hairpins and acute angles. If you don't know a desecnt well then you will spend a lot of time braking and having a rim you are used to and trust is better.

    In short, better to play it safe IMO.
  • sancho_panzasancho_panza Posts: 183
    take what you're comfortable with - but be wary of the whole "dragging brakes on the alpine descent" warning. Regardless of how you descend sometimes there is simply no option other than to go down on the brakes. Such as being stuck behind a line of cars for example. With tubular specific rims there's no added risk that I'm aware of. And the guy from Colorado makes a good point about high speed clincher flats.

    And can you take both sets?

    Personally, I live and ride in and around the alps and do all my riding on Campag Boras.
  • kayakerchriskayakerchris Posts: 361
    Tubeless carbon rims with disc brakes. no worries
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    I'd take the tubs.

    Paul
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    50mm Carbon tubs in the Abruzzo and never had a problem, however there may be several reasons why the holiday man may may want you to take Ali rims: he may only carry clinchers and tubes, can't be bothered with people moaning about wet weather braking, routes may be a tad bumpy - any of thousands.

    I'd take carbons and a spare front Ali clincher and pads.

    Don't worry about braking as only cowards brake.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • campagonecampagone Posts: 270
    The operator's advice might not be down to descents... maybe they take you "off the beaten track" using roads which are ehm... less than perfect. If they advise to leave the best wheels at home, I would take their advice, or if in doubt, give them a ring and ask for details

    I dont think this is the case, its all point to point up and down the mountain passes on main roads, its the Italian Dolomites trip with Saddle Skedaddle, funnily enough they dont give advice on wheel selection but Marmot Tours which I used before do and Ive seen a few other companies say to go with alloy rims, I did say 'in general' that they advise this.
  • joe2008joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    campagone wrote:
    The operator's advice might not be down to descents... maybe they take you "off the beaten track" using roads which are ehm... less than perfect. If they advise to leave the best wheels at home, I would take their advice, or if in doubt, give them a ring and ask for details

    I dont think this is the case, its all point to point up and down the mountain passes on main roads, its the Italian Dolomites trip with Saddle Skedaddle, funnily enough they dont give advice on wheel selection but Marmot Tours which I used before do and Ive seen a few other companies say to go with alloy rims, I did say 'in general' that they advise this.

    It's the fear of carbon clinchers. No such worries with tubulars, far safer than clinchers on descents.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,440
    campagone wrote:
    The operator's advice might not be down to descents... maybe they take you "off the beaten track" using roads which are ehm... less than perfect. If they advise to leave the best wheels at home, I would take their advice, or if in doubt, give them a ring and ask for details

    I dont think this is the case, its all point to point up and down the mountain passes on main roads, its the Italian Dolomites trip with Saddle Skedaddle, funnily enough they dont give advice on wheel selection but Marmot Tours which I used before do and Ive seen a few other companies say to go with alloy rims, I did say 'in general' that they advise this.

    I did the Raid Pyrenean with Marmot, but that was before people used carbon wheels... at the time they advised to leave the best bike at home... might be an insurance issue... the more the insurance needs to pay, the higher the premium becomes for them... that and the fact that storage is not always 100% safe during these trips. I totally sympathise with their position, I'd advise the same.

    Imagine you have a group of 20 and they all come with a Venge... that's over 100 grand of bikes to store... it can get silly these days
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    Personally I take my alu into the mountains and leave the carbon wheels at home. Two reasons, firstly I'm still wary of the carbon clincher stories on long descents and heat build up. I think a normal descent is fine but you can't always control all the variables, I've had to come very slowly down the mortirolo before with heavy traffic, I was cooking my brakes and there wasn't much choice. You've got tubs though so I would be less worried about this. Secondly, the weather can be very changeable and unpredictable up high; if your carbon wheels perform as well as mine do in the wet then a steep, wet descent wouldn't be a great deal of fun.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Last time I was riding in the Alps I was wary of this heat build up thing and I'd squirt the rims with water as I rode.

    No idea if it makes a difference but it seemed to make sense at the time.
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