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Upgrading wheel advice

aw255aw255 Posts: 20
edited February 2018 in Road buying advice
I currently have a set of Campagnolo Zondas on a Trek bike.
I've had a couple of years off cycling due to back and knee surgery. I ride for pleasure, but I am doing the Iron man Uk later this year and wonder if a wheel upgrade would make a difference and make my life easier.
I don't have an open wallet and can't buy 'the best' out there. I am wondering about Mavics cosmic carbon pro(with the metal rim). Would I notice a difference or do I only start to see the difference if I spend more money?
Cheers

Posts

  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    wrong question. If you want to go faster you have to either put out more power or lower the drag.

    Wheels can help there but the gain from zonda's to something aero are not huge , real though. You can get similar gain from good clothing and a bigger gains from a more aero position. Given you have not ridden for 2 years the biggest gain will come from riding again.

    An iron man has too many variables for a set of wheels to make a big difference, lets say you can shave a minute or two off your ride time is that going to make a difference if so go for it but if not then why bother.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • aw255aw255 Posts: 20
    Thank you for your response. That is what I was wondering, but you read so many wheel reviews and can't try them, I'm never sure how much is hype,/manufacturers sponsoring reviews and how much is true. (not everything we read on the internet is true!) but at the same time there must be a reason wheels, cost £300, £800 or £1500 etc and do these costs really equate to significant improvements?
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Its not hype. think physics and work out from the reduction in drag how much difference it would make on a 100 mile flat course to give you an idea. you have to know the drag coefficents of you on the bike and roughly what change wheels can make. That sort of information is published though. aerochung software can help you determine your CdA.

    unless you can analyse a situation you cant make decisions about it. Physics is therefore the most important subject shame so few study it.

    you have to look at the spec. I build for £800 aero wheels that will perform like Zipp 404's however the Zipps cost more. It is all in the rim profile and the profile of our respective rims is very similar because physics dictates that. Although the Zipps are a bit deeper and have those dimples which may or may not give an advantage. The mavic rim is narrower and therefore with a 25mm tyre (true width) it is likely to have slightly higher aero drag. Also with the mavic wheels I have not seen a cross section to know what the profile is. the profile tells you how the wheel perform in cross winds. Having a tyre wider than the rim (likey on the mavic's) cross wind stability is also reduced.

    This is all published information and has nothing to do with cost. See what I mean about physics....
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • In a random pool of different IM courses, there will be a different wheel that marginally outperforms another one for each course. If you then add factors like wind and temperature, then the ranking might change again.

    SO, with that in mind, what is the point of spending money on what in essence is a gamble which might not pay off or it might end up being worse on the day than your Zonda?

    On average, a more aerodynamic wheel will give you a marginal gain over say a few thousand miles in different conditions, but there is no guarantee you will get any gain on a particular course on a particular day with that particular "upgrade".

    Basically, unless you have a large collection of wheels and you know perfectly well which set performs well in which conditions, you are wasting your time (and more importantly your money) in an attempt to buy an upgrade for a single data point...
  • aw255aw255 Posts: 20
    Thank you ugo.santalucia and thecycleclinic
    I understand some of the physics and can understand the reports and data specs, but in the world of cycling that most of us take part with so many variables including traffic, potholes and inconsistent british weather, I suppose my question is as I currently own a pair of Campagnolo Zondas at what point will I notice a significant change in performance due to a change of wheels. If getting a set of Cosmic Carbons results in an improvement of 1mph then over a 40 mile triathlon that is quite noticeable. If it is only an advantage of 5 seconds then if eat a bit less chocolate and become fitter I can cycle the difference.
    How do I easily find comparative data for Campagnolo Zonda
    Mavic Cosmic Carbon and a pair of carbon wheels?
    Cheers
  • aw255 wrote:
    Thank you ugo.santalucia and thecycleclinic
    I understand some of the physics and can understand the reports and data specs, but in the world of cycling that most of us take part with so many variables including traffic, potholes and inconsistent british weather, I suppose my question is as I currently own a pair of Campagnolo Zondas at what point will I notice a significant change in performance due to a change of wheels. If getting a set of Cosmic Carbons results in an improvement of 1mph then over a 40 mile triathlon that is quite noticeable. If it is only an advantage of 5 seconds then if eat a bit less chocolate and become fitter I can cycle the difference.
    How do I easily find comparative data for Campagnolo Zonda
    Mavic Cosmic Carbon and a pair of carbon wheels?
    Cheers

    I don't think you got it... I'll try again:

    On a 14 mph wind tuesday, with a lumpy course, your Zonda might (or might not) be quicker than a pair of Cosmic...
    On a calm saturday and a flatter course, the Cosmic might (or might not) be quicker than the Zonda...
    On a bog standard 9 mph wind sunday and a circular course, a pair of Zipp 404 might (or might not) trump both
    On a calm Wednesday evening along a dual carriageway, a trispoke and a disc wheel might (or might not) trump all of the above.

    You haven't studied the course of your IM, you can't predict the weather, the air pressure and the temperature, so you don't know which wheels will be faster.
    You want a quick answer, there is no quick answer... you choose the wheels on the day if you can choose, based on the parameters above. If you can't choose, then it's anyone's guess and you might as well keep your Zonda and invest in some other way of getting quicker on the day.
    Coaching seems a safer bet.
  • aw255aw255 Posts: 20
    I appreciate there is no quick answer, which is why I haven't come up with a quick and easy answer. I do not, nor do I believe most cyclist have the money or space to store many sets of wheels for different courses and weather conditions.
    I'd like to know if spending £800 (which to me is a huge amount of money for 2 bike wheels) will overall see a noticeable difference for day to day cycling, triathlons, an iron man and maybe some circuit racing and time trials. At what point in spending money on wheels do you see the difference.
    Most reviews talk about changing stock wheels for better wheels, but are my Zondas actually good enough for everything and only if I was fighting for a world championship where every tenth of a second counts do I consider changing my wheels?
    Cheers
  • aw255 wrote:
    I'd like to know if spending £800 (which to me is a huge amount of money for 2 bike wheels) will overall see a noticeable difference for day to day cycling, triathlons, an iron man and maybe some circuit racing and time trials.

    This is a different question from the previous.

    As above, on average more aerodynamic wheels will be marginally quicker than less aerodynamic wheels... on average, they might not be on the day you really want them to be.

    Manufacturers produce lots of wind tunnel data, of virtually no value whatsoever. Probably your best bet is to look at what folks who win the events you normally enter ride.

    This might help

    http://lavamagazine.com/2017-ironman-wo ... eel-count/
  • yiannismyiannism Posts: 345
    In a random pool of different IM courses, there will be a different wheel that marginally outperforms another one for each course. If you then add factors like wind and temperature, then the ranking might change again.

    SO, with that in mind, what is the point of spending money on what in essence is a gamble which might not pay off or it might end up being worse on the day than your Zonda?

    On average, a more aerodynamic wheel will give you a marginal gain over say a few thousand miles in different conditions, but there is no guarantee you will get any gain on a particular course on a particular day with that particular "upgrade".

    Basically, unless you have a large collection of wheels and you know perfectly well which set performs well in which conditions, you are wasting your time (and more importantly your money) in an attempt to buy an upgrade for a single data point...

    What about if you have cheap wheels like fulcrum racing sport? does it worth to spend 500-800 on wheels?
  • aw255aw255 Posts: 20
    What about if you have cheap wheels like fulcrum racing sport? does it worth to spend 500-800 on wheels?[/quote]

    I don't know, I'm trying to find out. Thanks for all the responses.
  • In my experience as I’ve gone deeper with wheels I’ve felt slightly faster.
    I know I’m always faster in dry weather on my 45mm carbon wheels then I am on standard alloy clinchers.
    I’ve ridden around Lanzarote on the Ironman course in wind and no wind, cross wind, head wind and tail wind. I don’t think I’ve ever had a faster ride on shallow wheels.
    Think the first deep wheels I rode was 06 and they were 55mm deep, I felt a difference straight away, I’d guess I was averaging 12 hrs a week at the time.
    Hard to put an mph figure on it, it felt more like my top speed had gone up slightly when I was on the front of a group.
    No science, all just what I felt, I’m sure many others would agree.
  • What bike have you got? If you are going to do loads of TT would you get more advantage from a more
    Aero / Lighter frame?

    Just a quick look around found this for £900:

    https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/FRPXEX3DP ... t-frameset
  • aw255aw255 Posts: 20
    Joebristol wrote:
    What bike have you got? If you are going to do loads of TT would you get more advantage from a more
    Aero / Lighter frame?

    Just a quick look around found this for £900:

    https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/FRPXEX3DP ... t-frameset

    That's not fair.
    I already have a road bike, cyclocross, mountain and fat bike. I really don't need a TT bike, at least that's what I keep telling myself for the moment. :D
  • aw255 wrote:

    That's not fair.
    I already have a road bike, cyclocross, mountain and fat bike. I really don't need a TT bike, at least that's what I keep telling myself for the moment. :D

    This forum has a long standing tradition in this field... you come here because you need advice on the diameter of a screw that you need for your seatpost and you go away with a brand new electronic groupset and a Rapha softshell... :lol:
  • More bikes is always the way forward :D
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    let take the ride I did today Look 795 and 50mm deep BORG50's with IRC tubeless tyres. 18mph average over 116km. Would I have been quicker or slower PAcenti SL23 rimmed wheels with the same tyres. who know's I did not ride those today but if there would be a difference it would not be huge on a training a ride.

    On a TT were traffic and junctions are less of an issue then generally the more aero you are the faster you will go. wheels are part of that but not the whole story so your question cannot be answered simply.

    Buy aero wheels because you like the look or if you are doing everything to increase pace like addressing position, using tyre widths that match you rims, aero clothing e.t.c and of course training then aero wheels are part of that puzzle.

    I have thought about getting my wheels tested in a wind tunnel on a bike with a rider but what does that show. It may look for for promo but in reality like ugo said it does not mean that you will be faster on the day. all things being equal though you will be. the problem with most tests they reference a set of 32 spoke mavic open Pro (old rim) which is about as bad as it gets. you may see a 5% drop in CdA depending on your reference point and thats 5% less power required to over come aero drag at any speed. the higher the speed the bigger power drop that 5% gives.

    a TT bike will make a bigger difference though but you have to be able to ride one fast. I tried but found I was quicker on my road bike. I just never got used to cornering with it and when riding fast i did not like the fact I was not near the brakes. also the transition from extension to brake levers to time and unsettled the bike a bit.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    If you scroll down on this page there are some numbers:
    http://www.flocycling.com/aero.php

    The baseline for those measurements is a distinctly not aero 32 spoke wheel with a shallow rim.

    Your Zonda wheels are probably already not that far from the flo30 performance.

    So best case, you might save 3 minutes, assuming that you are doing a non drafting event - if drafting is permitted then you should be riding in a bunch and the gain will be zip.

    You'll save considerably more by investing in some coaching, an aero fit, helmet, new speedsuit etc etc.

    In the scheme of things wheels make a very small difference to your CDA.

    Save your money, ride your bike IMHO. Start buying gains when your training has plateaued.
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    I ride with a set of 45/50mm deep rims, they are tangibly faster wheels as they are both aero and stiff, they climb really well. If I was you I’d spend my money, in order of importance, (i) a bike fit to get a comfy aero position, (ii) a set of nice wide, carbon wheels somewhere around 40-50 deep (I think that’s the sweet spot for most eventualities, you start to make trade off’s to go deeper), (iii) an aero bar on the front (I like the 3T ones). You’ve covered most aero bases at that point, assuming you’ve got nice tight fitting kit.

    Re wheels, something internally wide and a decent weight (1400-1500 for 45-50mm deep) will definitely improve your ride. Enve 4.5’s are lovely but you pay a hefty premium for the enve logo, cycleclinic’s Borg rim matched to decent hubs is well worth a look, Mavic cosmic pro sl UST also looks quite nice. Lots of options, most of the wheelbuilders are now doing decent rims without an enve or Zipp premium on.
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