A general question about wheels

John_S

Über Member
Hello All,

Over the weekend I didn't start out thinking about wheels however I read something which is just bugging me.

I don't know much about wheels nor am I a technical expert by any means at all so I just wanted to ask a question to see the thoughts of others who know a lot more about these things than I do.

Anyway the thing that is bugging me is something that I read whilst I was actually trying to read opinions about different frame materials. Following a search an article on a US bike shop website came up and when I was reading through it there was the following bit about wheels:-

"In the past, rim manufacturers never paid racing teams money to equip their bikes because the then-used box-section rim is so anonymous. You never knew which teams were using what rims. New wheels with deep section rims can carry obvious and easily recognized advertising, but this is at a real cost to the rider. The deep rims ride very harshly. The reduced spoke count wheel have very high spoke tensions that exacerbate the problem.
The consumer is sold the wheels because they are light. But, this is a half-truth. Because the rims have deep sections, the inertial mass (rotating weight) is greater. The result is that the bike has less snap and rides more harshly. To make it worse, tests have shown that a rim needs to be 40 mm deep to have any real aerodynamic advantage. The rims with their cross sections in the 30mm's are not aero, they are only fancy looking. Before buying one of these wheelsets that have lots of gee-whiz, consider a nice set of 32 hole, cross-three wheels with box section rims. Put a pair on your bike and give them a chance. Borrow a buddy's set if you have any. The weight is almost the same. But the ride........."

This is copied from the following website:-

http://www.smartcycles.com/frame_materials.htm

As I mentioned I didn't start out wanting to read about wheels but when I was reading this with reference to frame materials this just caught my attention. With me knowing pretty much nothing about wheels I'm eager to learn and I wondered what everyone else thought.

From one point of view taking the GB Team or Team Sky type attitude to marginal gains every little helps and so if higher end aero profile wheels with less spokes offer better aerodynamic and rolling performance in tests then won't we all benefit from the marginal gains.

However on the other hand if we're not involved in any sort of racing and are totally worried about times etc. and value things like comfort more highly than speed then is the general gist of what the person who wrote this article correct?

When buying wheels everyone is going to have their own personal preferences based on the type of riding that they do and in addition aesthetics are a factor because sometimes we just want to buy something because it looks good which was a comment made in this thread.

https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/mavic-aksium-vs-cosmic-elite.172829/

Sorry for the long post but having read the article the argument of more traditional wheels versus newer aerodynamic wheels with less spokes has been playing on my mind.

Thanks for any thoughts.

John
 

shadow master

Well-Known Member
Yeah I would agree with most of that,there is a point at rim depth where your carrying the extra weight makes the wheels slower to accelerate and harder to climb with,but the aero effect is not very good, ie 30\35mm...however 42mm you really notice the aero,and if there good quality the weight is good,go to fifty plus the aero's great but they can flex climbing depending on quality....and the truth is on a moderately windy day slow you down as you'll be shitting yourself trying to hold on to the bike....truth is every wheel has its niche,finding its the answer,and often an expensive one!
 
OP
J

John_S

Über Member
Hi shadow master,

Thanks for the reply and it's interesting that the original article was making a fairly reasoned point.

Although I'll never have a enough money to ride lots of bikes or try lots of different components or wheels during my lifetime I always find the kit available fascinating. As always there's a tonne of stuff available and always dreams of a N+1 bike but it seems that can almost equally apply to other bits and pieces as well including wheels as some are better for certain situations than others.

Thanks again for the reply and one of the things I love about reading these forums is the wealth of knowledge on here that I'd never be able to find on my own as well as the fact that there are loads of opinions available.

Cheers,

John
 

Cyclist33

Guest
Location
Warrington
As someone childishly influenced by being, I have to admit to having bought 30mm rims twice, they were quite different wheelset's and the shimano Pair were noticeably stiffer and more direct in feel but nothing like as quick as my Vision pair. I've assumed this is to do with weight as the Visions are a fair bit lighter.

Against that, I run also a pair of fulcrum that are heavier than the visions but feel stiffer but also more comfy. They are wider and I think, stronger. I've tried all my combinations of wheel, tyre and bike, and the giant aluminium bike rides fastest on the vision wheels but in general faster than the steel road bike on all wheelsets, while the steel bike is universally more comfortable in terms of ride quality.

The Fulcrum, shallower and wider, keep going better and at a cruise are more willing. The Visions are great at prolonged high speed, enormous fun down hills, and seem to like being accelerated hard.

None of this proves anything but it does suggest there are so many variables, and that coupled with your intentions re riding in general, is what makes it so much fun speccing out and testing bike setups!!
 
Hello All,

Over the weekend I didn't start out thinking about wheels however I read something which is just bugging me.

I don't know much about wheels nor am I a technical expert by any means at all so I just wanted to ask a question to see the thoughts of others who know a lot more about these things than I do.

Anyway the thing that is bugging me is something that I read whilst I was actually trying to read opinions about different frame materials. Following a search an article on a US bike shop website came up and when I was reading through it there was the following bit about wheels:-

"In the past, rim manufacturers never paid racing teams money to equip their bikes because the then-used box-section rim is so anonymous. You never knew which teams were using what rims. New wheels with deep section rims can carry obvious and easily recognized advertising, but this is at a real cost to the rider. The deep rims ride very harshly. The reduced spoke count wheel have very high spoke tensions that exacerbate the problem.
The consumer is sold the wheels because they are light. But, this is a half-truth. Because the rims have deep sections, the inertial mass (rotating weight) is greater. The result is that the bike has less snap and rides more harshly. To make it worse, tests have shown that a rim needs to be 40 mm deep to have any real aerodynamic advantage. The rims with their cross sections in the 30mm's are not aero, they are only fancy looking. Before buying one of these wheelsets that have lots of gee-whiz, consider a nice set of 32 hole, cross-three wheels with box section rims. Put a pair on your bike and give them a chance. Borrow a buddy's set if you have any. The weight is almost the same. But the ride........."

This is copied from the following website:-

http://www.smartcycles.com/frame_materials.htm

As I mentioned I didn't start out wanting to read about wheels but when I was reading this with reference to frame materials this just caught my attention. With me knowing pretty much nothing about wheels I'm eager to learn and I wondered what everyone else thought.

From one point of view taking the GB Team or Team Sky type attitude to marginal gains every little helps and so if higher end aero profile wheels with less spokes offer better aerodynamic and rolling performance in tests then won't we all benefit from the marginal gains.

However on the other hand if we're not involved in any sort of racing and are totally worried about times etc. and value things like comfort more highly than speed then is the general gist of what the person who wrote this article correct?

When buying wheels everyone is going to have their own personal preferences based on the type of riding that they do and in addition aesthetics are a factor because sometimes we just want to buy something because it looks good which was a comment made in this thread.

https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/mavic-aksium-vs-cosmic-elite.172829/

Sorry for the long post but having read the article the argument of more traditional wheels versus newer aerodynamic wheels with less spokes has been playing on my mind.

Thanks for any thoughts.

John

A lot of nonsense in that article I think. It's late and I have no time to address all the points, however, to say that the high spoke tension are partly the cause of a harsh ride is incorrect, the deep rims are responsible for that.

Certainly, deep rims are not for everyone, even people that buy them don't enjoy any aerodynamic benefits until they are well above the 20 mph. They aren't great for climbing either but they are stiff and that in itself has benefits, the same benefits you seek from a crankset or a frame and also they work with fewer spokes.

Compare a shallow rim like the pretty popular and reputable old Mavic Open Pro with a modern H Plus Son Archetype and that little extra depth provides the stiffness you will never get with a shallow rim like the Open Pro. I reckon that you get more flex from a 36 spokes Open Pro than on a 32 spokes Archetype and perhaps a 28, using the same type of spokes. If that is not a good enough reason then I don't know what it is. If stiffness is not what you are after then of course, a shallow rim like the Open Pro would give you a more comfortable ride.... but racing bikes need stiffness.
 
Location
Loch side.
Hello All,

Over the weekend I didn't start out thinking about wheels however I read something which is just bugging me.

I don't know much about wheels nor am I a technical expert by any means at all so I just wanted to ask a question to see the thoughts of others who know a lot more about these things than I do.

Anyway the thing that is bugging me is something that I read whilst I was actually trying to read opinions about different frame materials. Following a search an article on a US bike shop website came up and when I was reading through it there was the following bit about wheels:-

"In the past, rim manufacturers never paid racing teams money to equip their bikes because the then-used box-section rim is so anonymous. You never knew which teams were using what rims. New wheels with deep section rims can carry obvious and easily recognized advertising, but this is at a real cost to the rider. The deep rims ride very harshly. The reduced spoke count wheel have very high spoke tensions that exacerbate the problem.
The consumer is sold the wheels because they are light. But, this is a half-truth. Because the rims have deep sections, the inertial mass (rotating weight) is greater. The result is that the bike has less snap and rides more harshly. To make it worse, tests have shown that a rim needs to be 40 mm deep to have any real aerodynamic advantage. The rims with their cross sections in the 30mm's are not aero, they are only fancy looking. Before buying one of these wheelsets that have lots of gee-whiz, consider a nice set of 32 hole, cross-three wheels with box section rims. Put a pair on your bike and give them a chance. Borrow a buddy's set if you have any. The weight is almost the same. But the ride........."

This is copied from the following website:-

http://www.smartcycles.com/frame_materials.htm

As I mentioned I didn't start out wanting to read about wheels but when I was reading this with reference to frame materials this just caught my attention. With me knowing pretty much nothing about wheels I'm eager to learn and I wondered what everyone else thought.

From one point of view taking the GB Team or Team Sky type attitude to marginal gains every little helps and so if higher end aero profile wheels with less spokes offer better aerodynamic and rolling performance in tests then won't we all benefit from the marginal gains.

However on the other hand if we're not involved in any sort of racing and are totally worried about times etc. and value things like comfort more highly than speed then is the general gist of what the person who wrote this article correct?

When buying wheels everyone is going to have their own personal preferences based on the type of riding that they do and in addition aesthetics are a factor because sometimes we just want to buy something because it looks good which was a comment made in this thread.

https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/mavic-aksium-vs-cosmic-elite.172829/

Sorry for the long post but having read the article the argument of more traditional wheels versus newer aerodynamic wheels with less spokes has been playing on my mind.

Thanks for any thoughts.

John
Very sage advice that and good for you to seek the truth when fashion, marketing lore and hype seems to dominate most purchasing decisions nowadays.
 
Location
Loch side.
As someone childishly influenced by being, I have to admit to having bought 30mm rims twice, they were quite different wheelset's and the shimano Pair were noticeably stiffer and more direct in feel but nothing like as quick as my Vision pair. I've assumed this is to do with weight as the Visions are a fair bit lighter.
How did you notice the increase of stiffness?
How did you notice the more direct feel and what units can we apply to this "feel" to quantify it scientifically?


Against that, I run also a pair of fulcrum that are heavier than the visions but feel stiffer but also more comfy. They are wider and I think, stronger. I've tried all my combinations of wheel, tyre and bike, and the giant aluminium bike rides fastest on the vision wheels but in general faster than the steel road bike on all wheelsets, while the steel bike is universally more comfortable in terms of ride quality.
How do you explain wheels to be stiffer yet more comfortable? Comfort is compliance, stiffness is non-compliance. It is like saying "this brand of white paint is more black that that brand."
What do you mean by one wheel being faster than another? Top speed? Accelleration? And how did you measure it?


The Fulcrum, shallower and wider, keep going better and at a cruise are more willing. The Visions are great at prolonged high speed, enormous fun down hills, and seem to like being accelerated hard.
You measured this? How? How does a fun downhill differ from a non-fun downhill?
How do you know the one wheel "liked" being accelerated hard? What feedback does it give you?

None of this proves anything ...
At lease we agree on one thing.
 
U

User6179

Guest
I think aero kicks in at about 35mm doesn't it ? I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong !
I thought it was in relation to the width of the rim that makes a wheel aero so a 35mm wide rim would not be aero at 35mm deep but a 15mm wide one would !?
 
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