25 September 2010

Carbon Deep Rim Clinchers?

I've been thinking about getting some new wheels this year.  Birthday coming up soon.

--The Fulcrum Racing 1 Tubeless (2 way fit) from beginning of 2009 have had enough issues so that, even though they seem fine now and ride very nicely -- light and comfortable ... I still don't trust them much.  (A little loctite on the spokes seems to keep them from loosening and the spoke nipple from falling into the rim, where it is almost impossible to dig out.)

--The Open Pro/Ultegra hub 36/32 spoke training wheels are bombproof, but heavy and not aero.

--Then there are my Reynolds DV cyclocross carbon tubulars -- my first tubulars, still serviceable after 4-5 years, not used for "everyday", and very strong with extra spokes, but the rims are not as deep as true TT wheels, the spokes are not bladed, and tubulars are inconvenient for longer, unsupported events where a flat is very possible.  They did not work out well on Transalp -- but that was mostly due to tire issues, I suspect caused by overheating of the rims on the descents.

What is the solution?  Is it time for some deep rim carbon clinchers -- James M. almost had me convinced earlier in the year?  Which wheelset?   How many cyclists have asked the very same question?

Today I was thinking about perhaps the Reynolds Strike all-carbon clinchers -- my current Reynolds have been, well, more reliable than any other wheel I've had, and these 66mm rims are the real thing -- deep rim all-carbon clinchers.  They weigh in at just over 1700 grams and are available online from the UK for approximately $1250, or around JPY105,000 (no VAT and free shipping to Japan). 

Or I could be an early adapter go for something more expensive and exotic.  How about the 1085 gram Mad Fiber tubulars (no rider weight limit)??

Or maybe just some Shimano 7850 C50mm clinchers ... about the same price as the Reynolds strike, nice Dura hubs.  But I worry about a 50mm rim with 20/16 spokes for me.  Though with a 66mm rim like the Reynolds Strike, and its shorter spokes, 20/16 seems quite reasonable.

Or I could splurge and consider some Lightweights (!) in honor of Juliane (but got to go with the tubulars, even though they do make a clincher now for even more money).

Or there are the new Zipp 404/303 models, with a much wider tire bed, lower pressures, more durability, and in general a much better design for someone large/heavy like me (according to all reports).  If they could support Cervelo Test Team on the cobbles of Paris Roubaix with 100% reliability ...

Zipp seems to be following (copying?) some things that HED has done with its C2 rim/wheel bed -- a much wider rim design that actually helps the aerodynamics and rolling characteristics of a 23mm tire.  And HED has the "stallion build" for riders over 190 lbs.  Maybe a HED Jet6 -- 60mm rim?   MSRP $1600 ... I see one place that is offering 15% off. 

I really like what I read about the Zipp and HED new designs. ...  and so must a lot of other people, since I don't see them available online in many places.   Hmmm.

I'm leaning toward the HEDs, if I can find them and get the "stallion" build.


Any suggestions?

4 comments:

Manfred von Holstein said...

Mike (TCC) and James M are probably most qualified to advise you.

Beware of all-carbon rims - you will have to avoid longer, steeper descents as to not overheat the rims and have them melt down, as has happened to Mike, whose brand-new Eastons were ruined that way.

Also beware of HED's front bearings which have not lasted Mike longer than half a year (though he likes the wheels otherwise).

mob said...

Personally I feel that the wheels are the part of the bicycle I would like to be the most reliable one. Because of my weight I am more afraid of a collapsing rim or broken spokes than anything else. So rather than for lightweight wheels I am looking for reliability and of course ... good design.

I had good many good rides with my Campagnolo Zonda wheels, of which I used two sets. Three broken spokes in 5 years. But because the wheels have only 15 spokes, once one of them breaks, the wheel is hardly useable any longer and its a little bit hard to repair them,

This is a typical Italian product; very stylish, technically excellent and pure joy to use if everything is fine. Once a problem starts all hell breaks loose: It is almost impossible to fiddle the spoke nibbles through the rim into the right position and the spokes itself are different on the right and on the left. And also for the front and the rear wheel.

Experiences with other wheels are rather rare. I bought an Ultegra rear wheel because the general PE opinion was, that this wheel is extremely sturdy and because I thought it would be very easy to get spareparts. One spoke broke on one of the first rides, which was also my last ride with Ludwig and Japan and neither Y nor Positivo had any spare spokes on stock.

The same wheels with disc brakes and 35c tires work finde on my bad boy hybrid.

I also had a set of more or less conventional Mavic wheels on my first Cannondale. Many problems, so I replaced them with the Zondas.

I have also a pair of wonderful Zero Gravity wheels ..........

On the other hand, I hardly hear any complains about Mavic Krysium wheels. And so one. What is good for one rider is bad for another.

I think the conclusion is, that there is some big quality standard deviation on wheels. For may sound reasons it makes sense to buy something with more than 28 spokes and all in conventional dimensions, say DT Swiss for example if some money spending should be involved.

But of course this is only the boring, rational alternative, so perhaps carbon wheels with 9 spokes, paper-thin are better.
Mad fiber, definitely.

mob said...

David, some ideas from Interbike in search of the one and only best wheel set:

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gallery/article/interbike-2010-latest-road-cyclo-cross-and-mountain-wheels-27920?img=1&pn=interbike-2010-latest-road-cyclo-cross-and-mountain-wheels&mlc=news%2Farticle

Pesonally: Rolf Wheel, picture #30 seems just crazy enough in terms of spoke count.

David L. said...

MOB:

Thanks for the ideas and the link to Interbike. Well, it looks like Rolf Prima also is going for a wider rim bed -- might just be a better idea that started with HED.

I ordered the HED Jet 6 "stallion build" this morning.

I guess I'll find out if the hub bearings have issues, as some have reported -- I did not see any complaints from 2009 or 2010 purchases, so I'll hope that they have dealt with it in earlier models.

Can't wait to try them. I need to get plenty of wear on them before the 2011 models come out, to justify the purchase.