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To Carbone or Not To Carbone?

To Carbone or Not To Carbone?

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That is the question. Are carbon wheels a viable option for everyday riding? Should carbon wheels be your go-to wheels rather than your just-for-racing wheels? I don’t really race and I don’t own any carbon wheels and I wonder. Granted, every professional is and has been on carbon wheels for many years so it’s easy to think we should be on them too. Brett’s review of ENVE wheels certainly made a case for them, who dosen’t want to go faster, all the time? Frank has raved about how fast his Zipp 303s are since he first put them on his Cervelo. I hefted his Café Roubaix Haleakala climbing wheels and one dosen’t need to heft them as much as hold them down, they are unbelievably light, sub-1000 grams light.

Those wheels are too light for the rigors of the East Maui Loop pavé and potholes, or so I thought. I talked Frank out of using them and he did the Cogal on Zipp 404s and 25mm clinchers. In retrospect, with bigger tires I think he would have been OK doing the Cogal on his climbing wheels. If ultralight carbon wheels are tough enough for that ride then when are they inappropriateAmbrosio golden ticket aluminum box section rims versus Zipp 303s, let’s see, Boonen just won Paris-Roubaix on the Zipp 404s. That is the end of the discussion. It should be the beginning of the end for three-cross box section aluminum wheels. If Zipp 303s win Paris-Roubaix then when wouldn’t one use carbon wheels?

@chiasticon-

Surprised to see so much talk of carbon wheels for a Cogal; which is, essentially, not much different than a club run. I understand Frank wanting to run them for his climb up Haleakala, since he was going for a PR up a huge friggin’ volcano and I’m sure they certainly helped. But as an every day wheel for a club/social/training ride? At least within the circles I ride in, that’s a good reason to get laughed off the ride (comments would especially come from the local racers). It’s like saying “I can’t keep up with you guys without these wheels!” Or at least that’s how people generally take it.

…but how common is it among Velominati to use carbon wheels on an everyday basis?

On the Cogal ride, out of seven riders there were two people on carbon wheels. On our Sunday club ride there is maybe one user. I see a lot of bikes on the site with drool-worthy carbon wheels. Are aluminum rims old school? Are we being played here or are we all just a little behind the times or are we saving our money for better bike investments? 

Strong, light, cheap. Pick two – I’m going to attribute this to Keith Bontrager as it was etched on my Bontrager’s stem cap. I’d like to add a fourth adjective, aerodynamic, but my tiny brain can’t compute how picking two or three might work so cleverly.

Strong

There are not many high end frames made from aluminum anymore. Could the same case be made for wheels? The aluminum box rim may be light but it is not strong unless you lace a lot of crossed spokes on it. I have some 80s Campagnolo Vento deep wheels, aero maybe, not light and the ride is a bit harsh. An unlaced carbon rim may not be lighter than a light weight aluminum rim but it is much stronger.

Light

I’m afraid carbon is going to win here. While a case could have been made for the Ambrosio golden ticket being strong, it is not light. There are some semi-aero aluminum wheels out there that are light but they make me nervous with their low weight limit.

Cheap

Boing! There it is. Strong and cheap is aluminum’s territory. One pays $1100US more for Easton’s Carbon EC90 SLX wheels than the aluminum EA 90 SLX wheelset. 200 grams is the only difference between the two models. If that was the end of the comparisons I wouldn’t lose any sleep over my lack of carbone wheels but there is still one other factor.

Aerodynamic

Carbon wins this easily. The carbon can be a fairing or integral to the wheel’s strength but carbon’s moldability is the future. Formula 1 cars are no longer made of aluminum. Boonen must have saved significant energy on the long paved run-in to the pavé sectors using his Zipps, maybe enough energy to help burn everyone off his wheel later on. @Tommy Tubulare’s Cervelo with Campagnolo Bora deep carbon wheels makes my heart skip a beat. Carbon wheels look badass. 

Conclusion

Once again I have no informed opinion having never ridden carbon wheels. Would I love to see my bike looking extremely pro with some deep section carbon wheels? Yes. Would it be very bad to be shelled out the back end of a group ride while riding said wheels? Yes, it would be very bad.

Should my wheels be worth more than the rest of the bike? Who cares. Let’s address @chiasticon’s question, who’s riding carbon and when?

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  1. @razmaspaz You are wrong.

    First, the wheels weigh something – and you have to haul that something up the hill – regardless the weight being distributed around the rim or in the hub.

    Second, indeed, objects in motion tend to that unless acted upon by another force. Those forces include, friction @ the bearings, friction @ the road and aerodynamic drag.

    So, lighter, more aero wheels with awesome, low-friction hubs will spin up faster and take less energy to keep rolling.  Alas, they won’t just roll on by themselves.

  2. @Ben

    @Barracuda I kinda hate that noise. I’ve been coveting some $500 customs that my LBS sells for a while and following this thread because of it, but you just made up my mind: the next wheelset I buy will be aluminum.

    Every time I really start thinking about getting some fancy carbon wheels, along comes a race (or a group ride with douches who show up to the ride with $3K wheels) to remind me how ridiculous they are in the dull, plastic flesh. I know the pros use them and they are fast in the wind and blah blah whatever, but plastic wheels and the noise that goes with them takes away from the simple joy of a ride that follows Rule #65. V up, stop whining about crosswinds and drag coefficients and ride some Al!

    There there. There there.

    If you keep repeating it, it will eventually be true.

  3. @EricW

    @roger

    @EricW can you post some shots of this lady in the bikes section? i wish i went with traditional rather than sloping..

    I have posted a few pics, I don’t want to flood the forum with my own bike. You can see a few more shots here http://velospace.org/node/45549

    Nah, Fuck that.  Flood away.  Like this…

  4. @mouse Yeah… I honestly can’t tell if I legit don’t want carbon wheels or if I’ve just given in the the VMH’s prohibition. Denial is a happy place? There are definitely cheaper ways to get light and aero, though. Throw away some spacers, skip that second beer, and you’ve got it.

  5. No Carbs here ever, im trying  to get skinny. 1st rule of fight cub

  6. @Ben

    @Barracuda I kinda hate that noise. I’ve been coveting some $500 customs that my LBS sells for a while and following this thread because of it, but you just made up my mind: the next wheelset I buy will be aluminum.

    Every time I really start thinking about getting some fancy carbon wheels, along comes a race (or a group ride with douches who show up to the ride with $3K wheels) to remind me how ridiculous they are in the dull, plastic flesh. I know the pros use them and they are fast in the wind and blah blah whatever, but plastic wheels and the noise that goes with them takes away from the simple joy of a ride that follows Rule #65. V up, stop whining about crosswinds and drag coefficients and ride some Al!

    Actually … I disagree sorry …..   the sound that hurts my head isnt because I dont like it … its because I love it and know that they are just out of my reach …  if I had the cash I would get ENVE’s and roll on them 24/7 rain, hail or shine …..

    I ride in full black classic Rapha kit and by no means am I one of the fastest or fittest in the bunch ……   doesnt make me a douche though ………    just love riding in good/great quality kit ……..   same goes for the Carbons ……   if I could … I would.

    No my brain really does hurt …….

  7. I have a pair of mavic open pro’s laced up to dura ace hubs.  They were handbuilt by a wheelmaker who knew what he was doing and they rock my jocks every day.  Heavy, yes, but so strong and fun to ride.

    I actually originally had these wheels built to race kermises in Belgium.  A few riders racing at the elite kermise level had carbon wheels, but usually the type which is an alloy rim with carbon fairing because the braking is so much better (and I suspect becuase they are more durable).  On the whole however the number of carbon wheels I saw compared to back here in Aus was way down and if the race had any sort of significant cobbled section the box section alloys were out in force.

    P.S. No riders at these kermises seemed to be slowed down by their un-aero wheels

  8. I’ve got some carbon clinchers on my Wilier carbon bike, and Mavic Open Pros on Chorus hubs on my steel Merckx.  And a set of Campy Eurus clinchers as a backup.  I would never ride the carbon wheels on the Merckx, but could ride the Open Pros on the Wilier. I debated long and hard before buying the carbon clinchers.  I knew I didn’t want tubulars because of the ongoing cost and mess.  The time I have for the bike I try to spend riding and adding high-maintenance gear isn’t part of that plan.  As I debated, I read this article on RKP.  It finally pushed me over the edge.  I ride 2-3 Gran Fondos a year, so having “race wheels” doesn’t make a lot of sense.  But I love to ride, so if the carbon wheels add to that enjoyment on a given day, that’s what I’ll ride. I’m lucky to be able to have the carbon wheels, and I know they aren’t a “need” and probably don’t make me any faster.  But I like them and I’m going to keep riding them any time I reach for the carbon bike.

  9. @Barracuda hmmm, pretty sure I remember seeing a photo of you rocking the fiasco ciclismo kit on the photo comp thread…that’s definitely not black!

    I do agree with you on the waves of lust that a pair of Enves can produce though…

  10. I’m firmly in the clincher camp. The debate can be fought ad nauseum, but carbon clinchers make sense in much the same way aluminium clinchers make sense: For those who don’t want tubulars. A carbon clincher of medium height (303s, for example) will weigh sub-1500g, like highish-end aluminium – and yet bring a very substantial aerodynamic advantage. To everyone. The calculation goes that for a long individual effort – say, a certain 180km ride one may or may not squeeze in his sandwich – a pro might need the aero advantage more, but the 7-hour slowpoke gains more time, overall.

    My mother trains and races year-round on Enve 45s laced to DT Swiss 190s. She’s had them for three years now and only had one problem, which was swiftly handled under warranty – it means she now has mismatched wheels (Enve used to be called Edge). However, it’s a pretty convincing case that, if the older-generation rims stood up to her abuse over thousands of kilometres on rough desert roads, races in the rain and several rides over cobblestones, then the new generation must be good enough for anyone.

    My road bike runs Ultegra WH6700s, which may not be light, but they’ve proved themselves to be stable, enjoyable wheels that hit my perfect spot between too-fancy-to-risk and too-heavy-to-enjoy. Box-section aluminium certainly a place, but racing it not that place.

    I train solo on the TT bike which I do most of my racing on, with wheels so heavy I might just crush my feet if I dropped them during a wheel-change. They’re neglected to the point that my mechanic nearly offered to replace the bearings for free, but that’s fine by me. Because on race-day, I swap them for a (still very humble) set of RC50s, with their whisper-quiet smooth hubs and the latex-tubed Vittorias. I feel faster, nay, I am faster – and that’s a critical psychological advantage.

  11. @Skip Great article. A must read. http://redkiteprayer.com/2011/12/thoughts-on-training-equipment/  I must admit I don’t do carbone.  They’re noisy, potentially high maintenance, and I guess I’m in the minority here, I don’t like the look of deep section.  I’m riding gun-metal Shimano Ultegras that are bomb proof and they happily spit carboners out the back to the sound of silence.  I don’t race (as this seems to be an important criteria to carbone or not to carbone) so if it’s just for the aesthetic, i’ll keep the 5-8k in my jeans and push harder!

  12. A little off putting? Not that it matters – I’d need to take out some kind of mortgage to buy a pair.

  13. @mouse

    @EricW

    @roger

    @EricW can you post some shots of this lady in the bikes section? i wish i went with traditional rather than sloping..

    I have posted a few pics, I don’t want to flood the forum with my own bike. You can see a few more shots here http://velospace.org/node/45549

    Nah, Fuck that. Flood away. Like this…

    Dude. Nice.

  14. @tessar Agreed.  Also, I remember reading somewhere that clinchers with light latex tubes actually have lower rolling resistance than tubulars, hence why Tony Martin used them on his TT World Champ bike last year.

    Admittedly, he did flat out twice, but according to the articles, any tire (tub or clincher) would have flatted based on what he hit.

  15. @The Pressure

    @Skip Great article. A must read. http://redkiteprayer.com/2011/12/thoughts-on-training-equipment/ I must admit I don’t do Carbone. They’re noisy, potentially high maintenance, and I guess I’m in the minority here, I don’t like the look of deep section. I’m riding gun-metal Shimano Ultegras that are bomb proof and they happily spit carboners out the back to the sound of silence. I don’t race (as this seems to be an important criteria to Carbone or not to Carbone) so if it’s just for the aesthetic, i’ll keep the 5-8k in my jeans and push harder!

    Awesome quotes here and very relevant.  I am reading the word helmet to not mean the cycling kind!!!

    Why spend $5000 (or more) on a bike and then ride it in a cheap pair of bibs and with crap wheels? Who would only use an $800 GPS on their big rides? My wife would shoot me if I only wore my good helmet on the weekend.

    Owning a great set of wheels or a killer pair of bibs means having the tools to enjoy a better experience. If this blog is about anything, it’s about enjoying cycling. You shouldn’t suffer because your cheap saddle is uncomfortable. You should suffer because you drilled it at the front with the group single file behind you for 2k.

    I’ve never been in the army, but I think they had it right: Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

  16. @mouse

    @EricW

    @roger

    @EricW can you post some shots of this lady in the bikes section? i wish i went with traditional rather than sloping..

    I have posted a few pics, I don’t want to flood the forum with my own bike. You can see a few more shots here http://velospace.org/node/45549

    Nah, Fuck that. Flood away. Like this…

    Fucking stealth bomber!!  Maybe you could talk to the gang at Lampre…

  17. Rider weight tubular tires (ZIPP reference)
    <125 lbs (200 lbs(>91 kg) F 140psi (9.72) R 145psi (10)
    Rain or rough Roads Minus 3-5 psi Minus 4-7 psi

  18. Login is acting funky these days on Safari. And posts.

  19. Rider weight tubular tires
    <125 lbs (200 lbs(>91 kg) F 140psi (9.72) R 145psi (10)
    Rain or rough Roads Minus 3-5 psi Minus 4-7 psi

  20. Let’s forget this is happening.

  21. @EricW Just like he could flat if he took a track tubular with no protection whatsoever to the roads – it’s a tradeoff between puncture-resistance and speed. There’s a huge range of choices between Vittoria’s Pista and Rubino, or Tony’s World Championship winning Continental Supersonic TT and 4-Seasons.

  22. I’m lucky enough that I could have carbon wheels if I wanted them but I find high profile wheels to be ugly and I don’t race so this bias doesn’t have any negative effect on my personal version of VLVV.  That leaves me with low profile – purchased some custom low profile alloy wheels that were as light as some carbon options but saved over $1K.

    I don’t need aero advantage – I live in Flatonia so the only local hills I experience are the Dutch Hills caused by steady winds. This was posted months ago during a discussion of why the Netherlands fields good climbers but is mostly flat – it deserves another time in the sun:

  23. @Chance

    @Chance

    I have a pair of mavic open pro’s laced up to dura ace hubs. They were handbuilt by a wheelmaker who knew what he was doing and they rock my jocks every day. Heavy, yes, but so strong and fun to ride.

    Maybe its just because I’m a bigger rider, but I find it hilarious that ~1750g wheels are referred to as ‘heavy’.  I was thrilled when I got my HD C2/CK R45s and they came in at 1711g.

  24. @DrewG

    A little off putting? Not that it matters – I’d need to take out some kind of mortgage to buy a pair.

    I remember the first time I saw that photo I couldn’t decided if I was looking at a bike race or a Salvador Dali painting.

  25. @unversio

    Login is acting funky these days on Safari. And posts.

    I’ve been having the same issue, both on Safari and Chrome.

  26. @Mikael Liddy

    @Barracuda hmmm, pretty sure I remember seeing a photo of you rocking the fiasco ciclismo kit on the photo comp thread…that’s definitely not black!

    I do agree with you on the waves of lust that a pair of Enves can produce though…

    Nah … not me…. mate I ride with rolls in the Fiasco kit ….and Rapha, and Assos …. he’s living the dream

  27. I got to think about this article when out riding the past few days. I recently has the chance to make a huge upgrade from some Budgetatus wheels I’d ridden for three years to some much nicer Kysrium SuperLights. Got a great deal on them, much nicer, and a good all-around wheelset for me & the riding I do. These wheels (new) cost around 6-7 times what the old wheels cost me.

    They are the nicest road wheelset I have & I’ve never considered using them for anything but my everyday wheels on my #1. Thus, I don’t think you can consider anyone a total jerk for riding really nice Carbones all the time. Maybe they just suit their needs.

  28. @VeloVita

    @unversio

    Login is acting funky these days on Safari. And posts.

    I’ve been having the same issue, both on Safari and Chrome.

    Brought the same iMac home and appears to be corrected when connected to ethernet.

  29. In the freezing temperatures of the CX Masters World Championships, riders with alloy rims or steel disc rotors were at a disadvantage. Water would freeze on the surfaces almost immediately.

    But carbon rims with canti or mini-v brakes survived.

    This is probably the first time those with carbon rims had an advantage in braking!

    http://www.cxmagazine.com/power-washer-problems-masters-world-championships-2013-dan-horndasch

  30. @Deakus

    Owning a great set of wheels or a killer pair of bibs means having the tools to enjoy a better experience. If this blog is about anything, it’s about enjoying cycling. You shouldn’t suffer because your cheap saddle is uncomfortable. You should suffer because you drilled it at the front with the group single file behind you for 2k.

    I’ve never been in the army, but I think they had it right: Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

    Very solid point! This is my philosophy as well, that is why we are here. If carbon keeps you out on your ride longer  or allows you to shave time from the morning / evening ride. Which in turn keeps the VMH and family in check than by all means put them on. Just like a good pair of shoes, they feel good.

  31. @VeloVita

    @Chance

    @Chance

    I have a pair of mavic open pro’s laced up to dura ace hubs. They were handbuilt by a wheelmaker who knew what he was doing and they rock my jocks every day. Heavy, yes, but so strong and fun to ride.

    Maybe its just because I’m a bigger rider, but I find it hilarious that ~1750g wheels are referred to as ‘heavy’. I was thrilled when I got my HD C2/CK R45s and they came in at 1711g.

    Whats absurd is that after riding the Haleakala rims, I now consider my Zipp 404 clinchers to be heavy training wheels.

  32. @unversio

    @VeloVita

    @unversio

    Login is acting funky these days on Safari. And posts.

    I’ve been having the same issue, both on Safari and Chrome.

    Brought the same iMac home and appears to be corrected when connected to ethernet.

    I’ll look at this when I get the chance. Chrome (the world’s superior browser) works great.  Noticed the mobile site is fucked as well; disabled it for the time being until I have a chance to fix it.

    @unversio, thanks for sending stats along, I”ll look at it and let all y’all know what I find.

  33. @frank

    Whats absurd is that after riding the Haleakala rims, I now consider my Zipp 404 clinchers to be heavy training wheels.

    That’s not absurd at all – they are heavy wheels! They’re 1662g according to Zipp, which is only about 100g lighter than my Hope Pro III / Mavic Open Pro / 32 Spoke commuting and training wheels. Plus all the weight is in the rim so they take more effort more effort to spin up (although they steamroller along when you get ’em wound up). I went for a second-hand pair of 2010 404 tubbies and they are a great improvement, providing you’re happy with the tub faff factor. Nearly 400g lighter than the Al/carbon hybrid clinchers so they’re practically a set of climbing wheels as well as being aero. Braking is good in the dry, but I must confess I haven’t tried them in the wet yet.

    I’m currently building up the ‘middle set’ of wheels – for crit use on #2 and general miles on #1 when I want to be able to fix a flat easily. Chris King R45s, Velocity A23s and CX-rays (all black) laced 20h front and 24h rear. Should be about 1350g all in – front is built, rear is waiting for spokes and rim and a rainy evening to lace her up. Even going 24/28 would give a decent set of wheels with clincher convenience for a lot less than Carbon prices.

  34. @ Scaler911

    I totally agree with ‘train heavy, race light’ and I’d add ‘…and slow’ on there as well. My bike permanently wears Bontrager RXL All Weather tyres for commuting and they stay on for training and club rides. Not too heavy but puncture resistance is good but they are hellishly draggy. The bonus is that if you can keep the pace up on training rides then chuck on a set of Race tyres (Ultremo ZXs in my case) when you need them you will fly – it’s free speed! Can’t believe the difference – one test I’ve seen did a roller + power meter check at a given speed and the difference between race rubber and something middling was ~30W; winter tyres will give an even bigger difference. Who wouldn’t want another 30W for free?

  35. @Fausto If you’re putting the money into King hubs, I highly suggest you get rims better than Velocity.

    I ran A23s for the last year and the rear rim is now bent beyond repair. The LBS confirmed that the aluminum in the A23 is pretty soft.

    Granted, that happened over Belgian cobblestones and technical CX courses, but King hubs deserve better rims.

  36. @G’rilla @Fausto second the upgrade of the velocity rims.  My Ridley Xfire came with a set, and hands down they are the weakest link for whats supposed to be a decent cx rig.

  37. @G’rilla @roger

    The Velocity rims were a compromise choice I must admit. Internet opinion and friends experiences are that the more recent US made ones are more durable than the older Aussie made ones. Other choices were NoTubes Alpha 340s (one friend using them with no issues, but they struck me as a bit too light), H Plus Son Archetypes (too heavy for what I wanted). I don’t think anyone really makes an ideal light aluminium rim at the mo – if Mavic did a slightly lighter Open Pro in low hole drilling a I’d have gone for it straight away, but unfortunately not. I’m hoping I’m light enough to get away with the A23s but if they prove to be delicate I’ll reconsider.

    Any other recommendations? The CK hubs were a good deal by the way; I was going to go for something more sensible but couldn’t turn them down.

  38. @frank

    @unversio

    @VeloVita

    @unversio

    Login is acting funky these days on Safari. And posts.

    I’ve been having the same issue, both on Safari and Chrome.

    Brought the same iMac home and appears to be corrected when connected to ethernet.

    I’ll look at this when I get the chance. Chrome (the world’s superior browser) works great. Noticed the mobile site is fucked as well; disabled it for the time being until I have a chance to fix it.

    @unversio, thanks for sending stats along, I”ll look at it and let all y’all know what I find.

    Which is odd because yesterday I posted successfully on the mobile site for the first time ever.

    Although that said my witty remark putting hirsute cycling in to hilarious perspective turned in to some bilge about Lawrence ten Dam’s beard and a soup strainer.

  39. @frank

    @unversio

    @VeloVita

    @unversio

    Login is acting funky these days on Safari. And posts.

    I’ve been having the same issue, both on Safari and Chrome.

    Brought the same iMac home and appears to be corrected when connected to ethernet.

    I’ll look at this when I get the chance. Chrome (the world’s superior browser) works great. Noticed the mobile site is fucked as well; disabled it for the time being until I have a chance to fix it.

    @unversio, thanks for sending stats along, I”ll look at it and let all y’all know what I find.

    Seems to work OK for me at the moment both on the Mobile side and Safari desktop. There was a problem with one of the plugins we use that I’m blaming for both problems, without any due process in terms of testing; I just loaded the update and it seems OK now. Which, to me, rounds out nicely.

    Let me know if anyone is still having issue with the site.

    Also, @girl has mentioned random articles coming through on her RSS feed – anyone else have that problem? I”m seeing weirdness on the posts in the sidebar not being up to date, but I’ll have to monkey with that problem another time.

  40. @frank I have the RSS weirdness with random old articles from time to time.  It’s been a while however.

  41. I would ride carbon 28h Enve 1.45 & 2.45 (front & rear) tubular wheels with Vittoria Pave 27 tubs, anyday, anywhere, anytime, rain or fricking shine. Life is too short to stare at a carbon wheelset hanging in the garage and not be riding it. I found the 45’s to be as big a profile to use on the front for everyday riding here in windsurf country. If I lived where people thought 20 kph wind was windy, I’d go for the Enve 65’s. I solved the carbon braking problem with a Enve disc brake road fork on my Trek 5.2. Trek was nice enough to allow plenty of tire clearance for my fat tires.

  42. I kind of have a foot in both camps.  I train / commute on a set of 36h ambrosio excellences with ludicrously heavy wire-bead gatorskins, and have a choice of a set of zero 38mm carbon clinchers (that came with my (second-hand, budgetatus compliant bike, I think these are a re-badged zipp?  Either way, alloy tracks, not full carbon…) or a pair of 32 spoked nemesi(?) laced to DA 7900 hubs currently wearing Vittoria Paves (which are, to be honest, a little disappointing)

    If I’m racing in the wet, or in the wind, or on shit roads, or on anything twisty, the gold flags get it, all the time. The braking surface on them is phenomenal, even compared to other alloy rims…don’t know why, but it is.  And cranked over, tubs have always seemed to stick like shit to a blanket – something to do with the profile?

    If I’m doing a local crit night round the industrial estate the zeros go on.  Maybe they’re a little lighter and spin up a tiny bit quicker, maybe a little better into the wind – couldn’t really tell you, to be honest.  Between not crashing into everyone else, trying to stop myself from attacking too soon AGAIN, and holding onto whatever it is I’ve just eaten, I really couldn’t tell you.

  43. I was a little torn at first whether to ride my carbon wheels full time or to stay on my trusted training wheels, but after riding the carbon I will have a hard time going back. I have 28h Mavic Open Pro’s laced to Ultegra hubs with DT Comp spokes, and they ride like a dream and they are super durable, I ride them for cross as well. But when I ordered my new Trek Madone 6 this year I decided it was time to see what all the hype was about, enter Bontrager’s D3 Aeolus 5 wheels(tubular of course).

    As a heavier rider (~85 Kilos) the stiffness of the carbon rims feels amazing. You can feel the bike taking every watt of energy and transferring it to the road.

    “But they must be harsh riding if they are so stiff,” you may ask? I will go out on a limb and say that the carbon rides 90% as well as the fully spoked wheels.

    Price? Well you have me there. $2300 for a set is stiff. Ok let me rephrase that, HOLY S#!$ that is a lot of money for just wheels!

    The last question I had when I got them was how were they going to hold up over the couse of the year. Well that remains to be seen but Bontrager says its DT swiss internals so they should be easy to replace bearings in when the time comes.

    The last point is they are sexy!

  44. Sorry for the late addition to this string, but I bought a set of PowerTap 45mm Carbon Tubular Wheels in November 2011 as my training wheelset.  After going through what seemed like an Italian rear tire every other month I glued on some Continental Grand Prix 4000 tubulars with some Conti sealant in them and I have found bliss.  The wheels have been bullet proof and with the new tires I haven’t flatted in months (and they wear very well).  Yup, you can ride carbon everyday.  With the G3 hub the wheel set goes about 1,350.  Not too shabby.  Brake pad selection becomes the key- living in the mountains in an area that gets a lot of rain picking the wrong pad compound can be a bit dangerous!

  45. @Spartan

    I am with you on that school of thought. I run my only set of carbon wheels, Zipp 404 clinchers full time now on my Cervelo S2. Yes they are exie but I would take them off now and these have proven to be bulletproof wheels.

    I would like tubs but find the clinchers more practical for myself. I have my LOOK 595 running Rol Race SL’s on DT Swiss 240 hubs. The S2 is my fast bike while the 595 is my all day bike. Different horses for different courses.

    Both sets of wheels are wrapped in Vittoria Zaffiro tires which have proven to durable all round rubber.

  46. I have been on the fence as far as carbon wheels myself. Not really because of the cost but because I wasn’t sure I wanted to ride on those wheels full time. In the end I decided to build out a light weight carbon bike and fit the carbon wheels to that instead. In fact, I now have all the components save for the crank arms which are currently back ordered but do in within a month. Just in time for great mountain weather!?!

    Regardless, I went with locally made wheels from Industry Nine. There are the wheels I ordered up, just all in black…

    http://www.industrynine.net/i35

    I only just ran across the article this morning otherwise I would have posted more to this thread than the more current wheelset discussion ongoing in the “Sur La Plaque: Café Roubaix Haleakala Climbing Wheels” thread. Either way, I posted the following two links to VeloNews about carbon road wheels. If you’re interested in carbon wheels (or even if you’re not) these articles talk about the pros and the cons of carbon wheels.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/03/bikes-and-tech/the-torqued-wrench/the-torqued-wrench-taking-on-the-carbon-clincher_277711

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/03/news/mavics-all-new-cosmic-carbone-40c-the-first-safe-carbon-clincher_277775

    -Dinan

  47. Just bought a set of November RSC 38 carbon wheels w a powertap hub on eBayhttp://www.ebay.com/itm/November-RFSC-38-Carbon-Clincher-Wheelset-w-PowerTap-SL-Schwalbe-Ultremos-/221255896614?nma=true&si=zUgcgF8NAYB5W3RDwu1CSYzzTYI%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

    I really bought them for the powertap and the Carbone was just extra.  It’s all one big experimentt and I know I’ll probably take some flogging for the powertap itself.  But I channel my inner geek proudly and want to see how the power feedback works.  Back on subject, I’ll ride those bitches util they fall apart.  Road, CX, whatever.  The hub is on them and I’ll use them  until they give up the ghost and then build a new wheel on the hub.

    Im not certain what effect they’ll have for me.  I think the technology is there for everyday use, its just a matter of cost now.  good deals can be had and like carbon frames i think costs will come down dramatically in the coming decade to the point where they’re the new standard.  its something I’ll certainly pay attention to in light of this post.  So more to follow once I get back to the States.

  48. @Souleur don’t hate me for my carbon clinchers and white shoes.  I am not fast.  I will probably never be fast again, for a whole lot of reasons.  That being said, I work hard spending months and years away from home placing my life in danger for not a hell of a lot of money.  That lifestyle takes a toll on your body that you can’t imagine if you haven’t lived it.  So when I am home and have time to train, some guy blowing me shit about my hear is just another reason to seek other company.  Life’s too short to spend time critiquing others or worrying about what others may think and for the most part I don’t.  And in large part I not only get, but enjoy the rules and the life within the limits of that other stuff that supports the family, defends your rights to do whatever etc…  As long as that doesn’t cross into making my limited time on the bike less enjoyable.  Credit to whomever said earlier in the thread that our prejudices are often based on envy or desire.  S you ride yours and I’ll ride mine.  I’m pretty sure that on any given ride there is sPapp guy on a $500 box store special who can crush me.  Good on him.

    one of the reasons I so enjoy biking is the tech aspect of it.  I’m queer for gear and the last I checked there wasn’t a test to take to scratch that n+1 itch.  I do enjoy your writing but your comment hit tippytippy

  49. Dudes !!!

    Live and let live !!!

    I sure don’t deserve the rocket I ride, but I feel great riding it, and for me, that’s what counts. As it happens, I’m a retro fan, so I have Shamal Ultras on. I think back to when I drooled over the original Shamals, and just love Campy, so a full Campy kit it was.

    If carbon hoops are what makes you feel good about riding, carbon hoops are it. I might add that it also makes me feel good to ride away from someone using carbon hoops, so I get a bonus from them without spending a dime !!

    Not sure why we bag each other. Share the love. Or, at least, respect our differing preferences.

    Damn, how gutless. Just read what I wrote. Rule #5.

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