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Lightest Clincher wheels(26 posts)

Lightest Clincher wheelschrisbaby
Jan 4, 2002 7:44 AM
What are the lightest clinchers on the market?
Is it possible to have wheels custom built to be lighter that the wheelsets that most manufacturers make?

Thanks in advance
re: Lightest Clincher wheels ?Dog
Jan 4, 2002 8:52 AM ?
My solution...Samu Ilonen
Jan 9, 2002 4:26 AM
re: Lightest Clincher wheels2kw
Jan 4, 2002 9:47 AM
LEW Composites in Australia make a carbon fiber clicher set that weighs in at 1325g. I think these are the lightest clinchers you'll find. But they cost about $1500, so I would get the American Classics which are only 40g more but $1000 less.

For more info go to:

Jan 4, 2002 9:51 AM
Lew Composites is in Las Vegas- which looks a bit like Australia, but is, in fact, in the United States.
Jan 4, 2002 10:06 AM
wow, 180 gram rims for the KOM
Um, yeah,TJeanloz
Jan 4, 2002 10:55 AM
I don't know first hand, but I have heard rumors that the KOM was a POS. And an expensive one at that. Word was that the rim was too flexy and delicate to be of any benefit except in a pure hill climb- and that descending was terrifying. This is just rumor though...
Heard some rumorsrckymtnmd
Jan 4, 2002 11:40 AM
Heard some rumors

I don't have any direct experience with Lew wheels, but I have heard the KOM wheels have a weight limit of 125 pounds. I've also heard that his CS skills are not the best either. Check out Bill Shook's other web site:§ion=2&category=17

If you go by the weights listed on the 350 wheels they are 1265 grams (Campy Hyperon range)
is what lew says...weiwentg
Jan 4, 2002 6:28 PM
about bladed spokes in their FAQ true, or is it bull?
they basically claimed that bladed spokes are OK head on, but at an angle of attack of >5 degrees, they created more drag than a round spoke due to larger exposed surface area. some other wheel manufacturer claimed that (can't remember who) as well ... and is Lew right in saying that bladed spokes are 100 grams heavier per wheel than round ones?
and is what they say about disk wheels (that turbulence bit) correct?
just curious.
is what lew
Jan 4, 2002 8:51 PM
The spoke drag issue is possible. Your bladed spoke could have an effective cross sectional area that is more than a round spoke (when there is an angle of attack or in other terms, crosswind). But you have to sum it up. Do 32 less draggy spokes add up to less than say 18 or 20 bladed Ksyrium spokes (that may have slightly more drag in cross wind conditions). It all depends on the wind angle and the difference between the spokes individually as far as their drag differences.
is what lew
Jan 4, 2002 9:44 PM
I think his answer to the question (Q: Doesn't the smooth sides of a disk wheel or the airfoil shape of a composite spoked wheel slice through the wind better than metal spokes?)is correct. There will be significant turbulence on the top side (hub and above)of the disk wheel in the front and back (chainstay area). It would be of interest to see the results from some of the time trial wind tunnel tests. Keep the rider in the same position and change the wheels and look at the drag counts and do it also with the bike only and change the wheels. Of course you would need both wheels spinning.
Is Lew all wet?TJeanloz
Jan 5, 2002 8:32 AM
I'm inclined to think that the Lew diatribe against disc wheels is fiction. Look at it this way: everybody contending for the TdF (or any other TT event) spends hours in the wind tunnel on rollers (so yes, the wheels are spinning). I've never seen one (since discs were invented) who didn't decide that a disc wheel was faster than a spoked wheel. Personally, I've never been to the wind tunnel. And there probably are specific conditions in which a spoked wheel will perform better than a disc, but a disc is USUALLY better.

As for bladed spokes, he could be right about aerodynamics at different yaws. He is not correct about spoke weight; the Sapim X-Ray is one of the lightest spokes on the market, and is aero.
----------Is Lew all wet?tr
Jan 5, 2002 10:24 AM
I never said that the disc was faster or slower, i don't know if they are. His discussion concerning turbulence on the wheel is correct, the top side of the wheel will have far more. Yes, everyone these days is in the wind tunnel, but are they looking at drag counts with and without disc wheels? I always hear them talk about their position, nothing about wheels. My experiences in low speed wind tunnels have always dealt with aeroelastic concerns and didn't deal with drag directly. I don't think they spend as much time in the tunnel as people would think, tunnel time is very expensive unless you have a good deal with the facility. As for bladed spokes, i think there is no doubt that they can be more draggy in a cross wind. The same goes for a disk wheel in a cross wind. Show me a pro who wants to ride a disk in a cross wind. I didn't address the spoke weight issue, i am not a gram hunter.
I'm sorry,TJeanloz
Jan 5, 2002 10:47 AM
I wasn't addressing your comments specifically, but those of Paul Lew in past and current LEW promotional babble.

As for a disc in a cross wind, again it depends on the yaw angle and the riders ability to control the disc. IF the rider can control the bike (a big if) a disc will be faster in a cross wind.

As for how much time pros spend in the wind tunnel, it is pretty significant for some, Lance Armstrong usually commits to a few days at Texas A&M, where they cut him a deal on costs.
I'm sorry,tr
Jan 5, 2002 2:02 PM
No sweat, i didn't realize you meant the Lew babble. I guess the deal with a disc in the wind really comes down to how much of your energy do you have to use controlling it versus using that energy for forward velocity. I remember seeing Tyler Hamilton get pushed around going across that bridge in the team time trial. I think the real big guys 170+ have an advantage in the wind, they have more control. When going to the tunnel, preparation is everything. We routinely had all our senarios figured out before we left for the tunnel. Depending on the result of each wind tunnel run, we were prepared for the next move.
full of $%#@%gimondi
Jan 5, 2002 2:08 PM
I have said before that I don't like Lew, and I certainly would not trust him, here's why:

Call John Cobb as bicycle sports, he runs tunnel testing for Postal and works with Steve Hed, whom he IS partial to, but still he is an honest, really smart guy. He told me that he tested wheels for Trek when they were trying to use the Lew rim with Rolf spokes, and they were 'a joke' because the rim was so narrow the air off the tire just left a big pressure wake, so the only advantage was the spokes were shorter, but even that was somewhat negated by the rim shape. (remember why postal went to Mavic, because the Rolf/Lew carbons were breaking)

Then I learned that Lew's wind tunnel 'testing' and 'experience' came from using a 3" diameter flow bench to test rim shapes and spokes, good for porting the head on my 302 mustang, but no relevance to a bicycle.

Why does he trash disc wheels? Because he can't make on. Like hubs, he has shown the same goofy hub at Interbike for three years, always promising January delivery, and for three years has continued using White industries hubs. Finally, the crank and brake concept of last year, of which he actually sold many but did not deliver one has been dropped, now he is machining out the arm of an Ultegra crank and wrapping it with carbon, it is just a joke, the crank equivalent of the J-disc, but over $600 a set.

Finally, I can't find it but Zipp had a link to a NASA website on aerodynamics which showed that an oval shape had the same drag as a cylinder one tenth the cross section, so a 1mm oval spoke has same drag as a 0.1mm round spoke. They used that show why they use ovals instead of blades (which are flat so they are not as aero), but essentially when Lew talks about a spoke 'stalling' at some angle he is neglecting the mention that a round spoke is 'stalled' at every angle. I think the real story is that he uses very few, very thin db spokes because his rims are heavy. The Sydney wheelset uses 16 revolution spokes front and rear, whereas Zipp uses 20/28 oval spokes in a wheelset which is lighter. For a company which has no ground on which to stand other than lightweight, seems like this would be a big reason to argue about spokes as revolutions are nearly 2gm lighter per than a 14ga. oval spoke. So the aero advantage would cost almost 70 grams making it significantly heavier than the competition. The wheel would also be stiffer, but I think stiffness was neglected along with a lot of other features.

I would look at Zipp, Corima, Campy, Fir, the 12 year old down the street, and just about anybody else first.
my 2 cents
I don't like Lew, eitherDog
Jan 10, 2002 7:46 AM
I have a set of Velomax Ascent Pros with Lew carbon rims. They are very thin rims, and if you use a tire wider than about 18mm, like you said, it likely negates the aero-ness of the deep rim. The thing is damn flexy, too. Go to stand up a hill, and the rear will bang both sides of the brake pads, even set very wide. Cornering is fairly sketchy. Braking is horrible, too. They are very grabby, almost to the point of being dangerous. They are fairly light, though.

I think Lew's advertising is a bit disingenuous and misleading. He talks about an "ideal" aspect ratio, but fails to mention he achieves it with very skinny rims. He talks about flat spokes having high drag at 5 degrees yaw, but fails to mention what happens at other angles. Looking around at lots of info on wheel drag, and I see that many wheels spike in drag around 5 degrees, then actually go down with higher yaw angles. HED's site has a lot of numbers. This is a case of Lew choosing one value to generalize and support his product, sort of ignoring or hiding the complete truth. The whole bit about disk wheels being slower appears to be fairly inane and transparent. In these days of wind tunnel testing of time trial bikes, I can't imagine a Lance Armstrong using a disk if it were slower, not to mention other objective testing contradicting Lew. Why doesn't he just 'fess up and admit that disk's are faster under some circumstances, but most of us don't ride under those circumstances.

I don't like the wheels and I don't like the marketing. I think Zipp is superior on both counts.

full of $%#@%tr
Jan 11, 2002 4:51 PM
I pulled out one of my books and you are correct that it is a one to ten ratio and that would be a cylinder versus an airfoil shape. It is total drag that they are the same. The airfoil shape has significantly more skin friction drag than the cylinder, whereas the cylinder has more pressure drag.
re: Lightest Clincher wheelsgimondi
Jan 4, 2002 5:45 PM
To get really light clinchers you will fork over even more money than an average pair of tubulars, and still be heavy. I recommend the Zipp 303 as a tubular or clincher as being the lightest usable product for either. And yes, if you call Lew and ask them even they will tell you that the KOM is for climbing only, not descending, not road racing, it cannot handle brake heat, or any sort of impact from 'imperfect road surfaces' I personally had absolutely terrible customer service from them after a KOM which took 7 months to deliver self destructed on the first ride and almost put a customer in the hospital, then they refused warranty citing too heavy a rider, 'imperfect road surface', and 'improper usage' as the wheel was for 'climbing only'

However, when I find a land of perfect roads and climbing only, I may buy a pair, until then watch out for these guys, they put out some questionable stuff.
re: Lightest Clincher wheelssherpa23
Jan 5, 2002 8:31 AM
I have had nothing but top customer service from Lew Composites. I had a pair of the older Customs (now Sydney) and I broke a rear spoke 2 times in about 50 races. They said send back the rear and they would replace it with a new Sydney with 4 more spokes - no charge. Since then (Jan 2000), I have never even so much as broken a spoke on any of the 4 pairs of Lew's that I own. I race full time do some pretty major races all around the world and I don't take chances with wheels. That's why I use Lews. I can't say enough about the wheels or the company. These guys really stand behind their products.
New zipp 303=1380g...and only cost $1000spookyload
Jan 4, 2002 9:37 PM
But for real high speed look at their 303z3 tubulars that weigh in a 975g a pair!!! That is light my friends. I would venture to say Lance Armstrong has dibbs on a few of the only 200 pairs they are making.
Re: New zipp 303=1380g...and only cost $1000ciocc rider
Jan 5, 2002 4:35 AM
Yah, the 303z3's sound fab (did you read the bit about the hubs for those babies? Wow!), but they'll set you back about 3k! Street price may be a bit lower, but still...I just bought a brand new pair of 303's from my lbs at 1/2 pric($649), 'cuz Zipp is apparently trying to improve their image after the whole bad hub/delayed ship debacle. I'm actually buying two pairs so I have a spare. This was apparently on a very limited basis, and changed from day-to-day, according to Tom Demerle at Bikesport in Dearborn, MI, where I got my wheels. Check out their website at Great shop, lots of great gear, great CS and they know their sh*t! :)
the answerWoof the dog
Jan 6, 2002 2:16 AM
my speeddreams are just under 1400 gr. And that is using sun venus rims. If you use velocity aeroheads, you should be saving ~50-60 grams total. (450-420 x 2) The question is would Dave build with these rims and would they be more flexy because the rim profile is lower? If he agrees, you got the lightest, cheapest, highest in quality clincher wheelset and an extra 1000 bucks in the pocket. Or you could get some of them Bill Shook rims and build with Ti spokes (aren't those lighter?) and am. classic/hugi hubs, but that would cost you closer to 800 $ i am guesstimating, or even more! And boy would these be flexy and fragile.


another answerWoof the dog
Jan 7, 2002 1:52 AM

Now, those flies (i think) are at 1350 gr. as far as I can remember. That is what I'd call scary light.

Woof, the daog
Dave Thomas died.nm
Jan 10, 2002 7:53 AM
re: Lightest Clincher wheelstayles
Jan 17, 2002 8:22 PM
build yourself some normal wheels...

chris king hubs $350/set 105g/260g
spokes 15/16s about $35/set 170g/170g est
alloy nipples about $10/set 10g/10g est
mavic open pro rims $120/set 425g/425g
totals $515 for BOTH 710g/865g

sure you can get some Rolf Sestriere at 650g/840g .. but you will spend almost twice as much... and save about 85 grams... maybe a little more if the rolf weights include the ti skewers..but I don't know if they do or not...

I don't know why people are so into the areo-ish wheels .. sure they look cool... but i'd rather have a little less areo and a lot less rotating weight when comparing my wheels above to many of the areo wheels at the same cost or even more expensive...