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Aero wheels that are heavy ... why use them?(26 posts)

Aero wheels that are heavy ... why use them?Sherpa
Jun 4, 2003 5:58 PM
I was wondering why do people still race on heavy aero wheels, like the Mavic Cosmic Carbones, when they're so heavy? If a wheelset's weight exceeds 1800 gram, does the aero advantage still pay off? (I still see plenty of Carbones in the pro peleton - I must be missing something)

Let's say you have two wheelsets and you're preparing for flat TT and it's time to decide on wheels. You've got a light non-aero wheelset like a Velomax Orion (about 1530 grams) and the 1975 gram Cosmic Carbones. Which would you choose? (Yeah, I know Zipp 909s - just humble me for the sake of discussion)

I'm not trying to bash Carbones, just trying to understand the physics of deep aero wheelsets.

Hey man, you're a pro. You should know.shirt
Jun 4, 2003 8:15 PM
I thought the major benefits of lightness are climbing and acceleration. If you're doing a mostly flat TT, neither one of those is a critical factor, right? Wouldn't aerodynamics be the next most important peformance component to consider? If so, I'm guessing the ~1 lb. difference between the wheelsets is more than offset by the improved aerodynamics.

That said, I see a lot of these short, twisty TTs in Europe where those guys are hammering out of the corners like it's a crit. In those cases, lightness (and stiffness) does seem to be more of a factor.

I also can't help agree with your indirect insinuation that many pro teams do it because they've always done it that way and because it just looks right.
wrong sherpalonefrontranger
Jun 4, 2003 8:23 PM
Sherpa23 is perhaps who you are referring to. He's not been on the board for several months due to the fact he's been pretty busy riding, training and racing.

ditto for me.
re: Aero wheels that are heavy ... why use them?Time Trial dot org
Jun 5, 2003 5:22 AM
its about stiffness and aerodynamics really, once you get the wheel rolling you are god to go, the slight weight differences matter little
In Short.........CARBON110
Jun 5, 2003 5:47 AM
The carbones are not great wheels. But, aero beats lighweight everytime except on climbs above 12% Now a climb that is 12% or more for half a mile and less the rest your better off with aero and somewhat light. Aero wheels in an average road race with rollers or flat can save a rider up to 10% energy. Thats alot for just one component on your bike. 10% is alot however you can do that by being economic on your pedals and staying out of the wind. When I race Roan Groan which has an 8 mile climb, I use my Cane Creek 58mm deep wheels since I will save more energy using them climbing then say a pair of super light spoked wheels. Cosmic Carbones,which I used to own, are not great wheels since they weigh 2000grams, have cheap imitation carbon (ie why they are called carbone) and are very stiff and harsh for a ride. They are indestructable but the carbone part cracks easy and you can flex it with 2 fingers. Not to mention they hold more water then the Titanic when it rains :D
numbersTime Trial dot org
Jun 6, 2003 6:12 PM
"Aero wheels in an average road race with rollers or flat can save a rider up to 10% energy"

just wondering where you got your numbers

I got those numbers from Steve Hed "nm"CARBON110
Jun 8, 2003 5:09 PM
my guess is advertising spaceDougSloan
Jun 5, 2003 6:39 AM
Deep section wheels offer a lot more ad space for Mavic, which probably requests they be used in flatter races and timetrials -- sort of like stock cars vs. open wheel cars.

Zipp 404's are down around 1200 grams and almost as deep as the Mavics. I can't see adding a pound and a half to the wheels, particularly for inferior wheels, unless there is a sponsor issue.

You can have deep section and light weight. Extra weight provides no benefit, except coasting on a descent.

My guess, maybe wrong, but possibly Zipps rebadged (NM)Swat Dawg
Jun 5, 2003 7:02 AM
Mavics=52mm deep...Zipps=58mm...ride is much better on zipps"nm"CARBON110
Jun 5, 2003 7:18 AM
Thats what I mean, I cant tell 6mm on TV...Itd be EZ to pass offSwat Dawg
Jun 5, 2003 8:45 AM
Rebadging happens so much with frames, that it wouldn't be unfathomable for it to happen with wheels. It would work especially well with all the gaudy graphics Mavic puts on their wheels. I mean Zipp makes the 440's that are clinchers. Just guessing like I said. I would echo Carbon110 that the Zipps are going to be much, much, better wheels.
Thats what I mean, I cant tell 6mm on TV...Itd be EZ to pass offrogue_CT1
Jun 6, 2003 6:54 PM
I agree with Swat Dog. I figure most of the Carbones are really ADA's or Zipps with Mavic stickers on them.
I think your all wrong.CharlesTT
Jun 6, 2003 6:33 PM
The best allround racing wheels you can buy are from mavic, campagnolo, fir, and ambroiso. They are not the lightest at all. But in normal racing conditions that the pros go through, those are your choises if you are the average rider. Zipp, my friends, is crap. Most regular riders have had to go through several replacement rims from zipp before they get a good one. CSC probly goes through a pair every 2-3 days of racing. The difference between zipp, reynolds and what i have listed above is the quality of the carbon and how it is applied to make the wheel

About the Carbone SSC's, they are the best damn wheels on the planet. They have quality hubs, zipp doesn't, and rims made of quality carbon fibre. Forget the weight. If you climb good, spend $3000+ for 'ADA' or 'Lightweight' wheels. Otherwise, buy something you will feel confident with riding at x speed. The biggest thing you all are missing is that Carbone SSC's have an ALUMINUM breaking surface. Thats why everyone rides em.
Finally................A Mavic Cosmic Carbone supporterlanterne rouge
Jun 6, 2003 6:57 PM
I am with you Charles. I think the carbones are about the best wheel out there. I am with you on the Campy wheels too. I ride my Neutrons when there is alot of climbing in a race and the Carbones for anything remotely flat. The greatest benefit to me, and I don't think it has been mentioned, is the "flywheel" effect. You get the Cosmics up to speed and they are ALOT easier to keep there. I believe they are some of the fastest wheels made.
They look cool too....CharlesTT
Jun 6, 2003 9:45 PM
Best looking too. Thats where mavic has an advantage, best looking. I mean, look at A.G. When he is goin all out in a time trial, you can tell he's killing himself based on how cool those three mavic stickers look spinning at 34 mph on his rear Mavic Comete. Ksyriums look cool just standing still.

I am glad there is someone else into Carbone's. None of the other juniors agree with me.
They look cool too....xcmntgeek
Jun 7, 2003 7:21 AM
There are a lot of big guys on my team and they love the Carbones beacuse they are stiff and because of the alluminum brake surface. I don't care much for them, but I'm a much lighter rider. How about the new spinergy Tilliums?
Explain to me this.........CARBON110
Jun 8, 2003 5:39 PM
Having owned the Carbones and currently I am using a pair of Cane creek Carbon tubular wheels for racing and clincher Zipp 404s for fun and fast group rides, your going to tell me the Carbones are better wheels! LOL. I put 3500 miles on the Carbones. When I first got them I was unimpressed with the Carbone...ite Carbone not carbon...big difference. Its like the plastic on a to go soup bends easily but is tough enough to crack. They hold water like no other wheel I have ever ridden...they suck it up right off the road like a vacuum. They are heavy and stiff. I owned the Zipp 303s and they were the fastest accelerating wheels I have ever ridden.
I traded them for the 404s. Zipp did have some issues but so has Mavic in its history. You want to use 2000 gram fake carbon deep dish rims cause they look cool and accelerate at speed all means. However I will be using much less energy sprinting out of crit corners and powering up short hills with the peloton then alot.
Since when has any road race,exception of a break away, sustained a consistant speed? When I got rid of my Carbones I gained 2 mph in every crit then before. By just changing the wheels. They are cheap and over priced....Amborsio, Antara wheels are silly expensive and only have one crappy dealer in the USA. Red Rose Imports has more attitude then a Football stadium during the Super Bowl.
In conclusion, the hubs are noisy, they hold water, they Carbone is cheap, they are over priced BUT they look cool and in an ITT event you may find it easier to sustain 25+ mph until of course you have to slow down and turn around to finish the course and then you will loose more time because they are less aero and more heavy then Zipp 404s or Cane Creek Carbon wheels. Good luck! Why dont you stick a water bottle full of sand in your back pockets too and tell everyone it improves your training :D
Explain to me this.........lanterne rouge
Jun 8, 2003 9:20 PM
No need to explain anything really. I have just sat by and read post after post bashing the Cosmics (often posted by you) and thought I would post that I happen to like the Cosmics (Rigidity, speed, no need to change to special brake pads, and yes, looks). It just boils down to personal preference really, nothing more. I have thought about purchasing Zipps, and have heard reports both ways. Some of my buddies love 'em, some hate 'em. I don't have any problem getting the Cosmics up to speed. I just happen to like the way they stay at speed, that is all I said. With regard to racing; I try to make it into breaks as often as possible (mind you, that is not as often as I like, but that is why they call it racing and not winning :). I am glad you like the Cane Creek's you ride. Those rims, without fail, have received awful reviews from mechanic friends of mine. I can't say anything more about them as I have no personal experience. I think differences of opinion are what make this world interesting, and I think that is what we have here. I have never tried the water bottle full of sand trick before. Does it make you stronger when you train with it and then remove for race time, maybe adding another 2 mph to your crit performance? ;) Let's just agree to disagree regarding wheel choice.
Good Post..........CARBON110
Jun 9, 2003 6:03 AM
I liked your post alot. I didnt mean to project that I know any more then you. Just from the tests done in the Austin Texas wind tunnel and from what I have gathered from Steve Hed in addition from having owned both wheelsets, the Cosmic did not fair well. However that little performance maybe negligable for us anyway. But isnt that why we are interested in alot of the accessories, especially wheels, for improving our performance? But I have seen enough racers with lower end bikes beat the snot out of guys who have the best of the best. Its hard to say whats better in bike racing since there are so many factors: how you train,how you feel healthwise, how you race,how you rest and how you eat to name a few. So, your absolutley right, its personal preferance in alot of cases. You ride your Cosmics and I will admire them from afar since they were the first wheels I ever road. I will ride my Zipps and we will both be equally happy. What a bore this place would be without disagreement. I highly dont recommend the sand in the water bottle LOL !
This Will Get You Guys All Bent Out Of Shape!BigLeadOutGuy
Jun 9, 2003 6:20 AM
I actually think that my open pros are my fastest wheelset. I have the light aero wheels and I cant figure it out. I have a 1400 gram superlight wheelset but I prefer to ride my 2000 gram open pros for some reason, they just feel faster, I dunno why but they just do. So much so that I think I am going to buy a new set at retail cost even tho I have a pro deal with a pretty well known wheel company.
How do you like them apples?

ride safe!
I'm curious.....xcmntgeek
Jun 11, 2003 7:23 PM
Maybe someone with more than my two years of high school physics can explain this to me. It is pretty clear that the weight of a wheelset makes a difference, but why? I know that when you are pedaling your are lifting the back of the wheel up, but the exact same amount of weight is falling on the other side of the wheel. Why don't they just cancel each other out? This isn't the case, anyone who has riden wheelsets (one light, one heavy) could tell you this. But why? My logic might be slightly off, I just finished a 5 hour ride in pouring rain- flodd watch, what flood watch?
Angular momentumMcAndrus
Jun 13, 2003 8:03 AM
I'll let the real engineers fill in the blanks but my college physics (don't ask when) tells me that it's angular momentum. Remember Newton's Laws of Motion?

An object in motion tends to stay in motion and all that? A wheel rim has a certain mass. Accelerating that mass takes a certain amount of energy. A heavier rim takes more energy to accelerate than a lighter rim.

There is also wind resistance in play here because of the profile of the wheel facing the wind. At some point, a deep dish rim compensates for its additional weight by reducing the amount of wind resistance to the point where accelerating the rim is now less than that of a lighter, box rim. You usually see this effect at higher speeds where the wind is more prominent in the resistance equation.

There's also the angular momentum to consider. The rule of thumb is that an ounce on the rim (weight in motion) is equal to four ounces on the frame, in terms of ability to accelerate. So, saving weight on the rims is more important than saving weight in the frame.

Then there is wheel stiffness, spoke lacing, and all that too.

It's all too complicated for my little brain. I just say a lighter rim is better - until it collapses like tissue paper in a pothole.

If you haven't seen it yet, check out He has all the numbers.
Open Pros...........CARBON110
Jun 12, 2003 5:43 AM
I have a set of Dura Ace hubs laced to Open Pros that I train on. They take a hit like nothing else. They are so comfy its as though they had shocks. They display the kind of performance you buy Carbon bikes for....they feel good after 6 hours, they are light, pretty easy to clean, and indestructable. I put more miles on my Open Pros then anyother wheel. I only had to true them once in the last 8k miles. Might have something to do with my weight since I get thrown around like paper when the wind blows...but they are just highly dependable. When ever I dont know a race course in the spring or a winter training ride with people I dont know I ride OP. Also, for races with dirt roads there isnt any better wheel
Explain to me this.........ozone
Jun 10, 2003 1:52 PM
"I am using a pair of Cane creek Carbon tubular wheels for racing and clincher Zipp 404s for fun and fast group rides"

You actually have a $1200.00 set of training wheels. why not just use a cheap set of ultegra wheels to train on. I have never been able to figure out why people train on racing wheels.
Cause He's A Stud...Thats Why!!! =)BigLeadOutGuy
Jun 10, 2003 4:50 PM
What more can you say?
He is right...I am !...but only after B.L.O.G showed me how :DCARBON110
Jun 11, 2003 11:22 AM
I use the Zipps for fast training rides. On Tuesday nights we have a 28-34mph paceline down the only flat road in Asheville. I need any help I can get on those since the local Pros are burning our lungs for those who decide to go group A. Also, I use the Zipps for race prepping on downhills so I know exactly how my Cane Creeks will react to cross winds. That way I dont have to worry about cross winds with 58mm wheels. Both Cane Creeks and Zipps 404s are 58mm deep. And then sometimes when its nice out and I dont feel like using my Mavic Open Pros I train on I'll throw on the Zipps. Or if I do some LT workouts I usem sometimes....I had a credit with Zipp so I got a good deal on them.
Big Lead Out GUy I cant wait till we meet up! You ever want to come down to Asheville winter or summer jsut let me know