Speed on a budget: carbon wheelsets

10 01 2009

On a good day, I can resist any temptation that is not made out of carbon fiber. On a bad day, I contemplate grand larceny to score me some Zipp 404s or Lightweights. Admit it, you’ve fondled those dimpled beauties at your local bike shop, swayed by the voom-voom sirens, in awe of the build quality but startled by the price tag. Now hear this: there are a number of ahem more affordable carbon wheelsets on the market. Here are two which have caught my attention:

In the blue corner, weighing in at an amazing 1600 grams and retailing for 928 euros (€409 + €519), the – gulp – most  affordable carbon wheelset on the market, the 2009 Pro Bikegear RC50. The look of blazing speed.

In the red corner, engineered by freakin’ Zipp Speed Weaponry and reviewed at testrider.com, weighing in at 1884 grams and retailing for 1300 dollars, the 2008 Flash-Point FP60. That’s right, Zipp on a budget.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

9 responses

11 01 2009
bob

One must not also look at Reynolds’s speedsters (at both the $1,200 and $2,200 price ranges) … the MV32 and DV46 are the more expensives ones. For a more reasonable budget, look at Williams Cycling for all carbon sets at $1,199. I am eyeing the 08 Zipp 404’s on ebay though… dreams are free, unlike these wheelsets!

11 01 2009
Tom Van Hout

Hmmm, interesting Bob. Williams cycling is new to me. Their 58cm model has a stunning pricetag at $999 but at 1879 grams per pair, they’re on the heavy side. I’m told that upon purchasing Zipp 404s, you are issued a butler who looks after them. “Will you be riding today, sir?”

11 01 2009
Bert

Why, being a thriatlete, not just taking the 808 (zipp) instead of the 404? You’ll really feel the difference with rims that deep… it almost replaces a full disc wheel! Only problem: the wind (and maybe the price).

12 01 2009
bob rodriguez

The Williams wheels can be a little heavier, just like the FP’s, but the price points are easy. Beyond rim weight, a major consideration is that they roll well once up to speed. If your tri courses don’t have major accelerations required (or many of them), a heavier but great rolling wheels seems like a good trade off. I have two sets on request from a team here: R-Sys (yes, I saw the recall notice but they are a climbing joy) and a set of the Carbone SL Premiums (sweet rolling but heavy-ish). May sell both and my Ksyriums to get the 404’s and a butler. To Bert, what about using a 404 front and a 808 rear?

13 01 2009
Tom Van Hout

I like bike porn as much as the next cyclist/triathlete, but the secret to a fast bikesplit is not rolling resistance, it’s …drum roll… (i) power-to-weight ratio (ii) a teardrop helmet and (iii) body/aero position. That being said, I think I’ll have me some Zipp 1080s. They come with an ocean view villa in the West Indies and a selection of playmates who know all about body positioning.

14 01 2009
bob

beg to differ slightly … climbing is power to weight, time trialing is power to frontal surface area… you can trial using heavier wheels than my climbing fetish allows… so I talk toys but drive my 05 ksyriums for my miles … but agree on body position (especially efficiency as much as aero) and aero gear (did you see the new camelbak shirt with the embedded hydration). Train safe. Go fast. Talk big.

14 01 2009
Tom Van Hout

point taken, Bob. Point I was trying to make was this: investing in top notch material may shave off seconds, but so will a better body fat percentage over let’s say a 40k time trial.

14 01 2009
Bert

yeah, off course you first have to aim for that 7% body fat barrier, but once you reach that point, you are really going to need those carbon wheels… otherwise it wouldn’t match at all..
Bob: indeed, a combination 404-808 is very nice, especially when there’s a lot of turns. Or wind. (which is pretty often the case here in Belgium).
By the way, Tom, if you aren’t sure about your posiion, i can give you the address of the man who worked with great cyclists like Frank Vdb, Stijn Devolder, Me, etc. He adjusts one’s position so good you’d rather be on your bike when you’re in bed.

14 01 2009
bob rodriguez

Totally agree Gentlemen. Through trial & error, I have discovered that I go much faster by enjoying fewer sodas, donuts and the like than I do by parting with the many dollars necessary to make my bike lighter or more aero. Here is the equation: bob + bike = XX lbs/kilos; given near zero toy budget, Bike is a constant so XX is reduced only by reducing Bob… bye bye donuts… a pro bike fit will be my big “bike upgrade” this season. Maybe speed will prove to be sexier than carbon! Thanks for joining the thread. train safe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: