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Owned And Tested: Cosmic Carbone vs. HED Alps

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Owned And Tested: Cosmic Carbone vs. HED Alps

Old 08-28-06, 06:57 PM
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Talewinds
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Owned And Tested: Cosmic Carbone vs. HED Alps

Someone commented here that there's dwindling activity here on the tri board. I for one think that's a shame but I've never done much to help things out here as I'm usually on the Roadbike forum, I don't know why, I think like a tri-guy anyway, more activity there I suppose. (I just got that, self fulfilling isn't it).
So here's to starting to do my part to keep the tri board alive...

Last year I bought a Kestrel Talon SL, and as an upgrade, I got the Mavic Cosmic Carbones. I have to say firstly that I have been very pleased with all of Mavic's products, so much so that I'll pretend it's not a French company. I've used the Carbones for a year now and here's a few observations:
1. The aluminum rim is worry free. I can train on them and never sweat it.
2. But they are heavy, and take some time to spin up. Yes, I believe that's an overused term but, just try to sprint on a set of these and you'll know what I mean.
3. They make a whooshing/ whirring sound, not that they're annoying, you just always know they are there.
4. I have to be careful as the core is hollow, the carbon skin supports itself with no substructure.


I put the Carbones on a Pinarello road bike I just built, because that bike NEEDED those wheels, see below...



So, I needed a new set of wheels for my tri bike and I'd always liked the Alps model and since the redesign, I liked'em even better. Zipp 404's have always been high on my list, but I'm still not sold on the all carbon construction, and they're becoming like Harley Davidsons... everone's got one, and I want to avoid the Ebay bidding wars for those things.

Here's some more food for thought on buying the accessories, I bought some Michelin Pro2 Race tires from probikekit for $26.xx each. This was my first order from them so I was extremely apprehensive, but here's the breakdown...
Probikekit, $26.xx each, and a WHOPPING 5 days to ship from the UK.
My last order from Nashbar, 520 miles away? 9 DAYS!!!
This weeks Performance Bike sale advertisement, Pro2 Race $48.xx EACH!!!

Anyway, the HED Alps wheels are riding really nicely. I can't even hear them, dead silent, not a sound. By the numbers, they don't look to be a huge amount lighter than the Carbones, but they definitely are, and they definitely feel lighter, waaaayyy lighter. And the carbon skin is supported by a foam core, it's a nice tight package.

Cheers.

*Edited for spelling*
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Old 08-28-06, 07:48 PM
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I think that bike looks awesome. No orange bar tape? As you say 'spin up' is over used, I've never heard it. I suppose it means the effort that you actually feel before you are up to speed that is easily maintained for a constant duration? Anyway, I had a pair of Mavic Kysriums, or however they are spelled, back tire kept on coming untrue!! I thought highly of them until that. My Trek has Race Lites and P2 has stock Eastons. I like the Bontragers the best.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rplong
I think that bike looks awesome. No orange bar tape? As you say 'spin up' is over used, I've never heard it. I suppose it means the effort that you actually feel before you are up to speed that is easily maintained for a constant duration? Anyway, I had a pair of Mavic Kysriums, or however they are spelled, back tire kept on coming untrue!! I thought highly of them until that. My Trek has Race Lites and P2 has stock Eastons. I like the Bontragers the best.
Ya, I've got some orange bar tape, I'm just waiting for the yellow to die first.
You're right on about "spin up", with the Carbones you can feel a real mass in those wheels, like if you're cranking it up from 5mph to cruising speed, you can feel the force it requires to get them turning, there's real inertia there. I've got some Bontragers on my Trek, if I get off those Carbones and then onto the Bontrager wheels, I practically fall off the front of the bike the pedals turn so much easier.
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Old 08-30-06, 09:18 AM
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I'm glad you started this thread. I've been considering a set of the Mavic's and the Alps and was having trouble deciding. Hadn't heard of the Bontrager Race Lite's...I'll have to look them up.
Thanks again.
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Old 08-30-06, 09:13 PM
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They aren't the 'aero' type like the Alps or those Mavics that Tailwinds has. Bontragers deeper rims are marketed under the title 'Aeolus'. I think there are plenty of alternativs when it comes to deep dish rims. I might open a can of worms with this next statement, but I would like someone to prove otherwise. When it comes to 'aero' type rims, regardless of brand, I don't think you are going to be able to prove noticeable differences. However, you could prove the difference between normal rims, like the bontrager and alps or cosmics. It just depends on how much coin you want to spend. If I upgrade my wheels, or WHEN I upgrade my wheels, I think I am going to look for the cheapest and durable set of deep dish rims, not a specific brand like Zipp or HED.
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Old 08-30-06, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rplong
They aren't the 'aero' type like the Alps or those Mavics that Tailwinds has. Bontragers deeper rims are marketed under the title 'Aeolus'. I think there are plenty of alternativs when it comes to deep dish rims. I might open a can of worms with this next statement, but I would like someone to prove otherwise. When it comes to 'aero' type rims, regardless of brand, I don't think you are going to be able to prove noticeable differences. However, you could prove the difference between normal rims, like the bontrager and alps or cosmics. It just depends on how much coin you want to spend. If I upgrade my wheels, or WHEN I upgrade my wheels, I think I am going to look for the cheapest and durable set of deep dish rims, not a specific brand like Zipp or HED.

I agree 100%. I'll go as far as to say that the benefit of aero rims vs. standard rims is not entirely too much either. Deep down in places nobody wants to talk about people will admit to themselves that the aero rims do more to benefit our psyche and confidence than actual aerodynamics. Now, some dweebs can get on here and post all kinds of numbers about the benefits of aero rims, but hey, I'm just a commoner, I'm not a cycling prodigee, aero rims just boost my ego.
I think some nerds at MIT just showed in their wind tunnel testing that using a $200 aero helmet absolutely obliterates the advantages of using a $1000 set of aero rims.

(Qualifier: Yes yes, I know, aero wheels provide as much as X:XX advantage over a 40k TT than standard wheels at sustained XXmph)
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Old 08-31-06, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Talewinds
I think some nerds at MIT just showed in their wind tunnel testing that using a $200 aero helmet absolutely obliterates the advantages of using a $1000 set of aero rims.

(Qualifier: Yes yes, I know, aero wheels provide as much as X:XX advantage over a 40k TT than standard wheels at sustained XXmph)
Details are very vague with no actual figures listed in the online article.

http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...4995-1,00.html

Statement I have read are supposedly based on testing at 0 degrees yaw. Once wind came at various angles the figures differ.

Article being discussed -

http://biketechreview.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=917

and

http://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.c...;guest=8811731

How about using the benefits of an aero helmet AND aero wheels?
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Old 08-31-06, 10:43 AM
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I read that article and was facinated by it when it came out last month. I think the quote that "a nonaero helmet creates 4x as much drag as a non-aero wheelset" is pretty specific. I personally think that the aero wheels look very very cool and would love to throw a set on my tri bike, but I just can't justify the cost. I already spent $x thousands on my tri bike and the tri bike already has Ksyrium SLs on it - which I love. If I bought a $1500 pair of Zipps or Alps or something I can't imagine it would make that much different. But the bling factor on my bike would be nice. Here's a pic of my bike just because I like it:

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Old 08-31-06, 11:21 AM
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That article has caused more confusion than just about anything else...

An aero helmet is not 4 times the imrpovement an aero wheel is.

Jennings got the quote correct.

They were trying to reference the fact that the non aero helmet produces a lot of drag and is an area of improvement. Specifically, it creates 4 times the drag of a non aero wheel, however the amount an aero helmet improves CdA is not down to that of a non aero wheel, it is just significantly lower than a nonaero helmet.

FWIW a vague generalization from testing I've seen is... LG rocket seems to save 60-90 seconds over 25 miles when worn correctly, a set of wheels like Zipp 303s, Hed Alps or Reynolds saves about 60 seconds over 25 miles, 404s maybe 75-90, Disc with aero front 90-120.
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Old 08-31-06, 01:35 PM
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I read the article about the MIT guys as well you can check their site at http://www.mitcycling.org/

I would say that the point of the article is that you can cycle further and slightly faster by being more efficient by being more aerodynamic. Kind of wish they would put a few numbers on their website. some pics of being in the windtunnel http://web.mit.edu/~cycling-club/www...nel/index.html
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Old 08-31-06, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jennings780
I read that article and was facinated by it when it came out last month. I think the quote that "a nonaero helmet creates 4x as much drag as a non-aero wheelset" is pretty specific. I personally think that the aero wheels look very very cool and would love to throw a set on my tri bike, but I just can't justify the cost. I already spent $x thousands on my tri bike and the tri bike already has Ksyrium SLs on it - which I love. If I bought a $1500 pair of Zipps or Alps or something I can't imagine it would make that much different. But the bling factor on my bike would be nice. Here's a pic of my bike just because I like it:

Hey jennings, where do you live/ ride at? Lake St. Louis tri this weekend? Gateway Cup this weekend? MS150 next weekend?
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Old 08-31-06, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jennings780
I personally think that the aero wheels look very very cool and would love to throw a set on my tri bike, but I just can't justify the cost. I already spent $x thousands on my tri bike and the tri bike already has Ksyrium SLs on it - which I love. If I bought a $1500 pair of Zipps or Alps or something I can't imagine it would make that much different.
Ksyriums are a strong, reliable wheelset, but pretty non aero. Borrow a set of deep dish aero wheels for just one race. You will change your point of view immediately!

I await the figures at various wind speeds and differing degrees of yaw before I give credence to the statements in the article.
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Old 09-01-06, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Talewinds
Hey jennings, where do you live/ ride at? Lake St. Louis tri this weekend? Gateway Cup this weekend? MS150 next weekend?
I live in Ladue. I usually ride out Ladue Road or Clayton Road to around Babler on Sundays. Yes, I am doing LSL Tri tomorrow and then MS150 next weekend. You too? What is the Gateway Cup?
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Old 09-01-06, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jennings780
I live in Ladue. I usually ride out Ladue Road or Clayton Road to around Babler on Sundays. Yes, I am doing LSL Tri tomorrow and then MS150 next weekend. You too? What is the Gateway Cup?
Yup, I'll be at LSL doing the short distance course. Look for the tall thin guy with the Kestrel Talon and the HED Alps. My wife has a Cannondale Ironman similar to yours in black. Feel free to say hi.
And then look for us next weekend at the MS, our team will be all pimped out in the full Captain Morgan kit.
The Gateway Cup is St. Louis' largest annual bike race event. Lafayette Square tonight, downtown on Washington St. tomorrow, The Giro della Montagna on Sunday on The Hill (Marconi St.), and The Central West End on Monday. The Lafayette crits are tonight, food, drink, it's a great time.
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Old 09-01-06, 10:18 AM
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Oh yeah, if you live in Ladue, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to afford a set of Zipps.
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Old 09-01-06, 01:16 PM
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I will be in St. Louis this weekend. Most likely downtown at Morgan Street Brewery on Saturday night and the Cards game on Sunday. We will be getting in tonight/sat. morning @ 2AM otherwise I would try to find out where this triathlon you are talking about will be held. (so I could watch)
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Old 09-01-06, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Talewinds
Oh yeah, if you live in Ladue, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to afford a set of Zipps.
Ha. I've sunk all my money into my house and living 1.1 miles from my office in Clayton and have no dinero left for race wheels.
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