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Track Wheels: Smoke and Mirrors

Old 02-27-20, 03:01 PM
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Track Wheels: Smoke and Mirrors

Hi, I started researching track wheels for my bike recently and got instantly puzzled why and how this world is so different from the road bike wheels.

- Is the weight of the wheel similarly relevant in track as it is in the road racing? Does a lighter set of wheels result in real speed gains? I appreciate that there's no climbing involved and perhaps riders aren't as crazy about shedding extra ounce by going carbon wherever possible. I know some riders who have wheels around 2kg and don't mind that

- It appears that the track wheels are manufactured largely by a different subset of companies - I dont find them from the road wheel manufacturers (minor point but still...)

- Does anyone have an experience with OEM carbon track wheels from China? For example, a carbon track wheelset set at mere 1350 grams can be found on AliExpress - is there a catch somewhere? I had some luck with the road wheels from China before, is there a reason why a track wheel could be faulty?

Appreciate your thoughts!
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Old 02-27-20, 09:20 PM
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Nope, weight matters a lot less. Speeds are higher and speed variation is lower. Some of the best wheels are meatballs.

My partner has some Chinabron wheels. They have very basic sealed bearing hubs with meh hardware. The spokes are bladed, the rims have a channel for the tire seam, and the spoke holes are offset. They've seen years of use and some crashes and made it through just fine. There are nicer wheels out there, but not for under four hundred bucks.
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Old 02-27-20, 09:21 PM
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I'd guess that you can get a pretty decent front wheel from China. However, I haven't heard anyone say something good about Chinese rear discs -- the only feedback I've heard from other riders was negative.
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Old 02-28-20, 09:42 AM
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I do like light wheels, as they help me with acceleration and jumps. Its nice to be able to leap forward (although you can use the banking to do that too). But if you are a strong rider and riding in the 25-40mph range - Aero is going to make a significant difference.
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