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Wheels - lighter weight vs aero

Old 02-14-23, 02:55 PM
  #176  
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Originally Posted by Calsun
The value of aerodynamics is a function of speed and it is completely different for a pro time trial where rides are averaging over 30 mph for this distance as compared to a pro hill climb at lesser speeds. One does not see effort to make bike wheels more aerodynamic on the non time trial stages of the various pro tour races.

On climbs what is important is how much power from the rider is effectively transferred to forward motion of the bike and that primarily affects frame geometry and to a lesser degree the gears available. All things being equal a lighter bike provides some advantage although how much is real and how much is psychological is another matter.

A friend who used to go on long rides with me had insisted that his bike was faster on the downhill sections than mine. At the top of one steep grade we switched bike and coasted to the bottom. He was faster on my bike and it was due to his extra 20 lbs of body weight. He was at a disadvantage going up the grades but compensated to some degree on the downhill sections. After I changed out my large chainring for a 60-tooth one he lost his advantage on the downhills as I could continue to pedal.
In my early road racing days (late-'90s), I was on a long mountain ride with some friends. One of whom was rolling his new set of Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheels. I don't know the exact specs, but they were 50+mm deep, and probably weighed more than 2000g. He weighed about 10lbs less than me, and we were on similar steel-framed bikes. My wheels were typical 32H shallow aluminum rims. That was the first day I witnessed the advantages of aero wheels. On long coasting downhills, despite being heavier than my friend, I could not match his speed with our bodies in similar positions on the bike. It was vivid.

These are the same wheels I commented about earlier in this thread in regards to the "flywheel effect" sensation.
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Old 02-14-23, 03:03 PM
  #177  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
So does anyone with a degree in engineering, physics or mathematics agree with the importance of "micro accelerations" during the pedal stroke or believe that wheel mass is equivalent to approx double static mass when climbing?
Any sane person with an advanced degree in engineering, physics or math would stay the h away from this forum.
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Old 02-14-23, 03:12 PM
  #178  
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Any sane person with an advanced degree in engineering, physics or math would stay the h away from this forum.
As part of my plea bargain (for dooring cyclists), I have to perform community service, which requires that I post a certain number of times per month on biking forums.
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Old 02-14-23, 05:32 PM
  #179  
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Originally Posted by RChung
Um, I 've done that.
Originally Posted by Fredo76
Can we all agree that the physics does say that the effect on acceleration of rotating weight at the radius is twice that of static weight, but only when accelerating? That is my understanding of the model.
Is my statement just preceding incorrect or worded wrong? I thought 2x during acceleration was right in the model. I thought that right there was the 'basic physics' involved WRT rotating weight at the radius.

As far as actual results, if the measurements are capable of recording small real-time changes in the rotational speed of the wheels, and the data indeed shows such changes, I would call those accelerations, and say they matter. Can we measure "wow and flutter" for a bicycle wheel? I would suppose that it's possible.

But, I'm only a computer scientist...

What do the observations show?
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Old 02-14-23, 05:53 PM
  #180  
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Any sane person with an advanced degree in engineering, physics or math would stay the h away from this forum.
I got the degrees, but I don't think I'm nuts.

I prefer to call myself "colorful".
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Old 02-14-23, 05:55 PM
  #181  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I got the degrees, but I don't think I'm nuts.

I prefer to call myself "colorful".
I request a second opinion.

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Old 02-14-23, 05:58 PM
  #182  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I got the degrees, but I don't think I'm nuts.

I prefer to call myself "colorful".

They never do. Insane by degrees? But colorful works too.
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Old 02-14-23, 06:01 PM
  #183  
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Originally Posted by Fredo76
Is my statement just preceding incorrect or worded wrong? I thought 2x during acceleration was right in the model. I thought that right there was the 'basic physics' involved WRT rotating weight at the radius.

As far as actual results, if the measurements are capable of recording small real-time changes in the rotational speed of the wheels, and the data indeed shows such changes, I would call those accelerations, and say they matter. Can we measure "wow and flutter" for a bicycle wheel? I would suppose that it's possible.

But, I'm only a computer scientist...

What do the observations show?
As mentioned by TC previously, additional weight of a heavier wheel isn't all located at the outermost part of the wheel. A heavier axle would not be affected by any rotational effects. A heavier hub would be less affected than the rim.

I'm just a dumb contractor, though.
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Old 02-14-23, 06:47 PM
  #184  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
...except at walking pace...
That's the speed I climb at thanks to a lot of extra weight around my mid section. Now I'm going to shave 2lb off my wheels to compensate.
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Old 02-14-23, 06:57 PM
  #185  
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Originally Posted by Jughed
Budget in mind - 500+\-, found examples of both.

Aluminum for both choices -

Hunt 34mm deep at 1500 grams

vs

Bontrager 50mm deep aluminum/carbon mix at 1900 grams, floor model and 60% off.


Replacing heavy stock Emonda ALR 5 wheels. The lighter set with tubeless tires will take 1.5 pounds off the bike. But I am 195, so itís a very small # of the total system weight.

Most of my riding is on flat terrain, will do some mountain riding.


Leaning towards the aero wheelsÖ not sure what would be better overall.
Bikes with disc brakes can have rims that are lighter more aero and stronger.
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Old 02-14-23, 07:24 PM
  #186  
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Originally Posted by rydabent
Bikes with disc brakes can have rims that are lighter more aero and stronger.
3 swings, 3 misses, you're out.
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Old 02-14-23, 07:52 PM
  #187  
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Originally Posted by Fredo76
Is my statement just preceding incorrect or worded wrong? I thought 2x during acceleration was right in the model. I thought that right there was the 'basic physics' involved WRT rotating weight at the radius.

As far as actual results, if the measurements are capable of recording small real-time changes in the rotational speed of the wheels, and the data indeed shows such changes, I would call those accelerations, and say they matter. Can we measure "wow and flutter" for a bicycle wheel? I would suppose that it's possible.

But, I'm only a computer scientist...

What do the observations show?
Yes you can very roughly approximate to double the mass during acceleration. But that is if 100% of the wheel mass is at the outer diameter. Obviously it will be somewhat less in practice.

While that may sound significant, the accelerations are very small and insignificant in all but full bore acceleration from a standstill. Even then the rate of acceleration is maybe 0.1 to 0.2g for only a few seconds and we are talking about accelerating only a few hundred extra grams on modern aero wheels.

Data from a head unit is typically recorded at 1 sec intervals and show virtually zero acceleration during a steady state climb. Changes of speed with gradient and power variations are usually happening at a snails pace. If you fitted an accelerometer on the bike it would just flatline on a climb. So 2M x zero = zero

Also, as repeated many times, unless you are actually using your brakes, the work done in accelerating the mass will be recovered during deceleration. So any cyclical micro-accelerations will be smoothed out over the pedal stroke. To even see them you would need to log speed at 0.1 sec intervals or faster. But thatís a total waste of time when those accelerations are almost infinitely small.

I worked in F1 as a race engineer for a decade and even in that extreme case rotational inertia of wheels is not a very significant factor in the vehicle model. Itís an order of magnitude below the effect of the static mass. It can easily be modelled and often is for completeness.

In summary you can treat the wheel mass just like any other mass on the bike and rider for the purpose of calculating your speed on a climb. Obviously lighter is better, but as the pros have figured out, aero gains can often offset the weight penalty depending on rider speed and gradient.
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Old 02-14-23, 07:54 PM
  #188  
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Any sane person with an advanced degree in engineering, physics or math would stay the h away from this forum.
Maybe thatís why I tear my hair out on BF alternative physics discussions!
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Old 02-14-23, 08:20 PM
  #189  
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Quick back-of-the-enveolpe calculation: an extra 100 g located just inside the rim will cost you less than a watt if you're climbing at 60 RPM, and you accelerate from 5 mph up to 10 mph every pedal stroke.
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Old 02-14-23, 08:30 PM
  #190  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
Quick back-of-the-enveolpe calculation: an extra 100 g located just inside the rim will cost you less than a watt if you're climbing at 60 RPM, and you accelerate from 5 mph up to 10 mph every pedal stroke.
Yeah and my second to second speed variation on a climb is typically 0-0.1 kph. Virtually nothing as far as changes in wheel rotational energy are concerned.
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Old 02-14-23, 08:52 PM
  #191  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Yes you can very roughly approximate to double the mass during acceleration. But that is if 100% of the wheel mass is at the outer diameter. Obviously it will be somewhat less in practice. <edit>

While that may sound significant, the accelerations are very small and insignificant in all but full bore acceleration from a standstill. Even then the rate of acceleration is maybe 0.1 to 0.2g for only a few seconds and we are talking about accelerating only a few hundred extra grams on modern aero wheels.
In summary you can treat the wheel mass just like any other mass on the bike and rider for the purpose of calculating your speed on a climb. Obviously lighter is better, but as the pros have figured out, aero gains can often offset the weight penalty depending on rider speed and gradient.
You make it sound so reasonable.

But don't get complacent because ... there is surely a flaw in there.

There must be---because it makes sense to me. When it comes to math and physics, if I think i get it, it isn't what it is .....

So .... this is the miraculous once-in-a-lifetime when I get it .... or this thread is destined to keep shambling along like a headless zombie.
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Old 02-14-23, 09:26 PM
  #192  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
You make it sound so reasonable.

But don't get complacent because ... there is surely a flaw in there.

There must be---because it makes sense to me. When it comes to math and physics, if I think i get it, it isn't what it is .....

So .... this is the miraculous once-in-a-lifetime when I get it .... or this thread is destined to keep shambling along like a headless zombie.
Friends do say Iím quite good at explaining this kind of thing. Working in motorsport engineering for several decades has probably honed that skill. Iíve also developed a really good sense of what parameters matter and donít matter in vehicle performance. Whether that vehicle is a bicycle or F1 car.

But I wonít get complacent, because Iím sure someone will disagree and come up with some exaggerated anecdote in an attempt to derail it again. What you have to question is their qualifications and engineering knowledge.

Personally I try to only argue about things Iím at least 99% certain of. If Iím uncertain I will say so and listen carefully to anyone who appears to know something I donít. But I note on BF there is no shortage of people willing to argue stubbornly with little or no knowledge or experience of the subject matter. So threads like this always end up a confusing mess to anyone trying to learn with an open mind - like yourself. But I think youíve sussed this one out.
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Old 02-14-23, 09:58 PM
  #193  
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It appears another fable of cycling's past slowly gets beaten down through facts and logic. A freshly recalled mussing from the times of Coppi, Anquetil or Merckx will soon arrive on the forums to entertain us for a while. From the magic of frame builders whose names end with a vowel, superiority of tubulars to more modern myths such as the mysterious vibration absorbing qualities of titanium there will be BF to entertain us.

Last edited by Atlas Shrugged; 02-15-23 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 02-14-23, 11:19 PM
  #194  
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My bike is faster because it "planes" ......
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Old 02-15-23, 05:45 AM
  #195  
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
It appears another fable of cycling's past slowly gets beaten down through facts and logic. A freshly recalled mussing from the times of Coppi, Anquetil or Merckx will soon arrive on the forums to entertain us for a while. From the magic of frame builders whose names end with a vowel, superiority of tubulars to more modern myths such as the mysterious vibration absorbing qualities of titanium there will BF to entertain us.
They are certainly entertaining. We get the same thing in motorsport too. I give you Carroll Smithís infamous book ďTune to winĒ. Alternative physics from the 1970s guaranteed to have any University engineering lecturer face palming on every page!

Then you get F1 fans writing in telling us how we are all doing it wrong. No qualifications, no experience, yet very confident in their assertions. One of our engineers used to run a monthly forum where we would review such letters just in case there was a hidden gem of knowledge. I donít recall ever finding one, but it was definitely great entertainment 😂. I bet football managers get thousands of these too.
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Old 02-15-23, 10:43 AM
  #196  
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Originally Posted by Jughed
Budget in mind - 500+\-, found examples of both.

Aluminum for both choices -

Hunt 34mm deep at 1500 grams

vs

Bontrager 50mm deep aluminum/carbon mix at 1900 grams, floor model and 60% off.


Replacing heavy stock Emonda ALR 5 wheels. The lighter set with tubeless tires will take 1.5 pounds off the bike. But I am 195, so itís a very small # of the total system weight.

Most of my riding is on flat terrain, will do some mountain riding.


Leaning towards the aero wheelsÖ not sure what would be better overall.
I have the previous HUNT Aero Light Disc Wheelset but these are 28mm and 1469g and I love these wheels. I have them on my Litespeed Cherohala City and there amazing for the price. No they are not as responsive and nor light as a carbon wheel but for $500 these have been rock solid

Also $500 more or less to drop 1.5lbs is actually a relative great deal. 1.5lbs off a bike especially rotational weight is huge. I know there some, "just loose weight" bros but 1.5lbs again on a wheelset is massive
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Old 02-15-23, 10:51 AM
  #197  
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Originally Posted by surak
Neither choice. I learned that it's a waste to compromise -- you should shop around to get wheels that are deep, light, and wide.

At my lightest riding weight of 61kg I bought 1.5kg Hunt Aero Light Disc wheels to replace my 2kg Giant OEM wheels. The improved PoE made more of a difference to ride quality than dropping the weight. Sure, the Hunts felt lighter, but if anything using them slowed down most of my rides because while everyone talks about how lighter wheels accelerate faster, they forget that lighter wheels also decelerate faster. When I upgraded to a 50mm/56mm Light Bicycle wheelset, I finally realized what a meaningful wheel upgrade felt like. Lighter than my Hunts so no penalty for climbing, wicked maintainable speed on flat terrain. I absolutely hate being on shallow rims on my current rain bike, where I don't even bother with the Hunts as the OEM DT Swiss wheels are only slightly heavier but much wider and stabler.
Sure but unless OP wants to go used which IMO is a compromise to begin with what light, deep, carbon aero wheels are out there for $500? The Hunts IMO are a perfect blend of weight and performance especially when you factor is price point. IMO in order to get a "decent" set of deep wheels a bare min they would need to spend $900+
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Old 02-15-23, 11:10 AM
  #198  
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Originally Posted by Jrasero
Sure but unless OP wants to go used which IMO is a compromise to begin with what light, deep, carbon aero wheels are out there for $500? The Hunts IMO are a perfect blend of weight and performance especially when you factor is price point. IMO in order to get a "decent" set of deep wheels a bare min they would need to spend $900+
Yup, my point is $500 wheels are not worth buying. Save the money toward an upgrade that will make an actual difference. The Hunts are a compromise at that price point just like any other wheels.
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Old 02-15-23, 11:14 AM
  #199  
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Originally Posted by surak
Yup, my point is $500 wheels are not worth buying. Save the money toward an upgrade that will make an actual difference. The Hunts are a compromise at that price point just like any other wheels.
Compromise? Listen again at $500 you will have to make grander compromises. I think OP didn't really give much info on their use case besides they ride on flats and thus people assumed deep aero wheels. I personally have the older version of the Hunts on a hybrid/gravel bike and love them for an around town bike but I could see these as a decent set for climbing or training on a budget. Yeah their bets bet is just spending $400 more since hunt sells 45, 50, 65 aero wheels for sub $1K but if they have a hard budget of $500 and don't want or need that aero benefit then I am not getting how these are a waste
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Old 02-15-23, 11:42 AM
  #200  
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Originally Posted by Jughed
Budget in mind - 500+\-, found examples of both. Aluminum for both choices -

Hunt 34mm deep at 1500 grams vs Bontrager 50mm deep aluminum/carbon mix at 1900 grams, floor model and 60% off.

Replacing heavy stock Emonda ALR 5 wheels. The lighter set with tubeless tires will take 1.5 pounds off the bike. But I am 195, so it’s a very small # of the total system weight.

Most of my riding is on flat terrain, will do some mountain riding. Leaning towards the aero wheels… not sure what would be better overall.
The OP has a hard budget of $500, so maybe we should be suggesting the best wheel for a rider on mostly flatland for $500?

Anyone who wants to donate the extra $400 .... go right ahead.

Recall though, that it could be that it would be a year or several of riding his OEM boat-anchors before he could upgrade.

Not sure what the crazy folk (i.e. the ones with math/physics/engineering degrees) think, but with the aero he will still be dropping some weight, and gaining that ultra-important (some claim) aero benefit.

Personally I'd jump on the lighter wheels ... because I am about as aerodynamic as a house. I also weigh about as much as a house, so in either case .... Marginal Gains.

If the OP wants aero, let's all just tell him aero is proven better by the dense and difficult-to-decipher posts of the Colorful Crowd, and he can rest easy with what he always wanted.
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