Why Go With Carbon Wheels?
“A good, high-quality carbon wheelset will help to reduce weight, increase stiffness, improve tire support, and boost aerodynamic performance and therefore dramatically change your ride experience.”
“You will be able to maintain a higher speed without increased effort and be encouraged to go faster. So If you can only upgrade one part of your bike, make it your wheels!”
The world of cycling has for several years now, been heavily influenced by the idea of “marginal gains” where every aspect and component can make a difference. Lightweight aerodynamic frames, extensive use of ceramic bearings, large pulley wheels systems, high-tech chain-oils and sometimes weird-looking chainrings have all been ingredients in an everlasting search for more speed and more performance.
We, here at Rebel-Cycling, do not deny nor underestimate the gains that these things can provide the rider with – but we also know that these types of upgrades can be quite expensive! Especially when taking into consideration of how much extra performance the rider actually gain?
So all things being equal, whether you are a novice or a seasoned rider, when it comes to improving your bikes performance the most significant way, the best single-component upgrade you can do will always be the wheels.
The majority of bikes on the market come pre-fitted with entry- or mid-level aluminium wheels. But they sacrifice the performance of the bike: They are heavier, less stiff, and rarely aerodynamic.
A high-quality carbon wheelset will help to reduce weight, increase stiffness, improve tire support, and boost aerodynamic performance and dramatically change your ride experience and make even entry-level bikes significantly lighter, faster and more aerodynamic. You will be able to maintain a higher speed without increased effort and be encouraged to go faster.
So If you can only upgrade one part of your bike, make it your wheels!
Better Rotating Efficiency
Any component on a road bike, which turns has a rotational weight coefficient because the rider is actively working against its mass by using energy to keep it in motion.
Heavy wheels will require more energy to accelerate compared to a lighter wheelset. So if you want to get your bike to go faster, the wheels are the largest single rotating components on your road bike. And therefore offer the most significant lightweight gains. Upgrading to lighter wheels makes a bike feel snappier and easier to get up to speed. Most riders can immediately feel a positive difference after switching to a more lightweight wheelset.
Another aspect of road bike wheel design where you gain by upgrading to a carbon wheelset is ride quality. A carbon-fibre rim can be designed and constructed to have its fibres orientated in a multitude of directions.
Unlike aluminium, the composite structure of a carbon-fibre rim allows engineers to produce wheels with an unrivalled combination of lateral stiffness and radial compliance. The result is a wheel that steers with tremendous accuracy and always remains true, requiring negligible spoke tensioning to remain correctly dished over time.
Another advantage of upgrading your bike wheelset is leveraging the latest trend in rim width.
Wider tires are becoming more popular in all disciplines of cycling, and modern rims are becoming wider to pair better with these tires. The somewhat more traditionally bound road cyclists have – finally some might say – realized that wider rims and squared-off tire profiles have superior aerodynamic properties, compared to a more traditionally narrow rim.
Upgrading to a wider rim width provides more support for the tire’s sidewalls. This improves cornering and will give the rider more control. A wide rim also allows riders to run much lower tire pressures and through that, increase the amount of comfort on the bike.
At high speeds, the buildup of air resistance is the most significant force that a rider has to battle. That is the reason why you see road riders draft each other in groups and why competitive triathletes and time trialists are so obsessively about making equipment and riding positions as aerodynamic as possible. A high-quality carbon wheelset will contribute a great deal to a bike’s overall aerodynamic performance. It will save your precious energy and therefore enhance the ability to ride faster and push harder.
Aerodynamics is a rather complicated topic, and to the average consumer, it can be a confusing topic. There are constant innovations that sometimes flips established truths on its head.
But an overall key to good aerodynamics is to minimize air separation over the surface of a wheel, keeping the airflow attached longer. The easiest way to do this is to make a wheel deeper. The wheel then slips through the air more smoothly.
Choosing rim depth is often a balancing act between aerodynamics, weight and handling ability. Riders who ride steep and slow climbs will appreciate lighter wheels. But at a certain speed, and as climbs become more gradual and faster, aerodynamics will begin to play a larger role.
To sum up, upgrading to a carbon wheelset allows you to access multiple performance advantages in a single purchase:
- Better rotating efficiency
- Ride quality