Monday, January 22, 2007

Frames, wheels, handling - a conversation of sorts

A friend started a conversation about wheels. It all starts here with a whinge about the handling of his Lapierre.... but becomes more of a question of wheels and tyres than frames and angles. So what matters most?

The handling comment was: "Generally speaking though, I'm very happy with the new rig (a Cannondale Six13). It's very quick and nice and stable. It's much more evenly balanced, whilst the Lap was very rear heavy... or maybe front light? Either way, it (the Lapierre) didn't fill me with a great deal of confidence."

Sounds like understeer? Could be tyres. Or geometry. My old Saronni (Colnago) track bike runs wide when sprinting on low-banked tracks, but is fine on steep banking. Horses for courses.

Then he shows me this interesting link to a pretty comprehensive wheel test. Have a good look. Wow. Pretty impressive, eh?

Whilst I'm not sure I ride "power on" at 50kmh very often, it's nice to know all these tested wheels are better than a 36-spoker at doing just that - if only by 15-30W! If I was a TTer I'd be going Zipp, but I guess I knew that already. Ksyriums would be a bad choice in a TT or a fast breakaway, at least above 40kmh. I wonder what the power loss is like significantly below 50kmh - negligible, I suspect. And what forks did they use in the test, if any? You'd imagine an aero fork would smooth the flow. And tyres? There's probably a good compromise here but I don't think I can pick it... although they reckon the Shimano is good all round. I guess as they say, it depends on the "domain" you need to use the wheels in... TT, crit, road, training, a combo of events etc etc. And how much $$ you have!!

No comments: