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Never been a huge weight weeny but I guess by posting this...

I’m finally looking into making my first decent wheel upgrade on my best bike but keep having second thoughts, even with the majority of people saying a wheel upgrade is the no.1 in upgrades.

I’d be going from a stock wheelset of DT Swiss R460 with 350 hubs and looking at getting Hunt 30 Carbon Aero Disc (£900).  The overall bike weight reduction looks to be roughly 160g (2%). Otherwise I could just get the Hunt Areo Light (alloy) and save £500. 

I’ve never had carbon wheels and don’t fancy massively areo rims due to wind annoyance.  Would I really notice the weight reduction of 160g and is that worth £500 more?  I’m guesssing the hubs and rim stiffness will be a big improvement.  

Also does anyone know if Hunt’s hub noise is louder than the Hope’s freehub iconic buzz?  

 

 

30 comments

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CXR94Di2 [2626 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

  Would I really notice the weight reduction of 160g and is that worth £500 more?

Nope, you will not notice the difference.  But you will convince yourself because you spent far more than you should have

 

 I’m guesssing the hubs and rim stiffness will be a big improvement.  

No not really, unless you're powering up hills stood up

 

If you want to go faster buy some Ebay Chinese 60mm deep carbon wheels.  These will give you a little more speed-maybe 1mph ave and sound great.  Do like carbon wheel hum  4

 

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Mungecrundle [1491 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

Unless you intend to be a specialist 55Kg hill climb trialist, there are far more performance benefits to be unlocked by going aero before weight saving. A good set of 40mm ish rims will not cause problems in cross winds (my experience using Reynolds Assaults at 41mm), they look good (personal opinion of course), and one of the benefits of disc brakes is that the rim can be profiled for aerodynamics alone without the necessity of a brake track.

Decent wheels, properly maintained will give thousands of miles of service all the time increasing your happiness factor by at least 2%. I'd take 2% happiness over 2% weight reduction any day!

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Simon E [3748 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

"Would I really notice the weight reduction of 160g"

No.

Ride with 160ml of water in your bottle. Pour it out. Ride some more.

Can you tell the difference?

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PRSboy [527 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I definitely do notice the different feel of my Campag Shamals vs my Fulcrum R5s.  Feels a bit like an unseen hand giving a gentle push up short inclines.  They are lighter and stiffer, I guess this means more of my huffing and puffing is converted into forward motion.

Hunt have a 60 day 'ride and return' policy... try 'em, what's to lose...?

 

 

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kil0ran [1511 posts] 4 months ago
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Hunt freewheels are loud, but not as loud as Hope

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StoopidUserName [658 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

If you're gonna go carbon, go carbon. I wouldn't personally bother with less than 50mm...in fact my next set will be 60mm cos more is better  10

 

You'd notice half a kg in weight difference, though wheels are more than just aero vs weight - stiffness and hub stuff is also important. Whether you are a heavyweight or not may affect your choice too...if heavyweight then definitely go more aero...else it's possible you'll get blown around more on deeper rims if you're pretty light. Go 40mm in that case

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Nick T [1282 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Go to Light Bicycle and get some 55mm carbon clinchers on DT hubs for about 600USD. That’s all these companies are doing, but they add their own sticker and charge you a premium in the process. You won’t notice the weight, but you will notice the aero

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check12 [293 posts] 4 months ago
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Your wheels are reasonably good at the moment so an upgrade won’t give you a massive improvement.

if your tyres are bad then an upgrade there might be better, conti 5000 tubeless or none depending on your chosen poison. 

Latex inner tubes? 

Rock n roll dry lube? 

 

 

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barongreenback [156 posts] 4 months ago
7 likes

Just upgraded to some 52mm rims.  Saved about 50g over my old wheelset.  Am I any faster?  No idea yet as I've not been out for a decent ride yet.  Do they make a cool noise?  Yes.  Do they look really cool on my bike?  Hell yes.  Do I look 'all the gear and no idea'?  Absolutely!

 

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cyclesteffer [401 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Thing is, you've already got a decent set of wheels on your bike.

Just make sure they are serviced every year, I dont think you need to bother replacing them.

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shutuplegz [81 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

It depends where the 160g is located. On the frame (or on you!) you most probably wouldn't notice. However, the further out on the wheels, the more you might notice it. At the hubs, probably not. At the rims, maybe. In particular - depending how sensitive you are to different levels of personal fitness/performance, tyre pressures/bike performance, road and wind conditions  - you might notice 160g (80g per wheel) out at the rims in terms of acceleration but you'd have to be pretty in tune with your body/bike! I changed tyres and tubes once and saved about 150g per wheel and that was defninitely noticeable, escpecially on long steady climbs where each push on the pedals is an effort and a mini 'accleration' - here is where you *might* notice a small decrease in rotating weight (or just flat-out accelerating!).

I also wouldn't dismiss deep section 'aero' rims due to cross-wind issues. Yes, if you are going 50/60mm deep and above then you definitely may feel a little more buffeting in cross winds but i have some 38mm (and some 50's) deep aero profile carbon rims and they are much more predictable in windy conditions than the 30/32mm deep non-aero aluminium rims they replaced, particularly in front-quarter cross winds or into a headwind. Due to the aerofoil profile they remain much more 'planted' when the wind around the wheels switches from side to front e.g. as you pass a gap in a hedge, or as a large vehicle passes you. Yes, with a direct sidewind you feel a larger force pushing due to the higher surface area but it is much less 'snatchy' when the direction changes and it is rare that you get a continuous sidewind unless you are cycling along a long straight exposed road, e.g. along a coast. With my old wheels I guess the air passing them was more turbulent due to the 'sharp' edges on the inside of the rim and with changes in the angle of the wind they could 'flick' noticeably  leaving you feeling somewhat wobbly in gusty conditions! The deeper aero rims feel like a knife through butter in many ways, most especially into a big headwind. Maybe some of this is phsycological though?

At the end of the day a new set of wheels, even if only 160g lighter (maybe more with suitable tyre/tube choices?), might give you nothing more than a phsycological 'boost' but that could be all you need? If you start cycling quicker for a reason (whether equipment or phsycological), that will improve your general fitness level, which in itself will allow you to cycle quicker again! Its a win-win!

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John Stevenson [434 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

Sites like https://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesPower_Page.html are handy for answering questions like this.

Let's postulate a 77kg rider on an 8kg bike climbing a 10% grade at 9mph (4m/s). That requires a power output of 358.8 watts.

Knock off 160g, and that goes down to 358.1 watts. You can't feel that.

It's often claimed that taking off weight near the edge of the wheel is worth twice weight off the frame. That's not quite true, but let's go with it for the sake of argument. If your 160g wheel weight reduction is equivalent to 320g off the weight of the whole system, that's a power requirement of 357.5 watts. You can't feel that either.

Saving weight on the bike is a bit of fun, but it really makes bugger all difference to performance.

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fukawitribe [2829 posts] 4 months ago
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Yeah and nah - can't say i've seen a site that actually bases their figures on the acceleration due to pedalling, generally seem to be an average power / VAM calculation which gets more simplistic the higher the grade/lower the cadence ; then again, would the better analysis come up with anything that makes a radical difference ?... almost certainly not.

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NorthEastJimmy [161 posts] 4 months ago
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Thank you all for your responses, not sure I’m any futher ahead in making a decision but still fascinating to take all the various opinions into consideration.

I guess I always thought my current wheelset to be very average (but with decent hubs) although I can’t pin point anything wrong with them. 

In terms of weight, I’m 75kg and I’ve lost about 10kg in the last year and since then I do notice more  minor amounts of weight difference on the bike, but yes I would probably never notice anything under 400g from one ride to another.

I did look at ‘Light Bicycle’ but by the time I added everything I would want to make the wheelset of choice, it was close to £750 and before shipping.

I do love the look of deep carbon rims, like a lot of people, but didn’t want to spend that amount of money on a cosmetic upgrade.  Some of the comments above have swayed me more to consider up to 50mm though and those Hunt 50’s do look amazing! 

I do quite a bit of climbing and do tend to climb out of the saddle more compared to other riders, so I’m sure rim flex is an issue for my style of riding.  However, I’m not that in tune with the bikes ive ridden to notice stuff like that...would make a terrible product reviewer.

 

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peted76 [1457 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Nick T wrote:

Go to Light Bicycle and get some 55mm carbon clinchers on DT hubs for about 600USD. That’s all these companies are doing, but they add their own sticker and charge you a premium in the process. You won’t notice the weight, but you will notice the aero

This ^^ sort of.. you'll not notice any weight diff, go slightly more to 35 to 45mm deep and get some aero benefit instead.

FYI the DT350 hubs will be better than the own Hunts by the way, who I believe use Bitex hubs.

If you don't want to buy chinese direct, give Malcolm a call at the Cycle Clinic and he'll build you a set for your needs for less.

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peted76 [1457 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

... adding to that.. get a set of 46mm deep rims from light bicycle for £300 delivered, use the dt350 hubs (matching the hole count!) you already have and spend £125 taking the bits to your local bike shop to build you the wheels up with spokes and manpower. 

Best of all worlds.. lighter, wider, cheaper and faster!

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kevvjj [464 posts] 4 months ago
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You definitely won't notice the weight difference.

Depending on the quality of the build you might notice better performance, especially on climbs.

What hasn't been mentioned is rim width. The Hunts are a wide rim and here you might notice the difference with  the tyre sitting better because of this extra width. Run them tubeless and you will really notice a difference. You might even be able to run a wider tyre too which will give even better (lower) rolling resistance.

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CXR94Di2 [2626 posts] 4 months ago
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NorthEastJimmy wrote:

Thank you all for your responses, not sure I’m any futher ahead in making a decision but still fascinating to take all the various opinions into consideration.

I guess I always thought my current wheelset to be very average (but with decent hubs) although I can’t pin point anything wrong with them. 

In terms of weight, I’m 75kg and I’ve lost about 10kg in the last year and since then I do notice more  minor amounts of weight difference on the bike, but yes I would probably never notice anything under 400g from one ride to another.

I did look at ‘Light Bicycle’ but by the time I added everything I would want to make the wheelset of choice, it was close to £750 and before shipping.

I do love the look of deep carbon rims, like a lot of people, but didn’t want to spend that amount of money on a cosmetic upgrade.  Some of the comments above have swayed me more to consider up to 50mm though and those Hunt 50’s do look amazing! 

I do quite a bit of climbing and do tend to climb out of the saddle more compared to other riders, so I’m sure rim flex is an issue for my style of riding.  However, I’m not that in tune with the bikes ive ridden to notice stuff like that...would make a terrible product reviewer.

 

 

I had some RR521 32mm deep wheels made up with DT350 hubs I had taken off some damaged carbon wheels.  They are slightly wider internal rim so make 25mm tyres widen to 28mm, making the rim and tyre alot more flush aiding aero benefits a little.  I bling'd the wheels with red nipples  4

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Yorkshie Whippet [651 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I'm going to come at this from a different angle.

Do I notice the difference in wheel weights probably not as mush as I think.

Do I notice the difference in carbon stem and alloy, probably not.

Do I notice the difference in bar weight, probably not

........ 

 

Do I notice that it all adds to to a summer bike being 2kg lighter than my winter bike,oh yes.

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John Stevenson [434 posts] 4 months ago
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fukawitribe wrote:

Yeah and nah - can't say i've seen a site that actually bases their figures on the acceleration due to pedalling

Kraig Willett did exactly this modelling back in 2001.

http://www.biketechreview.com/reviews/wheels/63-wheel-performance

His analysis included modelling a criterium, with speed changes. Wheel weight and inertia did indeed make bugger all difference.

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John Stevenson [434 posts] 4 months ago
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Yorkshie Whippet wrote:

Do I notice that it all adds to to a summer bike being 2kg lighter than my winter bike,oh yes.

2kg gives a reduction of about 6 watts in the example I cited above. It's just possible you can feel that. When I visited the test lab at Wheel Energy in Finland a few years ago, they told me they'd found most riders could detect a 10 watt difference between bikes, and very sensitive riders could pick up a 5 watt difference.

However, I'm willing to bet that you're using lighter tyres with substantially lower rolling resistance on your summer bike. That could easily make 15 watts difference.

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Simon E [3748 posts] 4 months ago
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John Stevenson wrote:
Yorkshie Whippet wrote:

Do I notice that it all adds to to a summer bike being 2kg lighter than my winter bike,oh yes.

2kg gives a reduction of about 6 watts in the example I cited above. It's just possible you can feel that.

It has been shown that 1kg saves around 2 seconds per 100m of ascent when climbing, so over a ride with 2,000m of ascent your 2kg lighter bike will be 40 seconds quicker.

And the OP's calculations should be based on overall (rider+bike) weight, not just one component. You're not just hauling a bike up a hill but a human body too.

Flo wheels have shown how little effect weight has on overall speed:

https://road.cc/content/feature/213876-why-riders-you-need-go-aero-wheel...

More fascinating numbers and a great conclusion:

"In summary, wheels account for almost 10% of the total power required to race your bike and the dominant factor in wheel performance is aerodynamics. Wheel mass is a second order effect (nearly 10 times less significant) and wheel inertia is a third order effect (nearly 100 times less significant). "

http://www.biketechreview.com/reviews/wheels/63-wheel-performance

John Stevenson wrote:

I'm willing to bet that you're using lighter tyres with substantially lower rolling resistance on your summer bike. That could easily make 15 watts difference.

Then there's the significant difference clothing can make. Winter jacket vs summer jersey, for example.

People like to say they can feel difference in weight, wheel stiffness or shoe stiffness. Perhaps they can but these things make an imperceptible or zero difference to the power required to make a bicycle go forwards (or upwards) so 'feel' is not a useful gauge of whether that product/change really makes any material difference. Can anyone actually measure a difference between a 'flexy' wheel and a 'stiff' wheel?

kevvjj wrote:

You might even be able to run a wider tyre too which will give even better (lower) rolling resistance.

While wider tyres roll better at the same pressures, if you run them at the lower pressures that bring the comfort benefits then that advantage disappears. And they are heavier, which causes weight weenies some distress.

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madcarew [1002 posts] 4 months ago
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fukawitribe wrote:

Yeah and nah - can't say i've seen a site that actually bases their figures on the acceleration due to pedalling, generally seem to be an average power / VAM calculation which gets more simplistic the higher the grade/lower the cadence ; then again, would the better analysis come up with anything that makes a radical difference ?... almost certainly not.

Several studies have been done on precisely this, and found that the effects of weight at the rim compared to weight of the whole bike are negligible. Remember, if you are accelerating the rim, you are accelerating the entire bike and rider, so your numbers come back to similar to what John S is discussing above. 

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fukawitribe [2829 posts] 4 months ago
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John Stevenson wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:

Yeah and nah - can't say i've seen a site that actually bases their figures on the acceleration due to pedalling

Kraig Willett did exactly this modelling back in 2001. http://www.biketechreview.com/reviews/wheels/63-wheel-performance His analysis included modelling a criterium, with speed changes. Wheel weight and inertia did indeed make bugger all difference.

I can't get the link to the appendix he quotes, but from the text he is using the overall acceleration of the rider and bike, not the instantaeous one where you would expect the rim inertia to play a slightly more marked role. It'll still be a small difference, but my point was not that it will make a big one (as I said) but whether it could be noticeable and that the figures given by those sites don't take into account the acceleration of the bike/rider with the pedal stroke (just overall speed etc). I'm not convinced that it's basically impossible to tell the difference between riding with e.g. Zipp 808 clinchers versus 202 tubulars. It would also be interesting to see how any extra micro-acclerations effects fatiguing, if at all (c.f. normalised power). The big thing though is that people don't ride at constant velocity.

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fukawitribe [2829 posts] 4 months ago
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madcarew wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:

Yeah and nah - can't say i've seen a site that actually bases their figures on the acceleration due to pedalling, generally seem to be an average power / VAM calculation which gets more simplistic the higher the grade/lower the cadence ; then again, would the better analysis come up with anything that makes a radical difference ?... almost certainly not.

Several studies have been done on precisely this, and found that the effects of weight at the rim compared to weight of the whole bike are negligible. Remember, if you are accelerating the rim, you are accelerating the entire bike and rider, so your numbers come back to similar to what John S is discussing above. 

Yep, agree with most of that - my issue was whether it could be detectable and that the sites don't take into account the acceleration of the bike/rider with the pedal stroke, just overall speed etc.

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madcarew [1002 posts] 4 months ago
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fukawitribe wrote:
madcarew wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:

Yeah and nah - can't say i've seen a site that actually bases their figures on the acceleration due to pedalling, generally seem to be an average power / VAM calculation which gets more simplistic the higher the grade/lower the cadence ; then again, would the better analysis come up with anything that makes a radical difference ?... almost certainly not.

Several studies have been done on precisely this, and found that the effects of weight at the rim compared to weight of the whole bike are negligible. Remember, if you are accelerating the rim, you are accelerating the entire bike and rider, so your numbers come back to similar to what John S is discussing above. 

Yep, agree with most of that - my issue was whether it could be detectable and that the sites don't take into account the acceleration of the bike/rider with the pedal stroke, just overall speed etc.

The rim accelerates at the same rate as the bike (and mostly the rider) and as such the rim weight iseffectively  simply bike weight. So relative to a bike with 160g lighter wheels, all other accelerations taken into account, the difference of a 160gm lighter wheel against a 75kg cyclist + bike is less than .2%, which even supposing the acceleration part of the pedal stroke is 500W on an average over the stroke of 250W, .2% difference is only 1 W, which all tests shows is undetectable to even a highly trained rider. Sad to believe (I too held dear the idea that rim weight was more important than bike weight) but the extra weight of 160gm, whether at rim or at drink bottle is undetectable, which addresses the OP's question.

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Anthony.C [278 posts] 4 months ago
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The little experiment mentioned here found that extra weight at the rim, even as little as 50g, slows you down measurably when accelerating up a hill compared to weight at the hub.  

https://www.cyclist.co.uk/in-depth/143/rim-weight-vs-hub-weight

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StoopidUserName [658 posts] 4 months ago
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Just the extra fun and placebo factor of riding lighter wheels (half a kg min I'd say) is enough to make it worthwhile.

Zippier and easier acceleration from the billion lights and junctions on my commute means a better riding experience for me personally.

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BBB [502 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

he nonsense about lighter wheels making a big difference will be repeated forever regardless of how much independent evidence to the contrary is available. 

It's been the same with narrower tyres or higher pressure being faster, stiffer frames being more "efficient", road pedals transfering power "more effectively" etc etc... All based on errr... feel firm beliefs and scraps of often valid but incomplete or irrelevant data taken out of a wider context. 

 

P.S. I must say though the Earth felt so flat when I was cycling to work this morning.

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StoopidUserName [658 posts] 4 months ago
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BBB wrote:

he nonsense about lighter wheels making a big difference will be repeated forever regardless of how much independent evidence to the contrary is available. 

It's been the same with narrower tyres or higher pressure being faster, stiffer frames being more "efficient", road pedals transfering power "more effectively" etc etc... All based on errr... feel firm beliefs and scraps of often valid but incomplete or irrelevant data taken out of a wider context. 

 

P.S. I must say though the Earth felt so flat when I was cycling to work this morning.

Is this aimed at me? I was merely pointing out that lighter wheels (half a kg more) are basically more fun to ride. Which pisses some of the old school off I admit.

Cycling should not be fun.