Carbon Wheels what does it feel like riding one ?

Discussion in 'Parts 'n Stuff' started by bmar560, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. bmar560

    bmar560 Likes Dirt

    I've never ridden a bike with carbon wheels, before I go spending the big dollars.
    What can I expect from riding carbon wheels for those that currently ride one ?
  2. DMan

    DMan Top Bloke

    Why do you want them then? Do you need a new wheelset and are considering carbon, or are you bling purchasing?
  3. Ideate

    Ideate Senior Member

    Feels lighter.. but you can get that feeling with lighter tyres.

    mmmmm.. Stiffer? But you can get that by tightening your spokes.

    Looks good?

    Yeah, the main difference is that they look good!! What are you buying? Light Bicycle?
  4. schred

    schred Likes Bikes and Dirt

    Amazing or meh, depending on wheels you are coming from and riding you do with them. Coming from heavy alloys it was torsionally stiffer for me which was immediately noticeable. Lighter and faster too, which I still notice by the end of the ride as it's all pedalling for me and not much gravity. Choose widths wisely as it's an investment, enjoy.
  5. Ultra Lord

    Ultra Lord Likes Bikes and Dirt

    Tears when they break, your a couple of grand down and have to walk out the bush.

    I've ridden some, they are stiff (these were dh ones of some description, not particularly light). They were nice, but not worth the $ upgrade from my hope hoops that I've been pretty happy with.
  6. bmar560

    bmar560 Likes Dirt

    more bling purchasing than anything
    Current wheelset is Sram Rail 40.

    I was looking at either Zelvy or Nextie, but leaning towards Nextie as I can get better hubs. Chose those 2 options as they have local presence if things go wrong.

    The Santa Cruz Reserve looks nice and the macaskill video thrashing one looks impressive, but I don't like the price :)
  7. SF Trailboy

    SF Trailboy Likes Bikes and Dirt

    Got mine from ascent. Got the offset nextie rims.

    These wheels are stiff as - not much throws them off and the hold a line magically.

    I have been riding them for 2 years with out issue and I'm over 100kg

    Ohh and they look nice...
  8. DMan

    DMan Top Bloke

    No point in spending a lot of money if there isn't a bling factor in there too!!
  9. Gripo

    Gripo Eats Squid

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  10. The Duckmeister

    The Duckmeister Eats Squid

    Better tracking, because there's a lot less deflection in the rims when cornering hard (whoever said above that you can get the same from aluminium by cranking up the spoke tension has it wrong; regardless of tension the carbon rim will always be a lot stiffer than a similar-profiled aluminium rim, plus high tension in aluminium will eventually pull spokes out). The reduced deflection can make the wheels a bit more skittish over chattery surfaces, but that can be corrected with a slight lowering of tyre pressure.

    Despite the extra stiffness, the nature of carbon is much better at absorbing high-frequency vibrations, so although you still feel the bumps, the impact of them is softened.

    Better responsiveness, because carbon rims are lighter than an equivalent-profile aluminium model.

    A hit big enough to break a carbon rim will irreparably deform an aluminium rim too. Carbon is springy right up to the point at which it breaks, so will literally bounce back from many hits that will dent aluminium to some degree.
  11. The Reverend

    The Reverend Likes Dirt

    Well damped, supple and quiet is how I'd describe it.
    The biggest difference I have experienced with wheels was going from stock rims to Mavic SLR. The speed and lightness was transformative. They did flex a bit though.
    Putting the carbon rims on mine had the same effect but were so light AND stiff so they held their line, damped the trail vibrations and made the ride more comfortable.

    Mine I find are also really easy to true. They generally stay true and tight anyway, but I have found them easier to live with overall.

    Just make sure you spend properly on
    The build.

    If you get mediocre hubs (especially freehub) you'll curse your very expensive wheels.

    How they feel to ride is probably more in the build.
    Choose decent tyres and manage your pressures so you don't stress about cracking them so much.

    Definitely pick the right width too, and one can go too wide so more isn't always better.

    Good luck!
  12. DMan

    DMan Top Bloke

  13. teK--

    teK-- Eats Squid

    Expect to have to ride with more finesse, and mindfulness that you might crack a rim. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it can make you a smoother rider but it does make you more paranoid every time you case a jump or hit some square edge really hard.

    After cracking one carbon rim I have gone back to alloy and am having more fun as I can ride looser and charge into things without worrying so much about cracking a rim anymore.
  14. johnny

    johnny I'll tells ya! Staff Member

    I'm out .
  15. Haakon

    Haakon Not happy, Jan.

    Have damaged, bent, dented and broken many steel and alloy rims over the years, the carbon ones have been so far perfect and are on the bike that’s experienced the biggest jumps and fastest rock garden traverses.
  16. Gripo

    Gripo Eats Squid

    you reckon, old fables .......
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  17. Daniel Hale

    Daniel Hale Likes Dirt

    had the giant p-xc1c; wasn't impressed by them, dveloped a crack around a spoke hole, sub80kg, never had any other problems with alloy wheels; i will mostly stick to alloy. a firend bought some curves, he loves them
  18. 99_FGT

    99_FGT Likes Bikes and Dirt

    I went from 29er crests to zelvy 30's => Night and day. Was able to clear lines in rock gardens I had never been able to. Bike was quieter, more precise in it's steering and less chattery on rough surfaces.
    Then went from DtM1700's to Zelvy 40/35's. Not as much of a difference, but still noticeable.
    As mentioned above you can go too wide: I have cracked a rim due to running a 2.2 on a 35 rear without enough pressure. It didn't fail catastrophically though, it didn't really even fail, but I took a 3cm chunk out of the side of the rim (and kept riding for 4-6 weeks before I noticed it)
  19. caad9

    caad9 Likes Dirt

    I'll echo Duckmeister's sentiments.

    Carbon rims will spring out of awkward situations that an alloy wheel would flex through. It's a strange sensation at first, but once you get adjusted to it, alloy wheels feel pretty dull.
  20. gcouyant

    gcouyant Farkin Advertiser

    The delta in going from alloy carbon rims has more to do with the quality and applicability of each. As the good reverend said that going from package rims to higher end alloy like the SLRs is a transformative experience, the delta from SLR to high end carbon may not be as noticeable – particularly if you have a degree of anticipation when trying the carbon wheels for the first time on your bike.

    After a while on carbon rims though, where you really do notice the difference is going back to an alloy rim. That does stand out and you notice a less subtle ride and one that almost feels like you have a dragging brake.

    One thing that is very handy that hasn’t been mentioned here is that the carbon rim cross section profile tends to be taller and a good deal better at shedding mud and muck off the rotating wheel. In the high country or wet desert riding we’ll sometimes have a huge build-up on alloy rims but tall carbon rims remain light. In snow, it’s chalk and cheese.

    Hope that helps.

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