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RoadBikeReview Addict
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Bontrager Race X-Lite's vs. American Classic 420's for racing/training.

I have last year's Race X-Lite's - the ones that are machined between the spokes. These are the ones Bontrager got in trouble for, and no longer manufacture the same way, since Mavic was already using that technology on their Ksyriums. Anyway, I've been happy with them. They are light (1520 grams) and durable. I recently met "CARBON110", who was kind enough to give me his rear, bladed 420 wheel. Thanks again, Jeremy!! I brought the wheel into my LBS who gave it a clean bill of health (he was using these 420's when he was hit by that car last year...if you remember). Since the front one was ruined in the accident, he had been using the rear excluively on his trainer (it has VERY little road use). Taking all this into consideration I decided to order a new, front 420 so I'd have an extra wheelset. Before ordering I noticed AM Classic changed the 420's graphic/stickers and started machining the wheel's braking surface. They agreed to send an extra set of their new stickers with the new wheel so I'd be able to match them. I then decided to self-machine the rears 420's braking surface. The two wheels now look identical.

The 420's are more aero (34mm rim depth) and lighter (1458 grams) than my Race X-Lites. I plan on doing lots of group/solo rides this year and entering my first CAT5 races. Should I make the 420's my primary wheelset since they are both lighter and more aero than the Race X-Lite's? If I went this route I'd only use the X-Lite's as road backups (and maybe for a cx build this fall?). Or, should I use the Race X-Lite's for group/solo rides and use the 420's exclusively for racing? I know aero and lightweight aren't all that important in a crit (well maybe aero is), but it's important to have a strong/durable wheelset, especially due to the liklihood of crashing. I'm not sure, but *maybe* the Race X-Lite's are stronger and more durable? If that's true, I can use them for crits and the 420's for road races? Obviously, before deciding, I need to get some ride time on the 420's first. I plan on it.

Another question concerns gearing. I'm running a 12-23 cassette on the Race X-Lite's. I'd imagine it would be smart to go for a differently geared cassette this time rather than another 12-23?

Thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks,
 

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aka Zonic Man
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Use them both as race wheels and get a heavy assed set of training wheels.

My wife is using Cosmos wheels with heavy cassette, tires and tubes, and then uses a Neutron set with light cassette for races. I just ordered her a CR-350 wheelset and she'll be using those as well for racing with an alloy cassette.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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Jed Peters said:
Use them both as race wheels and get a heavy assed set of training wheels.

My wife is using Cosmos wheels with heavy cassette, tires and tubes, and then uses a Neutron set with light cassette for races. I just ordered her a CR-350 wheelset and she'll be using those as well for racing with an alloy cassette.
I hear this a lot, but I don't agree. If you're wanting to add resistance or difficulty to a training ride then either ride faster or in a bigger gear. I've yet to see the "donut" effect make any real difference for racers. Maybe there's a psychological effect I suppose, but I doubt it's been quantified. (Although I'd love to be proved wrong.) I can understand riding the heavier set for durabilty issues, but not because you'll then be faster once you go to your race bike on race day. Especially when it comes to climbing, you really want to be able to feel your way through the gearing and know where you are, when you should come out of the saddle, when to upshift, etc. If you have a 1000 gram difference between your race and training wheels, won't this completely change the dynamics of how you climb?
 

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aka Zonic Man
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Using your same logic, no it won't completely change the dynamics.

The body "trains" itself to go with a certain set of wheels....when you have put on something significantly lighter, your body instantly notices that. Does a couple things: 1. makes you grab a harder gear, 2. allows higher speeds with less intensity, 3. gives psychological advantage (perhaps the most important thing).

Recently, my wife (an example) was told by the doctor that at like 14 percent body fat, she only has 16 pounds of fatty tissue. 2 POUNDS off the wheels are an INCREDIBLE advantage for her.

Also, as you said, putting in 12-15 hours a week on a set of race wheels and a race cassette adds up to a lot of money in wheels, cassette wear, freewheel bearings (in light little hubs) and tires.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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Jed Peters said:
Using your same logic, no it won't completely change the dynamics.

The body "trains" itself to go with a certain set of wheels....when you have put on something significantly lighter, your body instantly notices that. Does a couple things: 1. makes you grab a harder gear, 2. allows higher speeds with less intensity, 3. gives psychological advantage (perhaps the most important thing).

Recently, my wife (an example) was told by the doctor that at like 14 percent body fat, she only has 16 pounds of fatty tissue. 2 POUNDS off the wheels are an INCREDIBLE advantage for her.

Also, as you said, putting in 12-15 hours a week on a set of race wheels and a race cassette adds up to a lot of money in wheels, cassette wear, freewheel bearings (in light little hubs) and tires.
Again, I agree with your first paragraph, but it would be just as easy to train yourself in bigger gears. All you have to do is pay attention to your cadence and slow it down. Obviously, with heavier equipment you are doing this automatically so i'm sure it makes sense for some people. Psychologically, i'm sure it feels great. Again, I'd love to see some actual performance data to back up these claims however.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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Both are nice looking wheels

I think both could be considered "race-day only" wheels although neither offer a huge advantage over training wheels. The 420s are light and aero but not silly light and not silly aero. There has always been a question about AmClassic hubs in relation to durability. I have a set of Mag300s coming this weeks that I will use as race-day only wheels and they will see very few training days. If you wanted a true raceday only wheel, you would go carbon tubular by either manufacturer. It's nice to be able to choose between the sets you have however because both are very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Human G-Nome said:
I think both could be considered "race-day only" wheels although neither offer a huge advantage over training wheels. The 420s are light and aero but not silly light and not silly aero. There has always been a question about AmClassic hubs in relation to durability. I have a set of Mag300s coming this weeks that I will use as race-day only wheels and they will see very few training days. If you wanted a true raceday only wheel, you would go carbon tubular by either manufacturer. It's nice to be able to choose between the sets you have however because both are very nice.
These are my only road wheels (besides the wheels that came on my Fuji Track, but the rear has 120mm spacing). Mag300's, eh? Those ARE light! I certainly don't need a race day only wheel (least not yet!) so I guess I'll have to choose between these two fine offerings. I'll probably use the 420's for general riding, training and racing and use the X-Lite's as back-ups (in case I taco a 420, have hub issues, etc.). I think the X-Lite's *might* be ok for cx, too. Hmm...

Any gearing suggestions?
 

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Nice Pics !

They look great ! Nice job on the brake surface =)

Human when are you going to get some REAL wheels. Mag 300s bah =)) Of course I jest, being the wheel obsessed rider that I am. My invitation will remain Human for you and your amigo to come out and race the hardest race of the year for 4 days. Free place to stay, all the cliff bars and tubes you need, beer after the final crit on the course while we watch the 1,2s and Health Net clean house..... cmon its epic and ya gotta do it once. I'll come out and race there if you two come here for Green Mtn. Glad to see your still here


J. have you gotten a USCF racing liscence yet? There are a couple of crits and spring series I'm doing in Conn. if you wanna go. How about Monson or Sterrling April 24? Let me know if you have any questions regarding courses and such. I'd love it if you and Allie came up for a weekend to ride after the snow clears. Bring your 420s!

All my best and I hope you guys are havn a kickn spring
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
CARBON110 said:
They look great ! Nice job on the brake surface =)

Human when are you going to get some REAL wheels. Mag 300s bah =)) Of course I jest, being the wheel obsessed rider that I am. My invitation will remain Human for you and your amigo to come out and race the hardest race of the year for 4 days. Free place to stay, all the cliff bars and tubes you need, beer after the final crit on the course while we watch the 1,2s and Health Net clean house..... cmon its epic and ya gotta do it once. I'll come out and race there if you two come here for Green Mtn. Glad to see your still here


J. have you gotten a USCF racing liscence yet? There are a couple of crits and spring series I'm doing in Conn. if you wanna go. How about Monson or Sterrling April 24? Let me know if you have any questions regarding courses and such. I'd love it if you and Allie came up for a weekend to ride after the snow clears. Bring your 420s!

All my best and I hope you guys are havn a kickn spring
Glad you like the pics. =) No, I haven't gotten a USCF license yet. I will, though. I need to look into how to go about it (bikereg.com?). What races are you doing in CT? I'd like to particpate in the New Britain & Hartford crits this year. Where are those races (Monson and Sterling)? I'll have to look that up too. We'd (Allie & I) would definitely be up for some spring VT riding. Those pics you sent were cool - thanks!
 
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