Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Cranky Old Bastard
Joined
·
2,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello wheelbuilding geniuses! Real experience needed here.

I've been pondering and researching this area for a while and it is hard to get a grip on how all the factors affect each other.

I want to build a set of "comfortable" wheels. Not so flexy that they are wobbly and inefficient yet not so stiff that they feel like they are solid steel disks.

I understand that there are no hard 'n fast rules; that there are always exceptions to every rule.

Will you agree that generally:
Tall aero rims don't flex much and have an unyielding ride.
Straight gauge thick spokes don't flex much and are stiff riding.
Radial lacing with high tensions make a harsh ride.

So that:
Low-profile alloy rims will flex and soften the ride.
14-15 and 14-17 non-bladed spokes will stretch and soften the ride.
3x lacing rides softer than 2x or 1x.

My last road bike was a tourer 20 years ago that had 36x14ga straight spokes, LP rims and 100psi 28mm tires. I thought the ride was harsh.
My new bike has 32x14ga straight spokes, 25mm tall alloy rims and 80psi 32mm cross tires. They feel somewhat harsh to me but probably aren't as bad as those touring wheels.

I'm planning to build a wheelset with disc hubs, 32 Sapim Laser spokes (3x) and Velocity A23 OC rims. I'll be running 25mm tires at around 80-90psi and likely latex tubes. Would you expect these wheels to give a compliant ride?
And secondly...would it make much difference to drop to 28 spokes?

thanks in advance!
 

·
A wheelist
Joined
·
11,324 Posts
I had to read your post 2x to find out that you left out a piece of info at least as important as anything you gave us (this is twice I've said this on the forum this afternoon!) - and that is ~ your weight. It won't take much imagination to realize that 135 - 235 and 335lb people need different wheel, tire & pressure specs. So help us out here Randy. Thanks.

That would be for the fine details - the big picture answer is that tire compliance vastly overwhelms any miniscule rim deflection. So the real answer is - sufficient volume and correct pressures for you.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,714 Posts
As Mike said before me, do not look at either rims or spokes to comfort your ride . Look at your tires. If comfort is your outmost criterion use supple casing tires as wide as your bike will let you. 28 mm or even 30 mm. Look at the likes of Grand Bois or Challenge Roubaix Parigi at those widths; they will soften your ride but will not be as durable as others that do not put all the emphasis on comfort.

Good move on the 23mm rims but you could do better than the Velocity; much better...

Not a genius but that much I know.......


EDIT TO ADD: the pressures you listed for the tire width you used are all over the map. Look at this calculator http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html as a starting point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,585 Posts
yup, comfort will come from the tires, not from the rims. rim choice (specifically width) impacts ride quality because it allows for greater tire volume, but you'd want to keep wheel deflection in any direction to a minimum, imo. the operating pressure of your tires, combined with the tire construction are going to be much more effective ways to tune the plush into your bike.

and like dcgriz says, there is generally a trade off between toughness/durability, and suppleness in tires.
 

·
Cranky Old Bastard
Joined
·
2,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oops, sorry guys, yes I should have included more info about me.

I'm 5'8" and weighed 165 this morning. I'm 61 and out of shape, that's why I'm getting back into cycling.

So I'm not powerful now and don't plan to build bulging muscles.
My riding will focus on cardio, losing the little bit of fat I carry and just building myself into a decent state of overall fitness and health.
I want to be a good medium speed, medium distance rider, spending an average of 10 hours a week on the bike, usually 2 or 3 hours at a time.

I'll likely never "hammer" because it is so easy to hurt oneself at my age and it takes forever to heal.

But I will work to improve my average speed and distance, etc. I'm not that old guy puttering along on his beach bike.
 

·
A wheelist
Joined
·
11,324 Posts
I'm 5'8" and weighed 165 this morning. I'm 61
Another youngster.

"somewhat harsh" and "compliant ride" are very subjective terms. To me (and I am older than you) 25mm tires aired up to 85/95psi feel like feather pillows - but nothing close to the 32mm Challenge Grifo tires (at about 50-60 psi) on my cyclocross dirt road bike a few short years ago - or the 40psi 2.1" tires on my mountain bike (used also for dirt roads).

Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX tires, 320tpi are about as plush as 25mm road tires go - if you keep them well under 100psi.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,714 Posts
@Randy

That's a very good attitude and realistic expectations you have. You did not say which bike you bought. A steel or ti bike, made for comfort in mind, with a longer wheelbase and longer trail would give you a nice and stable ride. Not to say that carbons could not do the same.

I think proper fit would be paramount to start you right and acclimate you back to riding.

BTW, another benefit wider tires will give you is the ability to roll over road imperfections with less fear of locking your wheel into road ruts.
 

·
Cranky Old Bastard
Joined
·
2,337 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
@Randy That's a very good attitude and realistic expectations you have.
Thanks DC!

I was a compulsive-addicted cycling fanatic 20 years ago. Getting that compulsive addiction back again!

I look forward to getting a TI frame someday when I can afford it; I'm retired and living on a small pension.

I bought a new Trek CrossRip: compact aluminum frame, carbon fork and fairly relaxed geometry. It is not a supple ride but much better than the jackhammer Kleins and Cannondales that I tested in the '90s. I'm not dissatisfied with the ride now but hope that new wheels/tires may add a little suppleness.

This bike came with the wheels I described above: 32mm cross tires, 32 spokes; everything is stiff and very heavy.

I'm building this road wheelset to increase the overall performance of the entry-level bike.
When I add up the weights, I'll lose over 3 pounds with the new wheels and tires! Huge difference, and with the 25s expect less rolling resistance also.

In picking out the components for the new wheels I'm trying to consider everything from every angle. That's why I'm asking about compliance and comfort.

Edit: I've already added a full-carbon seatpost and shock-absorbing 202g San Marco SKN saddle.

thanks, everyone, for your responses!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,666 Posts
As Mike said before me, do not look at either rims or spokes to comfort your ride .
I don't know about that. I had a rear wheel rebuilt from DB14 spokes to CX-Ray spokes and noticed they were smoother over bad roads. Same hubs, rims and tires at the same pressure. They were rebuilt by a different guy that originally built them with DB14s, perhaps it was the build and not the parts, but I definitely noticed a change.
No doubt tires are the #1 place to look though.
 

·
A wheelist
Joined
·
11,324 Posts
I don't know about that. I had a rear wheel rebuilt from DB14 spokes to CX-Ray spokes and noticed they were smoother over bad roads. Same hubs, rims and tires at the same pressure. They were rebuilt by a different guy that originally built them with DB14s, perhaps it was the build and not the parts, but I definitely noticed a change.
No doubt tires are the #1 place to look though.
I'm sure we all have different levels of feeling, real or anecdotal, but I cannot tell when I'm on my DT Comp 32/32 wheels or my CX-Ray 24/28 wheels. Whatever difference in compliance there is in the wheels it would have to be measured in thousandths of an inch, otherwise we would have bottom spokes going to zero tension (or less) and that would cause real problems. Those thousandths, compared to probably up to a 1/2" (or maybe more) of tire squish at the same time, isn't even, IMO anyway, worth talking about. It's probably equal to the difference between 99 and 100psi.
 

·
'brifter' is f'ing stupid
Joined
·
15,659 Posts
I'm sure we all have different levels of feeling, real or anecdotal, but I cannot tell when I'm on my DT Comp 32/32 wheels or my CX-Ray 24/28 wheels. Whatever difference in compliance there is in the wheels it would have to be measured in thousandths of an inch, otherwise we would have bottom spokes going to zero tension (or less) and that would cause real problems. Those thousandths, compared to probably up to a 1/2" (or maybe more) of tire squish at the same time, isn't even, IMO anyway, worth talking about. It's probably equal to the difference between 99 and 100psi.
^ this ^. there is NO way you can tell any difference between different wheel builds. there is so much more movement in the tire than the rim will ever see, for the exact reasons stated above, that rim/spokes/pattern just don't matter.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,714 Posts
As Jobst Brand put it, ".......although the thinnest spokes are twice as elastic as the thickest, the tire cushion is in the order of 100 times more elastic and completely masks the difference........"
If the wheel was to flex even to half of that then, I think, it would taco and collapse.

The reason butted are preferred over straight gauge is not because of comfort but because butted spokes, being more elastic than straight gauge spokes, allow greater rim deformation before becoming slack (read: do not permit nipples to unscrew as easily) and thus build to a more durable wheel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,424 Posts
Buy whatever wheels you will smile about when you look and or get ready to ride. If it makes the whole thing more fun because you like the look, weight or whatever about the wheels, it's worth it. I've only ridden a few different wheels, but it's only tires (quality and size) that I've ever actually felt any difference with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,161 Posts
Buy whatever wheels you will smile about when you look and or get ready to ride. If it makes the whole thing more fun because you like the look, weight or whatever about the wheels, it's worth it. I've only ridden a few different wheels, but it's only tires (quality and size) that I've ever actually felt any difference with.
Yes...
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top