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Motor will always be the real defining characteristic, but I doubt you were looking for that answer so here is my two cents. Essentially its going to boil down to where you start off. If you have a frame that is poor quality(i.e. flexy, weird geometry), or it doesnt fit you well, then you will suffer ill consequences no matter what kinda wheels you are riding. However, if the frame is decent and fits reasonably well, then wheel will definitely have a bigger impact. A good wheelset will significantly alter the feel of the bike and make riding much more enjoyable and efficient. Acceleration will be faster, and the coasting will be better. So if the choice is between super high end frame and super high end wheels, I say wheels.
 

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Frame affects fit, and fit affects how many watts the 'motor' (i.e. you) can put out, so I'm gonna say frame is #1.

Wheels are second, but definitely quite important too. I hate accelerating heavy wheels all the time... it's just kinda demoralizing.
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You won't go anywhere without either.

There is no answer to your question really. If you were talking about upgrading one or the other and your starting point was known then it would be worth discussing.
 

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tarmac man
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frame is the foundation of the whole bike
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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Since I see this post as an offshoot of your Madone vs R3 post, I'll answer this way.

IMO riding an ill fitting frame adversely affects the power you make, and the longer distance you ride, the ill fit translates into some level of pain. Seems to me at that point you could be riding a high bling Di2 equipped bike with a pair of sub 1500g CF wheels and it wouldn't make a lot of difference.

That given, first pin down your fit requirements, get a bike sized as close to those requirements as is reasonably possible, tweak fit, then worry about upgrading wheels at some point.
 

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I believe that there are plenty of fairly low cost decent frames in all materials (carbon, aluminum, steel, ti). I don't believe that the difference between these frames and super high cost frames is that great. But having gone from average wheels (Mavic Ksyriums) to low weight, carbon, semi-aero wheels (2010 Zipp 303 tubulars) I can say that the difference is huge. Very noticeable, especially climbing and at maintaining high speeds on flats for long distances. I wouldn't have said this before, but I now believe that your choice in wheelsets has the greatest affect on how a bike feels given that whatever frame you are on "fits" properly.
 

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Some thoughts.

tanner3155 said:
Which would have more impact on climbing and distance:

Wheels or frame ?
Climbing: most noticeable impact on climbing by far is to shed weight, doesn't matter how: frame, wheels, rider. Forget the notion that there's such a thing as a "climbing frame geometry". Even if there would be such a thing, the supposed benefit is insignificant compared to the benefit of less weight. A stiff frame is good to have on a climb, but you can ride a noodle to King-of-the-Mountain status if you know how to spin smoothly uphill instead of pounding the pedals.

Distance: comfort coming out of a good fit trumps reasonable frame or wheel weight.
 

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When I talk to people looking to purchase a bike I break the bike down to 3 areas - Frame , wheels and components. First start out with a frame that fits. Then you look at the wheels and lastly look at what components will complete the package (in the price range that the client wants). So to me the frame is the first/most important then comes the wheels and to a certain degree the components comes last because they wont make you go any faster. There's no really bad frames/wheels being sold at your local shops just frames/wheels that you can afford and frames/wheels that you can not afford. Both are very important and can be argued that each is the most important. As for myself I will start with a frame and go from there.
 

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jrz1 said:
I believe that there are plenty of fairly low cost decent frames in all materials (carbon, aluminum, steel, ti).
There's cheap Ti? Where?? Point me at it!!! :arf:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, so heres the dealeo..... since I need to get fitted first, I'll do that, then they will tell me that my Madone frame is too big. Then they will tell me that I need a 58 or maybe even a 56. Now, at this point I guess the answer to my question has to be to get the R3 frame in the proper size and worry about the wheels as soon as I get the $$$$.

When it is time to get the wheels, what should I replace my Bontrager race lite's with for climbing? Do I have to get those $1500 carbon aero things? Is there a good non-aero clincher ?

Thanks all for your help!
 

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tanner3155 said:
When it is time to get the wheels, what should I replace my Bontrager race lite's with for climbing? Do I have to get those $1500 carbon aero things? Is there a good non-aero clincher ?

Thanks all for your help!
my advice is do your wallet a favor and forget you ever heard the term 'climbing wheels'. I've never used Bontrager race lites but from what I understand they're decent wheels. You shouldn't need another set of wheels to go up a hill.
Unless you're racing for money where split seconds count attention to proper gears and your legs is really all you need to worry about for climbing.
 

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tanner3155 said:
When it is time to get the wheels, what should I replace my Bontrager race lite's with for climbing? Do I have to get those $1500 carbon aero things? Is there a good non-aero clincher ?

Thanks all for your help!
Not sure about the current weights of Race Lites, but my '05 version is 1500 grams. That's about all you need in terms of light weight vs. durability. Well, I should say, for the money, that is. If you want lighter than 1400 gram wheels that will last long and take abuse, expect to pay at least a dollar per gram. What wim points out holds the most water - overall weight of rider and bike will matter the most when climbing. Buying a $2000 wheelset to drop 200 grams doesn't make sense when you carry a 135 gram iPhone and/or more than a couple extra pounds around the mid-section (like I have).
 

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Climbing wheels are only useful in racing. I race with 1250g aero wheels that retail for far more than I would ever want to admit to. I train on a wheelset that weighs over 2000g.

Riding recreationally, just get some moderately light wheels - something between 1500 and 1800g. It'll cost you under $700 for a wheelset, and they'll serve you wonderfully.

The difference between my 1250g special wheels and my 2000g wheelset is truly minimal - think of it this way:

Weight = Weight of You + Weight of bike. 175lb + 16lb = 191lb. Is saving 200g really that important? Mehhhh.

Race Lites are just fine to ride on. I wouldn't bother upgrading them! Cheers :thumbsup:
 

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tanner3155 said:
Ok, so heres the dealeo..... since I need to get fitted first, I'll do that, then they will tell me that my Madone frame is too big. Then they will tell me that I need a 58 or maybe even a 56. Now, at this point I guess the answer to my question has to be to get the R3 frame in the proper size and worry about the wheels as soon as I get the $$$$.

When it is time to get the wheels, what should I replace my Bontrager race lite's with for climbing? Do I have to get those $1500 carbon aero things? Is there a good non-aero clincher ?

Thanks all for your help!
1 - Isn't the R3 pretty expensive? You could buy a less expensive frame and a nice set of wheels for the same price. Less expensive doesn't specifically mean lower quality, comfort, or speed. The most comfortable bike I've owned had a $600 BMC Aluminum frame. I'm sure the R3 is a very nice bike. Is it worth the money to you?.

In Competitive cyclist dollars, compared to an R3 frame, you could buy this full bike and have money left for another set of wheels. (this is just an example)

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/r...ine-slt-01-sram-force-complete-bike-6949.html


2 - If you're not racing, don't bother with tubular wheels. (or carbon)


3 - If are really interested in light wheels, you can get clinchers that are pretty light, and sometimes cheap. (FLIT Leticias are an example I've used - $400 and I think 1,300gm)
 

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