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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

Well I upgraded my wheelset this year. I went from the standard Specialized Tarmac Comp wheelset (I think a 24/16 spoke combo) to Mavic open pro 36/32 w/ double butted spokes. I worked with the guys at colorado cyclist and they suggested 15/16 double butted spokes in a 3cross pattern. I've done a few rides and now my back kills... Anything more than a 30 mile ride and I'm really hurting the next day. Aside from tweeking my seat position by a couple mm up, I haven't changed anything with respect to my setup. I'm even riding the same roads. Bike frame / seatpost is all carbon.

I assume that the new wheelset is much stronger and rigid given the lacing and spokes. I would have to true my old wheels several times a season. I'm still at my winter riding weight which I am in the process of working off (at about 245-250now - hoping to get to 240ish). So, I'm sure this might be a contributor.

Thoughts? What about a suspension seatpost?

thx,
mark
 

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Suspension seatposts are for large older women with "comfort" bikes.

Ride more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, yeah.. Could be that I just need to get my legs back from last season. I never had an issue on my trainer.

And yes... Suspension seatpost suggestion was a joke...
 

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hard to believe the wheels would make that much difference
 

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Perhaps a small adjustment to the angle of your saddle could be worthwhile. Try pointing it down a touch. Then level. Then up - riding until you can notice a difference in how you feel in your back.

In any event, a 36 or 32 3X wheel should be a softer ride than what was there before.
 

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I have never been able to tell the difference in ride between wheels unless the spokes were so slack the nipples were unscrewing. And I am very in tune to what my bike is doing. It's not the wheels.

Your back hurts either because you changed your saddle position, or because you are doing too much mileage or climbing this season before you are ready for it. Or both.
 

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Meow!
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I find it hard to believe that new wheels would cause back pain. When you moved your saddle up a few millimeters, did you also move it forward to compensate for the difference in fore/aft position? It's possible that you're too stretched out now and that your back problem is related, at least in part, to tight hamstrings.
 

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For the wheels to be the difference, the old ones would have had to be slapping against the brakes and stays like they were laced with overcooked pasta. Wheels are always much stiffer vertically than laterally.
 

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if you think the wheelset is stiffer causing back pain, drop the psi 5-10 and see if that helps or 25-28mm tires.
 

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I have a herniated disk and have had back problems come out of nowhere....if I were in your position, I would not assume that it had anything to do with the wheels. Be kind to your back until it's better or it WILL get worse...you know what to do...stretches, anti-inflammatories, massage therapy, chiro, etc. Do all that stuff and then worry about the bike....then consider running 700x25's or 28's if you aren't already. I'm at 190 lb and I run 25's at 100/105 and it really helps....I run 32 hole Open Pros on a Specialized Roubaix.
 

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I've been curious about this thing (wheel "comfort") - people often post that their new wheels are more comfortable or less comfortable than their old ones, and I just can't believe that they have any meaningful vertical flex or any factor that would affect comfort. I can believe that there might be side-to-side flex (but have never experienced it) though.

Has anyone actually felt more or less comfort with wheels?

To OP: my first thought was from what you wrote: "Aside from tweeking my seat position by a couple mm up, I haven't changed anything with respect to my setup". Tweeking saddle hight isn't a throw away thing. Why not go back to exactly the same set up so the only change is the wheels? This includes tires and pressure.
 

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Camilo said:
Has anyone actually felt more or less comfort with wheels?
Felt? Certainly. Experienced? Likely not. Your gut reaction is correct. There has been testing done by Mavic and some bike magazines to show that folks can't reliably tell one wheel from another. It doesn't stop them from believing that what they just dropped coin on is much better than what they were using.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ahhh!!! Yes.. I did switch my saddle at the end of the season last year - I *totally* forgot! With indoor training rides i didn't notice a difference. I went from a specialized Alias to a Toupe. Basically the difference being much less padding in the Toupe -- alot less. I'm almost positive that this has something to do with it. Alias = a little bit of chafing on long rides... Chafing < backpain (!)

mark
 

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Camilo said:
I've been curious about this thing (wheel "comfort") - people often post that their new wheels are more comfortable or less comfortable than their old ones, and I just can't believe that they have any meaningful vertical flex or any factor that would affect comfort. I can believe that there might be side-to-side flex (but have never experienced it) though.

Has anyone actually felt more or less comfort with wheels?

I switched from Mavic Kysrium Elite's to 32 hole Open Pro's with double butted spokes - same tires, same bike, same roads, and only a day apart and I swear that I could feel the difference. True, it wasn't blind, so it could very well be in my head...I guess that it boils down to economics and where you reach the point of diminishing returns....if my objective is to improve the comfort, where would I start spending money...and where would I stop? I certainly would not start with a new wheelset....and I would have a REAL hard time justifying replacing a perfectly good wheelset just for comfort.....
 

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I have several custom wheel sets, and the one's laced with DT Swiss Revolution spokes ride better particularly over chip seal. However, I baby my equipment, and don't do standing sprints, so I can't honestly speak about their long term durability.

Note that my rear wheels are laced with DS: 2.0/1.8/2.0 and NDS: 2.0/1.5/2.0 and the stiffer wheels with DS: 2.0 straight gage NDS: 2.0/1.7/1.8

I agree with the posts suggesting an increased tire size and lower air pressure.
 

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I say moving the seat post up is your issue. A small change can make a BIG difference in that area. Drop it back down and see if the pain goes away. Then try it back up with the seat forward if you need it higher.
 

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The new saddle may have caused a number of changes through the laws of unintended consequences. Padding, as you mentioned, saddle height and fore/aft (how careful were you to achieve the same position when you put the new saddle on?

When you say your back hurts, does it feel like an localized ache or do you just feel sort of beat up after a ride? Is it low back or upper back? Does stretching, in particular your hamstrings, help? Keep in mind, too, that many of us experience early season aches and pains that have more to do with conditioning than our gear.
 

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Camilo said:
I've been curious about this thing (wheel "comfort") - people often post that their new wheels are more comfortable or less comfortable than their old ones, and I just can't believe that they have any meaningful vertical flex or any factor that would affect comfort. I can believe that there might be side-to-side flex (but have never experienced it) though.

Has anyone actually felt more or less comfort with wheels?

To OP: my first thought was from what you wrote: "Aside from tweeking my seat position by a couple mm up, I haven't changed anything with respect to my setup". Tweeking saddle hight isn't a throw away thing. Why not go back to exactly the same set up so the only change is the wheels? This includes tires and pressure.
I rode a set of 32-hole, box-section Torelli Master rims laced 3X. I trashed the front wheel in an accident and had it replaced with a Velosity Deep V rim laced radial. The same tire was installed. I can't remember if it was a 32 or 28 hole. I noticed a much stiffer ride, more jarring over bumps. I had a spare 32-hole, 3X Open Pro wheel that I'd occasionally install, same tires. Riding this wheel, I noticed it felt more compliant over bumps, same as the old Torelli wheel.
Now the Deep V was ridden for several months, during which I had the normal flats where I'd replace the tube a reinflate the tire. The same harsh ride was felt before and after, so it's safe to say the difference wasn't due to one time when I might have put more pressure in.
But the wheels still had the important difference of one being 3X and the other being radial, so I can't say for sure whether the profile of the rims was the difference, or whether it was the lacing patten. But I'm convinced I was feeling a real difference.
Logic might lead you to think that the soft rubber of a tire and air pressure and volume would be the only factors in comfort you could feel. But I'm thinking while these might be the major factors, they are still just a part of a chain of factors which includes the gauge, number, tension, and crossing pattern of the spokes as well as the rim dimensions.
 
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