With 57 days to the start of the Haute Route Alps 2013, it is time to settle on wheel choice. There is one binding constraint: riders can only bring one wheelset and no spares.
I think I am converging towards my decision, but I am curious what you would choose/recommend? There is a short poll below (5sec), but let me first summarize and compare the choices I have (these are my own wheels–“L’embarras du choix” :):
1. Aluminum rim with clincher tires:
Benefit of alu is unrivaled braking power in wet/rain and in heat. Clincher tires are what I ride most of the time and have most experience with changing when I have a flat (easy!).
2. Carbon 38mm rim with clincher tires:
Benefit of carbon is weight + the simplicity of clincher tires.
Downsides of carbon is the less effective breaking when it is wet (even with the expensive yellow-Swiss or other carbon-specific brake pads). But a good buddy said: “well, if it’s wet, you should be careful and slow down those descents anyway.” Some also point out the risk of overheating the carbon when breaking at high frequency or continuously during long periods of time, thereby loosing the structural rigidity of the resin that holds the carbon fibers together. That surely could happen if we descent with 500 riders slowly in one long line, but it is more likely that the “peloton” completely shatters during the climb and that the descent is done in little groups of similar abilities. (And I hope to descent fast, so I am not worried about the overheating.)
3. Carbon 38mm rim with tubular tires:
Benefits: lowest weight, safety (the tire is glued and will stay on even when flatting in a turn) and, as a distant third consideration, “best ride feel.” Other benefits (irrelevant for my task in the Alps) are: for a crit, they accelerate well; for cross, they allow a very low tire pressure without the risk of pinch flats.
Downsides: tubulars are the most expensive tires (but almost irrelevant relative to the rest of the sunk costs). Concerns are having a flat: for a small leak, one can carry a “pit stop” which puts a sealant and inflates the tire, sufficiently to make it home. For a large leak, one would have to change the tubular (hence carry a spare, pre-glued one) but be careful on the descents as it may not be glued well. Last: one could “roll a tire” in a turn and crash.
Last, here are the weight comparisons, as measured on our kitchen scale (accurate to the 1g): 572g/838g means 572g for the “naked” wheel; 838g with tubes & tires (but no quick release nor cassette). ? means estimated; Exception is * which includes a powertap hub and old 11-28 cassette –estimate without those is probably around 800g/1131g.
|Front wheel||Rear wheel||Wheelset|
Which wheelset would you use/recommend for climbing 3000m+ per day, for 7 days in a row? Please enter your vote and any thoughts or additions to the above: