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Are Carbon Wheels Worth The Upgrade For Your Road Bike?

There is one thing common among most bikers—new and cool upgrades for their bikes, whether they use it or not. It may be something not that important like a shiny new pair of carbon wheels. But this something that is actually worth upgrading.

Here are some key reasons to justify your decision of buying a set of new carbon hoops for your road bike.

Pros

1. Improvement In Overall Ride Quality

Carbon fibre wheels minimise road vibrations better than aluminium wheels. As more shocks are soaked up by the wheels, it will help to reduce the amount of fatigue on your body.

Carbon wheels will help you to ride far without feeling tired. Furthermore, they are stiffer than its aluminium counterparts, making them flex less under high loads. This is especially useful when climbing stiff surfaces.

2. They Are Lighter

Carbon wheels are fabricated from carbon fibers so it is naturally lighter than aluminum wheels. The reduction of the wheels will reduce the overall weight on the bike making the rider to climb easier. It will also help bikers to accelerate quicker, hence improving their performance.

3. They Are Faster

Carbon wheels are fancy, no doubt, but they offer more benefits than bling. The reason is that they’ve less drag than regular wheels. As carbon wheels have fewer spokes the passing air gets less ‘tangled’ up in the spokes, leading to less aerodynamic drag.

 

4. They look Fancy

Let’s be honest, and yes, we already this—carbon wheels have the wow factor. Sometimes we buy stuff that isn’t necessary or useful, but we do this all the time, and unfortunately, a brand new set of carbon wheels is one of them. 

 

Cons

1. Braking efficiency

The braking efficiency of carbon rims are poorer than aluminium wheels. The main reason is because carbon wheels face issues with heat build-up. 

On a long descent, braking temperatures can reach as high as 150 degrees celcius. Resins which are not designed to withstand high heat will reach their glass transition (Tg, the temperature at which the epoxy begins to deteriorate), resulting in rim failure. 

However, as technology is advancing, companies such as Enve and Zipp have managed to create a set of wheels with resin that can withstand higher temperatures without compromising on braking efficiency. 

 

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2. Very costly

If you are looking into the most advanced carbon wheels from brands such as Enve and Zipp, be ready to fork out at least S$4000 for a pair. 

 

3. Less durable

Unlike aluminium, which bends under impact, carbon wheels can be prone to damage from sharp impacts. So, if you are investing in one, make sure that the wheelset comes with a crash replacement policy. 

 

Conclusion 

In recent years, carbon fibre wheels are gaining in popularity. If you are racing, then investing in a pair might be a good choice. However, if you are not racing and value durability, braking performance, and affordability, opt for the hardy and reliable aluminium wheel set.

Don’t discount them, they do the job just as well. 

SportsIn Cycling

SportsIn Cycling

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