Carbon wheels on alu bike... yes? no? pointless? amazing?

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Carbon wheels on alu bike... yes? no? pointless? amazing?
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Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 15:09 Quote
thinking about getting a set of carbon rim wheels for incoming Norco Sight A1, mostly for the always true/bombproof/lifetime warranty benefits and hoping for some of the more mythical sounding benefits! Any conventional wisdom on carbon on alu vs carbon bikes? I realise wisdom and spending $$$ on wheels do not necessarily go together!

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 15:25 Quote
The frame material and rim material are independent, i.e. the properties of either component have essentially no relationship to the material of the other.

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 15:40 Quote
remote-local wrote:
thinking about getting a set of carbon rim wheels for incoming Norco Sight A1, mostly for the always true/bombproof/lifetime warranty benefits and hoping for some of the more mythical sounding benefits! Any conventional wisdom on carbon on alu vs carbon bikes? I realise wisdom and spending $$$ on wheels do not necessarily go together!
You can run any material wheel on any material bike. I would personally suggest going for carbon because it will take your weight down quite a bit and carbon is lighter so they make it more dense so it absorbs more vibration, although that makes more of a difference in handlebars. How much are you willing to spend? I can give you some good suggestions.

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 15:47 Quote
If you mean saving cost by buying an alloy frame and putting it towards a carbon wheelset rather than a carbon frameset and alloy wheels then from a pure performance perspective that makes more sense...

I'm running carbon now and they are considerably stronger and torsionally stiffer than alloy, they also stay in true much, much better and for the most part can be built up a decent amount lighter aiding handling etc

However carbon rims are not without their downsides, the carbon rims I'm currently running are not too wide, pretty shallow walls and are said to be more forgiving and compliant than regular carbon rims...however there is no doubt in my mind for all the great benefits carbon rims provide they do unfortunately producer a harsher ride, even the less beefy ones with low wall height. Small bumps are a far bit more noticeable...for some perspective a factory stock coil and alloy rims in my experience feels better on small bump surface chatter than a custom tuned shock on carbon rims, they transmit a fair bit more vibration through the bike. But the handling improvements and fact they don't easily go out of true no matter how hard you keep hitting into rocks and ledges is a big plus. So I try to mitigate the vibration by buying a comfy saddle, foam grips and hopefully soon will give a Vibrocore a shot.

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 15:49 Quote
good good. this is exactly the sort of enabling feedback I was hoping for! I was just wondering if someone might chime in with some crazy science! thanks AdinK and R-M-R

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 15:52 Quote
awesome, thanks for that Dan. that all makes good sense. And yeah, I'm definitely looking at the alu frame + carbon wheels mix as tactical spending!

Danzzz88 wrote:
If you mean saving cost by buying an alloy frame and putting it towards a carbon wheelset rather than a carbon frameset and alloy wheels then from a pure performance perspective that makes more sense...

I'm running carbon now and they are considerably stronger and torsionally stiffer than alloy, they also stay in true much, much better and for the most part can be built up a decent amount lighter aiding handling etc

However carbon rims are not without their downsides, the carbon rims I'm currently running are not too wide, pretty shallow walls and are said to be more forgiving and compliant than regular carbon rims...however there is no doubt in my mind for all the great benefits carbon rims provide they do unfortunately producer a harsher ride, even the less beefy ones with low wall height. Small bumps are a far bit more noticeable...for some perspective a factory stock coil and alloy rims in my experience feels better on small bump surface chatter than a custom tuned shock on carbon rims, they transmit a fair bit more vibration through the bike. But the handling improvements and fact they don't easily go out of true no matter how hard you keep hitting into rocks and ledges is a big plus. So I try to mitigate the vibration by buying a comfy saddle, foam grips and hopefully soon will give a Vibrocore a shot.

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 16:04 Quote
Danzzz88 is correct about the return on investment. Carbon as a frame material has an extremely low ROI, while carbon for rims is decent. As shown in my photo gallery, I went as far as carbon rims, fiber spokes, and the world's lightest mountain bike hubs on my rather inexpensive aluminum frame.

Off the top of my head, some items in order of ROI:

1. Contact points, esp. grips, saddle
2. Fresh tires
3. Suspension components, esp. top-of-the-line dampers (but not necessarily the same damper with extra adjustments)
4. Wheels, handlebar material (including high-end aluminum, which can be, but is not always, more comfortable than carbon)
5. Pretty much everything else, in terms of function (ex. fancy shifters, fancy dropper post)
6. Pretty much everything else, in terms of weight (frame material most closely aligns with this category)

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 16:31 Quote
this matches my thinking, so thats good! Now I just wait for the bike to arrive... think i'll go ahead and get my wheel build ordered at this stage, the bike is apparently just about, nearly, almost, not quite here yet, so I really don't know how long that might be, but the wheels will be ready when it turns up!

R-M-R wrote:
Danzzz88 is correct about the return on investment. Carbon as a frame material has an extremely low ROI, while carbon for rims is decent. As shown in my photo gallery, I went as far as carbon rims, fiber spokes, and the world's lightest mountain bike hubs on my rather inexpensive aluminum frame.

Off the top of my head, some items in order of ROI:

1. Contact points, esp. grips, saddle
2. Fresh tires
3. Suspension components, esp. top-of-the-line dampers (but not necessarily the same damper with extra adjustments)
4. Wheels, handlebar material (including high-end aluminum, which can be, but is not always, more comfortable than carbon)
5. Pretty much everything else, in terms of function (ex. fancy shifters, fancy dropper post)
6. Pretty much everything else, in terms of weight (frame material most closely aligns with this category)

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 16:33 Quote
So your profile picture is an accurate depiction of your riding situation?

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 16:45 Quote
R-M-R wrote:
So your profile picture is an accurate depiction of your riding situation?
????

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 16:52 Quote
He's missing a bike and wheels. The riders in his photos are riding without bikes. I'd offer to draw you a picture, but there's already one! lol

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 17:30 Quote
R-M-R wrote:
He's missing a bike and wheels. The riders in his photos are riding without bikes. I'd offer to draw you a picture, but there's already one! lol
I did an emoji but I guess the site changed it to a bunch of question marks, idk why

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 18:08 Quote
R-M-R wrote:
So your profile picture is an accurate depiction of your riding situation?

sadly yes. I'm reduced to constantly riding my road bike as I sold my Reign a few weeks back thinking that my new bike was just days away. but "next week" has become "hopefully in the next two weeks" has become "we'll let you know when we hear anything..."

that pic is about 10 years old, it was some genius' response to all the fixed gear hype. even better than one gear? no gear!

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 18:17 Quote
Yeah, supply chains are a real mess right now.

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 19:26 Quote
Carbon wheels can offer more damping, a more compliant ride. I noticed that going from a custom built set of I9,Stans Flow rims. However, it is only noticed for the first bit. It becomes you new norm and it feels the same soon after. I will say I notice less difference now between my I9 Enduro wheelset and the set of Santa Cruz Reserves I have on my main bike. Both have the same tires and both are on carbon framed SC's, a Hightower and Hightower LT. I barely notice the weight difference now when riding. I thought it would be more pronouced.

You have the right idea though, rotational weight is the best place to start. Having a solid frame that tracks well and allows the susp to work properly matters too, which can be attained either with alum or carbon.

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