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vinuneuro

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Reply with quote  #1 
Have any of you used carbon and alloy rims? How big is the difference in ride quality on long gravel rides? Carbon rims are much lighter, but in mountain biking many people still prefer alloy rims due to carbon wheels being too stiff and harsh. 
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #2 
IMHO rim material is only a minor factor in how "harsh" riding a particular wheel is. By far, the most important factor is your tire choice and inflation. You  could argue that wheel build - spoke count, pattern, tension- can have an effect. But again, while you certainly can notice differences in weight, strength, and durability of the wheel, I doubt that you will notice much difference in "harshness" of ride. Selection of tires and inflation will likely negate any other effects.
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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #3 
Most people ride aluminum because carbon is expensive, not because carbon is "too stiff and harsh". That claim is just simply not true. The inherent qualities of carbon produce a smoother ride than aluminum on or off road. Carbon actually has the fantastic ability to dampen gravel vibrations, and that applies to any single part, frame, or wheel. Carbon wheels can only get "stiff and harsh" for gravel with deeper section and narrower road specific aero rims. Ideal depth for carbon wheels on gravel is 25-35mm. Beyond that is road racing territory. That being said I have used 45mm deep carbon at some races, depends on the road conditions, and the wind of course.
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Volsung

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Reply with quote  #4 
Sometimes carbon is stiffer, sometimes aluminum. Stan's makes some carbon rims with a claimed compliance of 10mm. I dunno how that works, but ok. I get my compliance from tires.

I've ridden both and can't tell the difference other than weight and carbon doesn't corrode like aluminum.
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tb123

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi vinuneuro, got a message from you but can't find any way to reply to it...

I wouldn't say carbon wheels are harsh at all. By faaar the biggest factor in ride comfort is tyre construction, size and pressure over everything else.

I like my carbon Roval wheels better than my Pacenti alloy wheels, they are lighter and more nimble (yes, I have a Diverge Pro with SCS.)

I've had alloy DuraAce C24 and C50 wheels and the shallower box section C24 rim is much more compliant than the deeper aero wheels. I've currently got carbon Zipp 202 Firecrest and Zipp 404 Firestrike wheels on one of my bikes and again, the shallower 202 is much more compliant than the deeper stiffer wheel (same tubes and tyres in both cases).

Compliance is as much about wheel construction, spoke count etc than it is anything else.
Alloy bike are traditionally harshs riding whereas carbon can be layed up any way you want to give stiffness and compliance in various parts of the bike.
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vinuneuro

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Reply with quote  #6 
tb123, how is the compliance of the Roval Control's compared to the Dura Ace C24 and Zipp 202's? 
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tb123

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Reply with quote  #7 
Really hard to compare to be honest.
The DuraAce wheels were on a previous bike, the Zipps are on an S-Works, the Rovals/Pacentis on my Diverge.

The other thing complicating a comparison is the tyres I'm using. On both the Zipps are Vittoria Corsa Open tyres in 25mm, on the Diverge I'm running various flavours of Challenge 33mm CX tyres, Schwalbe 35mm and Roubaix Pro 32mm so heaaaps more volume and lower pressures. Also the Diverge has thru axles which tends to stiffen the front end up a fair bit too I've found.

I'm not sure why you are wanting to change wheels? If it's just that you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, then go ahead, the Rovals are really nice wheels, they are NOT harsh in the slightest, you wont regret buying them. I've taken both sets of wheels through creeks, rocks, sand, single trail, mud etc and both have been fine. Or let me put it this way, I never found myself thinking that the wheels were letting me down.

There is a Diverge Facebook group that you may want to poke your head into, a lot of people there have built up all sorts of wheelsets for their Diverge.
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teoblar

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Reply with quote  #8 
I was under the impression that carbon, as a material, did a good job of negating road 'buzz' type vibrations, the kind you would generate with a high psi road tire on pavement.  Is the frequency of gravel 'buzz' something that carbon would have a noticeable affect on?

Granted, this is coming from a guy who had a set of carbon wheels once, cracked them with a tire lever, and has since sworn them off entirely.  Maybe I'm just looking to convince myself that I don't need to give them another shot.

In the end, I agree with the prior notes; tires, pressure and rim profile make the ride. 
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mrbadwrench

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Reply with quote  #9 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ridemagnetic
Most people ride aluminum because carbon is expensive, not because carbon is "too stiff and harsh". That claim is just simply not true. The inherent qualities of carbon produce a smoother ride than aluminum on or off road. Carbon actually has the fantastic ability to dampen gravel vibrations, and that applies to any single part, frame, or wheel.

 

FALSE. I "upgraded" from stans crest alloy wheels to stans valor carbon wheels on my yeti asr and it was awful. ride comfort was downgraded very seriously. carbon wheels are extremely stiff and make you really feel every little grain of sand.. even when i was running 22psi on 2.2 tires. That was my first and last experience with carbon wheels.

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SpeedyChix

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Reply with quote  #10 
When running supple smaller volume tires (Compass Bon Jon 35s) I found the ride to be harsher than on the Bonti TLR XXX alu wheels. The Bontrager rims are light for alu and couple that with a "narrower" tire and less air volume to work with I went back the alu wheels for the smaller volume tires. The flip side, the Maxxis Ramblers are great on the Nox Skylines. 
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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbadwrench
FALSE. I "upgraded" from stans crest alloy wheels to stans valor carbon wheels on my yeti asr and it was awful. ride comfort was downgraded very seriously. carbon wheels are extremely stiff and make you really feel every little grain of sand.. even when i was running 22psi on 2.2 tires. That was my first and last experience with carbon wheels.


Not surprising considering your only experience is with Stan's, generally regarded as some of the worst wheels on the market by myself and my colleagues. Not just recently, their entire existence. Unfortunately your sample group is only 1, it just so happens that you called out somebody that is 30 years deep in the wheel game. The last decade of that on the design end. Instead of rudely calling my comment out as "FALSE" with very little to back up your claim, it may have been best to take the more cordial (normal) approach and ask questions rather than flatly accusing somebody of falsehood. That's a bit gauche. Just sayin'.   

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mrbadwrench

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Reply with quote  #12 
You sound like a complete idiot with a chip on your shoulder. Every review out there says the valor is the most comfortable carbon wheel on the market with its "10mm of vertical compliance". I'll never run anything else but stans as I've run valors, crests, and arches and all have taking intense beatings without so much as a ding and always set up tubeless with just a floor pump.
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stud.beefpile

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Reply with quote  #13 
For what it's worth, I have a pair of Stan's Arch EX's (alloy) with Stan's 3.30 hubs and J-bend spokes that I ran with a pair of 29er Schwalbe Thunder Burts.  I also have a pair of Stan's Valors (carbon) on the Neo hubs and J-bend spokes that I've also run with 29er Schwalbe Thunder Burts. 

Both sets of tires and wheels were run on the same 2016 model year X9 Salsa Fargo with the same Thomson setback/BodyFloat seatposts and WTB ProGel Speed saddle.  Based on my experience, the Valors are smoother than the Arches.  I did I-don't-know-how-many training miles for the 2017 Dirty Kanza on the Arches, and then switched to the Valors for the Dirty Kanza itself. 

I only bought the Valors because they were light and made by a reputable wheel manufacturer, assuming that wheels are wheels (with some being heavier than others and having "clickier" hubs).  I sincerely believe there is something to the claimed "compliance" of at least the Valors.
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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teoblar
I was under the impression that carbon, as a material, did a good job of negating road 'buzz' type vibrations, the kind you would generate with a high psi road tire on pavement.  Is the frequency of gravel 'buzz' something that carbon would have a noticeable affect on?


I wouldn't say "negate", more like mitigate. Carbon works much like steel does in terms of vibration dampening. It's able to be dispersed through a larger span of the material and dissipates better than aluminum.  

Quote:
Granted, this is coming from a guy who had a set of carbon wheels once, cracked them with a tire lever, and has since sworn them off entirely.  Maybe I'm just looking to convince myself that I don't need to give them another shot.


When was that? Carbon has advanced light years just in the last few years. I started building with carbon rims in 98-99. Cracking rims with tire levers was a common occurrence with some brands up until about 2012. There was an almost immediate industry-wide change with some common types of epoxy that was being used, and you almost never hear of that now unless it's user error.

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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbadwrench
You sound like a complete idiot with a chip on your shoulder. Every review out there says the valor is the most comfortable carbon wheel on the market with its "10mm of vertical compliance". I'll never run anything else but stans as I've run valors, crests, and arches and all have taking intense beatings without so much as a ding and always set up tubeless with just a floor pump.


I can see you have a bright future here on the forum. Good luck. 

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mrbadwrench

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ridemagnetic


I can see you have a bright future here on the forum. Good luck. 


As long as I accept your opinion as the gospel from God him self I should be good though?
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teoblar

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Reply with quote  #17 
Oh, it was user error without a doubt.  I was putting too much force on a lever and the lip of the wheel kind of crumbled/collapsed underneath.  The damage was minimal, but enough for me to be afraid of future catastrophic failure and switch back to alloy rims.  Maybe I will give them another shot in the future.  The wheels were Cannondale HGLS takeoffs from a 2015 Synapse, which I was told were Stans OEM. 
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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #18 
Keep in mind that can still happen, especially now with how tight some tubeless beads are. But it's much less frequent. Always get those beads down in the center channel before going to town with tire levers.


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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbadwrench
As long as I accept your opinion as the gospel from God him self I should be good though?


I don't know about God. You're one person with a couple sets from one brand painting with an awfully broad brush. I see on average 300-500 sets per year from every brand on the planet during a lifetime worth of work. But please continue, personal attacks are always very entertaining.

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frontrangegravel

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Reply with quote  #20 
Play nice gang. I'll have a quick trigger to boot people. I'm all for heated debate and encourage it. However, name calling bullshit won't be tolerated and you can find another forum. Consider this a warning. Thank you.
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xhx

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Reply with quote  #21 
I went from American Classic Race29's to Industry Nine Pillarcarbon trail's. I haven't felt any increased harshness but I'm definitely more confident in what the rim can handle. Those AC rims were great but man those walls were thin. Picked up a few dents from small gravel kicked sideways from another rider.
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olapiquena

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Reply with quote  #22 
I weigh 135lbs, so lightweight wheels are pretty important to me.  I also like stiff wheels. And, yes... even with my diminutive size I notice flex in wheels.  I also like big, remote rides and race a bit... so...  need a bit of durability.  As such, I prefer carbon

My 1350g carbon wheels (650b WTB ci24 with i9s) are round and true after ~4k miles smashing into sharp rocks, holes, roots and all manner of stupidity that would dent/destroy the sidewalls of my 1600g aluminum set up.  I've hit stuff racing on carbons that caused me to break into full prayer expecting full taco/death that didn't even cause the carbons to go out of true.  

IMO carbon just takes gravel/dirt type abuse much better.  From my perspective, the only reason to not go carbon is cost.

That said, I know nothing about harshness (unless you are talking about early Kleins/Cannondales... good lord....).   
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Volsung

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Reply with quote  #23 
Cost isn't even that much of an issue anymore.  Good (Hed, WTB, Velocity) aluminum rims cost 100 bucks, give or take.  My carbon Nextie Premiums were $200 and are lighter and have a longer warranty.  Count in the corrosion I got on every aluminum rim ever and they may end up being cheaper in the long run.
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olapiquena

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Reply with quote  #24 
Volsung, fully agree! Initial cost vs actual value. 

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clarksonxc

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Reply with quote  #25 
I've never been that sensitive to things like vibration dampening, geometry/handling, stiffness etc...  But I am very sensitive to shift quality, how a saddle fits me, and most of all energy expenditure.  I rode the LandRun last week, my first ride on Enve M60HV's.  They spun up so quick, it made the hills feel lower and less steep.  If I had used the stock wheels that came on my Cutthroat, I would've been out there for much longer, and probably less comfortable at any point along the ride (due to more hours in the saddle).  Something else to think about... if faster wheels get you across the finish line quicker, there's less time to be uncomfortable in the saddle!

ridemagnetic - the tire lever/rim cracking thing got me nervous.  Are there any specific brands to watch out for?  Both of my carbon wheelsets were purchased well after 2012; but I still get nervous when removing a tire.  I always figure the plastic tire lever will break before I exceed the strength of the carbon rim bead.
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