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AVL Thumper

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I've been searching google and reading on multiple forums about carbon rims, but I don't find much information regarding the use of carbon rims for gravel riding.  I'll be having a set of wheels built for my aluminum RLT in the next few months  I was originally set on Pacenti SL25 and either some Hope Pro 4 or White Industries hubs and Sapin race spokes, but I've been thinking about trying some Light Bicycle rims.  

What's the consensus on carbon rims for gravel riding?  Are they "too stiff"?  Am I better off sticking with alloy?  I run tubeless 40c Maxxis Ramblers around 25-30psi.  I'm a weekend warrior rider...typical rides consist of forest road, hard pack for maybe 40-60 miles.  

Thanks for any advice and experiences you can share.

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shiggy

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Reply with quote  #2 
I can not justify the expense of carbon rims.
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bobknh

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I agree with Shiggy --- in the context of GG riding, high zoot carbon rims aren't worth the investment and potential replacement cost. But, if you have money to burn, I'm sure that there are very high quality rims from companies like Enve, that will work well for unpaved riding. BTW -- Carbon is a material that demands expert design, and meticulous manufacturing quality control -- be prepared to spend as much for your carbon wheels as many of us have spent for our complete GG bikes!
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AVL Thumper

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks for the replies.  I certainly understand the financial implication of carbon wheels, but I'm interested in more of the performance aspect and ride quality versus aluminum.
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shiggy

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVL Thumper
Thanks for the replies.  I certainly understand the financial implication of carbon wheels, but I'm interested in more of the performance aspect and ride quality versus aluminum.

Aluminum works and rides great. For the price of one carbon wheelset I can (and do) have 3-4 aluminum rim wheelsets with different tires mounted ready for whatever I may want to do.
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jonz

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Reply with quote  #6 
I'd worry about running lower pressures and then cracking a carbon wheel on an unseen rock.  I don't have direct experience with bicycle carbon rims breaking but I wonder if it would be like cast motorcycle wheels on dual sport motorcycles.  When the wheel cracks, you are done.  Pretty much all dual sport motorcycles now come with metal, spoke wheels for that reason.
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dgaddis1

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonz
I'd worry about running lower pressures and then cracking a carbon wheel on an unseen rock.  I don't have direct experience with bicycle carbon rims breaking but I wonder if it would be like cast motorcycle wheels on dual sport motorcycles.  When the wheel cracks, you are done.  Pretty much all dual sport motorcycles now come with metal, spoke wheels for that reason.


Modern carbon rims, especially ones designed for MTB/CX type applications, are incredibly tough, and more durable against rim strikes than alloy rims IME.  They are a lot more $$ though.

One thing you do need to be careful with carbon rims is deeper road-oriented rims - the sidewalls are often very thin, and the right chunk of gravel that gets kicked up into the rim can punch a hole through the sidewall.


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SmittyCX

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Reply with quote  #8 
You can't go wrong with the Pacenti rims and White Industries hubs.   LR Gravel.jpg 
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RoverAl

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hey Smitty how do like the 1x overall? I think the Roker is my next bike.
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SmittyCX

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoverAl
Hey Smitty how do like the 1x overall? I think the Roker is my next bike.
I think it's great.  Mainly ride gravel and single track trail and with my setup I have never needed a higher or lower gear.  40t up front with 11-36 in the rear.
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tb123

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Reply with quote  #11 
I've got a set of Roval Control SCS carbon wheels and another set of hand built Pacenti SL25's laced to Hope Pro 4 SCS hubs.
Both are good wheelsets and have taken a pounding on gravel and light(ish) single track, the Roval's are a little lighter and around 2.5 times the price, but would be happy with the Pacentis if it was the only set I had.
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BWV 211

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmittyCX
I think it's great.  Mainly ride gravel and single track trail and with my setup I have never needed a higher or lower gear.  40t up front with 11-36 in the rear.


So far I like my Roker but I have no experience to compare it to. Very squirrelly until I had it fitted.

Are those Speedplay Szyr pedals? If so, how are you enjoying them?
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BluesDawg

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Reply with quote  #13 
I had a set of Roval Control Carbon 29 wheels that got orphaned when I converted my 29er to B+. Thought about selling them, but with their 22mm id, they are perfect for gravel tires and narrower than what is now popular for MTB. The Stan's Iron Cross wheels I had on my AWOL needed new bearings, so I switched over to the Rovals. Not a day and night difference, but the wheels do seem to accelerate faster and feel more steady in fast turns. I have run Renegade 1.95" and Clement MSO 40 tires tubeless with Orange Seal. No issues there.

n05 by Benny Watson, on Flickr
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enduraman

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Reply with quote  #14 
I've been running Niner CX carbon wheels on my RLT since late May.  They have worked great and I have not had a bit of trouble.  I have them set up tubeless with Schwalbe G Ones (35's).  I'm in Northern Colorado so the testing grounds are pretty rocky.  If your wallet can stand the cost then I think the ride quality improvement and weight savings is worth it.     
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teamssr

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Reply with quote  #15 
I'm riding/racing on American Classic carbon 40 discs.  They are not advertised as being tubeless, but I am running them tubeless with the new Clement Strada USH 32 tubeless tire.  So far, all has worked very well.
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Rivet

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Reply with quote  #16 
I've built probably 10 wheelsets using Light-Bicycle carbon rims and Bike hub store hubs. Cant say enough good things about this setup. Recently built a set of tubeless wheels for my Cyclocross/Gravel bike. 1450 grams $650.00 all in. Will agree with the above poster about taller carbon rims. I had some 38mm trail mtb rims take a gnarly rock strike on the thin/tall side and it punched a hole through. The cool thing is I masked the area, sanded and patched it with fiberglass resin like fixing a surfboard and have ridden it for 6 months like that without issue.
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cwilli15

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Reply with quote  #17 
Rivet-  What depth are your Light CX/Gravel wheels?
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oleritter

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivet
I've built probably 10 wheelsets using Light-Bicycle carbon rims and Bike hub store hubs. Cant say enough good things about this setup. Recently built a set of tubeless wheels for my Cyclocross/Gravel bike. 1450 grams $650.00 all in. Will agree with the above poster about taller carbon rims. I had some 38mm trail mtb rims take a gnarly rock strike on the thin/tall side and it punched a hole through. The cool thing is I masked the area, sanded and patched it with fiberglass resin like fixing a surfboard and have ridden it for 6 months like that without issue.



Which rim did you use for the gravel wheels?

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #19 
My $.02: Good carbon rims are good! My biggest gripe with carbon hoops in my racing days was the brake track when using rim brakes. The rims required special brake pads, and lots of TLC. Even then, the braking was unpredictable. With disc brakes, that is no longer an issue. Now, you only have to decide if the weight saving, or aero profile is worth the extra cost. There is no yes/no answer. In my case, even though I can afford the extra cost, I said no to to carbon hoops; but yes to custom wheel builds. My advice, if money is no object, then go with carbon hoops. Otherwise, get a hand built alloy custom wheel designed for your use and needs from a custom wheel builder. Spend the money you save on a better frame, tires, and electronic gear set.
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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #20 
Carbon doesn't really provide much in terms of aerodynamics over aluminum unless you start getting into the 40mm+ profiles, and riding or racing in the high teens-low twenties for an average speed over a long period. A typical aluminum gravel wheel set is only giving up about 10mm in profile hight to a typical carbon set. The reason we don't see more representation of taller rim profiles for gravel in either material is vertical compliance. The deeper the rim, the shorter the spokes. That combination makes for a jackhammeresque ride on gavel or dirt and you can only let so much air out of your tires to compensate for that.

Weight of course favors carbon, but where it really does shine is ride quality and durability. Carbon does a much better job of mitigating the smaller vibrations than aluminum, and gram for gram carbon is much stronger. Carbon rims shrug of rock hits that will normally dent even the strongest aluminum rims. Unless you're looking at the usual factory built wheels, the price differential from the smaller companies between aluminum and carbon wheels has drastically narrowed in the last few years, and quality went way up. Not to say a great aluminum set can't be had, but if the budget allows... If wheels are worth the trouble of making the investment, and I think they are the most important upgrade bar none, I'll always recommend carbon first.

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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ridemagnetic
The reason we don't see more representation of taller rim profiles for gravel in either material is vertical compliance. The deeper the rim, the shorter the spokes. That combination makes for a jackhammeresque ride on gavel or dirt and you can only let so much air out of your tires to compensate for that.


Engineering nitpicking here, but it's the increase in rim stiffness that's dominating. Rough calculations with a 300mm spoke and 20mm tall rim and making the rim 3mm taller means the spoke gets 1% stiffer. The rim is getting 15% taller which increases the stiffness at the 3rd power so that's  ~50% stiffer.

Some might argue that the spoke length alone has no significant effect on compliance, based on the way a wheel deforms. I would agree with that theory but I haven't seen any real world data to back it up.
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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drwelby


Engineering nitpicking here, but it's the increase in rim stiffness that's dominating. Rough calculations with a 300mm spoke and 20mm tall rim and making the rim 3mm taller means the spoke gets 1% stiffer. The rim is getting 15% taller which increases the stiffness at the 3rd power so that's  ~50% stiffer.


Yeah, for sure. And that stiffness is a result of more material in a deeper rim. Not sure you're nitpicking but rather expanding on my point with a bit of mathing. So thanks for that.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by drwelby
Some might argue that the spoke length alone has no significant effect on compliance, based on the way a wheel deforms. I would agree with that theory but I haven't seen any real world data to back it up.


Looking at the spoke by itself, sure I get it. Not much difference between 260mm and 280mm. Put it all together with less spokes at more tension to a deeper rim then it becomes an entirely different story.

Very few gravel races where I take out the 24h 45's. I do enjoy riding them, but usually relegated to the Upper Midwest's very predictable and very consistent luxury gravel. Which I'm moving back to soon! [thumb]

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Jfkbike2

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Reply with quote  #23 
Just added some Fulcrum Racing Quattro Carbon DB wheels to the classified section if anyone wants a good buy. 
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keepamonte

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Reply with quote  #24 
I went from a cutom pair of HEDC2+ rims with Hope 2 hubs with sapin spokes (disc) on my steel Renegade.  My local bike shop asked my to be an ambassador for Reynolds and that gave an incredible discount on a pair of their ATR Carbon disc wheelset.  I had no complaints on my aluminum HED's but the ATR's seem to dampen the irregularities in the rough roads.  I use the HED's as a back up set mounted with wet/mud tires for foul weather races and rides.  The bike definitely rides a bit harsher on the aluminum rims.  I have about 1800 miles on the ATR's and they have been bombproof for some really heavy low pressure hits where I have immediately pulled off to inspect.  I have the RAP 2 year replacement warranty free of charge as well so I have piece of mind.   I would not have bought these without the situation but I am very happy with them and would purchase again!  Aesthetics aside, with 2 interchangeable disc  wheel sets available to me, I keep the ATR's on the bike almost all the time!  
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BWV 211
So far I like my Roker but I have no experience to compare it to. Very squirrelly until I had it fitted. Are those Speedplay Szyr pedals? If so, how are you enjoying them?


Do you have the Roker Comp? I think the blue bike on here is a 2016. If I am lookikng at the specs. right the 2016 is 2x and the 2017 is 1x. Is that correct?


Zman

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