Tuesday, 15 August 2017

wheel update .... loco loco.

So first things first, a decent Estuary loop this morning. Ploddy though, I felt tired from the off so did not go out and hammer it, simply just went for a decent bike ride. It was busy out, stupidly busy but these are Devon coastal roads mid August. It is to be expected. I did get an interesting PB on the last sharp steep section of the Woodbury road which again proves that my wheels have been a solid investment and a decent buy. The road which is a test, the long draggy climb to four firs cross road ended up being a silver PB without actually giving it the beans. I could not - too much holiday traffic and I was behind a funeral cortege. Respect is due. But a segment within a segment reveals a PB with the main drag up coming in at 5.06 mins, 242 watts average power and an average speed of 8.9 mph on a cat 4 climb. Have said it over and over, I am not a climber. Never have been, never will be, but things like this please me. I would top out at 220 watts on my Zipp 303 and start to slow down, which I can assume was based on flex ? Sustaining speed mattered to me, over outright climbing acceleration.

I have had a couple of questions from people regarding the wheels and the facts are as follows. The Zipp wheels were very flexy at the hub. Something was not working for me with them and a couple of fellow riders noted it out on the bike. The rub is that the rims are probably very good, we all know what sapim cx ray spokes are about, but somehow the build and performance did not warrant the money Zipp and the relevant distributors charge for the wheelset. Simple as that. 70 marketing, 20% VAT and 10% wheel.

Being honest, a few things to note that is that in certain situations the two wheel sets are very similar, but to my mind, the Spin 45's do out perform the Zipps for a fraction of the cost. I use evidence; data including power, time and speed to analyse this and it is there, all be it on occasion, marginal to paraphrase big Dave. The oddity comes from the fact that they 'feel' very different and this must be down to the stiffness of the Spin 45's.

What these wheels do do is hold speed, stay stiff and keep the bike going fast on the right roads hence my reverse triangle times getting faster and faster.  Another thing to note is that the Spin wheels feel inherently safer than the Zipps which get blown all over the road despite every review, sound bite and critic saying how great they are in side winds. Not true. The 404's I had before the 303's were the most dangerous set of wheels I have ever experienced to the point that I would stop the bike at the top of hills and not want to descend. I felt like Mike Windgren, the character Elvis Presley played in Fun in Acapulco, a trapeze artist who moves to mexico to become a high cliff diver beset with panic attacks. Not funny. The 404's were moved on and 303's came in. What a gutter. You live and learn. My mate James said Zipp are s**t - I should have listened.

The thing to remember is I tasked Drew at Spin to build some stiff wheels akin to a 303, and speed is a bonus, but evidently, it seems that the two go together.  Since the wheels have been shod on the bike, I have had to put a 52 back on the front as it felt hugely under geared with a 50 on the front. You cannot say more than that as a testament to performance. Happy days.

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