I would like to have a disc wheel on the back of my tri bike. The cheapest one I have seen is the Renn 575. But I just can’t justify spending $600+ for one. But I stumbled on an alternative. A few companies make aero wheel covers. They are made of plastic, and fit over the spokes on the rear wheel to give disc wheel like aerodynamics.
I have found a few different versions of aero disc wheel covers. The first one I found was on eBay named Uni Titanium, that is made of vinyl sewn around a titanium frame. It is apparently held to the wheel by clips.
The next one I found is theCH Aero Wheel Cover. These are kind of a one size fits all lens shaped pair of plastic discs. I have read about problems with these that if you have an unsual number of spokes, that things may not line up correctly. My rear wheel has only 20 spaced bladed spokes. But at $60, they are the cheapest.
Then I found some aero disc wheel covers on Wheelbuilder.com. They start at $65. But the cool thing about these is that you can have then custom cut for your wheel for an extra $15-$25. They ask you on the website how many spokes you have, wheel dimensions, etc. They also come in both 700c and 650c size! I was the most impressed with these.
The Wheelbuilder.com and the CH Aero wheel covers consist of two lens shaped plastic discs that fit on either side of the wheel and are held together by bolts.
Now are they any good? I have been reading various reviews. Some people point to studies that disc wheels only save a minute or two of 40 kilometers. But other reviews, where people have actually used them, seem to suggest that they increase speed maybe up to 1 mph. That that seem to work best on flats and downhills, but that uphills are a littel slower due to the weight. Though from what I can see, the weight added is only like a pound.
Many things I have read are that an aero helmet is more benefit than a disc wheel. But I think that is when cost is being factored. An aero disc wheel cover costs $100 or less. So that is probably less than a good aero helmet. So I think that the benefit might be worthwhile. It doesn’t have the coolness factor of a true disc wheel like a Zipp or a HED. But I think they still look pretty cool!
It poured rain almost all day yeserday. I mean it came down in buckets! It was supposed be raining today too. But this morning it was sunny out and the weather report had been updated to say spotty showers. I decided to go out for a short bike ride while the weather was decent. Winter is coming!
I was chilly out, so I spent time trying to figure out what to wear. I wore bike shorts, leggings, a long sleeve jersey, a short sleeve jersey, and my Tour De Cure nylon shell. It turned out to be pretty comfortable.
The ride was an out and back 16 mile hilly ride to McDonalds where I go breakfast. I spent much of my time on the aerobars. I worked on pushing my speed a little faster than normal. It was fun.
On my ride back, I saw some light colored stuck to my front tire. I figured it was a piece of paper or something. I thought it would eventually fall off.
Occasionally I would hit a large piece of gravel, and a shock would go through the bike. I worried one of them would give me a flat. After a few of these in a short period, I felt more than the usual road vibration. I looked at my front tire and it looked like a large contact patch. I slowed to a stop, and sure enough, my front tire was flat! Grumble! It wasn’t the gravel though. The thing stuck to the tire was a thumb tack. I don’t know if I had had the Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires installed, whether I could have avoided the flat, or whether I would have gotten the flat anyway.
I removed the front wheel and set about fixing the flat. An older couple walked by and asked if I was okay. I said yeah, that I would have it fixed shortly. I wasn’t in a hurry, so it took 10 minutes or so I am guessing. I didn’t time it. But I got the tube swapped out, and inflated the tire with a CO2 cartridge and my Microflate. It always blows me away how fast that thing works.
I am seriously considering installing the Bontrager’s tonight. The frigging Hutchinson Quartz tires are flat magnets!!!!
With all the issues I have had with the Hutchinson Quartz tires that came stock on my Jamis Comet tri bike, I researched other tires. I had several people recommend Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires. I search around online, and the cheapest ones I found were $40 each. I planned to buy a pair, but there was still a lot of tread on the Hutchinson Quartz tires. My plan was to buy a pair next year sometime. I wanted to get them sometime before my Ironman race, with enough time to put some miles on them before race day. I don’t want to race on brand new tires. I don’t want to race on brand new anything.
As I said, I planned to wait until next year to buy them. Money has been a little tight lately as I am paying my wife’s way through school. But the local bike shop had a 30% off sale. That was really hard to pass up. So instead of paying $80 for a pair of tires, I would only have to pay $56! That is a nice savings. The sale was invitational. They wanted us to RSVP. SO I RSVP’d. I shoed up on Monday, and found they had my tires. But I go the day wrong, and the sale was on the upcoming Friday. When I showed up on Friday, I found they no longer had my tires in stock. The sale was 30% off of IN STOCK items. I talked to the lady there. She checked downstairs, but found no more of the Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires in 700c x 23. She did however let me order a pair for the same price.
The tires came in a few days later. I was finally able to pick them up yesterday. I have been debating about installing them now. Right now I am leaning to waiting till next season. I can still ride on the Hutchinson Quartz tires. There is probably not a lot of quality riding opportunities left for this year as we are heading into winter. So I will probably wait until next spring at least.
These tires came stock on my Jamis Comet triathlon bike. I had never heard of Hutchinson tires. One of my first long rides on the bike, I had a flat tire. I replaced the tube, and continued on my way. The next day, the tire was flat again. I removed the tube, and found a puncture in about the same spot as on the first tube. I didn’t feel anything inside the tire, but I found a small metal sliver embedded in the palm of my hand. Maybe this came out of the tire?
The tires seemed to hold up for my next ride or two, them another flat. I considered replacing the Hutchinson Quartz tires with Specialized Armadillo tires which are supposed to be pretty much bomb-proof. But then I read the Armadillos are slow tires. I started researching tires, and had Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires recommended as being fast yet fairly puncture resistant. I planned to buy the Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires at some point.
I have since had more flats on the Hutchinson Quartz tires. This last flat came after a short 10 mile ride. A little while after I got home, I found the rear tire soft. I examined the tread of the tire and found a small pebble embedded in the tread. This couldn’t be the cause of my flat tire, could it? When I pulled the tube, and examined the location of the puncture related the tire, it was the same location. My flat had been caused by a frigging pebble!
Basically, these Hutchinson Quartz tires are flat magnets. If you like getting flats, buy them! Personally, I hate getting flats, and would never buy Hutchinson Quartz tires for my bike. Heck I doubt I will buy any Hutchinson tires. I have never had so many flat tires in my life! As far as I am concerned, these tires suck! I just ordered a pair of the Bontrager Race Lite Hardcases, and will be swapping out my tires when I get them.
The Schwinn Sports Tourer bike I have been working on had pretty much all the parts except for the wheels. There was a rear wheel, but it is not in good shape. It is a Weinman 27 inch by 1 1/4 inch wheel made in Belgium. I trued it as best I could, but some of the spokes are still loose. Most of them are kind of rusty as well. And there was no front wheel at all.
So I have been watching Craigslist hoping to score a 27 inch front wheel at least. Yesterday I saw a list for a 27 inch by 1 1/4 inch wheel. The listing had pictures. It turned out the wheel was a Weinmann wheel made in Belgium! AND the guy also had a rear wheel available. And he was only asking $5 each! He said they came off an 80’s Raleigh.
I emailed him asking if the wheels were still available. He said yeah. I made arrangements to meet him, and check them out. Both wheels were in very good shape, though one wheel needs the hub overhauled. I bought the wheels, and consider it a great deal.
I compared the wheels to the wheel I already had. The hubs look a little different. I can swap over the spoke protector, and freewheel, etc. Or with wheel in hand, I can always try to rebuild the old wheel. Maybe buy some new spokes, etc. I have the Park Truing Stand. And I have a couple books on how to do it. I have just never done it.