Ordinary bicycles are equipped with aluminum wheels, and only some high-end bicycles are equipped with carbon fiber wheels. Therefore, the first step for many people to upgrade their bicycles is to change a set of carbon fiber wheels. The price of carbon fiber wheels is generally more than 500 US dollars (the entry price of some brands is less than 500 US dollars), and even some brands of wheels are priced at 2000-3000 US dollars. The price of aluminum wheels is between 100-700 US dollars, so the price of carbon fiber wheels is so high that buying carbon fiber wheels requires considerable consideration. Here I will tell you the difference between aluminum wheels and carbon wheels to help you make a better decision.
Besides the price, what’s the difference between the two?
First, it can be seen that there is an obvious difference in the appearance of the two. The carbon fiber rim has this obvious carbon fiber texture, and even the V-brake will not let it fade, revealing the white edge. A set of carbon fiber wheels makes the bike look good, you may be the fastest rider but you look fast.
Second, the carbon fiber wheelset is lighter and has an aerodynamic appearance, which is also the unique place of the carbon fiber wheelset, because the carbon fiber wheelset can make the frame height higher, and the weight of the high frame aluminum wheelset is not enough to endure.
Third, the weight, the weight of the aluminum wheelset without tires is about 2kg, while the weight of a set of carbon fiber wheels, even if it is 88mm high, is about 1.5kg, a full 0.5kg less weight, while a set of carbon fiber wheels weighs about 1.5kg. High-end carbon fiber wheels can even save you 1kg, a 50% weight reduction. 1kg doesn’t sound like much, but it’s especially important when you’re climbing or sprinting. The wheel frame is the part with the largest weight ratio in the wheelset, because the torque generated by the wheel frame is greater than that of the hub.
However, compared to the weight, the aerodynamic effect of the carbon fiber wheelset is the biggest advantage. To put it simply, a rider of the same weight rides a bike that is the same in all aspects except for the height of the wheel frame (including the same weight), with a higher frame height, you can ride faster with the same output power. The authorities have done a lot of research on this, and we’ll take a closer look at the aerodynamic effects of bicycles in the next article.
Fourth, brakes. Carbon fiber rims are not dominant in this regard (v brake ). On long downhills, pressing the brake for a long time will burn carbon fiber rims, but aluminum wheels do not have this problem. However, disc brake wheels do not have this problem.
Finally, there is the crosswind. Many people worry that the higher frame height of the carbon fiber wheelset will lead to the instability of the bicycle when encountering crosswind. In fact, with the optimization of the shape design of the rim, the impact of the crosswind on the wheelset has no effect. So big, while having an excellent aerodynamic shape, it also avoids the interruption of crosswinds.