19 October 2015

Initial impressions...

So I picked up a set of Shimano RS81 C24 wheels. Couldn't really pass up the price...

They're Shimano's take on bulletproof, yet still relatively light, carbon clinchers.
No carbon fairing here. The carbon is structural, and makes the wheel stiffer, while reducing weight. Out of the box, mine weighed 1470g. 1502g with the Shimano plastic rimstrips. Stated weight is 1505g.
A bike part weighing what the manufacturer said it would weigh? Shocking...I know!
These came with Schwalbe One 700x25c tires. On the 21mm wide rim, they are pretty fat. They fit on the Noah, but JUST. More on the rubber in a second...

The wheels themselves were dead true out of the box. Spoke tension is HIGH on the aero, straight pull spoke. The hubs were a bit tight, but Shimano's new hub system makes adjustments ridiculously easy. No more cup, cone, and loose balls. These have angular contact bearings, thus adjusting the hub is little more than popping off a dustcap, removing a 5mm axle end, and a little (and I MEAN little) turn of a fat washer. Easy peasy.
Once loosened up, I threw on a cassette, and put some latex tubes in the Schwalbes.
They look pretty good on the Ridley, eh?

I rode them Sunday morning. Nothing like a 100km to shake down a wheelset.
Initial impressions?
Smooth. Buttery smooth.
Stiff. Way stiffer than expected. Stiffer than my Williams WS28 alu wheels AND the 50mm carbon wheels.
 --Methinks Shimano is correct in their assertion that the fact that the hubs flanges are WAY outside makes a stiff wheel.
High-ish flanges, big bracing angle, and straight pull spokes = stiff.
Not at all harsh though. The carbon dampens the road buzz considerably.
Roll really wheel. Even with the light hoop (>400g per Shimano), they seem to just roll along. Response to acceleration is immediate.
No drama through turns either. No flex, no drama.
No braking concerns either! Alu braking surface FTW!
I was pleasantly surprised.
Now...let's get to the problem.
The rear wheel developed an annoying hop that grew increasingly bad/annoying throughout the course of the ride. I thought it was a tire issue. Lumpy casing, or I may have done something upon install.
Once home, I fiddled with it. Same tire. Same hop. Switch ed a Vittoria Open SC. SAME hop. SAME spot on the wheel.
Upon further inspection, the rim itself has a 30mm section of one bead that has a flat spot...right on the weld.
Inside the rim, the weld wasn't sanded/machined down properly. It gets up INTO the hook bead itself, and doesn't let the tire seat correctly. We found the cause of the hop.
The front is fine.
Up to Outspokin' we go.
The consensus is that one slipped past the old Quality Control goalkeeper.
It's going back to Shimano for warranty.
No big deal...it's almost November. I can wait.

I was honestly surprised by the Schwalbe One tires. I ride Vittoria, period, but as these came with the wheels, and get great reviews online, I figured I'd give them a shot.
They're truly nice tires. They roll well and turn well. I got 25s, and they're big, fat, and round. They come in 28s, if you're into that sort of thing.
We'll see how they get along thru the Fall and Winter.

As for the ride, it was pretty good. We fouled up by going out with the dead tailwind. I will say though, it's pretty nice going UP Fish Hatchery at 35kmh w/o turning oneself inside out. After a Belgian crosswind section into Swansea, the ride home was an exercise in head down, teeth gritting, headwind riding. It was one of those winds that one just has to push through. Slowing down and going easy isn't an option. Doing so would yield a 20kmh ride home, and ain't nobody got time for that.
100km in the sun, and wind, on a 65 degree October day.
I'll take it.

Once the rear wheel comes back, and I get some miles on them. I'll post a full review.

Hope everyone had a productive weekend. Gonna be nice this week. Go outside and get it on you.

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