If you’re like us, you’ll spend more time thinking of what upgrades to buy for your bike rather than actually riding it. As we move into spring and with it better riding conditions, it’s the perfect time to consider a shiny new pair of carbon hoops to take advantage of the extra daylight. Also, who doesn’t love the free speed* that a new set of wheels brings?
*Speed may not actually be free…
If you need any justification to help your decision, we’ve got some key reasons why they should be the next purchase for your road bike.
Improved ride quality
Carbon soaks up road vibrations much better than aluminium – it’s why many road bikes are specced with a carbon fork – so it’s understandable that carbon wheels will offer a much improved ride over their aluminium counterparts. With more of the buzz absorbed by the wheels, it’ll reduce the fatigue on your body, allowing you to ride further for less energy.
Carbon wheels are normally stiffer than aluminium too, so they’ll flex less under load – making climbing much more rewarding, as more power is delivered to propel you forward up the ascent.
It a widely known fact that carbon fibre is lighter than aluminium, so like for like wheels will always be lighter if they are made from carbon. Reducing overall weight on the bike makes climbing easier and allows you to accelerate quicker, improving performance on your rides. If we look at 30mm depth WheelSystems in our range; The Giant P-SLR 0 climbing WheelSystem weighs in at just 1298g, whereas the aluminium P-SL1 climbing WheelSystem comes in at 1585g; a big saving by going carbon.
If the deep section variations of carbon wheels take your fancy, then you’re in luck – there’s more benefits than just looking bling. Aerodynamic studies have shown that they can be worth up to 4 minutes over 40 kilometres, as they experience less drag than regular wheels. It’s a subject which can get very complicated, very quickly, however we’ll try to be succinct - it’s essentially because passing air gets ‘tangled’ up in the spokes, so the bigger the ‘spoked ‘area, the more the wheels will drag.
The exact time saving is hard to say; as there are so many variables in play it’s almost impossible to be exact. However, it’s safe to say that a pair of deep section wheels will be faster than a set of shallow rim in 90% of situations.
Remember, the extra speed comes at a price – deep section wheels are more difficult to handle in crosswinds, making the bike twitchy and negatively affecting the handling. This needs to be taken into consideration before your purchase, as they may not be suitable if you plan to use them for year round riding. We would advise to test ride a set before deciding, as they’re not for everyone.
Look the part
Let’s face it; no matter what rational you apply to your decision, there’s no escaping the fact that carbon wheels have the wow factor. We don’t always buy things because they are necessary, and a new set of carbon hoops can easily fall into this category. If you can afford them, and they make you feel good, then that’s enough reason to justify the purchase.
Why Choose Giant SLR carbon wheels?
There are plenty of carbon wheels on the market, so the competition is pretty fierce. Excellent news for you as a buyer, as there’s many options to choose from, with manufacturers increasing the technology and reducing prices over the years. We have plenty of reasons why Giant carbon wheels are perfect for your bike.
Total Control of Material
Giant are the industry leaders in carbon fibre and one of the only bike brands to have access to their own in house manufactured carbon fibre. This ensures we know exactly how it’s made, what goes into the carbon resin and can perform extensive quality control to ensure they are of the highest possible standard. Unlike other wheels available, you can be confident that all Giant carbon wheels have passed strict safety tests.
Improved Braking Performance
One of the biggest criticisms with carbon wheels is the braking performance, or lack thereof. All of the Giant carbon WheelSystems are designed in conjunction with carbon SLR brake pads, so as long as these pads are used, then braking performance is much improved over other carbon wheels on the market, as the pads and the carbon resin work together to increase stopping power.
Aluminium braking surface still offers the best performance, but carbon is making huge strides in this area and the difference is nowhere as noticeable as it used to be, as long as the correct brake pads are used.
Dynamic Balanced Lacing
Giant’s carbon fibre WheelSystem’s feature a unique spoking system called ‘dynamic balanced lacing’. On regular wheels, the spokes are equally tensioned before they used, however once pedalling force is applied, it can distort the balance as more force is applied through the drive side spokes.
With Giant’s breakthrough Dynamic Balanced Lacing system, opposing spokes have different levels of tension when the wheel is static. But when a rider applies pedalling force, the spoke tensions balance out. This improves a wheel’s durability and transmission stiffness, which increases efficiency.
The rear wheel of a DBL WheelSystem is engineered with more leverage on the “pulling” spokes, less on the “pushing” spokes. When a DBL wheel is static, these opposing spokes have slightly different levels of tension.
But when a rider applies pedalling force, the spoke tension instantly balances out to produce a more durable and more efficient wheel.
Conversely, on the front wheel of a DBL WheelSystem with disc brakes, the same effect applies but in reverse. As the opposing spokes on the front wheel transfer into a dynamic state under braking, the tension instantly balances out to produce a stiffer braking condition, resulting in better control.
This means the wheels are less likely to go out of tension, increasing the performance and durability of the carbon wheels as uneven spoke tension decreases lifespan.