It's been a couple weeks since my last post. Life has gotten pretty busy. Working at the bike shop, doing some design, taking care of our baby and my wife working lots of hours. As well as all of the training I've been trying to fit in.
But recently I came across a pair of carbon clinchers from the bike shop that were demos I was able to get for a pretty good price. I'm not willing to share, however. But I was able to get my hands on a pair of Bontrager Aeolus 5.0's and finally got out on them a couple days ago. I had never ridden with rims that had any depth, so I made sure there was a bit of a breeze that I could get a true feeling for them on.
After work and mowing the lawn, I got out and hit the road pretty hard. I wanted to see how they felt through some of the rough patches near my house as well as down some good straights going with, against and having the wind coming in sideways. There was probably an average of 10-15mph wind coming out of the S, SW or so, with some 25-30mph gusts. Perfect to get a good feeling of what happens with varying winds.
The 5.0's are Bontrager's 50 mm depth rims, and these are a couple years old, so they still have the aluminum alloy rim, making me be able to still run standard brakes rather having to get a separate set of carbon cork brakes needed for most newer rims made of all carbon on the rims for some weight savings.
Right off the bat I could feel a more responsiveness out of the wheels than the stock Shimano R500s that came on my Orbea ora. Besides the fact that the bike is responsive due to the stiffness of carbon, having the wheels with carbon also give an even overall stiffer feel of the bike.
Another cool thing about carbon wheels is the sound. The give off quite a different sound than stock wheels. There's a cool hollow humming sound. One of those sounds that I was used to hearing as better riders would catch me. I could hear the humming come along and watch them go.
So back to the performance. It's hard to say how much faster the wheels possibly made me. Especially after just one ride and not a true time trial or race effort. I stopped a few times to sort out where I wanted to go and search for some hills. I wanted to remember what it feels like to climb on the tri bike with a 2x10 setup and only up to a 25 cog in the back. So not a whole lot of climbing gear to work with. But a lot of fire power to gun the flats.
I hit a few patches with sidewinds and could definitely feel the depth of the wheel taking it's toll. Nothing I couldn't handle, but compared to a standard rim depth, this was a significant difference. I found myself leaning into the wind a bit more. Which in turn did make handling the gusts a little more difficult, but i nthe overall, it was a much cleaner ride than I expected.