View Poll Results: Are Carbon Wheels Harsh?

Voters
60. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes

    2 3.33%
  • No

    36 60.00%
  • Yes but don't care, they are friggen AWESOME!

    4 6.67%
  • Yes but I spent too much $$$ I will deny it if asked.

    4 6.67%
  • Can't tell the difference, this is a stupid a$$ poll.

    14 23.33%
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 65
  1. #1
    Nuts
    Reputation: bdundee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4,833

    Are Carbon Wheels Harsh?

    This has been kinda a hot topic I've been hearing about. For those of you that made the transition from aluminum to carbon wheels do they seem to create a harsh ride being all is equal between wheel builds (except for rims). We are talking vertical compliance.

    Please do your civic duty And vote, comments are somewhat appreciated.

    For those of you that don't like the word harsh it could be translated into
    Harsh=Too stiff radially
    Last edited by bdundee; 09-12-2013 at 07:22 PM.
    And I love beer!!

  2. #2
    transmitter~receiver
    Reputation: meltingfeather's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    7,997
    I guess you know how I voted.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  3. #3
    Nuts
    Reputation: bdundee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4,833
    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    I guess you know how I voted.
    Perfect, thanks!!
    And I love beer!!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Atomik Carbon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,295
    Not the best way to ask. Carbon fiber has transformed many sports such as tennis, hockey, bike frames, etc. It DEFINATELY has a damping quality, it absorbs a lot of the harsh shock.....at the same time it is not "noodley" and very stiff. Note, this does not mean harsh ride. It will not flex when cornering and yet absorb many of the harsh hits.....ask anyone that has a carbon fiber frame....

  5. #5
    Nuts
    Reputation: bdundee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4,833
    Quote Originally Posted by YaMon View Post
    Not the best way to ask. Carbon fiber has transformed many sports such as tennis, hockey, bike frames, etc. It DEFINATELY has a damping quality, it absorbs a lot of the harsh shock.....at the same time it is not "noodley" and very stiff. Note, this does not mean harsh ride. It will not flex when cornering and yet absorb many of the harsh hits.....ask anyone that has a carbon fiber frame....
    Yet you answered it hmmmmm. Recently I heard a Radio show talk about this and he described the carbon wheels as being too harsh of a ride as far as vertical stiffness goes. I.E. your saddle gets jammed up our ars harder on roots with his Envy wheels than his aluminum wheels do. All I want to find out what is other people think.
    Last edited by bdundee; 09-12-2013 at 12:16 PM.
    And I love beer!!

  6. #6
    www.derbyrims.com
    Reputation: derby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    6,788
    With the same spoke tension CF rims don't flex as much as light weight aluminum rims. So all things equal from hub, spoke tension, rim width, tire pressure, then carbon rimed wheels are noticeably stiffer and more harsh.
    www.derbyrims.com STRONGER, STIFFER, LIGHTER

    29 x 35mm wide
    650b x 40mm wide

  7. #7
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,830
    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Yet you answered it hmmmmm. Recently I heard a Radio show talk about this and he described the carbon wheels as being too harsh of a ride as far as vertical stiffness goes. I.E. your saddle gets jammed up our ars harder on roots with his Envy wheels than his aluminum wheels do. All I want to find out what other people think.
    Hardtail riders deserve all of the pain they get.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  8. #8
    AZ
    AZ is offline
    banned
    Reputation: AZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    19,997
    Depends, not the one's you're wearing either.

  9. #9
    rho
    rho is offline
    Captain Pinchflat
    Reputation: rho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,617

    Re: Are Carbon Wheels Harsh?

    If your rims are too "harsh" you have too much air in your tires and you need to get off of the saddle

    Sent by smoke signal.

  10. #10
    transmitter~receiver
    Reputation: meltingfeather's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    7,997
    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Recently I heard a Radio show talk about this and he described the carbon wheels as being too harsh of a ride as far as vertical stiffness goes. I.E. your saddle gets jammed up our arse harder on roots with his Envy wheels than his aluminum wheels do.
    That sounds like a load of crap to me. Talk about all the controlled, back-to-back, on-the-trail "tests" you want, the difference is so incredibly small compared to all the other components of the bike that it's laughable to suggest that, out of a couple of inches of vertical compliance on a hard tail, a rider can tell a difference in rim stiffness of 0.005". Really?
    I'm not sure it is even that much, because all rim stiffness measurements are taken without a tire.
    No doubt different wheels and bikes feel different, which you can't even establish quantitatively, but equating any perceived difference in feel to rim stiffness is just grasping for an explanation.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  11. #11
    Nuts
    Reputation: bdundee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4,833
    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    That sounds like a load of crap to me. Talk about all the controlled, back-to-back, on-the-trail "tests" you want, the difference is so incredibly small compared to all the other components of the bike that it's laughable to suggest that, out of a couple of inches of vertical compliance on a hard tail, a rider can tell a difference in rim stiffness of 0.005". Really?
    I'm not sure it is even that much, because all rim stiffness measurements are taken without a tire.
    No doubt different wheels and bikes feel different, which you can't even establish quantitatively, but equating any perceived difference in feel to rim stiffness is just grasping for an explanation.
    Kinda what I thought as well that's why I thought I would ask you Gents.
    And I love beer!!

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    499
    Quote Originally Posted by rho View Post
    If your rims are too "harsh" you have too much air in your tires and you need to get off of the saddle.
    Yep. The air in your tires is going to make a much bigger difference in the harshness of the ride then the actual rims.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MSU Alum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    1,071
    It wouldn't make as much difference in "harshness" as a 1 PSI change in tire pressure, so, no.

  14. #14
    Dirty South Underdog
    Reputation: Andrea138's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,613
    Sounds like you've been listening to our musings on Just Riding Along

    In my and my close friends' experiences- which, for all 3 of us includes actually riding both hardtail and FS bikes, back to back, on the same trail, with both carbon and aluminum wheels, with the same tire/tire pressure- Yes, carbon wheels are noticeably more harsh- especially on a hardtail.

    We've had some kickback from a person or two who listens to JRA and doesn't agree with us, so we're planning on doing some slightly more scientific testing that involves weighting a wheel and using a tension meter to actually quantify how much more an aluminum wheel will change shape compared to a carbon one.
    Brickhouse Blog (most known unknown)

    Just Riding Along- best internet radio show on Mountain Bike Radio

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ColinL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1,277
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138 View Post
    In my and my close friends' experiences- which, for all 3 of us includes actually riding both hardtail and FS bikes, back to back, on the same trail, with both carbon and aluminum wheels, with the same tire/tire pressure- Yes, carbon wheels are noticeably more harsh- especially on a hardtail.

    We've had some kickback from a person or two who listens to JRA and doesn't agree with us, so we're planning on doing some slightly more scientific testing that involves weighting a wheel and using a tension meter to actually quantify how much more an aluminum wheel will change shape compared to a carbon one.
    People aren't going to believe your results unless you use strain gauges in clinically controlled environments.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    499
    I think you are wasting your time, and it is a placebo. You should do a blind test (difficult I know with it being on a bike) and see if you can tell the difference between two wheel setups of identical hubs, spokes (# and lacing), rim width, tires, and pressure.

    Carbon wheels should be stiffer than an AL comparison and you should be able to feel that, but harsher? I don't think so.

    If you are hoping for some "give" in your wheels to make your ride more comfortable, then you are doing it wrong.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ColinL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1,277
    Quote Originally Posted by tooclosetosee View Post
    I think you are wasting your time, and it is a placebo. You should do a blind test (difficult I know with it being on a bike) and see if you can tell the difference between two wheel setups of identical hubs, spokes (# and lacing), rim width, tires, and pressure.

    Carbon wheels should be stiffer than an AL comparison and you should be able to feel that, but harsher? I don't think so.

    If you are hoping for some "give" in your wheels to make your ride more comfortable, then you are doing it wrong.
    There's little point in such a test. What would actually be of value would be to test a known stiff aluminum wheel, such as a Mavic Deemax, a known noodle, like a Stans Crest, and a ENVE carbon wheel.

    Also the hardtail aspect cannot be ignored and I completely agree with your last sentence. There's no doubt that being in the saddle on a hardtail is a rough ride, regardless of wheel. Get out of the saddle on the HT or put the carbon wheels on a full suspension bike and then see if there's any complaints about the stiffness.

  18. #18
    transmitter~receiver
    Reputation: meltingfeather's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    7,997

    Are Carbon Wheels Harsh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138 View Post
    Sounds like you've been listening to our musings on Just Riding Along

    In my and my close friends' experiences- which, for all 3 of us includes actually riding both hardtail and FS bikes, back to back, on the same trail, with both carbon and aluminum wheels, with the same tire/tire pressure- Yes, carbon wheels are noticeably more harsh- especially on a hardtail.

    We've had some kickback from a person or two who listens to JRA and doesn't agree with us, so we're planning on doing some slightly more scientific testing that involves weighting a wheel and using a tension meter to actually quantify how much more an aluminum wheel will change shape compared to a carbon one.
    It's crazy that you guys are the only ones here who actually ride bikes.

    How do you control for confirmation bias in a test that is heavily influenced by your already established opinion and has no real quantifiable scale?

    An impression of how a wheel feels is one thing, and if anybody thinks they can derive value from that more power to them. Tying the feeling to some measurable parameter that hasn't been measured is a leap of faith that defies logic.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  19. #19
    transmitter~receiver
    Reputation: meltingfeather's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    7,997

    Are Carbon Wheels Harsh?

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    People aren't going to believe your results unless you use strain gauges in clinically controlled environments.
    No way in hell... They'll say, "how does your lab bench test apply to me on the trail after I've pulled a thick one on a safety break and I'm really feeling it, railing corners and getting playful with it and really throwing my bike around... HUH?!? What then, bra? I actually ride bikes."
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    191
    I have not back to backed aluminum vs. carbon rims, but my chinese carbon rims feel stiff but not harsh. Seems like an impossible combination, but this is my opinion.

    I do not run super-high spoke tensions (around 100 kgf drive side if I recall correctly), so that may be part of the reason for my opinion. My bike is a Nimble-9, which also probably has a more compliant rear end than a carbon XC race frame.

    I asked Dave from I-9 if he thought an I-9 wheelset with carbon rims would be too stiff / harsh, and he said probably yes. I could see that, since in my experience I-9 aluminum spokes build into a stiffer wheel than steel spokes (again, just my subjective experience).

  21. #21
    transmitter~receiver
    Reputation: meltingfeather's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    7,997

    Are Carbon Wheels Harsh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pslide View Post
    I asked Dave from I-9 if he thought an I-9 wheelset with carbon rims would be too stiff / harsh, and he said probably yes. I could see that, since in my experience I-9 aluminum spokes build into a stiffer wheel than steel spokes (again, just my subjective experience).
    I9 wheels aren't actually that stiff (I've measured them). The low bracing angles caused by their hub design are primarily responsible. The aluminum spokes are also pretty elastic.

    I think this is an obvious example of how the feel is not tied to stiffness. The aluminum construction gives I9 wheels a certain feel, but they aren't stiff like everyone seems to think they are.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  22. #22
    psycho cyclo addict
    Reputation: edubfromktown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,957

    No difference for me...

    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Yet you answered it hmmmmm. Recently I heard a Radio show talk about this and he described the carbon wheels as being too harsh of a ride as far as vertical stiffness goes. I.E. your saddle gets jammed up our ars harder on roots with his Envy wheels than his aluminum wheels do. All I want to find out what other people think.
    My .02:

    I do not notice additional "harshness" when riding on the carbon rims as compared to aluminum. I run LB Chinese carbon rims, Flows, Crests and 355's. All tubeless at low psi: rears in the low 20's and fronts as low as 18. A reasonably close "apples to apples" comparison of two wheel sets on my FS bike:

    LB carbon rims with DT db spokes (definitely higher tension than the Flows) and Chris King LD front 20mm and 9mm rear.

    Flow rims 2.0 straight DT spokes, Chris King LD front 20mm and 9mm rear).

    I definitely notice additional lateral stiffness when building wheels with carbon rims compared to aluminum though that does not translate into ride "harshness" with LB rims at least...

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    86
    < not sure on the difference between "back to back" and "bare back" can someone asplain plz?

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    989
    I've had a number of different stans rims (355, Flow, Crest), in the past year I've torn down two of my wheelsets and rebuilt the king hubs on LB carbon rims. Nearly all my riding is done on a hardtail and I cannot say that the carbon rims feel any 'harsher'. They're definitely stiffer laterally, and don't need to be trued constantly like the crests/355s. I've raced them all year on a hardtail that is supposed to be super stiff (santa cruz highball) and have only good things to say. Carbon rims were a huge step in the right direction for my mtb riding.

  25. #25
    Dirty South Underdog
    Reputation: Andrea138's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,613
    Any of you who think we're full o' sh1t over at JRA are welcome to call in and tell us how wrong we are. We're on the air Monday nights from 8-9ish, central time, and the number is (646) 595-4113. We'd also appreciate it if you started other threads on MTBR with links to our show and how much you think we don't know what we're talking about.
    Brickhouse Blog (most known unknown)

    Just Riding Along- best internet radio show on Mountain Bike Radio

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Reynolds Carbon AM 29er Wheels-Crosspost in Wheels and Tires
    By bicyclemark in forum 29er Components
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-14-2013, 05:32 PM
  2. Chinese carbon wheels: full wheels?
    By richulr in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-28-2012, 07:27 AM
  3. Carbon rims on a HT - too harsh?
    By Climber999 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 10-08-2012, 01:59 PM
  4. Carbon V10 harsh ride
    By Dusty Lung in forum Santa Cruz
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-09-2012, 04:36 AM
  5. Replies: 22
    Last Post: 07-01-2011, 01:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •