Disc Wheels for Road Bike

The disk wheels are now available for road cycling. Hubs strengthened, multiple clamping system, type of fastening discs, rotor diameter, the cyclist in front of multiple choice with the purchase of new data to consider.

Disc wheel with aluminum or carbon rim

Aluminum or carbon, both materials exist. Thus the choice of material is always selected on the same principle as for the braking wheeled skates, in terms of:

  • your budget
  • your weight
  • your level
  • Destination: training or competition
  • the type of terrain on which you operate (linked with the rims profile)

Disc Wheels for Road Bike 1

Rims for disc brakes: What changes!

What changes here is the absence of a braking area dedicated to skate because the rims are destined for use for a disc brake. A priori, the stress applied at this level is no longer (heating). Which can reduce the thickness of the carbon layers or the size of a rim profile (depending on brand). It is a point of detail (and a few micrograms), certainly, but the gain of a few grams outskirts rim plays a leading role on the behavior of the wheels in motion.

Read the article: Hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes

The overall design for a high demand disc wheel

Especially the connection hub / spoke / rim will be severely tested. Disc wheels are much sought at the torque transmission because braking is much more violent than acceleration. For proof just count the number of seconds that is put to go from 50km / h to brake in stop leaning and compare it to the time that we put to switch off 50km / h pedaling!

  • The rear wheel: It is requested at the transmission right and at the left brake.
  • The front wheel:This is the front wheel that is the most sought (in transmission torque) as the majority of braking is done before (because of mass transfer).

Who rays?

The spokes mounted on the disk wheels are the same as spoke lights exampled on Ebicyclelights. This is rarely the weak point of a wheel. However the changes in the provision (crossover) and the number of rays (largest in disk). There may also be some adjustments at the rim (but mainly in terms of drilling angles to fit the specific shelving which is crossed).

The disk mounting system (rotors)

Disc wheels manufacturers must make a choice as to the fixing system disk linked to the hub. It is the design method for fixing the disc (also called a rotor) on the hub of the wheel. Two systems exist to date:

  • The system 6 holes or International Standard used by the majority of market players
  • The Center Lock created and used by Shimano.

The system 6 holes is what gives the best shape at the front hubs.

With Center Lock Shimano, we often end up with saggy Left Front (Center Lock side so) over the center hub.And therefore with a lower geometry (degradation of the lateral stiffness of the wheel in question). The Center Lock is only justified to simplify mounting the chain and reduce the time (and therefore cost) of assembly.

Note that exist adapters Center Lock / Six holes for compatibility with other brands of discs.

Some wheels are available in two versions hubs.

Disc Wheels for Road Bike 2

The disks diameter

Two diameters coexist:

  • 140mm

Although other arrangements are possible, are the most frequent. Shimano work a lot with the 140mm diameter default there or SRAM when it favors to the 160mm. But everyone can do other sizes in the catalog. Many executives are currently provided for receiving brackets that support the 140mm discs.

Wheels with 160mm discs owners will, in this case, mount an adapter which removes the yoke of 20mm.

What disk size to choose?

In use, the smaller and lighter or those who do not evolve much in the mountains can opt for the 140mm.However, in our opinion, the heavier / larger or very good descenders wishing delay / braking will optimize their interest to glimpse the 160mm diameter.

Width hubs axes

The hubs are designed differently braking wheeled skates, especially at the front since we must now transmit torque (very important) related to braking. On road bikes, disc wheel hubs have the following widths:

  • 100mm front
  • 135mm at the rear (QR: quick release)
  • 142mm to the rear (TA: Through shaft)

Imagine that the width of the rear wheel hub is imposed by the bicycle frame model you have or will acquire.Which may restrict the choice of purchase depending on the width of the wheel manufacturer offers.

hub example through axle

Diameter hubs axes

The hubs fitted to the disk wheels are oversized to provide a better rigidity. It is advisable to equip at least with wheels that have hubs axes:

  • 12x100mm or 15x100mm front
  • 12x135mm or 12x142mm rear.

Please note, the standard axle does not allow to assume the rigidity of a hub. Everything depends on its design!

The hub before being thus most stressed during braking, in general a front axle 15mm results in a net gain in terms of rigidity in the connecting fork / wheel. Over the hub axle is therefore more offers development opportunities (axes of size, type of clamp, …)

To the rear is more debatable, depending frames and also (and especially) the design of the hubs. Because often between the 135x10mm and 142x12mm QR “internal” Axis hubs are identical. Everything will therefore play (to mention only the hub) at its design (in particular the link that goes to the tips of the hub body).

Disc Wheels for Road Bike 3

The hub body

The materials used on the hubs skate wheels are the same here. Steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon, manufacturers seeking rigidity / weight / reliability. Only the diameters of the body are more substantial to meet the high stresses during braking, and obviously accommodate more substantial shafts and bearings.

Clamping and holding the wheel to the frame

Two types of clamps coexist:

  • Quick-Release: QR or quick release abbreviated in French
  • Thru-Axle: TA abbreviated understand through axle

This is obviously the choice at the hubs for the user to do. The frames designed for traversing axes are different frameworks designed for quick release. So your choice of framework that will guide the type of hub you should take or the reverse.

Example hub designed to clamp

Some manufacturers offer their discs wheeled model with two possibilities. You will need and choose a model with wheels hub which is equipped either through axle is rapidly tightening.

Likewise, some manufacturers offer cyclists who would like to acquire wheels with discs a possibility of evolution. Indeed, a disc wheel in Quick-release version 135mm at the rear may be converted into axis crossing of 142mm for the rear. We see also appear through the axes that can be removed relatively quickly.See faster a QR (quick release).

The axis through stiffer?

ATV aficionados swear by the many routes crossing highlighting the effective stiffness of the system, including lateral torsion. That is true ! The axis through the fixed wheel also very precisely.

But please note that what counts is the bearing surface at the contact hub axle / fork or hub axle / rear of the bike. More significant is, the more it is able to deal with a torsion (a condition that the hub is well designed too).And QR, quick releases, can be very effective if they are well designed.

Tire Sections or hoses

The choice of tire or hose remains as before an own choice to the rider according to his feelings, needs and habits. The important element to consider is the rim width to be made to receive tires or hoses of a minimum of 25mm section. Indeed, the deceleration forces are important and a wider section is today recommended to optimize the behavior downhill.

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