ASK RIDE… How can I fatten up my wheelset?
I want to make my wheelset heavier and slower – I’ve heard it’s better to train on – but am unsure where I can put the extra weight? Could you help explain?
I am a big fan of heavy training wheels. This theory might be a bit old school but I like the idea of making training wheels heavy so when an important race comes around the bike feels and performs significantly better. There are a number of simple solutions to achieve this outcome. Having two pairs of wheels both tubular and clincher is ideal but not absolutely necessary.
Plenty of riders race on clincher wheels. Half a kilogram can be added to a pair of clincher wheels by installing different tyres, tubes, tyres liners (optional) and a heavier cassette. A few long millage tyres are the Schwalbe Durano Plus (380g) or the Continental Gator Hardshell (330g). Both are well over 100g heavier than most racing tyres. So that’s a minimum of 200g added already. But there is more. The difference between a lightweight tube and thicker and generally cheaper versions can be 100g per wheelset. Your bike is now 300g heavier and if that is still not enough then fit tyre liners for extra puncture protection and more effort to climb those hills. A pair of liners will bump up the weight by about 70-120g depending on the type and brand which are used. Choose a liner which is not too thick otherwise installation will be quite a task. Finally, if you want to go all out then use a cheaper cassette; Force or Ultegra instead of the Red or Dura-Ace for race day. This part is not necessary and can be too much effort if you are racing all the time.
There you have it. A race-ready bike that has been transformed into a heavy and slow training bike without having to roll out the 1980s steel 10-speed from the shed.
Alex Malone is Technical Editor and staff writer for RIDE Cycling Review.
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