Steve 'Gravy' Gravenites - GravyWheels
Steve "Gravy" Gravenites
Master Wheel Builder
GravyWheels©
Wheels of a quality previously reserved only for the professionals

WHEELS

Wheel Information by Intended Use
 
Road Wheels

Racing

Aerodynamics and light weight are the two most important factors in designing the optimal road racing wheelset. The advancements in tubular rim technology have produced carbon fiber deep V rims that yield a lighter wheel with better road feel. Tubular rims are half the weight of clincher rims and are more responsive to increases in speed. Thinner and fewer spokes enhance aerodynamics as they slice air faster, which mitigates wind resistance. However, too few spokes compromises strength. A custom wheelset will give you the ultimate competitive edge while balancing the safety issues of going scary light.

Gravy recommends allocating your resources to produce the best racing wheelset that will optimize your performance. Tubular carbon fiber deep V rims will be your lightest option. However, there are also clincher carbon rims and clincher deep V rims that provide the benefits of aerodynamics. Bladed, elliptical spokes encounter half the air resistance of standard round spokes and are a worthwhile cost/benefit trade-off. Therefore, a profile rim coupled with bladed spokes will yield a light, aerodynamic wheel with less gyroscopic inertia. The biggest consideration in tire choice is the weight of the rider. Race day, one-time use tires are one of the greatest improvements in racing wheels and designed for the serious racer. However, they should not be used for more than 200 miles as they are dangerous if used more than intended. The width of the tire should be 22mm for tubulars and 23mm for clinchers, with an extra 2mm width for those weighing over 180 lbs.

Training

The training road wheelset should be durable, dependable and moderate in price. You want to be able to focus on training hard and safely without worrying about mechanical problems. A heavier wheelset will meet these objectives as well as give you an edge on race day when you deploy your lighter race wheelset.

Gravy recommends clincher rims with standard round spokes. Adding a few more spokes will also give you more durability. The tires should be 2m to 3m wider than racing tires due to greater flat protection, more comfortable ride and since pressure is lower, more rubber on the road equates to a safer ride. Remember, "one flat can ruin your whole day"!

 
Mountain

Racing

Success in mountain bike racing is dependent on choosing the best tire for the course profile, surface and weather conditions. The choice of rubber is a huge factor in racing performance because it all comes down to traction. Tubeless tires are the choice for your racing wheelset. Lower air pressure allows the tire to be stiffer and provide more shock absorption. Pinch flats become non-existent due to the damping effect of beefy rubber on the trail. Tubeless tires limit rim options. However, spoke count and type can still vary substantially with aerodynamics not a crucial consideration.

Gravy recommends the Mavic tubeless rim as the best choice due to their patented UST system. Bontrager, DT-Swiss and Stans rims are also a good choice; however, they utilize a rim strip and sealant system which is not fullproof. We suggest standard double-butted spokes with a count of 32 for a light person, 36 for a heavier person and 28 for a light woman racer. If you are using clincher rims for racing, we recommend latex rubber tubes for your tires. Latex is lighter, more supple and will handle the bumps and rocks better. Wheelsets should be tailored for the different types of downhill racing as well as for cross country racers. We can help you customize your racing wheelsets for your racing preferences.

Training

The same model holds for mountain training wheels as for road. A wheelset that is dependable, serviceable and moderate in price will facilitate your training schedule. We recommend clincher rims with a fatter, heavier tire for training. Butyl rubber tubes are the best value for your training tires as they are more durable.

 
Triathlon

Triathletes show no mercy and are racing the clock. The wheelset is more critical than ever to generate the most aerodynamic ride possible. This will result in maximized muscle efficiency and minimized muscle expenditure to benefit the transition to their running profile. The tri-wheelset rim should always be a deep V profile rim.

For the elite rider in a race with no weather issues, Gravy recommends a tri-spoke front wheel and a disc rear wheel. If the course has the potential for wind, a low count bladed spoke will be best for most races. The racing wheelset can be very course specific since the number of races per season is comparatively low. The training wheelset should be the same as a standard road wheelset.

 
CycloCross

Strength in the wheelset is paramount for the cyclocross rider because of the abuse the bike will incur. The wheelset needs to be light in order to boost acceleration and accommodate the start/stop nature of the sport. Proper tire choice is super crucial and course and weather specific. The cyclocross racer needs a suitcase full of tire options!

There is a fine line between strength and lightness. Gravy recommends clincher rims as they are more serviceable in the face of frequent flats. Elite racers may elect to use tubular in spite of the hassles caused by course abuse to the wheels. A few more spokes than road wheels will augment strength. Gravy can help you choose a variety of tires to best suit your racing needs.

 
Single Speed

The key feature in a single speed wheelset is lightness. The lighter the better in order to minimize the rider's energy expenditure required due to the absence of gearing options. We recommend investing a bit more money on a quality rear hubset. There is more leverage and torque on the rear wheel because of the energy required to compensate for lack of gears. A high quality free hub will yield a distinct difference in durability. Gravy recommends clincher rims and tires for the all- around single speed wheelset and tubeless for the serious racer.

 
Track

Lightness of the wheelset is also the key success factor in an optimal track wheelset. Track racers are motivated by the clock and require a light wheelset to accelerate strong out of the pack. Track wheels should always use tubular tires because a higher pressure can be sewn in and there is minimal risk of a blowout. A quality hub is important for instant engagement to intensify your racing and distinguish your performance. For solo events, we recommend a front tri-spoke wheel and a rear disc wheel. For multiple racer events, a deep V rim with aerodynamic spokes should be employed to produce an even lighter wheel that will maximize the start/stop power of the racer.