So I got myself a Christmas gift that I have been wanting for a little while now. For those of you that know my bike, you might see the picture above and say, “Ben, you got new wheels for your Kredo”, and that would partially be true. The wheels in this picture are different than my “normal” wheels (Mavic Ksyrium SLs). But if you look really closely at the pic above, you will see something else special about these wheels.
These wheels are laced to a PowerTap SL 2.4 wireless power meter. I’m a pretty analytical guy, so the idea of training with power has always had some appeal for me, so I decided to bite-the-bullet and get a PowerTap. I looked at power meter options – SRM, iBike, etc., but the PowerTap made the most sense. The toughest decision when getting a PowerTap is deciding what type of wheel you are going to lace the hub to. Since I will train and race on my PowerTap, I wanted something durable, but light/aero enough that I wouldn’t feel like it was a hindrance for racing. I found the perfect combination by using a wheelsmith in Florida named Mike Garcia. Make laced my PowerTap to some Niobium 30mm rims with black Sapim CX-Ray spokes (the best spokes you can get).
I have 24 spokes in the front (laced radially) and 28 spokes in the rear (laced 2x on both sides). So these wheels will be plenty durable, but amazingly the total weight, (even with the heavier PowerTap hub) came in within 50 grams of the weight of my Ksyriums (plus these wheels are more aero). Mike did a great job on the build and the wheels look/ride awesome. His price was also very competitive and I basically got the whole set for about the same price as what just the rear hub laced to a mavic open pro rim would have cost me buying from anywhere else.
I’m in the process of doing my various power tests now in order to determine my training zones. However, one thing I can already tell you from putting a few rides in on these wheels is this – you are rarely working as hard as you think. The PowerTap really lets me know how often I am “dogging it”. Speed is a horrible measure of effort and I’ve quickly discovered that many of my favorite stretches of road, where I can nail it for 30 mph, I am doing at very low effort (under 200 watts). I’ll keep you posted.