Saturday, March 3, 2012

Renovo R1 wooden bike project, part 3: first test ride

I was not able resist to give the wheels a try whilst waiting for the frame to arrive, so I fitted my trusty Duell steel winter bike with cork brake pads, so I could use it with the DA Ghisallo wooden wheels. The first ride was at the Belgium Ardennes a couple of weeks ago. The temperature was 1 degree above zero (Celsius), so not really comfortable IMHO. That is why the ride did not last any longer than 15km. My first impression of the wheels:

SWEET! If you like stiff responsive wheels, then Ghisallo wooden rims are not what you are looking for. If you like ultra smooth and great looking wheels, then you need to get some Ghisallo rims! The dampening effect of the rims is really nice: you see a bad patch of tarmac, you hear a bad patch of tarmac, but... you don't feel a patch a bad patch of tarmac. In the first kilometers I rode some gravel roads, did some climbs and bad tarmac and the effect was noticeable everywhere. Don't expect something like a suspension rim, but more like the difference you would normally notice between a carbon and a steel frame.

Despite the dampening effect of the rim and the low spoke tension, I was unable to rub the rims against the brake pads. Braking performance was very poor to say the least at first. However, after only 5km braking performance increased dramatically. With the cork pads, the braking performance is now similar to that of most carbon wheels. I will be changing the pads to SwissStop yellow, so I am expecting a significant improvement there.

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