I have VERRRYY little knowledge here ... but your question had me curious and I decided to poke around. I read several articles last night and this morning on it. It is pretty freakin interesting indeed! (I'll post one of the websites I went to that I found a useful discussion at the bottom of this comment.)
At any rate ... a quick question if you don't mind. What kind of bike do you currently have now? I ask because I agree that upgrading components always helps ... but if the frame set holds you back, something like high end wheels could be offset by the frame?
As for the wheels themselves... a few things I have learnt (through reading ... not experience...as I don't have the funds to get a carbon wheel set myself!)
1) Cost. From what I gather, costs are coming down ... but they are still spendy. The lowest I saw was near $600 ... the average cost about $1,200 for the set.
2) Benefits include weight decrease (roughly 25% from aluminum wheels) and more aerodynamics.
However, on the aerodynamic issue, there was some debate on whether this is true on all bikes, as the testings done tend to be on the wheels themselves in a wind tunnel. On a bike, with cross wind, some say that you lose some stability, as the wheels have a larger surface area. (The rims are taller ... I think to make up for strength...though you have fewer spokes as well.)
3) Braking capabilities ... this might be a huge issue and I'd research a lot more before getting a pair. Apparently, due to the material (carbon), on long braking stretches (i.e., long down grades), the wheels can heat up quite a bit, and quickly too. I gather there has been instances of tire blow outs due to this, and some events have banned carbon wheels.
The industry is trying to come out with brake pads that help to offset the heat issue ... but to date, the jury is still out?
4) Cost again ... or rather, security. I know I ride my bike to work, at event rides, etc ... and sometimes lock my bike. With the cost of carbon wheels, you'd want to make sure you lock BOTH wheels!
Hope this was not too long and rambly ... it was totally interesting to read about though. Good topic/question indeed. cyclingtips.com.au/2012/08/where-is-the-va
Updated on 9/5/13 ... for spelling errors...ack!
Edited by: GHK1962 at: 9/5/2013 (11:39)
You may say I'm a dreamer...but I'm not the only one...
~ John Lennon ~
Life's like a movie, write your own ending...
~ Kermit the Frog ~
| current weight: 170.0