Advantages of a heavy wheel

I noticed that I feel a lot more stable on my 26 X 3 MUni wheel with 170mm cranks than the wheel that I built up from an old 27 X 1 ¼ roadbike wheel, UDC hub and 127mm cranks. At first I thought that the main difference was that the MUni wheel had a much wider footprint and was run at lower pressure.

I decided to experiment a little bit and first put some 170mm cranks on the road wheel, this helped a little bit with stability but seemed extremely mismatched with a wheel I built for speed.

The next thing I tried was adding ¾ of a pound of fishing weights to the spokes to get a similar fly-wheel effect. This made the wheel much more stable. Slowing down was more difficult but once I got going I could keep a higher speed without feeling like I was loosing control. The flywheel effect carried me over lumps and bumps that might have upset me otherwise. I found that I could also do aggressive maneuvers more confidently as the wheel seemed to follow a smother line.

The extra weight was so confidence inspiring that I tried to ride one footed partway through the ride, which almost had disastrous consequences but it was closer to actually getting it than any other attempt.

On the other hand I tried to hop up a curb and failed miserably.

A heavy wheel may help people who are learning or are trying to get a smother cadence when training for a distance ride.

Hopefully next time I go back home I will make a lead rim strip because the weights on the spokes look a little funny. Who would have thought I wanted a heavy wheel?

It’s the same when comparing a coker with a steel rim to a coker with an aluminum rim…the steel rim is SO heavy, it takes a long time to accelerate but once you’re up to speed it’s a lot easier to keep going because of the centrifugal force/inertia of the wheel.

I would disagree. A heavier Coker wheel is harder to accelerate up to speed, and once you get there, you have to pedal harder to keep it going at the same speed. Gimme a lightweight Coker wheel anyday!

Ken, I just got a new industrial drill press…I’ve made 4 of these so far. Pete


The heavier the wheel the more it will resist change of inertia.
Bad acceleration, but easy to ride along in a straight line.

Wo is that a drilled Airfoil?!

Yeah a heavier wheel has a greater rotational inertia so it is harder to stop which makes it easier to keep going.

My .02 is that any cycling wheel should be as light as possible. Consider that with a heavier wheel, it may “deflect” less from minor bumps, but it also takes more crank input for minor corrections.

And yes, that is a drilled Airfoil. The stock weights are in the 1300g range, and my best one so far came out to 1026g. After considering how far to go with this, it would take a mill or CNC machine to cut the exterior surfaces (like drilled trials or XC rims), so I won’t be doing that with my press. This method doesn’t sacrifice any strength.

HA! i call BS on that, i bet the double walled AirFoil Coker rim is the same weight or maybe even a little heavier that the thin sheet medal like steel of the stock rim.

I’m sure sombody will post the weights on here, I don’t have them.

…but I will say this. I’ve ridden airfoil equipped cokers side by side with steel rimmed cokers. This difference isn’t even close to subtle. The steel rim is HEAVY.

I’m not sure the science behind the above statement, but I’d have to say my riding experience before and after a “wheel weight reduction” on my 36" contradicts it. I lost a non-trivial amount of weight switching from the stock coker tube to a 28" one, and I felt like the lighter wheel was both easier to get going, and easier to keep going. It just takes less of a touch on the pedals each rotation to keep the thing spinning, and that’s on flat ground. Get to an uphill and there’s no comparison. Light = Right.

There’s a real difference between the two, you can just pick up a stock coker and an airfoil coker and notice it instantly. If you go all out lightweight you can go silly light, Roger Davies & Ken Looi both have cokers that weigh very similar amounts to the weight of my Schlumpf 29er.

On the site it says that Airfoil = 2/3 of the weight of stock coker, which would make the stock rim around 2kg, so you save something like 700g by using it.


thanx Joe.

After our last 33 mile outing, I disassembled the Greenasaurus wheel and, among other mods, drilled this Airfoil rim as well (but conservatively), and got the weight down to 1066g. I think a strong sub-1000g airfoil is very possible. I’ll get to work on it.


haha nice to see my old thread again. since I started this I have changed my mind and now agree with most of the people who posted here. The heavier wheel helped me spin more smoothly but I think that if I had a lighter wheel I would have been more able to make fine adjustments at speed and possibly prevent my crash last month.

Four? Just how many of those airfoils are you hording?:slight_smile:

Are they the older fits all 36" tire rims or the newer X marked airfoils? Interested in possibly selling one?

What I wanted to do was offer these modified rims on an after-market basis, so I wrote to and asked them to have their supplier pull a dozen or so rims from the assembly line just before the finishing process. Then I could drill and/or finish them myself in colors (I have a local anodizer and painter). said NO WAY, can’t do that! Which seems ridiculous to me because someone would save money by not expensing the finishing costs, but I guess I have no leverage in that. has always guarded the identity of the Airfoil manufacturer, even though it appears to be the same Taiwan factory that extrudes the Sun Ringle and Arrow DH rims.

My airfoils were all bought retail from, and I took the time to snadblast the finish off most of them. They’re either on existing or earmarked projects. So the most I could do is have someone ship me their rim, and I’d drill it the way you want (after discussion), and ship it back. But with the size of the rim boxes, it’d be pricey to ship twice.

No a speak a Cantoneese !

I suppose it’s possible there is a stateside rim supplier and it is considered a business secret.
On the other hand, imagine the trouble of figuring out who to call in Taiwan or Korea, so that someone can pull a dozen rims out of a batch mid production and pack and ship them separately to someone in the states. Imagine what you would say to someone who called and explained in broken english how they want you so send them a box of rims to Bejing, and then dictated over the phone how they want you to print the postal labels in Manderin !

Hey feel, you’re not making any sense. The question was posed to if they would sell some unfinished rim to me, at the same price. It’s just that simple. If someone is already telling the factory (wherever it may be located) how many rims to make, why would it be any bother to add the words: “and don’t put a finish on 12 of those rims”?

OK, I see your point

You don’t want the supplier to ship them straight to you, just put them in with UDC’s order.
Perhaps if you offered to pay a little extra, to cover the extra hassle. Also, UDC might want you to pay up front, fearing it you changed your mind they would be stuck with hard to sell product.
I think anodizing is a controlled corrosion process, not a paint or coating. Perhaps after you are done drilling, the rim could be reanodized locally without needing to strip off the previous anodizing. I don’t know.