Thursday, September 11, 2008

The KOC Spin Test

Taking a segue from Obama's spin of putting lipstick on a pig, I'm going to discuss spin today, as in wheelset spin.

This thread actually started from Murphini's friend Kevin (KOC) many months ago. I like KOC because he's in the cycling lifestyle for many of the right reasons. One of those happens to be compulsive obsession. Apparently, KOC is OCD about how (in)efficient his wheelset is. For instance, after a ride of being dragged through the hills, he claimed that his (crappy) wheels put him at a competitive disadvantage to the alpha dogs of his pack. This condition festered to the point where he put on a impromptu wheelset spin test to compare his wheels.

The KOC Spin Test
As it happened, KOC flipped each of their bikes over and proceeded to hand crank the RPMs up faster than an organ grinder on crack. He then clocked the spinning time on his stop-watch.

While you could have seemingly grabbed a bite to eat as Murphini's Campy wheelset sustained its momentum, the rest of the results were clear: KOC's wheelset did indeed suck. At the moment it's still unclear whether he's looking for a grinder monkey to collect upgrade cash, but as the rest of the group's wheels spun freely for well over two minutes, KOC's rotated for less than 90 seconds.

Last night I decided to do a little testing of my own. I modified the KOC test by putting the Nishiki project bike and Old Yeller on the trainer for my own comparisons. I backed off the fly wheel for full tire clearance and then cranked it up. The Nishiki chattered noisily on its original equipment (Suzue hub and Araya 27" alum rim) and lasted a dismal 67 seconds. Dang, that blows worse than KOC's! Old Yeller's Bontrager Race Lite wheelset was silent and smooth, lasting for 2 minutes and 34 seconds. Not bad!

I'm calling for a peanut gallery poll. Here's your task: do the KOC Spin Test and reply with the wheel/hub type and time of rotation. Let's let our boy KOC know where he falls in the suck spectrum.

So does the wheelset make that much of a difference on a group ride? I dunno, but claiming that as the reason you were dropped is questionable at best. Then again, if you dress it up and apply a enough lipstick...


  1. I think it is incredibly important to do this test. In fact I think I could get much better gas mileage if I'd just flip my car over and gun it! A better test might be to have a rider ride several different wheelsets from some speed and coast to some (presumably lower) other speed. It would be better if it were indoors. Watch out for the lamp! Make sure to use the same tires and air pressure for the test. Then very carefully, get a life.

  2. I'm going to go out on a limb and say my Dura-Ace wheels are going to spin for a long, long time.

    Full results to come.

  3. WTF, wheels may have a little something to do with it, but it probably has a lot more to do with leg strength, or (if your using your wheels as an excuse) your lack of.

  4. Bad bearings in a wheel will force you to expend more watts comparatively to good bearings. If the wheel spun for a minute though, I'd say it's the lack of wattage being produced that's the culprit.

    Another issue that does catch people is a loose or wobbly wheel. If your hub is loose on the axle or is out of true, the rim could be rubbing on the brake pads. This could rob wattage but is not apparent in the KOC spin test. You have to grab the tire/rim in one hand, saddle in the other, then wiggle back and forth. If your rim touches both break pads real easy, then every time your bike rocks back and forth under pedaling load, the rim is scrubbing the brakes. However, if it's pretty solid, then I would go back and fix the users lack of wattage problem.

  5. dang if I didn't have to work so hard to support my campy-wheel habit, that I didn't see this post until today.

    Very funny post. Hopefully some of my other gang will post also, KOC included.

    For the record, when KOC and I switch bikes, and I still beat him both down hills (30lbs heavier) and up hill (murphy genome in action)

  6. Fred - consider me as your monkey when you give up coding for organ grinding. We'd be filthy rich or go to prison trying. As Evelle says, "either way, we'd be set for life."

    Bryan: where are your results?

    Shim: I think you're on to something there. Oh, and watch your mouth, smartie.

    Munson: I've been cooking up a new idea for the developing car to bike switching commuters. Like the "gas pill", I'm going to market some sort of lime green electrolyte drink that you can add to your water bottle that will be better than water alone and increase not only your wattage but your overall distance traveled on one ride. It'll be great. I'll make jillions. Even better, I won't have to be Fred's monkey.

    Murphini: the results of my own testing is that I'm gonna have to call bullshit KOC. Here were my surprising results, from worst to best
    1) 1:07 Suzue hub on 1986 Nishiki
    2) 1:24 Velomax hub on Cervelo p2sl Time Trial bike
    3) 1:27 Shimano m450 hub on wife's 2006 Scott mountain bike
    4) 2:37 Bontrager Race Lite hub on Old Yeller
    5) 4:38 1963 Schwinn Typhoon

    Geez. I would never have guessed that a '63 Typhoon would be three times more efficient than my time trial bike

  7. This year I've raced 3 different bikes with 3 different wheelsets, and sucked on all of them. Consistency is good.

  8. I shudder to think what your idea of organ grinding is. I withdraw my request to be your monkey.

  9. no doubt, you would beat KOC up our woodland hill on the 63 typhoon. When did you get that?

  10. This just in: KOC has read the posts, but can't figure out how to rebut the claims.

    KOC says you either did the test wrong, or are lying. He doesn't know what gear you spun the. the wheels, or how strong you are. You done stoked the OCD flames of the wheel spin.

    Leave it to FredCube to come up with a different pronunciation of "KOC". We pronounce it like the initials: KAY-OHH-CEE.... Where is your mind at?

  11. I'm not going to lie, the first thing I thought of was "koc spin."

    Also, My rear Roval recorded three and a half minutes. But it's a brand new warranty-replacement wheel with upgraded Phil Wood bearings, and it has not even been ridden outside yet.

  12. One last suggestion: remove the playing card affixed to the frame. Though it makes a cool sound when striking the spokes, it may be the cause of some unnecessary resistance.

  13. My Sun-rims with no-name hub spun for 5 minutes. I wonder if the lead tape rim strips had any affect on that. ;-)