Want to go faster on the bike? Then some carbon wheels with deeper rims to slice through wind are one of the most proven investments you can make.
Why are deep-section aero wheels faster?
While your legs are the most important piece of the puzzle in the quest for speed, when we’re talking about time you can save using deep rims compared to standard training wheels over an hour, we’re often dealing in minutes rather than seconds. And, if you’re competing in Ironman, you can multiply that a few times over.
Modern carbon race wheels are relatively more affordable and better quality than ever, with numerous brands now offering imports designed to their own specifications. These are considerably cheaper than rims fully designed and built in Europe or the USA, and the quality is often close to wheels you’ll see from big names such as Enve, Mavic and Zipp.
With the shift towards disc brakes and wider tyres, many brands now offer rims that are wider internally with options to run standard clinchers with inner tubes, or tubeless tyres with sealant to bolster puncture protection.
There are three sets of rim brake wheels and three for disc brakes in this test, in varying rim depths. On windy days,
very deep wheels can make things difficult to control.
It’s a case of purchasing based on your preferred race distances and locations, and if you have even more budget then that could mean investing in different depth wheels for varying conditions.
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This new full carbon wheelset was subjected to countless hours of R&D, starting with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to design a disc brake, tubeless-ready wheel optimised for 28mm tyres and refined in the wind tunnel. Parcours claim it’s faster than their Passista wheelset even with 25mm tyres, and can save up to 19 watts compared to a baseline shallow wheelset.
The 49mm front/54mm rear depth was no problem in crosswinds, and they roll incredibly smoothly with a pleasant hum from the rear hub. Bladed spokes further improve aerodynamics and, although fairly light at 1,520g, they felt tough enough to take on battered British roads. We found the rim bed was stubborn with some tyres when it came to popping the bead off the edge of the rim, so try some tyre combinations to ensure you can replace rapidly should you puncture in a race.
Verdict: The long development period has produced great performing wheels at a decent price 91%
Buy from www.parcours.cc
Cardiff-based triathletes CES Sport are new to us here and their aim is to bring aero gains to the masses with their basement prices. And this is just about the most affordable deep dish set you’ll find without buying direct from the Far East. The 24 rear and 20 front aero spokes laced in a radial pattern provide a decent amount of strength, and crosswind battles are about what we’d expect from wheels with an 88mm depth, while feeling suitably fast on the flats with low winds. The basalt-infused brake track performed well in the wet without squealing or feeling too grabby, and the sounds produced by the freehub are just the right amount of intimidating. They don’t feel quite so alive as the more luxurious wheelsets out there and, at 1,825g a pair, aren’t the lightest even for deep rims, but at this price we can accept a couple of compromises.
Verdict: A little less refined than some of the competition, but a bargain deep-rim buy 79%
Buy from www.ces-sport.co.uk
These special edition disc brake wheels in a 50mm depth front and rear have graphene infused to bring the weight down further and increase strength, while a wide 21mm internal rim measurement means you can fit wider tyres for increased comfort. They weigh in at 1,450g – seriously impressive for disc brake wheels – although we noticed they didn’t feel quite so tough on rough road surfaces and in inclement weather compared to more robust pairs on test, despite the graphene infusion. And yet, for race day, they’ll make a fast addition to your road or tri bike with no weight penalty. They still cost much more than similar wheelsets from Parcours and Scribe with no discernibly better performance evident. Yet they’re still at the lower end of the price scale for what you get compared to Zipp et al, which is a largely reliable, swift wheelset with interesting tech innovations.
Verdict: Impressive performance combined with cutting-edge technology 84%
buy from www.badgercycles.co.uk