Best race wheels review
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10 the best bike race wheels (2/3)

10 of this year’s best race wheels tested and rated by our expert reviewer

We continue our guide to 10 of this year's best race wheels...

KNIGHT 95

£1,849

The deepest wheels on test have an excuse for being the heaviest at 1,896g, but to justify the weight they have to turn their depth into speed when riding. On the road it feels like they come alive above 25mph, greedily holding onto inertia, and that’s borne out in the tunnel where they ranked third overall on combined drag, just 1W behind the HEDs.

The 25c Michelins inflate to 26mm for an ideal alignment. The weight blunts acceleration but they’re stiff and amazingly stable given their vast area. An update to tubeless is coming soon but the tyre fit is already tight. Wet braking has the usual delay and then bites very well. The Aivee hub option brings the price down and makes the 95 one of the most affordable wheels designed with in-depth proprietary R&D, though higher spec hubs push them close to the Zipp prices.

Verdict: Really fast, great value and more stable than you’d believe, but heavy 90%

DT SWISS 65 RRC

£1,999.98 

As one of the shallowest wheels on test, the 1,659g 65mm deep RRC from DT Swiss punch above their weight in the wind tunnel, ranking fourth at 5º and sixth at 12.5º, albeit with drag closer to the wheels below it than above. The tubeless-ready rim is narrower than most yet a 25c tyre inflates to 26.5mm. That’s wider than the wheel, so a 23 would likely suit it better and possibly make it faster.

Stability in the wind is decent, though lighter athletes or those entirely unused to riding with deep-section wheels would be better served elsewhere. We do have two negative issues with the 65 RRC: one’s the very disappointing braking on both dry and wet roads, the other is the price. These are decent wheels, indecently priced. If they were £1,400 they’d have a place but they can’t handle the opposition at the £2k mark.

Verdict: Weak braking and a high price spoil one of the faster wheels tested here 78%

HED JET 6.9 

£1,600 

That a HED wheelset places second only to the mighty Enves on overall aero performance, and fourth just behind the same on weight, is no surprise if you’ve been into multisport for long enough to remember that the brand – formed in the mid-1980s by the late Steve Hed – were innovating aero pioneers.

What really raises eyebrows is that this fast and light 1,722g wheelset is a mixed depth 60/90mm combo and it has alloy rims. The aero fairing is wafer-thin carbon fibre bonded to the rim, so it’s noisy and must be handled carefully. That mid-depth front and the highly developed shape means the Jets are super stable and the machined, anodised brake track produces stopping power to rivals disc brakes. They’re tubeless-ready, too, and they look particularly cool once on a bike, so this is a very complete wheelset at a very welcome price.

Verdict: Unrivalled value, very fast, top-level braking and stability. A complete package 93%

ZIPP 808 NSW

£2,350

This old dog has learned some new tricks. The familiar 82mm depth from Zipp – who dominate the wheel count at the Ironman World Champs – is retained but the NSW generation 808 gets a revised profile that’s claimed to be more stable and slightly faster, new dimple patterns and laser graphics so they aren’t covered by decals, new grooved brake tracks, new carbon hubs and the clever Axial Clutch that disengages the freehub when coasting to cut friction drag. The latter is noticeable in group rides and will add speed on descents.

The generous package includes bags, QRs, pads, extenders, tape and tubes. A 25c tyre sits perfectly and stability is good, if not quite on par with the Enves. High stiffness offsets some of the 1,795g weight. In the wind tunnel they excel at 5º but are surprisingly slow at the higher 12.5º yaw angle.

Verdict: Surprisingly high yaw test result hinders a fantastic wheelset full of clever tech

Continue reading our guide to this year's best race wheels (3/3)


 
 

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Tritriagainuk

No mention of the arguably most hyped (and delivered!) SwissSide Hadron wheels??

Excellent value, excellent wheels!

davel75

what about Enve?

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