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  1. #1
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    Medium-depth aero wheels

    I知 orienting myself on an upgrade of the stock wheels in my 2013 Allez Expert. After considering all options I have decided that I want a set of medium-depth aero wheels (40-60mm). I would prefer a wider rim (21-23mm), alloy brake track and it must be a clincher. In terms of weight I would like them to be relatively light, 1,700-1,800g for the set is perfectly acceptable. They must also cope with crosswinds reasonably well.

    What are good options at various price points? I like the Vision Trimax T42 (42mm deep, 21mm wide) and Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL (52mm deep, 19mm wide) at the lower end of the budget. At the high end of my budget I like the HED Jet 5 Express (54mm deep, 23mm wide).

    I知 asking mostly because I知 not all too familiar with the quality of various wheels and I intend to use them all the time, so they will have to be durable. I知 also not too sure about which budget would be sensible. The HED wheels are close to the price of the full bike and might be a bit overkill, but since I still have to save up I can adjust the budget up or down.

    Would appreciate some feedback from people who ride such wheels.

    Thanks!
    Specialized Allez Expert (2013)
    Scott Scale 40 (2006)

  2. #2
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    Dura ace c-50 would be another option, the newer ones 9000 series are wider 23mm IIRC, but the older 7900 series are 21mm and can be found cheaper if you do not need 11spd.

  3. #3
    Dr. Buzz Killington
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    Try looking at Boyd's 44mm or 60mm carbon clinchers. They're $1400/set and are within the weight range you specified.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. I'm keeping an eye out for the RS81 C50 wheels. I have not found much information on them, but they might be very interesting.

    I don't know if Boyd's wheels are available over here in the Netherlands. They look pretty good. Might even be nice to see if a mixed set, 44 front and 60 rear, can be bought. In that line I was also looking at the Reynolds Assault/Strike set. Still don't know about the carbon brake tracks though. We don't have any mountains so it shouldn't be a problem.
    Specialized Allez Expert (2013)
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  5. #5
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    Re: Medium-depth aero wheels

    I have the c50 and couldn't be happier. They handle well in cross winds and spin up well and have handled all road conditions including some unplanned gravel. Also I am a clyde and have had no issues with the wheels what so ever. Not sure if anyone else shares my setiments but for me the wheels have been perfect

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyville View Post
    Thanks. I'm keeping an eye out for the RS81 C50 wheels. I have not found much information on them, but they might be very interesting.

    I don't know if Boyd's wheels are available over here in the Netherlands. They look pretty good. Might even be nice to see if a mixed set, 44 front and 60 rear, can be bought. In that line I was also looking at the Reynolds Assault/Strike set. Still don't know about the carbon brake tracks though. We don't have any mountains so it shouldn't be a problem.
    yes, we have sold a few sets in the Netherlands and are even going to Eurobike this year in an attempt to bring on a better European distributor network. We can do the 44/60 but you have to email me for that as it's not on the website yet.
    www.boydcycling.com Handcrafted Revolution

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the feedback TheMilkMan. That's pretty much what I expected from reading how the c50 wheels are generally received. A good wheelset for year-round riding. The new RS81 wheels appear to be priced pretty well in the few stores that have them for pre-order.

    Thanks for the response Boyd. Sounds interesting. I will send you a quick email with a few questions.
    Specialized Allez Expert (2013)
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  8. #8
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    I've had 7900 C35s (1620gm) for a couple of years and am very happy with them. Where I live it's windy almost every day, and most of the riding is on wide open terrain, but they have never been affected by wind.
    I'm just under Clydesdale so maybe the extra ballast helps steady them.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the feedback. I might consider c35s if I feel I want to get the weight down a bit compared to the c50s.
    Specialized Allez Expert (2013)
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  10. #10
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    Is there any reason you are interested in that particular width? If you're thinking about crosswinds, you'll probably be much happier with something like Zipp 303 or Dura-Ace C35 instead of anything deeper. If you have a local shop with a demo program, it would definitely be worthwhile to try a few different wheels to see which you like rather than guessing and hoping for the best. I

  11. #11
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    Flo 60's for the win.

    Flo is going to take over a certain % of the market with their quality/price point. Phenomenal.

    Man, that sounded like a commercial.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWheels View Post
    Is there any reason you are interested in that particular width? If you're thinking about crosswinds, you'll probably be much happier with something like Zipp 303 or Dura-Ace C35 instead of anything deeper. If you have a local shop with a demo program, it would definitely be worthwhile to try a few different wheels to see which you like rather than guessing and hoping for the best. I
    I don't really have everything figured out for specific reasons, what I listed was mainly an indication of what general direction I was thinking in. I'm not a tour rider, I don't do group rides and there aren't any mountains here, so my rides are short (one to two hours) and fast like time trials. I would like a wheelset that compliments that. I started a thread earlier on to ask for options but most responses were about custom wheelsets with low rims and after considering those I felt I would rather have a deeper wheelset (in part because of looks).

    Zipp 303 would be a perfect wheelset if I could justify the expense, but I can't. The only Zipp wheels I would consider are the 101s. Shimano's c35s are an option depending on the price.

    Quote Originally Posted by MN_Roadie View Post
    Flo 60's for the win.

    Flo is going to take over a certain % of the market with their quality/price point. Phenomenal.

    Man, that sounded like a commercial.
    Flo wheels seem great, but I live in the Netherlands and importing them is expensive. (The duties are insane.)
    Specialized Allez Expert (2013)
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  13. #13
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    Are Fast Forward wheels within budget?
    www.ffwdwheels.com

    Build quality looks pretty good, and they are Netherlands-based.

  14. #14
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    jet 5 express

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MN_Roadie View Post
    Flo 60's for the win.

    Flo is going to take over a certain % of the market with their quality/price point. Phenomenal.

    Man, that sounded like a commercial.
    The only problem is getting them. With their low production volume and pre-order on a first come first serve basis per size you are not exactly assured of getting what you want. But yes generally regarded as great wheels for the money.

    BTW are you riding them?

  16. #16
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    C35's are just deeper C24's. They're not shallower C50's. I'd stick to the C50's as they've got a lot more tech going for it at the cost of 150-200g.
    check my review page below!

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom_h View Post
    Are Fast Forward wheels within budget?
    www.ffwdwheels.com

    Build quality looks pretty good, and they are Netherlands-based.
    They are towards the high end, but certainly an option. I have seen them at a local bike shop, which is one of the biggest advantages for me as I prefer to order from a shop so I can get the service.

    I would be interested in the F4R-c and F6R-c, although both are 19.6mm wide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Warpdatframe View Post
    jet 5 express
    Do you have any experience with those? They are at the very limit of my budget and would have to offer something special to warrant the investment.

    Quote Originally Posted by mann2 View Post
    C35's are just deeper C24's. They're not shallower C50's. I'd stick to the C50's as they've got a lot more tech going for it at the cost of 150-200g.
    That was actually something I was wondering about, whether or not the c35 had an aero profile. I will check the specs once the new RS81s become available.
    Specialized Allez Expert (2013)
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyville View Post
    They are towards the high end, but certainly an option. I have seen them at a local bike shop, which is one of the biggest advantages for me as I prefer to order from a shop so I can get the service.

    I would be interested in the F4R-c and F6R-c, although both are 19.6mm wide.



    Do you have any experience with those? They are at the very limit of my budget and would have to offer something special to warrant the investment.
    The heds are by far the most aero and they have an awesome ride quality. All the other wheels on your list have really undesirable rim profiles. The jet 5's have the aerodynamics of a set of 404s at a fraction of the cost.

  19. #19
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    sent you a pm wyville

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warpdatframe View Post
    The heds are by far the most aero and they have an awesome ride quality. All the other wheels on your list have really undesirable rim profiles. The jet 5's have the aerodynamics of a set of 404s at a fraction of the cost.
    Thanks for the info. Sounds interesting, although it would feel a bit strange buying wheels the same price as my entire bike. Overkill?
    Specialized Allez Expert (2013)
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyville View Post
    Thanks for the info. Sounds interesting, although it would feel a bit strange buying wheels the same price as my entire bike. Overkill?
    IMO ... yes.
    You will reduce drag power in the range of 10 watts @ 40 kph (25 mph). Unless you are planning to TT or do a lot of fast racing, it's a lot of $ for incremental gain.

    Aerodynamic powe rlosses scale as the 3rd power of speed. So reducing your speed from even 25 to 20 mph, means that ~10 watts is reduced by half, to ~5 W benefit.

    There are newer articles published, but one especially thorough article in 2008,
    Great wheel test 2008 窶 Part 1 窶 Aerodynamics | Roues Artisanales ,
    measured front wheel power losses at 50 kph (31 MPH !).

    Excluding the 2 extreme outlier points, front wheel losses varied from about 19 to 33 watts, at 50 kph, a 14 W range.

    At 40 kph (25 mph), the power loss range would reduce by half, to 7 W, among wheels tested.

    Newer wheel rim shapes, like HED or Zipp Firecrest, would improve that slightly but as I understand it, the main benefit of the wide rims is they are more tolerant of winds at non-zero yaw, ie wind from the side, a much more realistic case.

    You do need to ask yourself, what your objective is.

    BTW, tire & inner tube choice profoundly affect power losses due to rolling resistances. There can easily be 10-20 watts of benefit from a low roll resistance clincher. But those "race" clinchers are more fragile, and will cut and flat more easily.
    Last edited by tom_h; 07-11-2013 at 08:28 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MN_Roadie View Post
    Flo is going to take over a certain % of the market with their quality/price point. Phenomenal.
    Sure, as long as that certain % is less than 1%. Seriously there's no way they're going to "take over" any of the wheels market, not even the carbon wheels market.
    Old La Honda in less than 20 minutes! Or you can watch race video from the low-key hill climb on Welch Creek. More at www.biketelemetry.com.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukbloke View Post
    Sure, as long as that certain % is less than 1%. Seriously there's no way they're going to "take over" any of the wheels market, not even the carbon wheels market.
    yep, CF wheel market already very crowded: Shimano, Zipp, Mavic, Reynolds, and almost every other major component maker.

    How many brands of corn flakes, detergents, deodorants, or shampoo do we really need? ;-)
    Even the ones that seem "different" brands are actually owned by the same company.

    You see some of that with SRAM and their companies (Quarq, Zipp, etc), Shimano (PRO), Campy (Fulcrum), and many others.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom_h View Post
    IMO ... yes.
    You will reduce drag power in the range of 10 watts @ 40 kph (25 mph). Unless you are planning to TT or do a lot of fast racing, it's a lot of $ for incremental gain.

    Aerodynamic powe rlosses scale as the 3rd power of speed. So reducing your speed from even 25 to 20 mph, means that ~10 watts is reduced by half, to ~5 W benefit.

    There are newer articles published, but one especially thorough article in 2008,
    Great wheel test 2008 窶 Part 1 窶 Aerodynamics | Roues Artisanales ,
    measured front wheel power losses at 50 kph (31 MPH !).

    Excluding the 2 extreme outlier points, front wheel losses varied from about 19 to 33 watts, at 50 kph, a 14 W range.

    At 40 kph (25 mph), the power loss range would reduce by half, to 7 W, among wheels tested.

    Newer wheel rim shapes, like HED or Zipp Firecrest, would improve that slightly but as I understand it, the main benefit of the wide rims is they are more tolerant of winds at non-zero yaw, ie wind from the side, a much more realistic case.

    You do need to ask yourself, what your objective is.

    BTW, tire & inner tube choice profoundly affect power losses due to rolling resistances. There can easily be 10-20 watts of benefit from a low roll resistance clincher. But those "race" clinchers are more fragile, and will cut and flat more easily.
    Thanks for the explanation.

    I don't do races. Riding (training in general) for me is a lifestyle and I don't have the urge to compete with anyone but myself. My rides are short, time trial-like rides. At the moment my average speed tops out at around 20mph (31.5 km/h to be precise), but so far I have only done 300 miles on the bike so I'm likely to continue to improve quite consistently in the coming months.

    For me there is no critical reason to buy an expesive wheelset as I don't need the gain in order to get a slight advantage over the competition. Still I hope that eventually I can push above 25mph average speeds (a bit difficult for me to estimate where I could max out). Because of that I see the wheels a bit like I see my running shoes, they have to feel right in order to be able to push hard as comfortably as possible. I don't run race shoes, neither would I ride full carbon $3k race wheels. Getting the balance right is a challenge. Shoes I can try out, six months later I have to buy new ones anyway, but with wheels it's a lot more difficult.

    Right now there are three options I find interesting.
    - A custom set with low rims: H Plus Son Archetype, DT aerolite spokes and really nice hubs (something between Hope Pro 3 and Chris King R45)
    - Entry level aero wheels such as Vision Trimax T42, Mavic Cosmic SL or Shimano RS81 c50
    - High end aero wheels such as Hed Jet 5 and Boyd Cycling 44

    It's difficult to guess which will provide the best feel.

    You are right about the tires. Right now I run Specialized Espoir Sport tires and I think those are pretty bad, but I will continue to use them for a while. Eventually I will be switching to something like Conti 4-seasons which appear to have a good balance between protection and performance for me.
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  25. #25
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    Wyville,
    People on this forum do talk about the 'feel' of various wheels, but in the vast majority of cases I think it is an overstated or placebo effect.

    Although, I will concede that differences between laterally very stiff vs flexy wheels will be discernable, especially when applying lots of power (eg, sprinting) or technical cornering.

    OTOH, I do believe there can be significant discernable differences among tires, and hardly anyone would dispute the effect of inflation pressure on "feel" and performance.

    The measureable (eg: power losses, coast down times) and subjective (eg: "suppleness") differences between a flat-resistant clincher (eg, Gatorskins) and a "race" clincher (eg, Vittoria Open Corsa) are HUGE.

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