12 January 2010 2 Comments

New Aero Hoops?

This year I want to add a set of deep section aero wheels principally for triathlon use, but also for less extreme sportives. I’m no wheel expert, but I know that when I invested in some Mavic Ksyrium SL Premium ?wheels for climbing (for hilly sportives) the difference in stiffness and weight was immediately noticeable, as was the acceleration. Aero wheels are traditionally heavier (much more mass in the rim), but the use of carbon has reduced weights to the point where it’s possible to buy aero section wheels that can justifiably be called an all rounder. As every cyclist knows there is a pretty good price correlation between super light weight and price. However, if all you are concerned about is flat time trial courses, then having some weight in the rim can actually be an advantage as they wheel will hold its speed better once you’ve got up to tempo. For most triathlons, though, some hills can certainly be expected and as such weight does become a factor, as it does for urban based courses with lots of tight corners (lighte wheels accelerate much faster than heavy ones).

I’ve done a quick review of the market for mid section (I don’t want an ultra deep aero wheel) carbon clinchers and ranked them according to weight. two wheelsets seem to stand out when comparing weight with price.

For reference, my Ksyrium SL Premiums weigh 1480g per pair.

wheels

2 sets seem to stand out: the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL compete very keenly on price at the cheaper end of the market, yet are still fairly light. The mid priced Reynolds Assault looks outstanding value for an aero wheel that weighs around the 1500g mark.

Weight v price doesn’t tell the whole story as hub and bearing quality, build quality, stiffness and strength, as well as serviceability all have to be considered. I have to say I’ve been very impressed with my existing Mavic hoops and am therefore tempted by the Cosmic Carbone SLs, yet, for only ?150 more I can save over 200g and get an all carbon wheelset to boot. It’s surprising that the reference mark for aero wheels (Zipp 404) are relatively heavy for their price, yet everybody raves about them.

Has anybody got any experience of these wheels? can anyone vouch for build quality? Which pair would you buy? Are there any other wheels I should be considering?

Note, all prices quoted are from list prices and significant savings can be found by diligent use of the internet.

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2 Responses to “New Aero Hoops?”

  1. redbike 15 January 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    I’ve had two sets of Reynolds wheels and they’ve both ended up falling apart after just 2/ 3 months. I wouldn’t touch another pair of their wheels. Fantastic wheels for the money, just too fragile for me.

    Mavic on the other hand have always been bomb proof.

    So which would I get? Probably neither.
    I would cross my fingers and hope that Planet-x restock their carbon clinchers wheels.

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  1. » Can any set of wheels be worth ?1300? Irontwit - July 19, 2010

    […] of aero wheels. The problem was, I definitely saw the benefit of the lightweight Mavics on climbs. My brief review of mid-section (up to about 50mm) deep rimmed aero wheels confirmed one thing: for a wheelset coming under the magic 1.5kg mark you need to shell out a lot […]

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