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Wheelset depth for all-round wheelset?

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Wheelset depth for all-round wheelset?

Old 05-31-19, 06:35 AM
  #1  
maartendc
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Wheelset depth for all-round wheelset?

Hello all,

I am tempted lately to get an aero carbon wheelset. I was just wondering, what is a good depth to go for for an all-round wheelset? (note: I have never ridden an aero/ carbon wheelset so don't really know what I'm talking about here)

- Mostly flat terrain, and would like it to be as aero as is practical.
- Probably will take weekend trips to mountains / hilly terrain
- Occasionally very windy, and don't want to have to leave the wheels at home for that. (I weigh 150 lbs if that matters at all)

What is the best depth to go for an all-round, do-it-all (semi-)aero wheelset? 35mm? 40mm? 50mm? 60mm? Something else?

I'm looking at some nice 60mm wheelsets, but it seems like those would be too deep for all-round usage?

Thank you!
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Old 05-31-19, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Hello all,

I am tempted lately to get an aero carbon wheelset. I was just wondering, what is a good depth to go for for an all-round wheelset? (note: I have never ridden an aero/ carbon wheelset so don't really know what I'm talking about here)

- Mostly flat terrain, and would like it to be as aero as is practical.
- Probably will take weekend trips to mountains / hilly terrain
- Occasionally very windy, and don't want to have to leave the wheels at home for that. (I weigh 150 lbs if that matters at all)

What is the best depth to go for an all-round, do-it-all (semi-)aero wheelset? 35mm? 40mm? 50mm? 60mm? Something else?

I'm looking at some nice 60mm wheelsets, but it seems like those would be too deep for all-round usage?

Thank you!
Some say 50 is best. I prefer 35-38. I have 25 to 50 and seem to get the best "all around" from my Zipp 303. Light, not too deep, not too shallow. YMMV
Cheers
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Old 05-31-19, 07:33 AM
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Agree

Cycledogg's advice is good, but don't think wheels are a magic wand. Real gains from carbon wheels are minimal, at best. Unless you're replacing steel wheels, of course. ;-)

Last edited by dmanthree; 05-31-19 at 07:36 AM. Reason: ...spelling...
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Old 05-31-19, 07:40 AM
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I have 38mm Superteam carbon and 58mm Zipp 404 Firecrest. I think either are fine for all around. I live in hilly to mountainous terrain and it's often more windy than not, usually 20 to 30mph gusts. I blow around regardless (also 150lbs), but I like both depths equally well and can't tell much of a difference between the two.
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Old 05-31-19, 08:08 AM
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I have Reynolds 41mm carbon wheels and I think they are great for an all-around wheel. I occasionally get blown around, but not enough to be too concerned.
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Old 05-31-19, 08:42 AM
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45 to 50 mm. I recommend "modern" style aero wheels, ones with 19 to 21 mm, or so, internal width and rounded at the rim's edge where spokes attach. I ride 50 mm FSE wheels and they honestly deal with even gusty 30 mph crosswinds without much fuss; on par with even shallow, aluminum box section rims I have ridden. And, the wider, modern rims very nicely accommodate 25 to 28 mm tires that allow for lower inflation pressures and better ride quality and grip without much aerodynamic compromise, as far as I can tell. No, I have not tested in a wind tunnel and have no scientific data to defend these assertions.
On wheels between 60 and 80 mm in depth that I have ridden, I got blown all over the place in gusty, heavy crosswinds and felt very uneasy.
Good luck. Let us know what you decide and share your new wheel impressions, if you take the plunge, with us after you have put in some miles in various conditions.
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Old 05-31-19, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by cycledogg View Post
Some say 50 is best. I prefer 35-38. I have 25 to 50 and seem to get the best "all around" from my Zipp 303. Light, not too deep, not too shallow. YMMV
Cheers
Zipp 303 was the best wheel set I ever owned.
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Old 05-31-19, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by cycledogg View Post
Some say 50 is best. I prefer 35-38. I have 25 to 50 and seem to get the best "all around" from my Zipp 303. Light, not too deep, not too shallow. YMMV
Cheers
Zipp 303 was the best wheel set I ever owned.
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Old 05-31-19, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cycledogg View Post
Some say 50 is best. I prefer 35-38. I have 25 to 50 and seem to get the best "all around" from my Zipp 303. Light, not too deep, not too shallow. YMMV
Cheers
Yup, there's no one answer. Probably depends on a bunch of variables, like there's probably a best all around depth and shape for me and a different one for you.

I'm on Enve 4.5s, 48 mm front 56 mm rear, very wide, and I'm heavier than average. They work very well for me in all the conditions I've been in.
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Old 05-31-19, 10:48 AM
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You get used to what you have, but 60mm has me giving extra space to other riders on gusty descents,
50mm is good & fast,
But lately have been on the 35mm because the tires are nicer.
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Old 05-31-19, 11:00 AM
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Depends also on your weight.

I am skinny, 140-something pounds, so I like 40ish. If you are heavier, add 10-15mm. If you are ultralight, drop 10mm.
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Old 05-31-19, 01:57 PM
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I've been kind of sort of looking at more aero wheels than the box section rims I have on my Allez, and if I were to get any I'd probably go 35mm. However, the more I look into this stuff the less it seems like wheels are really as magical as people make them out to be at least as far as the cost vs benefit. If I were a triathlete competing over long distances, I can see how investing in faster wheels would help shave off minutes on a long course. I only occasionally dabble in road races and I can't really think of a time when my equipment cost me any time (when compared to drafting ability and putting down power when it matters), and when I ride solo I ride to power, not speed, so really being a few seconds faster here or there isn't really a big concern. Anyhow, if anyone has any evidence to convince me that I should take a closer look at a wheel upgrade I'm all ears!
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Old 05-31-19, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by str8jakett View Post
I have 38mm Superteam carbon and 58mm Zipp 404 Firecrest. I think either are fine for all around. I live in hilly to mountainous terrain and it's often more windy than not, usually 20 to 30mph gusts. I blow around regardless (also 150lbs), but I like both depths equally well and can't tell much of a difference between the two.
I also have 38mm SuperTeam Carbons. I'm a lightweight and get blown around if it is especially windy, but otherwise, they are fine.
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Old 05-31-19, 03:01 PM
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Anywhere from 35-50mm
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Old 05-31-19, 08:43 PM
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The difference between the control wheel, Mavic Kysrium (28 mm depth), and the best performing disc/80mm wheels in Hambini's aero testing @ 50 km/h was a whopping 74 watts. However, when you're measuring the difference between a 40-60mm depth wheel, things get a bit fuzzier. Yoeleo C88 wheels @ 50 km/h according to the same tests saved just 2 watts over the same wheel in 50mm depth. TT specialist or Ironman? Yes, those 2 watts may matter. Everyone else? No, the extra weight of the 88 mm depth will outweigh the aero benefits.

My recommendation: Find a wheelset manufacturer that knows what they're doing (plenty of them out there, I'm not tied to any one brand - take your pick Mavic, Reynolds, SwissSide, Zipp, Enve, Bontrager, Yoeleo, Fast Forward - but stay away from Hunt & Flo Cycling) and stick to 40-50 mm depth. My wheelset is 50 mm depth, 1500ish grams, and aero as f....

One mistake I made when I bought my first 50mm depth carbon wheels a couple years ago was to assume that all carbon wheels in 50 mm depth are equal...not so at all. Below is an excerpt from Hambini's aero testing blog with the wheels he and his team have tested so far.
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Old 06-03-19, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Psychocycles View Post
The difference between the control wheel, Mavic Kysrium (28 mm depth), and the best performing disc/80mm wheels in Hambini's aero testing @ 50 km/h was a whopping 74 watts. However, when you're measuring the difference between a 40-60mm depth wheel, things get a bit fuzzier. Yoeleo C88 wheels @ 50 km/h according to the same tests saved just 2 watts over the same wheel in 50mm depth. TT specialist or Ironman? Yes, those 2 watts may matter. Everyone else? No, the extra weight of the 88 mm depth will outweigh the aero benefits.

My recommendation: Find a wheelset manufacturer that knows what they're doing (plenty of them out there, I'm not tied to any one brand - take your pick Mavic, Reynolds, SwissSide, Zipp, Enve, Bontrager, Yoeleo, Fast Forward - but stay away from Hunt & Flo Cycling) and stick to 40-50 mm depth. My wheelset is 50 mm depth, 1500ish grams, and aero as f....

One mistake I made when I bought my first 50mm depth carbon wheels a couple years ago was to assume that all carbon wheels in 50 mm depth are equal...not so at all. Below is an excerpt from Hambini's aero testing blog with the wheels he and his team have tested so far.
Thanks, that is good advice.

I forgot about that blog with their testing data, good find! https://www.hambini.com/blog/post/bi...ne-is-fastest/

I am looking more at the 30 km/h graph if I am honest, lol.
  • -It seems like between a Mavic Ksyrium (28mm) and your run of the mill 40mm wheelset, there is 7 watts difference at 30 kph.
  • -Between a Mavic Ksyrium and the average 50mm wheelset the difference is 11 watts at 30 kph
  • -at 60mm the difference is 12 watts at 30 kph
  • -at 80mm the difference is 14 watts at 30 kph.

So there seems to be a sweet spot around 45-50 mm honestly for 30 kph speed. Diminishing returns after that for the weight penalty. And the behavior in crosswinds. I guess I would be looking into some good 45mm wheels.

This does help put it into perspective... I know that you can save around 30 watts with clip-on aero bars / position at 40 kph. And about 5-10 watts with an aero helmet. So position on the bike is definitely the most important.

If I am being completely honest, I just want to get aero wheels because they look cool on the bike
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Old 06-03-19, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Thanks, that is good advice.

I forgot about that blog with their testing data, good find! https://www.hambini.com/blog/post/bi...ne-is-fastest/

I am looking more at the 30 km/h graph if I am honest, lol.
  • -It seems like between a Mavic Ksyrium (28mm) and your run of the mill 40mm wheelset, there is 7 watts difference at 30 kph.
  • -Between a Mavic Ksyrium and the average 50mm wheelset the difference is 11 watts at 30 kph
  • -at 60mm the difference is 12 watts at 30 kph
  • -at 80mm the difference is 14 watts at 30 kph.

So there seems to be a sweet spot around 45-50 mm honestly for 30 kph speed. Diminishing returns after that for the weight penalty. And the behavior in crosswinds. I guess I would be looking into some good 45mm wheels.

This does help put it into perspective... I know that you can save around 30 watts with clip-on aero bars / position at 40 kph. And about 5-10 watts with an aero helmet. So position on the bike is definitely the most important.

If I am being completely honest, I just want to get aero wheels because they look cool on the bike
Looking through Hambini's blog post it would appear depths below 50mm don't have worthwhile aero benefits. Also, while they look cool (I just got myself a pair of Aeolus PRO TLR 5s and love the look) they ALSO make a sweet SWOOSH sound!
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Old 06-03-19, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Thanks, that is good advice.

I forgot about that blog with their testing data, good find! https://www.hambini.com/blog/post/bi...ne-is-fastest/

I am looking more at the 30 km/h graph if I am honest, lol.
  • -It seems like between a Mavic Ksyrium (28mm) and your run of the mill 40mm wheelset, there is 7 watts difference at 30 kph.
  • -Between a Mavic Ksyrium and the average 50mm wheelset the difference is 11 watts at 30 kph
  • -at 60mm the difference is 12 watts at 30 kph
  • -at 80mm the difference is 14 watts at 30 kph.

So there seems to be a sweet spot around 45-50 mm honestly for 30 kph speed. Diminishing returns after that for the weight penalty. And the behavior in crosswinds. I guess I would be looking into some good 45mm wheels.

This does help put it into perspective... I know that you can save around 30 watts with clip-on aero bars / position at 40 kph. And about 5-10 watts with an aero helmet. So position on the bike is definitely the most important.

If I am being completely honest, I just want to get aero wheels because they look cool on the bike
That's a great read.

I would like for someone to figure out at what speed does the lower rolling resistance of a 28mm tire get outweighed by the higher wind resistance of said tire. Does that happen at 20mph? 25mph? 30mph? I don't know the answer. I know I run 28mm GP5000s on my Roubaix and like them, but in the back of my mind I've wondered what the aero vs rolling resistance trade-off is and when you can expect to see it.
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Old 06-03-19, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Thanks, that is good advice.

If I am being completely honest, I just want to get aero wheels because they look cool on the bike
And if you have the $ to back it up, that's a valid enough reason to buy some, in my opinion. If you like your bike, you'll ride it more, and that's ultimately the end goal, right? When I upgraded to my aero bike my wife couldn't understand why I'd spend so much money on another bike when I already have a perfectly functional one, but it ended up with my riding a lot more, and even now, when I look at bikes online, I don't feel any jealousy or upgraditis, because my aero bike is just that good. Used to be I'd be looking at bikes online almost daily, drooling over what options I had ... lol
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Old 06-03-19, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by OUGrad05 View Post
That's a great read.

I would like for someone to figure out at what speed does the lower rolling resistance of a 28mm tire get outweighed by the higher wind resistance of said tire. Does that happen at 20mph? 25mph? 30mph? I don't know the answer. I know I run 28mm GP5000s on my Roubaix and like them, but in the back of my mind I've wondered what the aero vs rolling resistance trade-off is and when you can expect to see it.
Well I would say the rolling resistance is ALWAYS there, no matter what speed. So lower rolling resistance is going to be a constant improvement. Rolling resistance between a slow and fast tire can easily be in the range of 10 watts per tire, or 20 watts for 2 tires. (GP5000 vs Gatorskins for instance).

That being said, the difference between 25mm and 28mm of the same tire is likely 5 watts or less. You can already get a 5 watt difference between 60 PSI and 120PSI on the same tire. Reading Bicyclerollingresistance.com reviews gets you a good feel for the wattages.

The aero benefits are only at higher speeds, and I doubt the difference between a 25mm and a 28mm tire is more than 1-2 watts, if you see how small the differences even are between a 40 mm and 60 mm wheelset... I wouldnt worry about it!
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Old 06-03-19, 11:02 AM
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Go shallow. Deep wheels are so 2010.
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Old 06-03-19, 11:09 AM
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That's why I dropped my 50/60mm Psimet crabon wheels and replaced them with Ambrosio Cronos. Need to keep up with the trends.
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Old 06-03-19, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Well I would say the rolling resistance is ALWAYS there, no matter what speed. So lower rolling resistance is going to be a constant improvement. Rolling resistance between a slow and fast tire can easily be in the range of 10 watts per tire, or 20 watts for 2 tires. (GP5000 vs Gatorskins for instance).

That being said, the difference between 25mm and 28mm of the same tire is likely 5 watts or less. You can already get a 5 watt difference between 60 PSI and 120PSI on the same tire. Reading Bicyclerollingresistance.com reviews gets you a good feel for the wattages.

The aero benefits are only at higher speeds, and I doubt the difference between a 25mm and a 28mm tire is more than 1-2 watts, if you see how small the differences even are between a 40 mm and 60 mm wheelset... I wouldnt worry about it!
Holy crap, I thought the differences they listed were for the pair, not each! Big difference, thanks for that.
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Old 06-04-19, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Well I would say the rolling resistance is ALWAYS there, no matter what speed. So lower rolling resistance is going to be a constant improvement. Rolling resistance between a slow and fast tire can easily be in the range of 10 watts per tire, or 20 watts for 2 tires. (GP5000 vs Gatorskins for instance).

That being said, the difference between 25mm and 28mm of the same tire is likely 5 watts or less. You can already get a 5 watt difference between 60 PSI and 120PSI on the same tire. Reading Bicyclerollingresistance.com reviews gets you a good feel for the wattages.

The aero benefits are only at higher speeds, and I doubt the difference between a 25mm and a 28mm tire is more than 1-2 watts, if you see how small the differences even are between a 40 mm and 60 mm wheelset... I wouldnt worry about it!
Aero differences aren't constant or linear. The difference at 10mph and 20mph isn't 2x, so there is a point where the aero outweigh the rolling resistance savings, I just don't know where that is.
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Old 06-04-19, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
That's why I dropped my 50/60mm Psimet crabon wheels and replaced them with Ambrosio Cronos. Need to keep up with the trends.
Nice. But now you're wasting all sorts of effort because of your loss of aero efficiency.

Seriously we hardly ever sell deep carbon anymore. Almost everyone who was on deep carbon has left it. Lighter/shallower wheels are so much nicer to ride. It turns out the same people who were winning races on deep wheels are winning them on shallow wheels as well. Turns out the graphs don't really matter in the real world. *shrug*
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