Aero Wheel Upgrade

wheels

#1

Hello Everybody
I would like to make an upgrade from my HED Jet 6/9+ wheelset
May be tubular or clincher, intended to be use on mid to long distance triathlon (could be HED, ZIPP, ROVAL…ENVE).
The main goal is to improve performane through new wheels
Not changing the wheelset at all is an option
Any recommendation??
Thanks!!


#2

I recommend that you listen to the podcast episode with FLO Cycling if you haven’t https://soundcloud.com/trainerroad/ask-a-cycling-coach-063-trainerroad-podcast-special-guest-flo-cycling. Just really fantastic and deep content about what makes wheels fast.


#3

I’m still riding my HED Jet 6’s on my crit bike, I love them, fast enough when doing lots of accelerating and aero enough when sitting on the front at 40+ km/h. My other bike has Enve 3.4, they ride amazing but there’s something I love about riding the HED wheels (the sound, the braking, etc).

Why are you moving away from the HED 6/9 setup? Of those wheels you’ve listed I have a feeling it’ll be marginal gains and/or law of diminishing returns.


#4

Going by FLO’s data (which I think is kind of generous), going from a 90mm wheel to a disc wheel is worth about 30 seconds for an Ironman bike leg. Now, different testing and estimating protocols yield different results, but like I said I think FLO is being generous with how much their wheels matter, and it turns out… it’s not much.

Take a look at the ‘Time Savings with FLO Wheels’ section here:
https://www.flocycling.com/wheels_rear_flo_90_cc.php

Also take a look at Wheelbuilder.com’s aero data, particularly the difference in drag between a Zipp 404 (probably not quite as fast as your HED Jet 9 Plus) and a fast wheel with a cover, the difference is quite small:
http://www.wheelbuilder.com/pages.php?pageid=46

If you go with the rule of thumb that 100g of drag is worth 40 seconds over 40km, and the difference there looks to be about 20g of drag, that works out to 36 seconds over 180km (again, an Ironman bike leg).


#5

There’s no doubt that ENVE wheels are some of the most excellent wheels on the market. The FLO podcast definitely makes them sound appealing as well, but without any firsthand experience I can’t speak to them. I have however seen a lot of bontrager wheels in my days as a mechanic. They definitely hold up to the competition in terms of durability and performance.


#6

My opinion is that you already have a great set of wheels, poss add a disc wheel to the mix then you have all angles covered. Also go tubeless if possible on your HED’s and disc.


#7

I have Bontrager Aeolus 5 on my bike and I exchanged my wheels with Zipp 404 NSw during today’s ride.

I felt it was so bulky, heavy and requires more effort and more difficult to control in cross winds. I don’t know maybe it was me riding with Bontrager for a long time but I was first time ridingwith Zipp.

Good luck


#8

Zipp 302’s. Arguably the best bang for the buck in carbon wheels right now. They have had a major effect on the performance on the bike. Will never go back to alloy rims!


#9

I’ll say that the claim from ENVE regarding stability in crosswinds is absolutely true. I have a set of 5.6 discs coming from Reynolds Strikes and the difference is amazing. I’ve heard great things about HED wheels too so I’m not sure if you’ll see much of an improvement.


#10

Hello Everyone
Very valuable and useful information
Thank you!!

PS - It was my first post in a Forum ever


#11

Have a set of Flo 60s (front and rear wheels) that I’ve used for a while so I thought to chime in.

Pros

  • Holds speed really well so it seems like their data driven approach does hold water.
  • Handles cross-winds as well as other wheels I’ve tried. Nothing super surprising, but no worse than Zipps or Rovals. Sudden gusts are still going to introduce some wobble.
  • Solidly built. It’s been through some rough terrain and hasn’t shown any visible signs of wear. Ships with good Sapim CX-Ray spokes.
  • Superb value.

Cons

  • Bit heavier than similar depth wheels
  • In-house built hubs could use more engagement points (more a quality of life thing)

Overall really happy with them. Would recommend.


#12

I have a set of Flo 30, Flo 60 (alu) and Flo 90 (car).
For my Flo 60 alu wheelset, I agree 100% with @Brando’s summary.


#13

If you are considering ENVE, the last time I checked Wheelbuilder.com has a built-in discount versus retail. They are an authorized reseller, you can buy a single wheel or a set, and you can pick your own hubs or go with ENVE standard DT-240s or Chris King.

I purchased ENVE 5.6 disc for these reasons: reviews, flat/rolling terrain around here, 5-year warranty, and no weight limit. The weight limit was a legitimate consideration given I weigh 90+ kg / 200+ lbs. Re: warranty: had a Sector 28 bead blowout going downhill that caused me to doubt the rear wheel - was it cosmetic or real rim damage? Wasn’t sure if it was a real issue, sent a pic to ENVE support and they replaced under warranty just in case.

Very very happy with mine, and I can notice faster rolling (versus original Bontrager) in pace lines at 22+mph. I’ve been out in gusty 15-25mph crosswinds on the flats and no problem controlling them in echelons at 20+mph. No problem on 45mph fast descents in light crosswind, but strong crosswinds on same descent they are a little twitchy above 35mph (nothing major, but I’m more cautious in my 50s).


#14

These are clinchers, right? What tyres/tubes are you using? A relatively cheap and effective upgrade would be to try S-Works turbo cotton tyres and latex tubes. Depending on what you’re using it might reduce rolling resistance…


#15

Yes, clinchers. I use Continental GP Attack (front wheel) and Continental GP4000 (rear wheel), both with latex tubes. Do you think worth to try S-Work? Thanks!!


#16

Andy is spot on with this advice, getting a disc will give you way more gain than swapping wheels as HEDs are considered pretty good from an aerodynamics standpoint. Also, with getting a disc you can throw the 9 on the front if there is little wind.

As for upgrading your tires check out the following website.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/road-bike-reviews


#17

In general, the biggest determining factor of aero wheels is the depth of the rim regardless of profile/shape. The shape can marginally help with crosswind stability up to a certain point and there are other quality of life factors you should consider (such as ride comfort, stiffness, braking performance for rim-brakes, quality of hubs used, warranty, etc), but depth is king in aero. Do not buy into marketing hype when it comes to some of these outrageously priced rims.

The one exception of this is FLO wheels which actually test really slowly for their given depth in real-world scenarios. They are inherently flawed in design–their data is based on ideal, stead-state wind tunnel analysis which is inapplicable in the majority of real life scenarios. In fact, most manufacturers and marketing data are designed around this solely because there are only a few wind tunnels in the world that can actually test with transient analysis (recording the effect of ramping yaw angles rather than a constant single angle at a time). Even in ideal conditions (indoors), what isn’t accounted for is that a rider naturally induces yaw into the system by subtly rocking the bike as they pedal, so you can see how this is a fundamental problem when a wheel is designed to be fast at “0 degrees” and nothing else.

You can read more about this independent study and see their wheel comparisons/testings here, it’s caused quite a stir recently:

FLO has acknowledged these findings but haven’t really been able to counter it. It will be interesting to see if they try to address this in their next generation of rim designs.


#18

Yoeleos. Who knew.


#19

Well they only have data on the 88mm one and the 50mm one, the 88mm naturally is quite fast in comparison to most because it’s much deeper–interestingly it falls away slightly in the 50km/h test compared to the other rims in that 80mm+ class. The 50mm one is inline with the other 50mm rims. Hambini commented on why some of these cheap Chinese wheels perform so admirably and he reiterated that it’s pretty hard to mess up aero when it comes to rims since depth alone makes the biggest difference. I also suspect that some of these companies are using the same open molds used by the some of the bigger companies anyway so the design is already sound, you’re just not getting the quality testing and premium materials the big companies provide (also some of the more technical things like textured brake tracks).

At 30km/h all the rims deeper than ~40mm are pretty comparable (only ~5w between 80mm Reynolds and 45mm Cosmics). Looking at the 30km/h results AND the 50km/h results, the sweetspot seems to imply that ~60mm rims are ideal as an all-rounder set. For TTs you want to go as deep as you can handle on the day.


#20

This is a really interesting read. Thanks for sharing it. Seems somewhat scathing on Hunt and FLO. Would be interesting to see more tests like these being performed for verification.