New Aero Wheels: Deep and In Control

A few tweets with @angryasian reminded me this morning to post about new wheel shapes from Hed Cycling and Enve Composites

Lots of riders using deeper wheels today. Add in the blustery winds off the coast and narrow roads w/ ditches = lots of ouch. earlier today

@angryasian noticed that too and a good selling point for next-gen rims from @hedcycling and @envecomposites. earlier today

@angryasian and they’re talking these new shapes as an aero advantage instead of “holding your line” when it’s blowy. earlier today

@bikehugger Funny, I was thinking it was more reason for regular consumers to be careful with wheel depth in general. earlier today

The crits I raced in last weekend we’re all windy. Swan Island in Portland had strong gusts on the backside. You fly around a corner at 32, into a wall of wind, and drop 6 mph in speed. As James notes in his tweet, lines get really fluid in the wind and especially when everyone has deep wheels. No line is predictable and certainly not the wheel you’re following.

Both Hed Cycling and Enve Composites are addressing stability in the wind and Enve is marketing it towards better times in the TTs. The thinking is, as Simon Smart tells us in this video, the more stable the bike, the more power is consistently delivered to the drivetrain and the faster you go.

Sure that makes sense, but far more important in a bike race like a crit is avoiding crashes and holding your line. I didn’t spend enough time on Enve’s wheels for a full review, but the test ride where I flew down a resort road was windy and the wheels tracked true

Just last night in turn 2 of the Tuesday Worlds, a huge gust of wind came up while the pack was turning. That caused a split with guys getting pushed around. I made it through on the same trajectory and out the other side attached to the front group. I was on HED’s new Stinger 5, a wheel built with their new SCT technology. I’ll let you read the marketing speak about it. I do not get blown around on that wheelset.

50mm deep is built for cobbles and cyclo-cross races

double-walled carbon, rounded shape, more like a wing than a wedge

I’ve raced on their 6s in the past and had to pull out in a tight, curvy downtown crit with big winds. Every time I leaned into a turn, the wind pushed me over two lanes.

A wide oval doesn’t get banged around in the wind like a thin wedge

The next time you upgrade, pick a wheel that’s more stable because the wheel gurus are making them now. They are faster in the TTs and more stable in office park crits.

See the high-rez versions of these photos on Flickr.

Note: other manufactures are likely working on stable shapes. We haven’t ridden them.

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