Aero wheels are faster on the flats, lightweight wheels are faster on the climbs. That’s the accepted wisdom.
But what exactly are the differences in the real world, for a normal rider? Does rotating weight actually matter on climbs? Are the endless manufacturer claims about aero wheels true?
I’m going to show you the differences based on real-world testing, performed at an outdoor velodrome and on a brutal climb in South Wales.
I’ve long said I can feel the difference aero wheels make on a bike, and that lightweight wheels don’t make much difference even on climbs.
This is the first time I’ve put those things to the test in a controlled manner, though.
Let’s find out what the truth is. The wheels
To help us answer these vital questions, Hunt kindly loaned us two sets of fancy carbon fibre wheels; the 60 Limitless Aero Disc and the 32 Aerodynamicist UD Carbon Spoke Disc .The aero-optimised 60 Limitless wheels use a progressive, ultra-wide design, with a 60mm-deep and 34mm-wide rim.The claimed weight for the wheelset is 1,669g. Not bad for an aero wheelset, but certainly not ultra-light.The 32 Aerodynamicist UD Carbon Spoke Disc wheels, on the other hand, are designed to be as light as possible.They use a shallow, hookless carbon rim, which measures 32mm deep and 25mm wide. They also have carbon fibre spokes, which are said to be both lighter and stiffer than conventional steel spokes.All in, the lightweight wheels are claimed to weigh 1,213g – around 450g lighter than the aero […]