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Many people say when it comes to wheels that aero trumps weight. On stage 17 which
had 40 miles of uphill, some quite brutal, many of the riders were using aero wheels.
I find it hard to fathom the somewhat heavier aero wheels have a benefit over lighter
non-aero wheels in these conditions. Any thoughts?
 

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Lemur-ing
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The lead up to the climbs as well as downhills mean aero saves their butts more than lightweight.

Not gonna go into detail here but I've read many articles on this exact same matter (a few here perhaps and on the web too)

That should give you a better explanation that what I can fully recall anyway.
 

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What offseason?
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crazyc said:
Many people say when it comes to wheels that aero trumps weight. On stage 17 which
had 40 miles of uphill, some quite brutal, many of the riders were using aero wheels.
I find it hard to fathom the somewhat heavier aero wheels have a benefit over lighter
non-aero wheels in these conditions. Any thoughts?
There are a lot of considerations, especially when these guys have to abide by the UCI's minimum weight rule. Even if having the lightest wheels may seem logical for a stage, it may end up not mattering because the bike will be pushing the limit anyway.

It may seem logical to go with lighter, boxier wheels on a super mountainous stage, but with 40 miles of climbing comes 40 miles (or near that) of descending where aerodynamics can have more benefit for that 20 minute descent than the weight would for a 60 minute climb... Some riders may prefer to have a laterally stiffer wheelset for a more predictable ride on the descents.
 

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One thing to consider...when these guys climb it's not like they are spending a lot of time at 8-9 mph. They are usually cruising along at 15-18 mph up some of the big climbs which means aero still trumps weight...and drafting still comes into play.

It's only when it gets really steep that weight trumps aero.

So it makes sense that they would still be using deep dish wheels. Also it's not like those deep dish wheels are heavy. Nowdays they give up maybe 100-200 grams a weelset compared to a non aero wheel.

Hence you see lots of deep dish wheels, even on the climbs.
 

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My own personal experience is that I perform better in our local hillclimb TT on aero wheels. Speeds are generally around 11 mph for 35ish minutes.

One thing nobody's mentioned, though, is that 404s are no fun in a cross wind, esp the variable kinds of crosswinds that often accompany exposed alpine descents (wind blowing uphill on one face, downhill on the next, etc.). It'd be on the basis of handling, not weight, that I would consider foregoing aero wheels in a mass start race with steep alpine descents.
 

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fifth time's a charm
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shawndoggy said:
One thing nobody's mentioned, though, is that 404s are no fun in a cross wind.
Well, yes and no. At least in my experience with my 404s I am actually not too bothered by crosswinds. Sure, if there is 30kts or so I will feel kicked around, but they are not near as bad as I would have thought. In fact, when compared to my Ksyrium SLs the Zipps seem to be less effected than the Mavics. I think people underestimate the affect Mavic's fat "aero" spokes have on catching crosswinds.
 

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shawndoggy said:
My own personal experience is that I perform better in our local hillclimb TT on aero wheels. Speeds are generally around 11 mph for 35ish minutes.

One thing nobody's mentioned, though, is that 404s are no fun in a cross wind, esp the variable kinds of crosswinds that often accompany exposed alpine descents (wind blowing uphill on one face, downhill on the next, etc.). It'd be on the basis of handling, not weight, that I would consider foregoing aero wheels in a mass start race with steep alpine descents.

Yep, note that a lot of of them ran deep profile rims on the back and low profile or box rims on the front during those horribly windy stages in the first week.
 

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A lot of it comes down to what u are used to, I have never seen Cadel on deep rims, nor have i seen jens on shallows on road stages. But i would use deeps and be careful not to heat them up to much and hit the pavement like Beloki a few years ago
 

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slowdave said:
A lot of it comes down to what u are used to, I have never seen Cadel on deep rims, nor have i seen jens on shallows on road stages. But i would use deeps and be careful not to heat them up to much and hit the pavement like Beloki a few years ago
I don't think that Beloki crash was caused by too much heat in his rims and the glue coming loose. To me it looks like (watching the video) he simply lost it in that corner and was headed for the pavement anyhow. He probably got into that corner a little too fast and touched his brakes, causing the available traction to shift to his front tire...Then, of course, his rear wheel came around. He was sliding at about 45degrees to his direction of travel when the tire finally came off. He was no way going to come out of that anyways.

It's my experience that a carefully mounted tubular doesn't "get hot and roll off" the rim. I've been riding carbon tubular rims, at 165lbs for a few years. On some brutal descents where I have stopped and checked rim temps. Hot, yes, but you can keep your fingers on the surface without pain.

I was quite concerned with the much-mentioned "watch out..glue gets hot..tire comes off" for one descent on the Everest Challenge route last fall, coming down from Glacier Lodge out of Big Pine, Ca. where the average grade is ~9% over 7 miles (to about 7800') including a couple of miles of gentle run in. There are deep and wide cross-pavement frost cracks in the road surface and a very rough paving. With that surface, I didn't feel comfortable to 'let it run' so I had to brake most of the way down..enough so that my hands were crampy feeling with Dura Ace calipers and Kool-stop carbon compound pads on Reynolds rims...No problems, though I did take extra care with my Glue-job for that race and I did consider (seriously) using clinchers for that one climb

Cross wind and gusty conditions do affect deep aero rims. I live in the Columbia River Gorge, where 25mph winds are considered 'mellow'. It's a bit disconcerting at times riding a taller profile rim on some winding descents, but they help when punching directly into it.

Don Hanson
 

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I think the direction in the pro ranks is to use aero wheels on climbs, but a minority of climbers still prefer box rims. We are also seeing some riders riding the aero wheel on the rear and the box rim on the front -- I noticed Roman Kreuziger likes to ride the Fulcrum Racing Speed on the rear and the Fulcrum Racing Light on the front. You get a bit of the benefit of both worlds -- lateral stiffness on the rear (where it counts) to deliver more efficient power transfer forward plus aero benefit on the descents, and the lightness of a box rim on the front to provide suppleness to the steering and mitigation of drag on strong cross winds which can disrupt your climbing rythm.

When I ride in my group rides, I usually check the wind conditions in the morning on the computer -- if it's not windy (generally 10 mph winds or less), I go double aero (Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL Premium); if it's a windy day (10+ mph), I pull off the front aero and slip on a box rim (Fulcrum Racing 1).
 
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