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When to use aero wheels(5 posts)

When to use aero wheelstandem
Mar 12, 2003 8:53 AM
I know they are good for a TT but I have been seeing more of these in our local crits and RR's. I'm talking about Zipp 404 type wheels. I noticed during the tour last year that there were some being ridden in some of the stages. I was considering using a set during the season this year and was looking for any advice, are they worth putting on for a flat crit, a flat RR, hilly RR?? Help me out. Thanks.
In crits, weight is the issueKerry
Mar 12, 2003 6:34 PM
Since you're doing a fair amount of braking for corners and then accelerating, this is the one place where weight on wheels is more important than weight elsewhere on the bike. Aero doesn't do much good because you're riding in the pack, though it obviously helps if you decide to slip off the front. If you can get aero AND light (= $$$) then that's fine. But light is generally more important than aero in a crit.
Not correctjhr
Mar 13, 2003 6:21 AM
If you go to the Bike.com tech archives you will see there is an article that addresses this exact issue. As a matter of physics aero trumps light weight in almost every single case. The lone exception is a super steep climb. Even sitting in the draft aero is more important than weight. Look at the chart and you will see acceleration is basically a non issue.

You are simply repeating what was long thought to be the case, but has been scientifically proved incorrect.

jhr
Do your math carefullyKerry
Mar 13, 2003 5:00 PM
Acceleration is a non issue IF YOU DON"T TOUCH THE BRAKES. When you burn off the kinetic energy by braking for each corner and have to then spin the wheels back up, this is the one case where wheel weight (at the rims) is different from any other weight on the bike. The effect is small but real. If you compare a lightweight wheel with an aero wheel in this circumstance, you will use less energy with the lightweight wheel. This case assumes a 40 kph criterium on a 1km, 4 corner course, a 15 kph speed loss on each corner, and a 500 gm difference in weight at the rims. I'm sure this case was not run for the Bike.com article. Your reference to "scientific proof" is not an apples and apples comparison.
re: When to use aero wheelsgray8110
Mar 12, 2003 9:51 PM
Aero/Light wheels like 404's are good in just about any race presuming there isn't excess crosswind. The lightest wheels out there, ADA's, Lightweights & the new Zipp Z3's are all Aero & light. They are best when you are solo or climbing and obviously functional when you need to accelerate a lot.. The only qualm I'd have about riding 404's or similar wheels in a crit is the location of the crit. Most crits tend to be downtown meaning you might cross railroads, you might have to deal with gutters, sewer grates & manholes etc.. passing over those for 60-90 minutes can't be the best use for those wheels.