Aero wheels add much speed?

Got standard v shaped rims on my carbon road bike right now. Say I can do about 20mph hour or so, what would aero wheels do for strait line speed?

They say that clip in pedals offer the biggest improvement but I absolutely despise them. I have been told several times to get some but absolutely no chance. Besides TT bars, what other upgrades would have a noticeable speed improvement for a given amount of effort?
 
They say that clip in pedals offer the biggest improvement but I absolutely despise them.
Those where my thoughts before riding with them for a while, can't ride without them now.
 

Hacienda71

Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
Depends on where you are riding. Hilly and weight rather than aerodynamics is the issue. On the flat aerodynamics are important. Wheels tubes and tyres can make a noticeable difference. I wouldn't peronally go for deep section wheels as I don't think my riding would benefit from them sufficiently to justify the outlay. I am not an expert but I understand that you need to be travelling low 20's to feel much of an advantage with deep section wheels. No doubt one of the forums resident racers and TT'ers will be along soon to tell you just how beneficial deep sections are and speed required to see the benefits.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
For racing they are of a benefit, still got my Tubular deep section Hed Jets. But if you have a hilly, or potentially gusty training area, I wouldn't bother. I just used my deep section wheels for TTs. Best performance is get some good tyres and decent, possibly lighter standard section wheels.
 

Scilly Suffolk

Über Member
For the majority of riders asking this question, a diet is the answer.

Considering the relatively modest benefit you'll achieve from changing the profile of your rims, and bearing in mind that you aren't prepared to use some form of foot restraint, then I'd warrant that you'll see greater gains (both in your speed and your bank balance) by losing some fat.

When you can see your abs, then it's time to start thinking about titanium cleat bolts and aerodynamic spokes.
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
It's not just the aero effect that deep section wheels have, as a general rule (not always applicable), increased depth of profile = increased stiffness = increased power transfer = more weight, the increased power transfer is probably the greatest benefit of a deep rear wheel, which wont have much aero effect (track sprinters use disc wheels for power transfer).

But if you aren't a powerhouse and you aren't maximizing your power transfer by using solid foot retention then wheels wont make much difference
 

amasidlover

Veteran
Location
Gatley
Bearing in mind that this is only my experience and is therefore not 'data' I was riding this training route regularly, its about 35k with 500ft of climbing in the first 18k followed by a fast downhill and some relatively flat mainly sheltered sections. I was doing it on 105/Open Pro wheels with Michelin Lithion 2 tyres which are reasonably light but not aero, I bought some second hand Bontrager X Lites which are about 100-200 grams lighter for the wheel set and 50mm section, I have Vitoria Corsa Evo CX tyres on them.

Before the change I was doing the run in roughly 1hr11 of 'moving time' according to Strava, since the run I've been doing it in 1hr08 (this is with 3 to 4 runs either side and the drop in time was there after the first run). Plus according to Strava I got an increase on both the hills and flats.

TT bars I have less information on as I went from a bike with drop bars, pannier and dynamo hub to a light aero frame and TT bars at the same time but my impression is that TT bars make a big difference in no wind/headwind on the flat/slight downhill - this is from a couple of triathlons where the only guy on drop bars keeping up with me left me behind as soon as the course changed direction and we got a tail wind (suggesting he was much fitter and tri bars were giving me the advantage while going into the headwind).

I've been using clipless pedals for years so not really sure that compares, whenever I go back to flats I get hopelessly clumsy with my foot coming up sometimes getting ahead of my pedal thus causing a bit of a stutter...

But basically I think to answer your question; for the same amount of effort, on the flat/downhill you need to be more aero and uphill you/the bike need to be lighter...

Of course instead of spending money, you could just ride more and pedal harder, but where would the fun in that be? ^_^
 

Beaker39

Well-Known Member
more training.
Hit the nail on the head there!

It constantly amazes me how many people think just spending money will make them faster. Train harder and eat better is the key, once you have done all that you can then start spending to your hearts content for those marginal gains............unless you have loads of spare money!!
 
Bearing in mind that this is only my experience and is therefore not 'data' I was riding this training route regularly, its about 35k with 500ft of climbing in the first 18k followed by a fast downhill and some relatively flat mainly sheltered sections. I was doing it on 105/Open Pro wheels with Michelin Lithion 2 tyres which are reasonably light but not aero, I bought some second hand Bontrager X Lites which are about 100-200 grams lighter for the wheel set and 50mm section, I have Vitoria Corsa Evo CX tyres on them.

Before the change I was doing the run in roughly 1hr11 of 'moving time' according to Strava, since the run I've been doing it in 1hr08 (this is with 3 to 4 runs either side and the drop in time was there after the first run). Plus according to Strava I got an increase on both the hills and flats.

TT bars I have less information on as I went from a bike with drop bars, pannier and dynamo hub to a light aero frame and TT bars at the same time but my impression is that TT bars make a big difference in no wind/headwind on the flat/slight downhill - this is from a couple of triathlons where the only guy on drop bars keeping up with me left me behind as soon as the course changed direction and we got a tail wind (suggesting he was much fitter and tri bars were giving me the advantage while going into the headwind).

I've been using clipless pedals for years so not really sure that compares, whenever I go back to flats I get hopelessly clumsy with my foot coming up sometimes getting ahead of my pedal thus causing a bit of a stutter...

But basically I think to answer your question; for the same amount of effort, on the flat/downhill you need to be more aero and uphill you/the bike need to be lighter...

Of course instead of spending money, you could just ride more and pedal harder, but where would the fun in that be? ^_^
sounds like your '3min improvement' (or increase of 0.6mph av) was down to lighter wheels, race tyres and TT bars then. Alternatively, you might just have been trying harder with the new kit...
 
Hit the nail on the head there!

It constantly amazes me how many people think just spending money will make them faster. Train harder and eat better is the key, once you have done all that you can then start spending to your hearts content for those marginal gains............unless you have loads of spare money!!
People want the 'easy' route - the one that doesn't include the hard work of actually riding a bike more often... ;)
 

amasidlover

Veteran
Location
Gatley
sounds like your '3min improvement' (or increase of 0.6mph av) was down to lighter wheels, race tyres and TT bars then. Alternatively, you might just have been trying harder with the new kit...
Ah, no, the only change for the 3 mins was the wheels, the bike, TT bars etc were the same - sorry, I wasn't clear.

The bike change came several months before and made a 3/4mph difference...
 

amasidlover

Veteran
Location
Gatley
I would also add that I only paid £200 for the wheels on ebay and the main reason for buying new wheels was that I was sharing the rear wheel between commuter and TT bike and swapping it twice every time I went for a pleasure ride was becoming a nuisance, the speed increase was just a bonus. If I'd had to pay full price (over £1000) and already had a set of reasonable wheels for the TT bike there is no way I'd have paid that much to get a 0.6 mph improvement...
 
I would also add that I only paid £200 for the wheels on ebay and the main reason for buying new wheels was that I was sharing the rear wheel between commuter and TT bike and swapping it twice every time I went for a pleasure ride was becoming a nuisance, the speed increase was just a bonus. If I'd had to pay full price (over £1000) and already had a set of reasonable wheels for the TT bike there is no way I'd have paid that much to get a 0.6 mph improvement...
no justification needed.. :smile:

Nothing wrong with buying good kit. The problems only start when you buy it in the expectation of it turning you into a cycling god... ;)
 
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