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2020 Buyer’s Guide: Speedy Aero Wheels

Time trials on the bike will likely our first chance to get racing outside this summer - aero wheel options that will help you nail some fast times.

When it comes to getting the most out of your aerodynamic performance in a race, you start with your position. The next most important factor are your wheels.

Lucy Charles took second at the 2019 Ironman World Championship while riding with the Specialized Roval CLX 64 wheelset. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Here are some speedy options you might want to check out if you’re in the hunt for some race-ready wheels this summer.

Related: Buyer’s Guide 2020 – Bikes

Shimano Dura-Ace C60 Clincher

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$2,410

The 50-mm deep C60 (the tubeless and tubular versions are 60-mm deep) was developed with extensive feedback from pro cyclists and wind-tunnel testing, offering outstanding aerodynamics and performance. The wide-flange hub and offset rim keep things stiff so you get outstanding performance as you pound on the pedals or hammer through corners. Weighing 832/ 1019 g (front/ rear) in the clincher version, you can drop even more weight by opting for the tubeless or tubular versions of this wheelset.

Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6 TLR Disc

$1,499 (front), $1,599 (rear)

This OCLV XXX carbon wheel provides excellent stability and performance while also providing the kind of aerodynamics triathletes are looking for. The specially shaped rim reduces side forces, making this a good wheel for extremely windy conditions. Available also for rim brakes, the disc-brake version features Center Lock disc brake hubs with DT Swiss internals so you’ll enjoy smooth, fast spinning but still be able to stop on a dime.

Hunt Aerodynamicist 82

Starting at $1,939

From British wheel specialists Hunt, the newly announced Aerodynamicist 82 rims have tested remarkably well in the wind tunnel, making them a value-laden option for triathletes looking for the ultimate in aero performance. Right now the tubeless ready Aerodynamicist wheels are only available for rim brakes, so the shape and width is optimized for rim-brake bikes. The hubs use CeramicSpeed hybrid ceramic bearings and 18/24 Pillar aero spokes that ensure a smooth, comfortable ride.

Specialized Roval CLX 64

$1,400 (front), $1,900 (rear)

It’s the fastest wheel Specialized has ever tested, even in the disc-braked version. You get a disc-brake-specific wheel that uses a special carbon layup in the rim for optimal stiffness and weight, while still enjoying the excellent braking performance disc-brakes offer. The 64-mm rim depth offers surprisingly impressive aero performance without the depth that can often make riding in heavy crosswinds a challenge. That shallower depth also keeps the weight down, too, making this an outstanding choice if you will find yourself taking on any hilly courses this race season.

Pro 3-Spoke Textreme / Disc Textreme Tubular

$3,500/ $4,000

Using high-end Textreme Carbon, this 3-spoke/ Disc combination offers the ultimate in aero performance. The 3-Spoke front wheel weighs just 763 g, while the disc weighs just 1,050 g. Both come equipped with Shimano’s top of the line Dura Ace 9000 hubs that ensure excellent performance, while the 24 mm rim width helps optimally transmits the air transition from the tire to the wheel.

DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut 80

US$2,971

Developed in partnership with aero specialists SwissSide, theARC 1100 Dicut wheels use SINC ceramic bearings to ensure you get the best rolling and aero performance. Weighing just 1,708 g for the set in the clincher version, the 28 mm wide rims allow for larger tire widths for an even more comfortable ride. The precision wheel build with high and even spoke tension ensures you get a reliable wheel that is sure to get you through your race in speedy fashion.

SwissSide Hadron Ultimate 800

$1,847

Renowned for its aerodynamic testing and design, SwissSide got its start in the Formula One racing world before turning their sights to cycling. The result are some super-aero wheelsets, including the Hadron 800, which were used by Patrick Lange for each of his Kona wins. Available in both rim and disc versions, a set weighs 1,727 g. The tubeless-ready full-carbon rims are specially designed to enhance stability, making it easier to stay down in your aero bars even in windy conditions, making this a great choice for Kona-type racing.