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2021 Buyer’s Guide: Tri-friendly Bike Wheels

After you’ve dialed in your bike and position on it, the next most important purchase you'll make in the search for speed are wheels

When it comes to picking race wheels, finding the right mix of aerodynamics, durability and weight for your style and distance of racing can be challenge. There are lots of options out there, though, so you should be able to find a wheelset that will meet your needs. Bike manufacturers are moving towards disc brakes these days, which is why that category has started to dominate our lists over the past few years, but don’t worry – there are still lots of speedy rim-braked wheels available. Here are the wheels we showcased in our 2021 March Buyer’s Guide:

Bontrager Aeolus Elite 50 TLR Disc Road Wheel

Front: $575/ Rear: $625

This high-performance 50 mm-deep full carbon wheelset offers excellent aero performance with the benefits of disc-brake technology for excellent stopping power. Tubeless ready, the OCLV carbon rims offer a nice mix of durability, strength and light weight. The centre lock disc hubs use a 12 mm through axel and feature Bontrager’s 24 point engagement and 3-pawl hub to provide excellent performance.

Related: Getting your bike race ready

Dura-Ace C40 Tubeless Disc Brake


For those looking for the ultimate training wheel that will double as an excellent race wheel in windy conditions, the C40 Tubeless Disc wheelset is the answer. Featuring an excellent blend of aerodynamics and light weight, this is a wheel that’s fast and extremely stable no matter how windy the conditions. There’s a reason you’ll see lots of pro cyclists on the C40s. Add disc brakes to the mix and you get amazing stopping power to go along with all that smooth, fast riding.

DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut

Starting at US$3,025

Set up on our cover bike, the Canyon Speedmax CFR, the ARC 1100 Dicut wheelset has excelled in Kona’s windy conditions over the last few years, proving it’s versatility in terms of speed and stability.  While it’s available in both rim and disc versions, we got to put the disc-brake version to the test and were impressed. Available in 48, 62 and 80 mm versions, the deepest version found on the Speedmax is fast, stiff and surprisingly comfortable even on bumpy roads, Thanks to the super-smooth DT Swiss 240 hubs, these tubeless ready wheels are ready to race.

Hunt Aerodynamicist

$1,739 (52)

While many Canadians won’t be familiar with British-based Hunt, those looking for a set of aerodynamic rim-brake wheels will do well to check out the company’s Aerodynamicist line up. We reviewed the 52-mm deep version last summer and were more than impressed – those looking for a deeper wheel won’t go wrong with the company’s 62- or 82-mm versions. Offering a comfortable ride, the Aerodynamicists are incredibly stiff where you want them to be – laterally – so you get outstanding climbing performance and power transfer. The smooth ride is enhanced by the Ceramic Speed bearings used in the hubs.

Related: Tri-bike buyer’s guide

Specialized Roval 321 Disc – Disc Brake


When it comes to the fastest wheels, there is nothing quicker than a disc, and for those looking to pull out all the stops on their new disc-braked bike, the 321 Disc is a great option. The unique shape provides outstanding aerodynamics, while the 1k carbon fibre is lighter than other layups you’ll find in other disc wheels. You get a smooth ride you don’t often feel while riding a solid wheel, while the DT Swiss 240 hub with Ceramic Speed bearings ensures you get the most out of every pedal stroke.

This story originally appeared in the March, 2021 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.