THE MOST IMPORTANT component on your bike, other than you as the rider, is your wheels. Once you’ve dialed in your race position, wheels will make the biggest difference to your overall time for the second leg of the race. Over the last few years, companies have been moving away from tubular tires which were once a mainstay on highend racing wheels. These days, wheels set up for clincher tires (which use tubes) have become almost standard and, according to companies like Zipp, actually test faster than their tubular options. Borrowing from mountain bike technology, tubeless tires that don’t use tubes at all are becoming an option when it comes to wheel selection now, too. Tubeless wheelsets still allow you to use a regular tube and clincher tire, so, if you like, you can play around with the new technology without having to commit to it if you choose not to.
Another development over the past few years has been with allcarbon rims. In the past companies struggled to create a full-carbon clincher rim, but once Zipp managed to figure the process out, many companies have followed suit. One knock on full-carbon rims has been that braking in wet conditions can be a challenge, but once again companies have worked hard to create different features on the rims that alleviate those problems, so it’s not as much of a factor these days.
We’re also featuring a few disc wheels in our selection this year. These solid rear wheels are typically your fastest option, but can be susceptible to cross winds. (They are not allowed at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-kona, Hawaii, for that reason.)
$2,230 To go along with the impressive Shimano Dura Ace group set, the Dura Ace C60 wheelset offers outstanding performance and aerodynamics. These carbon wheels are light, super stiff and responsive, but also manage to provide a silky-smooth ride. Add to that insane durability and the versatile 50 mm rim depth and you have a wheel that will serve you well for both training and racing.