Best Road Bike Wheels Review
The best road bike wheels for triathlon reviewed.
American Classic 420 A3
Weights (front/rear) 691+866=1,577g
American Classic’s Aero 3 420’s are weight savers for riders who want a slight drag reduction at a discount price. The super-light all-alloy clincher aero rim is combined with skinny hubs and Ti QR skewers for a very feathery wheelset that climbers will love. They accelerate quickly and are shallow enough not to blow about much in windy conditions or be stubborn when steering. They’re smooth over rough sections, and are available in other colours if you don’t like the pink. The shallower rim means less of an aero advantage though. They also snake noticeably when powering or cornering hard.
Comfy and very light for the money but not particularly aero and soft in the corners.
Vision TriMax T42
Weights (front/rear) 808+966=1,774g
These mid-section wheels from FSA are a tight semi-aero set-up that handles well for the money. The 42mm section rim doesn’t carve the wind as well as deeper sets, but it’s noticeably less likely to be blown about in more gusty conditions. New lighter hubs mean weight is good for the price but they light up easily under power. They climb and change direction better than most wheels as well. The hand-built straight-pull bladed spoke build gives a tight and accurate feel and braking is consistent which makes them more versatile than most deeper section wheels.
A really versatile, user-friendly, high quality semi-aero wheel at an excellent price.
Triathlon Plus Top Value Award, issue 43
Weights (front/rear) 812 + 1039 =1,851g
Shimano’s mid price RS80 aero wheels are tough, predictable, quiet and very good value. The 50mm lightweight, alloy edged rim is exactly the same as that on £1,200 Dura Ace wheels. It’s not the latest ‘fat rim’ shape, but it’s still controllable and predictable in corners and crosswinds. The broad hub and stiff exposed nipple build enables precise handling. Braking feels confident in all weathers. Lightweight rims and tight power transfer means they accelerate OK. The silent steel freehub is tough and the Shimano skewers are excellent. Overall stiffness means you feel the bumps. You’ll only get maximum life and value out of the adjustable bearings if you know how to service them, though.
Average weight and aerodynamics but stiff, strong and great long-term value.
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