Kit Upgrade: Wheels

When it comes to kit upgrades you can’t make a smarter move than a new set of wheels

Posted: 28 April 2011

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Triathletes love kit and they love upgrading - it's a perfect match, or storm, depending on your outlook and bank balance. Upgrades are usually designed to make us go faster and because the bike leg is the longest section of a race it's here that triathletes most often turn to make those changes that can mean better times. And where better to start than wheels?

There are two features in a set of wheels that can help your performance - lower weight and better aerodynamics. Having light wheels is beneficial under certain circumstances - it takes less power to accelerate a lighter set of wheels to race pace and this means you can conserve precious energy while keeping your bike rolling at a good pace. It's worth bearing in mind that once up to speed, the weight-saving has no benefit over a heavier set of wheels.

What will make more of a difference as you speed up are your wheel's aerodynamics. The less friction or 'drag' that a bike and rider present, the less energy is needed to go at the same speed. Wheels can contribute up to 10 per cent of the drag of a bike and rider package. By selecting an aero rim, you can theoretically go faster while putting out the same power.

In pursuit of more speed and power conservation we have looked at a range of wheel upgrades. Every set has a unique feature to allow us to present the options available. By testing the different models we hope to give you a few ideas of what to look out for and how to work out if a particular wheel will suit your purpose.

Find out which wheels are right for you or join the tubulars v clinchers debate. 

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