Chris Froome one the uphill time trial a couple days ago at the Tour. He decided to ride a full aero setup, one with a disc wheel and tri-spoke in the front. Most of the other top ten guys decided to go for weight. I was thinking it was a good decision, watching live and that was confirmed at the finish.
I have to assume that the bike he is riding is at the UCI weight limit, so the “extra” weight of the wheels is only going to affect rotating weight. And as long as he kept his efforts consistent, the changes of speeds would be insignificant compared to the aerodynamic advantages.
The wheels make a huge difference. Much of the increase in racing speeds during my career is because of much faster wheels. I’m not sure why the other riders didn’t realize this too? Froome said – “I think that was a big part of today’s stage, selecting the right equipment,”
In the time trial, Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha, stopped and did a bike change. That is a lot of time to give up when the TT was so short. You’d think that all the main contenders would have been on the same page equipment strategywise?
The fastest wheels I’ve ever ridden are tri-spokes. I raced them on the road when I was on Specialized. Then Hed took them over and they are even faster, and lighter.
Guys talk about the weight, but the H3 carbon tubular is around 1500 grams. The wheels are so fast and that weight is completely within a light road setup. For sure any time trial situation.
It’s hard to believe that Steve Hed has been gone for two years now. Time passes so quickly. I didn’t realize it had been that long until I saw an article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about Ann Hed, Steve’s wife.
It is a pretty good article about her history and the continuation of their business. Here is a link.
Ann sponsors Gwen Jorgensen for wheels. Pat and Gwen live in MSP, so that relationship is local, which is super cool. Hopefully, Gwen has good luck in a couple weeks and can have a good race in Rio, the focus of the last couple years of competition.
Anyway, my advice is to get the best wheels you can. A “bad” bike and fast wheels is way faster than a super bike and crummy wheels. It isn’t brain surgery.