Can You Climb On Aero Wheels?

Can You Climb On Aero Wheels?


– You’re in the market
for a new set of wheels, and although there are lots
of different types available, you’re probably wondering, should I get some deep section aero wheels, or some lightweight climbing ones? But, although deeps look really cool, I mean they look mint, don’t they, people often wonder, will
they be okay on the climbs? – Hm, I wonder if deep
section wheels can climb? – So in this video,
we’re going to find out if deep section wheels can climb. – Ollie, Ollie, sorry mate. Can I just interject? We do know that deep wheels can climb. I mean, I showed you all on the Angliru. – Yeah, to be fair, you did. But you did use them as an excuse as to not going faster. – Well, yeah, that’s true. But we want to find out if
there’s a big difference, and how much that difference is. So, we’ve come to GCN’s test mountain. – Mountain? – [James] Yeah. At 261 meters high, 1.91 kilometers long, with an average gradient of whopping 11%. – [Ollie] It is pretty steep, to be fair. – Yeah, so the test is, Ollie
is going to do two runs, one on the shallow wheels, one on the deep section rims. Winner takes all. – Winner takes all? – Yeah it’s a competition. – There’s only me doing it, so I’m going to win whatever I do. What are you talking about? That’s a rubbish test. What we’re actually going to
do, right, is ride up twice. I’ll ride up on the deeps, and then whatever power I do on the deeps- – [James] Wins. – [Ollie] I’ll do that power
on the shallow climbing wheels, and then we’ll see how much
the time difference is. So I’m going to keep the
power the same with the Quark. – [James] Yeah, we’ll
find out which one wins. – Bit more scientific that way. – Yeah. – For our lightweight climbing wheels, we’ve gone for a seriously bling pair of Zipp 202 NSWs. These are said to be the fastest accelerating carbon clincher Zipp has ever made, and
for good reason too. They weigh just 1,375 grams a pair, but they’re still 33 millimeters deep, so little bit of aero. For our deep section wheels, we’ve gone very aero indeed. A pair of Vision Metron 81s. These are 81 millimeters
deep, as the name suggests. They’re carbon clinchers
as well, like the Zipps, and they’ve got aero bladed spokes, they’re hand built, and
they weight 1,770 grams, so they’re about 400 grams heavier than our lightweight climbing pair. It’d be interesting to see
if this makes any difference, and if the added aero offsets it. (light music) Manon, how come you’re
not doing this either? – Ah, I can’t climb very well Ollie, so I think you’re probably best for this. – Well that’s a lie. Anyway, you going to time me down? – Yeah.
– Give me the beeps, the GCN beeps? – Beep, beep, beep, beep. (upbeat music) – Now the goal here is
not for me to flog myself. I’m going to try and repeat the power that I do this time, when
I’m on the lighter wheels, so that even at these
speeds, which is slow, aerodynamics does make a difference. So I’m also making a mental note of how I ride the climb, and where I get out the saddle. Some bits I have to get out
the saddle on this climb. And then, I’ll repeat that as well. So this steeper section up here. I’m going to be out
the saddle on that bit. (upbeat music) – [James] Go deep, deep rims, Ollie. – You see, it’s not a race, Hank. I’ve got to, whatever I do this time, I’ve got to do it again. – This the finish line, boff. Oh, good run, that. How’d that feel? – It was all right, yeah. So run one done. Average 310 watts, and did
the climb in nine minutes and 12 seconds. They felt all right. You know, they don’t, I didn’t feel like at a disadvantage, so, we’ll get… You run along, you get the Zipps. – Oh, that’s my cue, is it?
– Yeah. – All right, I’ll see you in a minute. – And we’ll try and repeat that again. (upbeat music) Oh, you sure you don’t want a go, Manon? – No, no, you’re fine Ollie, no. How you feeling for this one? – Well I’m all right. Ah, I’ll get it done. Anyway, give me the beeps, yeah. – Beep, beep, beep, beep. Ah. That’s going to hurt second time round. (unintelligible scream) Go Ollie! (upbeat music) – Instantly, as soon as I did the start, and accelerated with the lighter rims, definitely feel less sluggish. I mean, I don’t think there’s much in it, but you can feel it. It’s weird. So we’re headed up to the
killer super steep section now, so it’ll be interesting to see how they feel on that. Ooh. That should be where there
is most a difference, because it’s where you’re going slowest. (upbeat music) – [James] Come on Ollie, dig in. Dig in, this is for sha-
– So, it’s not a race. I’m trying to do the same power for both. – All right. Looked good though. (upbeat music) – I’ve got the results
on the Wahoo, right? So, just a quick recap. First one, 310 watts. I repeated that. I did 310 watts again. Quite proud of myself. – Yeah, that’s a good effort, but what we really want
to know is the times. – Yeah, so in the first run,
nine minutes 12 for the deeps. – [James] Yeah. – [Ollie] These, right? – [James] Go on. – [Ollie] Nine minutes, six. – [James] Ooh, so much tighter than I thought.
– It’s nothing. It’s nothing, is it?
– Yeah. – Very little. I mean it’s almost within
the realms, I’d say, of experimental error,
but I’m pretty confident that that is about right. – Yeah, interesting. – Yeah, but one thing definitely is when you accelerate off the line, I reckon one of those
seconds was on that bit, when I, just on the start. – Yeah, those are much quicker out the gate, aren’t they?
– They just feel like they do spin up quicker. You can feel it. And on the really steep section, because I held momentum both times, I don’t think there was much in it, but I think if I had
suddenly lost momentum, and had to accelerate at any point, again, I probably would have
pulled out a bit of time with the shallower ones. So, on the whole for me, the deeps win. – Yeah.
– Well they look the best, right, but, I mean, unless you’re just doing
a pure hill climb event, where every second matters
on a climb like this, you’re going to more than get that back on the downhill and on
the flat with the deeps, because the aerodynamics
is just far superior. – Now the big question we ask then, is why don’t all the pros
use deep section wheels like these ones? And there’s a reason for that. A lot of the pros find them
quite stressful to use. Not only do they catch that wind that little bit easier
if you’re in a crosswind, but also if you’re trying to get food out your pocket, then you’re going to have to take your hands off the bars, meaning these are open to
get caught by the wind, and you don’t want to end
up in a hedge, do we Ollie? – No. I think the answer is to
go with a mid depth wheel. Something like a 40 or a 50, like we ride with most of the time. – Yeah, best of both worlds.
– Yeah, best of both, but I mean, come on. They do look amazing. – I mean they sound amazing too. You know that sound. (hums) – Dubstep? – Yeah, or a didgeridoo. – Anyway, good day today. I reckon we should go home.
– Good science. – Go to the pub. What do you reckon?
– Yeah. – Yeah?
– I’ll walk, with these. – All right. Let’s go home.
– It’s a good walkthrough. – I’ll go with you. – Cheers mate, you going
to walk at my pace? – I wonder if they’re coming back for me? It’s getting cold.

100 thoughts on “Can You Climb On Aero Wheels?

  1. ZIPP bling? Only MAVIC is worse! Unbeatable quality, price and stiffness: LIGHTWEIGHT MEILENSTEIN OBERMAYER. Period! But you know that, because you were using them earlier.

  2. No Way! I rode up a mountain once on deeps, epic winds caught me out I almost fell off my bike. I had to park it until things calmed down while others on shallows kept going. Not fun. Be careful with deeps people safety first!

  3. I think it depends on the gradients, how flatter it is how faster you’ll ride, how more efficient deep section weels will be

  4. There is a reason the top climbing pros don’t use deep section wheels.
    For us mere mortals, saving energy on the flat means more energy available on the climb. Therefore, if I am 30 seconds slower over a 20 minute climb because of my wheels, but 90 seconds faster because I’ve saved a bunch of energy, the I’m ahead!

    But the top climbers aren’t limited by total energy available. They are limited by what they can do over that 20 minute climb when it matters. They won’t be any fresher at the start of the climb with deep section wheels than they would be with lighter wheels.

    Their limiting factor is how much power they can put out over that 20 minutes, not how much energy they have to spend over the day.

    So, their critical point in the race is the last 20-minute climb, so the only thing that matters is how fast they can do that, and so because the extra 400g makes a difference there, they go the light wheels.

  5. Nonsense! the point is to test them at full gas and see if one of them can make you go faster!
    if you look at your powermetre avoiding to express all the power the shallow wheels allow you on a climb, of course you won't see any difference between the two wheelsets.
    same power, same speed.
    Totally useless test. the opposite of a scientific approach.

  6. Wheel stiffness is also a factor. Bora 50s are only around 50g heavier than 35s yet noticeably stiffer which helps when climbing. 40 – 50mm definitely the sweet spot for all round riding

  7. Great video! Interesting, and funny.

    But do it again on a big climb where with more than one rider to reduce the experimental error. And maybe also do the descent to see if that really does balance out the time differences.

  8. Well done, Manon, Ollie and 'Hank'. Someone was asking where the 'Test Mountain' was. I know you guys like using the Mendips, and the brief descending clip was Cheddar Gorge. Was the climb itself up New Road from Draycott up past the Gliding Club? (For those who don't know the area, Draycott is on the Cheddar-Wells road on the south side of the Mendips.) I must say, Ollie's 310W for over 9 minutes was pretty impressive anyway.

  9. Think the same tyres ( and pressures) would have made it closer. Conti's on the zipps and pirelli's on the deeps. Maybe the conti's would have made up the 6 secs?

  10. I think 6 seconds on a 1,9 km route is a significant difference. Are the aero wheels 6 seconds faster on a 1,9 km flat stretch?

  11. 6 seconds over such a short run is not all that small a thing, but on most longer runs, you wouldn't be climbing the whole time and the deeps would pay benefits on flats and descents. Their conclusion at about 7:35 is spot on – mid section wheels provide the best compromise while minimizing wind issues. Personally, I think 40mm is right around the sweet spot for general use.

  12. Nicely ridden, Ollie. Like you say, it's within experimental error. If you push harder on the steepest bits, and take it a little easier on the flatter bits, then you end up with a faster time with lower average watts. Nearly impossible to control for on a hill this length.

    Great to see Manon out as the boys super-athletic little sister. And having Hank as the guy who just wants to cheer for SOMETHING seems pretty natural.

  13. Hank knows it's not a race, but shouting, "Go Ollie! Dig in!" at 5:35 is just Hank preparing for Ollie's hour attempt. After all, if you're going to perform well, you have train.

  14. Isn't the breaking point for aero vs light something around 7.5 mph? If you're under that, go lighter, if faster, go aero? But, grand scheme, you still have a whole lot of flats and downhills to get to a climb…

  15. this test is useless if it is not repeated with the same tires, different cyclists, and above all not on the same day and by the same athlete only once. also 400 grams on the wheels make a lot of difference

  16. try that on Mt Evans or Pikes peak.. We did both back to back..on bora 35.. still the open terrain climbing 14k feet was killa,, check out out story at Peloton magazine. Issue 84,,, Kid can Climb. my boy age 12 at the time.. accomplished a sort of Mt Everest challenge..: https://pelotonmagazine.com/features/the-kid-can-climb/

  17. I didn't think ist makes Sense to use two different tires to compare two different whell Sets. The rolling resistence Differenz can make the different in time and Not the Wight or the Aero Differenz.

  18. oh now come on GCN is this about deep rims or weight? Obviously you need to add weight to the rider to compensate for the difference… just a baggy of rice in the pocket would do.

  19. That climb looks horribly familiar… Is this the godawful Draycott Steep, heading from the Cheddar to Wells Road, and up to Priddy? If yes, it’s like a ski slope in reverse, hitting 25 per cent gradient just before the top…

  20. I switched from climbing to only 40s and it took a while to get used to the unstable nature of the deeper dish. I feel anyone that rides anything deeper is jeopardizing their own safety out on roads that aren’t closed courses. Eventually the variables could align in a dangerous unfavorable combination eg crosswinds, car, tired wobbly rider grabbing fuel. I swap to the climbing wheels if windy. “But they look cool” This ain’t a joke or a fashion statement . We have to remain safe out there. A lot from the viewing audience me included don’t have handling skills of the pros these are designed for. Even Froome got seriously screwed up from a crosswind with deep dish—lost an entire season/ almost died. You ain’t going much faster laying there bleeding out.

  21. Why not get the best of both worlds. Deep section at the rear for the aero and the "whow…whow" noise and a low section on the front for cross wind stability?

  22. I think Hank has found his place as a presenter, looks more comfortable that ever and the lighthearted comedy adds to the group, great video guys well done.

  23. GREAT TEST FOR YOU . . . find a 10 mile descent, compare 808 type wheels to 202 type wheels and see the difference.
    DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Side wind good point. Riding in strong winds last couple of days getting pushed sideways must add some distance and slow you down. but they do look good

  25. I think your test is pointless. The 6 secondes probably corresponds to the time it takes to bring the 400gram difference up that hill, which isnt that much.
    Narrow wheel arent made to climb ar constant speed but to attack and create a gap. They are not that much faster, but they are way more responsive.
    You should have done repeated stop-and-start over that hill to demonstrate the advantage of narrow sections.

  26. test isn't correct!Tires are not the same!!Tires can make more difference than rims!Use the same tires at same pressure with same inner tube!

  27. Can you publish your heart rate stats for both runs please? It would be more meaningful to understand your effort to produce the same wattage. Ta.

  28. I read that 40-50mm depth is the sweet spot, more depth only delivers marginal aero gains. So those climbing wheels are already pretty close to that.

  29. That's a ridiculous question: "can you climb on aero wheels?" Of course you can. It is certainly physically possible to climb a bicycle, with aero wheels up a paved grade. Lolz. Let's ask a better question: "How much faster are light weight wheels compared to aero wheels up a climb?"

  30. Question: what would you reckon be the time when adding just the 400 grams weight difference (in your bidon f.e.) and using the shallow rims? This would focus on just the aero difference.

  31. How significant is the average power in this test? I did a climb on Zwift of the bologna TT race, averaging the same power, but with 50 seconds time difference due to different pacing strategy… so I think your power per section should be the same to do this test. Or even constantly ride at the same power in both tests

  32. To me it's more interesting to see that 400 grams slows you down by just 1%. So this means it's a 3w loss while climbing. This is the same weight penallty you get from discs brakes compared to rim brakes. For a pro rider fighting a GC can make a difference, but for the average amateur rider it's virtually nothing.

  33. Pro-riders used the deep section Campagnolo Bora rims on mountain tracks already in the 90s. My AX-Lightness wheel-set weights 1290g and consists of a 55mm front- and a 80mm backwheel. No problems going uphills, but I've had some dangerous situations going downhills caused by sudden sidewinds. You yourself once used the 50mm Lightweight Obermayer wheels for an uphill race and for hobby cyclists it seems as if 50mm rims might be the best allround-solution in general.

  34. Eh? No suggestion of going for the Mullet?

    Could be an Aussie thing, but 30mm business up the front and 88mm party out the back!

  35. I wonder how much deep section wheels matter if drafting behind someone or would it be better to have lighter climbing rims to accelerate against attacks?

  36. I always blow a snot rocket about 2 minutes into my rides. left nose hole only… I always wondered why only the left…

  37. I thought there would be a larger difference. Goes to show a lot of cycling is in your head. That that could make all the difference. On the flip side I had some Zipp 404s and they are defiantly faster on flatter rides then non aero wheels. Many repeated TTs on an identical course proves that out.

    400mm aeros are probably the best balance for most riders.

  38. I'm currently in the process of saving up for a used road bike with a pair of 80mm deep sections.Even so,wheel weight isn't something I'd give a damn about,the aluminium ones on my current bike(refer to profile pic)weigh 1700 grams,which is somewhat hefty.

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