Aero wheels and upright riding position

Hi all

Talk me out of buying aero wheels :). I ride a Trek Domane and due to hamstring issues I ride in a pretty upright position (after a 3D bike fit at a local university sports science department). My FTP is 271. Any benefit of riding aero wheels when my position is like putting a barn door on the top of the bike? But they do look cool…

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tradeoffs: and

Nice carbon aero wheels are sweet, but expensive.

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@BaronGreenback with all due respect, this argument is insane. I’ve never understood the logic. If I accepted it only the top world tour level athletes could justify aero gear which is so not true. And about riding upright…who’s to say everyone can’t get lower? If everyone can get lower (more aerodynamic position) then who needs aero wheels, clothes, frames, etc…if I wasn’t clear I think you or anyone should buy aero gear no matter how upright they ride or not.

The fact is aero doesn’t just turn on at some magic speed. It happens at all speeds. In fact the slower a rider is the more savings aero gear potentially has on their performance.

As far as deep wheels go here’s the thing, the depth is just one aspect to increasing performance. Look at construction, rim width, hubs, spokes, warranty and in the end buy what you think looks good. No amount of depth will outperform buying a super narrow, bad hub, low and cheap spokes, poorly constructed wheel.


The power savings from the wheels will be the same whether you ride upright or not (I guess). The only question would be whether you could get a better bang per buck somewhere else, could you spend the money on physio to get a better position?

At the end of the day (and completely failing to talk you out of it), buying the wheels will definitely help, be more fun than physio, and they’ll look good, so go for it! :grinning:

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I like all your thinking :joy:

In all seriousness I’ve had physio for my hamstrings and no amount of stretching has made any inroads into the tightness. So clearly spending the cash on aero gear is the only far forward. I shall present the scientific evidence you have demonstrated to my good lady wife who will then accept the need to go for nice wheels.

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As long as you don’t go into this thinking all “aero wheels” will make a noticeable difference. So many go from say a box aluminum to a relatively deep (40+mm) set of wheels and complain they don’t see any difference in their average whatever. Or magically think they will dominate the next race etc…it just doesn’t work like that.

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I would still buy them but I would go high quality used if possible. I’ve had great luck on ebay because of their consumer protections. There are a lot of sellers with many high feedback ratings.

Buy a recumbent and get really aero…


Do you really need any other justification?

/end thread



I went from box to my first pair of 40mm aeros…could definitely tell a difference. And it wasn’t like I was scrunched down in the drops for 100% of my rides.

Main thing I found with aero wheels (even though they weren’t super aero) is that you can perceive the increase in speed and that just makes you want to go even faster…which makes the wheels even faster!

If your total average speed/ride is sub-30km/hr you might want to save your money until you hit that mark. However, as I said above, if aero wheels can get you to 30… :thinking:

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I can average over 20mph for an hour on a flattish route. It’s my weight that hinders me on the climbs after the cold winter months!

Point was/is same tires/tubes, hubs etc…you can’t tell me 20-30mm of depth is noticeable speed wise. I mean you can tell me I just don’t agree with that at all.

Thank you for this. Is this person racing? Riding fondos/strava chasing/group rides etc? I’d be more incline to buy some light wheels with nice hubs instead.

Usually aero wheels come with better everything than stock box rims (choice of tires & tubes excluded). So, yeah, it’s going to be a mix of aero gains and quality component gains.

As far as I know, the “science” tells us that +20-30mm does provide noticeable speed.

I’ll be moving to 60mm this year so hopefully I’ll notice something beside an empty wallet. :confounded:

My Domane came with low-end Bontrager wheels, and yet the hubs roll just as well as my ENVE 5.6 disc with DT240 hubs. Actually if you pull the wheels off the bike and hold them, the Bontrager wheels will spin longer. Bontrager wheels are actually pretty nice. My dad past away a few years ago, and my mom gave me some money. Enough to buy the ENVEs (discounted, at To be honest, at first the high-end wheels were disappointing (I paid how much for basically the same ride?) on my first couple of solo rides at 20mph on the flats. But they definitely spin up faster on climbs, and on group rides at 22-34mph the ENVE are awesome. Awesome enough to spend that kinda money? Only you can decide. My dad got me into skiing and biking, so he would have approved. Bling factor is pretty sweet. Overall happy but it was fun money and the quid pro quo was my wife got a new couch in the family room :smile:


Bontrager race lites? Those aren’t that bad. Light, spin very well. Have them on my whip for training wheels and every now and then for crits if I have a flat tubular or whatever.

No, cheap Bontrager Affinity Comp discs came with my bike. Heavy but spin really well.

So many (mainly guys who race-road) think a deep wheel will cause a shift in their riding. A performance shift big enough to move results. Almost looking for a free lunch type of thinking. My point is, yes, deeper is probably more aero and therefore going to help in the speed department. I say probably because not every wheel at the same depth will be the same aerodynamically. A 50-60mm narrow V from a couple years ago is not as aero as the current wider and more rounded 50-60mm rims being produced today.

If I were buying a wheel set I’d look more at internal width, external width, hub/spokes and then depth if I wanted to chase performance. As I’ve said before, nice rolling tires and tubes are vital for performance. No sense spending money on nice wheels and roll bad tires.

Exactly right. You can take any low end wheelsets and change the bearings for NTN or some other high quality manufacturer and probably have something that is as good or better than most high end hubs as far as rotating friction is concerned.

A front hub is literally two aluminium tubes with some off the shelf bearings pressed into the bigger tube. The rear is a little more complicated: three tubes, some spring loaded pawls and four off the shelf bearings.

The ‘fast rolling hub’ is a myth…


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If you want me to talk you out of it, just recognize that none of it matters unless you are racing and even then, it only matters if you are paying your mortgage with your winnings.

Now, for the irrational side, this is a hobby and spending any money beyond buying a mechanically sound bike that will keep you on the saddle is good enough.

It’s just riding bikes and riding a cool bike that makes you excited to ride is a good thing. A bicycle is not an investment - it is an entertainment and physical well being expense. If it increases your pleasure in either of those areas, and you have the cash (all other short term debt is paid off and it will not be a financial burden) then do it.