Deep wheels tips

Hi

I’m struggling on downhills and on windy days with my CLX 64 deep section wheels. I need to hold handlebar really thight and that makes my hands sore after an hour or two and also makes me slower on downhills. I have completely different feeling on my Crux with “regular wheels”

Can you guys share some tips which you found usefull!

Bike is Venge 54 and I’m 68kg/179cm!

I’m definitely no expert at it, in fact I am terrible descending too. FWIW Im circa 60kg at 175cm. If I feel in control (not pedaling out) and can see far ahead I can relax and get aero and descend relatively fast. I think relaxing lets you descend better even with cross winds/ deep sections but that’s easier said than done.

How do you tyres match the width of the rims? If your tyres are wider than the rim then the airflow can stall at a narrower yaw angle (than with a narrower tyre) and make the handling unstable. This is of greater concern as rim depth, road speed and wind speed increases, so a windy downhill on 64mm rims can be a big problem.

Also as HLaB said, make sure you’re relaxed and confident at those sorts of speeds.

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I use recommended tires (Turbo Cotton 26)

I’ve been told contradicting advice before, some people say put more weight on the front end and some have told me to relax and put less weight on the bars. I’d love some clarification on this too.

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I know a buddy of mine who’s tall and light had to step down to a 35mm front for windy days because he almost wrecked with a deep front wheel on a windy day. He said it made a big difference

not really going to help but could be that the frame is slightly too small for you? your probably right on the border of a 54/56 (based purely off your height) i have a similar problem with 52/54 and always find a 54 to be much steadier at speed than a 52. I think there is plenty of advice/literature out there about smaller frames being more responsive etc.

being light won’t be helping in terms of getting weight over the front wheel but i think thats more relevent to time trialling when your putting a much greater proportion of your weight over the front of the bike

in terms of advice, i always feel a bit steadier if i sqeeze the top tube between my knees on decents, takes a bit of getting used too, but does seem to work for me at least

IME, it is both and depends on the situation. There are times when I loosen my grip and times when I tighten it. Will vary depending on speed, wind strength, etc.

Just checked Spesh’s website, the external width is 30mm so you should be good with 26c tyres. What are your pressures? Too hard and you’ll have a smaller contact patch and less grip. Too soft and they’ll be squirmy under lateral loads.

I have really short legs (82cm inseam) so I moved from Tarmac 56 to Venge 54 (I was advised from bike fitter) and 54 fits me much better.

75 psi front and 80 rear

No help just an anecdote. I’ll never forget riding in the wind with a set of Reynolds 66’s on mildly windy days not being able to control the bike. Then switched to ENVE 7.8 SES and being smooth in 3x then wind including gusty conditions. Point is it really comes down to how the wheel stalls imo.

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A couple of things - I have that same wheelset and they aren’t great in the wind. Nothing you can do about the wheels response to crosswinds.

However, you are likely on the borderline with the size of the bike. What length stem are you using?

It’s a different bike, and like you I’m not a great descender, but I found my Tarmac SL6 to be really twitchy at speed. I’ve increased the length of the stem up to 130mm on a 54 and it’s really helped to sow the front end. It’s personal preference, but worth thinking about if your stem is short.

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It is 100mm. I wanted to get a bigger one but fitter (experienced one and using Retul) suggested to keep this one.

I suspect that the answer is to buy a shallow front wheel for windy days.

I have 50mm wheels and have rode them all the time for a couple of years now. There have been some windy days where I just wasn’t super comfortable with them though it was safe enough with hands on the bars.

There was one time where I was actually scared. It was a long steep downhill where you can easily hit 50mph. It didn’t feel particularly windy but there was a strange/weird wind pattern at the top of the climb. When I hit 42mph, I felt like the bike was going to blow off the road in any second. It’s like the whole bike felt lighter than it should. I did a lot of braking and the rest of the ride was uneventful.

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How is your fit? If your weight distribution has you further forward than backward, the extra weight on the front wheel will make it much twitchier than if you can get your weight pulled over the back wheel some. There’s so much more stability if you pull your saddle a bit back and down to keep your saddle height to the pedals the same and slightly change your reach. I’m at 69kg riding 65mm wheels front and back. The wind was a bit of a struggle for me at first because it was new and different, but after some fit tweaks (like those I mentioned) and getting more comfortable riding with them, I’m quite comfortable now. Been out in 20 mph wind days with gusts up to 30 mph and still feel well in control.

Yes, I feel a lot of weight on the hands…

Definitely fiddle with the fit. Assuming your cleat position is good, my recommendation is generally to lower the saddle 5 mm and adjust the fore-aft to keep your saddle height the same. You’ll know it’s in a good spot when you can ride at a tempo pace and can pull your hands off the bars and place them behind your hips (like a Naruto run) and you aren’t falling forward into your handle bars. This is called the Steve Hoggs test, and it changed my life in terms of bike fit.

Here’s a video explaining the concept for your reference: https://youtu.be/gbFrz5FsIow?t=440

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I’m tall and big at 95kg. Never had a problem descending fast 40+mph in windy/gusty canyons on my stock alloy Bontrager wheels. Then I bought ENVE 5.6 and above 35mph in crosswinds they are too twitchy for me and that forces a reduction in speed to feel safe. On the flats at lower speeds they are fine in gusty 20-30mph conditions. Recently picked up 35mm depth Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V and these require a lot less counter-steering in gusty conditions. This 35mm depth seems ideal for fast descents in crosswinds although the front wheel is still a bit more nervous vs my shallow alloy wheelset.

That or use your stock alloy wheel if you upgraded. That definitely worked for me on fast descents in crosswinds - shallow alloy front wheel and 63mm deep ENVE rear wheel.

I have CLX64s too. Yes, they are a bit twitchy.

It’s important to be in a strong body position. MTBers learn this quickly as to not eat s**t. Check out the TR Youtube video with Lee McCormack. It doesn’t directly translate to road, but the concepts are very similar.

Some tips:

  • Hands in the curve of the drops. Not the bottoms of the drops, not the hoods, not the bar tops - those are all “weak” positions

  • Bring your head down but keep your knees behind your toes (not a supertuck)

  • Pinch your top tube with your knees if things get squirrely

It’s less about controlling the bike and more about controlling your body.

What kind of position were you fitted for? Eg - race orientated, all day comfort? A 100mm stem on a 54 Venge with a rider 179cm is short. I’m 174cm and have a 130mm stem on my 54 Tarmac.

I’m no fitter, but I suspect that you are too cramped with that amount of reach, and the 100mm stem is making the front end of the bike twitchy. I don’t think shallow wheels will solve the problem - I had the same twitchy feeling with my Roval CLX32’s, Zipp 303’s and Roval CLX64’s.

See if you can borrow a 120mm or 130mm stem and compare. I’ll wager you’ll be immediately more confident on the descents.

When I was riding in Tenerife I had a masterclass in descending. I was gingerly going down the twisty side into Vilaflor in the drops, and getting dropped. The guide, who’s ridden it hundreds, if not thousands of times, gave me an at the time counter-intuitive tip. Descend on the hoods. On the drops, you’ll be more aero so always gather speed, on the hoods you can sit up and use your body as an air brake. I did what he said, and to my surprise absolutely loved the ride down to Los Christianos. Also helped that the bike I was on was probably the best handling bike I’ve ever ridden - Cannondale Super Six Hi-Mod Evo.

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