How deep is too deep? (Aero Wheels)

I have 90mm carbon wheels (front and rear) that I use on my TT bike for Triathlons. I know the major set back with deep carbon wheels is handling, but I’ve ridden the 90mm’s in some pretty nasty cross winds on my tri bike, and have felt comfortable using them.

My question: is 90mm too deep to use on my road bike for flat crits/road races/ group rides? I’m not sure what the protocol or etiquette is in terms of wheel depth. I see a lot of road bikes with deep carbon wheels, maybe 60mm or so, but rarely see anything as deep as 90.

What are your thoughts, and thanks in advance!

1 Like

I wouldn’t worry about etiquette, but most people don’t run wheels that deep because of the handling and weight. If you’re comfortable with the handling at speeds and in winds, great. Weight is a factor though, especially in crits, because of the repeated accelerations. Even if it’s flat, coming out of corners you’ll likely feel the extra weight. Ultimately it all comes down to preference, so if you feel confident in their handling and the pros outweight the cons for you, go for it.

1 Like

What @aldenhart said…in addition it depends on the wheels as to how or when they stall. My 7.8’s handle way more wind than many 50’s I’ve tried for example…

I’ve had my Cannondale system six on the 64mm depth wheels for a month now. I’ve not had any problems but I’m a big/heavy rider so that might help. It sounds like you have experience on deep wheels so you should be fine.

90 is deep and will be a disadvantage if there’s a lot of stop and go (large crit with rubberband effect), or a 180 degree turn. BUT, if you get off the front and can rip it on a fast course, it’ll be a nice advantage

Where I live is one of the windiest in the UK so it’s rare to see guys running deep rims. I was happy running 404s myself though and could handle them in 20mph winds. Had some mad hairy moments on them with lorries and the like but you learn to anticipate.

Since then I’ve gotten some 80s for the TT bike which I haven’t used yet. How long did it take you to get used to your 90s when TT’ing can I ask? And what sort of wind conditions can you handle them in?

1 Like

If you’re used to handling deep wheels in crosswind, then you’ll be fine. My default wheels for flat road races and crits are either Zipp 808 (82mm) or Enve 8.9 (85/95mm), and I’ve never had any issues or felt like I was at a disadvantage when accelerating. The 8.9s actually seem to handle crosswind better even though they’re deeper.

1 Like

Interesting topic. I have wrestled with this too. 90mm on my TT bike and no problems handling it (85kg). How deep do I go for my road bike. Like what @aldenhart said, crits with turns that need accelerations, then the weight of a wheel to spin up (3x the weight) starts to become something to consider. So I am using 45mm wheels for crits with accelerations, but road races and crits without any sharps turns, I am going 60/90.
So far, so good.

Good topic.

I’m rocking the same and those knot wheels handle the wind AMAZINGLY well. was very shocked.

1 Like

I recently posted about getting wheels, and originally wanted 60/90, combo but now maybe reconsidering. Ideally I wanted a wheelset I could swap between my tt and road bike. My road bike I would primarily be racing short course (non technical) crits. I’m starting to think a 90 mm rear may be a bit much and now leaning towards a 50 to 70mm set.

I’ve put lots of miles and races on a set of 5/9s and I like them a lot. It really depends on the wheels as some 55s are faster than some 90s. I’m moving to ENVE 7.8s front & rear soon and will be training and racing on them.

1 Like