Riding less than a year... Want to upgrade wheels.. Talk some sense into me

Im sure we all go through this and i guess wheel gains have been discussed a lot, but I would like some opinions on my specific situation.

I’ve been riding for 6 months.
Really, really enjoying it and have progressed quickly on trainer road. From a 210 ftp to around 280ftp (just under 4wpkg)

Riding i intend to do:
Racing around a local track on the weekends with friends
Long sportives 100-160kms
Training for a long distance ironman next year, with some sprint and olympic triathlons booked in September (if they go ahead)
Some climbing holidays

The upgrade

So i bought the base model Tarmac with 105. It rides great but i am eyeing up the Roval CL50s that are on the more expensive bikes. I bought a trainer and that has helped my riding immensely. I understand that for outside, wheels are probably the best upgrade?

Money is not a huge issue here, but im reluctant because i wonder if the frame and groupset etc will not be enough in a years time should my enthusiasm continue to rise?

So, do i leave it for a year because i will outgrow the frame and just end up buying a new bike with better wheels anyway? Or will these wheels on this frame be more than enough to ride and race on for a long long time unless i get above 4.5wpkg?

you’ve already planted the seed, and what you want has nothing to do with what anyone else thinks. I would just go that route and get the S-Works. :metal:

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Yes the seed is planted.

But if these tyres would not be wasted on this frame and the overall package would be very similar to a higher spec model then i could probably get 3-4 years of great riding before needing to get a new bike altogether… Or keep these wheels and upgrade everything in a year… Think that’s my dilemma.

LOL. Like I said, what you want has little to do with rationalizing, or what other people think. I’ve done your route, and then I’ve bought new stuff months later. :man_shrugging:

You probably are going to become much more faster by learning to ride in the group properly. The speed gain and energy savings will outgrow your potential speed gain by the wheels!
I am riding theses wheels on my Tarmac Pro 2020 myself, I am a pretty heavy dude and can confirm that the wind will keep you entertained with the wheels.

I would strongly recommend keeping your bike for 2 years unchanged and upgrade then, if necessary. The current bike will do you no harm but only good.

Haha guess im thinking outlaid and want other people to verify my desire to just buy it now… probably buying another bike in a year as well haha

Always heard this was an expensive sport… :joy:

LOL, yeah. I’m just trying to save you some steps because I know you’re going to go get a new bike soon. S-Works Tarmac. yummm.

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Do you have any comparison to previous wheels? Was there a noticeable improvement and did they just make the bike look better? or did they come with the bike?

The only thing I ever bought for my bike that had an immediate impact are deep section carbon wheels. It feels like you are doing at least an extra km/h quicker for the same power. And they are lighter and stiffer. Get the wheels!


Based on the riding you want to do - are you setup with a triathlon bike? If you’re doing an Ironman next year, I would think you’d want to get a tri bike ASAP to train on and get used to positioning. You can keep your tarmac for regular group rides.

I would argue that a tight kit/skinsuit is more important than wheels. And then I would get an aero helmet next. Both are cheaper than wheels and have similar speed gains.

Of course wheels are sexy - you didn’t mention if you had a disc or rim bike. If you have rim - I’d be careful investing in wheels. The market is going to all disc bikes - road and triathlon included so you might not be able to carry the wheels forward. Also if you’re serious about triathlon, I’m going to guess in the end you’re going to want something deeper than 50mm rims.

But let’s be real - you’ll buy new wheels here which is what you want to do. :wink:

Good luck!


Do you have the money? Will it make you happier? If yes to both, go for it.

It isn’t an investment, and it may or may not have highest $/W. There is however a happiness factor to it that can’t be measured. I’ve been riding a year and went down the path of a better helmet and aero jerseys for speed gains. The only reason I haven’t upgraded the wheels so far is that I don’t want to shell out $1500+ on a new set.


I’d recommend waiting another six months before any major investments. Why? Your learning curve right now is very steep, so what you’ll know about riding and your preferences six months from now will be a good bit better than what you know right now. You will have a better grasp on your fit, your needs, what really is going to make you faster or more comfortable… AND you will be able to take advantage of end of “model” year sales, etc.

So many people get the bug and dump tons of money in early on marginal equipment gains. Wait it out, consider carefully, and get the best bang for your buck.

That Tarmac isn’t holding you back that much, especially since there’s no racing going on ATM and maybe the rest of this year. If you’re planning an Ironman, your bike need is going to change too. Just be patient with it!

Uncle Wet Blanket

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Your best bet at future-proofing is to spring for a high end disc wheelset.

  • If you’re currently running rim brakes, I wouldn’t bother at this time because the industry is phasing those out

  • Most bikes up to $10K are spec’d with mid range wheelsets. If you get a real nice set of high end wheels now, you can either sell the mid range OEM wheels on the next bike, or build your next bike from the frame up.

Only problem with this line of thinking is that the difference between the “high end” and mid range wheels that come on those high end bikes is practically unnoticeable to mortals. So the return on investment is going to be really low for that purchase IF he does invest in a high end bike in the near future. In some cases, the higher end bearings will give better performance short term, but as they wear in the performance gain disappears altogether.

Buy a TT/tri bike with a nicer wheel set that you can use with your Tarmac. Don’t ride on shitty tires either.


Probably, but upgrade-itis is a real thing.

This affliction is greatly exacerbated by the mid market.

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Specifically, marketing against the mid-market. :laughing:

The bike came with the wheels, but I am riding road since 1997. Deep and none deep wheels. Deep wheels got much better over time but still, they are like sails in the wind, you need to get used to them.

I have some clip on aero bars that I’ve got comfortable maintaining the position for a good couple hours so far. I had a bike fit and whilst it isn’t optimal I want a road bike that I can do everything with. Mainly because I don’t have a garage or the space to store two bikes!

Yes the bike is disc brake so is future proofed!

I don’t have the space! One bedroom apartment without a garden / garage in central London means two bikes isn’t an option.