Choosing a new wheel set?


When I decided to upgrade my Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheels (back wheel with an Aerowheel Jacket), I was swamped by choice, so how did I make a decision?

When choosing my new wheel set, I first thought about the following factors and I found that it really helped narrow my focus considerably!

1. Aerodynamics

I wanted to buy the most aero wheel set I could afford for my money. This meant I wanted a disc wheel and a deep section front wheel. A set would be great, but aerodynamics would be the most important consideration

2. Price

Important for obvious reasons 🙂 Although I wanted aero, I didn’t want to break the bank for it 🙂

3. Clincher

I’ve never had tubular tyres and I didn’t fancy the change to something new.

4. Aluminium braking rim

Because I use my bike on the turbo trainer and take it out on the road as well as race regularly, I didn’t want to worry about changing brake pads all the time and have also heard that carbon rims do not brake as well in the wet. This was enough to make up my mind.

5. A reliable brand

Finally, although it wasn’t the highest on my priority list, I wanted a reputable brand that I could rely on when buying wheels. Even cheap wheels are expensive and an investment, so I felt that this needed to be considered.

Armed with this information I started my search!

I quickly found that with these parameters my list of disc options was quite small.

There was a HED Jet, Fast Forward Clincher, a Zipp Super-9, a CITEC 8000cx, and a FLO disc! That was not too bad 🙂

Comparing aero data from a number of sources, a disc would be better than any spoked wheel aero-wise. The HED, Fast Forward and Citec discs are compared directly here, (see page 54) and the FLO disc had really good reviews, is very aero and was cheap – but shipped from America and I know from previous experience that import tax can be extremely expensive! Similarly, I just couldn’t justify buying a Zipp disc so I was left with the three choices above. The data shown in this post showed the performance of 3 disc wheels (Citec, Fast Forward and HED Jet) to be very similar and therefore I decided the HED was too expensive and the Fast Forward was too heavy. I know some people think a heavy disc is arguably better, but not me!

As for the front wheel, the aerodynamics are shown to be much more important than the back wheel as the front of the bike is breaking the wind. I felt there were a lot more options but one brand really took my attention – Swiss Side. They had recently done open aerodynamic testing of their wheels along with other big brands, which was showing some very interesting results.  You can see from the article and the resulting statistics that the Hadron performed just as well as the ‘big brand’. This made my decision for me, great aerodynamics at a reasonable price.

The only thing putting me off was that there was no disc option 😦

So what could I do? I decided to buy the Citec 8000 disc and the Swiss Side Hadron 625.

Now I just can’t wait to ride them in the coming months!




2 thoughts on “Choosing a new wheel set?

  1. Mat – wondering how you like your Swiss Side wheel that you mention in the post… any feedback you can provide would be great!

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