Best all around wheels for rider 105 to 110 lb in somewhat windy area?

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fb27b354460>


I live in a somewhat windy area (Long Island) and rolling hills. Sometimes drive to ride longer climbs. No rides are totally flat. Would any wheel deeper than 25mm create a crosswind problem?

I’m lost on what is best for my weight category, climate and terrain. I’m not a powerful rider and tend be drafting in group rides. So which type of wheelset would be most beneficial if I can only afford one good set of wheels right now? I’ve read tons, but read things like Zipp 303s are great for all but the lightest riders. So am I the “lightest riders” that should not get any sort of aero wheel? Stick to lightweight climbing wheels??


I don’t ride aero rims. I am a little lighter than you, and ride in Chicago. I’ve never ridden in Long Island, but it’s all on the water, yeah? So it’s probably about the same. I did try some deep (~45-50mm) rims, and they are very nice when it’s calm (pretty stiff though), but I got pushed around going down the lakefront. The 303s are supposed to be better than usual in crosswinds, can you try some? That’s an awful lot to put out for an experiment.
If you are wondering whether you’ll get a kick from the aeros, you’re not too light for that. They’re definitely fast. I just didn’t like having to muscle the bike around every time the wind picks up.


Hi Jen.

I can give you a bunch of reasons, and will in a bit, but the most important advice I can give you is to test some wheels of varying depths to figure out what you like most. Ask friends to borrow their wheels and ask your local bike shop if they have demo wheels. Riding the various wheel depths will let you feel how each is different in wind and weight. And while there will be some differences between different brands/models of the same depth, those differences will be less substantial than the depth differences.

In the case you can’t sample some different sizes, here’s some generalized advice.

  1. More depth begets more crosswind deflection. 25mm is close to basic - the depth of an average alloy rims. Since you mention Zipp 303s, I’m deducing you want carbon wheels, in which case 25mm doesn’t get you much aero efficiency, but is usually quite light. 303s are 45mm deep, and you’ll find most people are comfortable around the 40-50mm depth. It gets you aero efficiency without too much crosswind catch.

  2. Deeper is more aero. Deeper is heavier. Deeper is more crosswind deflection. Generally, aero efficiency gains trump the extra weight you take on for deeper wheels, but you have to consider how much climbing you’re doing and the crosswinds.

Considering your weight and terrain, (rolling hills), I think you could go up to around 50mm depth, but will probably be more comfortable around 35-40mm.

Make sure to read this article, too:


Do the semi-aero wheels, 35 to 45, still provide any advantage if you only draft in a group ride and don’t pull?


Yes, they still give you an advantage. You get more advantage from them when you’re out in the wind, but you’re still facing some wind, even when drafting.

As to pulling, you must have some really great bike mates. All the ones I know are kind to let you skip a pull now and again, but outright sitting on makes them angry. :slight_smile:


Depends on the group I’m with. If it’s the really infamous fast group that is just about all men then they actually get angry if I’m too far at the front because I’ll open a gap. They do not want, or expect me, to pull, as I can’t, and generally have to take short cuts. I have to give 110% to draft, and when that’s not enough, I sometimes get a push or just catch at a light. Actually on this ride one guy likes to pull the whole thing by himself and gets upset when other guys try. It’s not normal here. Lol.