I get asked for advice on what race wheels to use all the time. I’m going to answer one question and hopefully give you an idea of what wheels to purchase for the 2017 season.
Q: If you could own one set of race wheels, what would you buy?
A: I would always choose the most aerodynamic setup for a particular race course such as a disc and an 808 on a super flat course. But my favorite and most versatile set-up is the “606” or Zipp Firecrest 808 rear wheel and Zipp Firecrest 404 front wheel. It is a super light setup that is very aero in almost all conditions. It’s light enough to handle the hills and aero enough to be fast on the flats. I actually used this setup for most of 2016.
When there is a 404 on the front it’s very aerodynamic but very stable in a cross wind. I would recommend this to any rider who doesn’t have much experience with race wheels. The deeper dish wheels can provide an amazing benefit of speed but can really wear out your core muscles from trying to stabilize your bike and that can hurt you on the run.
An 808 as your real wheel is very aerodynamic but lighter and cheaper than a disc wheel. If you’re wondering why I wouldn’t recommend a 404 on the rear, it’s because the rear of the bike is much easier to control than the front wheel, therefore, you can run a deeper wheel without the consequences that come from an unstable front end of the bike.
I honestly can’t think of a more versatile, fast, and light wheel set up. If you are considering purchasing one set of race wheels for 2017, the Zipp Firecrest 808 rear and 404 front would be my pick. You can find both of these wheels in store at Playtri or at www.playtri.com