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Turn heads on race day with these budget-friendlier deep wheel options.
If the idea of plunking down thousands of dollars on a set of carbon race wheels sounds insane but you still yearn to reap the aero benefits of deep rims, take a closer look at these more affordable options that can shave minutes off your PR.
Swiss Side Hadron 800+
The draw: Reliable braking and wind tunnel verification
Swiss Side is so confident in the aerodynamic performance of its wheels that the brand is hosting a Wind Tunnel Battle to show how Swiss Side wheels stack up to the most popular wheels on the market that cost thousands more. The Hadron 800+ is the newest and most aerodynamic wheelset from the former Formula 1 experts at Swiss Side with an 80mm front and 85mm deep rear. Because of the deep rim profile, the 800+ is best suited for flat courses and less windy conditions. The aluminum brake track makes braking steady and predictable but acceleration is on the slow side due to the extra weight. What the 800+ lacks in versatility, it makes up for in speed.
Weight: 1,815 grams for the set
Depth: 80mm front, 85mm rear
Width at brake surface: 23mm
The draw: Affordable performance
These wheels deliver great value and take advantage of proven designs such as a wide, toroidal rim shape. Ride quality is on par with similarly priced wheels and the super-deep 90mm rims don’t affect the handling or stability compared to an 80mm rim. FLO’s hubs are reliable and easy to service and can include ceramic bearings for an extra $100 per wheel. As an added bonus, the aluminum brake track on all Flo wheels is anodized black for a stealthy look, and you can choose from nine sticker colors.
Weight: 2,198 grams for the set
Depth: 90mm (front and rear)
Width at brake surface: 24.4mm
Williams Wheel System 85 Carbon Clincher
The draw: Full carbon rim
The full-carbon, hand-built 85 Carbon Clinchers defy convention. It’s the only wheelset in this review that doesn’t use a carbon fairing bonded to an aluminum rim (hence a more costly process), yet Williams manages to offer this wheelset for just $1,200. These wheels will bring you to a stop without too much modulation. Like most wheels of this depth, you’ll get blown around a bit in crosswinds, but a wider tire can help remedy that issue. According to Williams, the 85 achieved almost identical results in the wind tunnel compared to the Zipp 808 Firecrest wheelset. If you like sprinting through corners and bombing descents, you’ll be better served by a shallower, lighter wheelset. But for flat-out speed on wide open roads, the 85 is tough to beat.
Weight: 1,838 grams for the set
Depth: 85mm (front and rear)
Width at brake surface: 25.7mm
Note: All weights are provided by the manufacturer and may or may not include rim strips and quick-release skewers.