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Surface area on the rear is fine for all, since you don't steer with the back, and you could get away with a disc, 808, or something similar.
Running something shallower like a 404 or some other 50-60mm deep rim will give you a good balance between speed and safe handling. If your area has high wind and/or lots of crosswind, you may want something like a 303 or Rolf on the front instead.
If you want to use them for the occasional road race or crit, a pair of 404s or similar would be the best bet. One of my clubmates is about 5' 2" and she adores her 404s, using them for everything.
If you can get a test run on some wheels, you'll have a much better idea of what you like, or dislike.
Bottom line is you'll be faster on a set of wheels you're confident in riding than on a pair you're not happy with.
To quote from one of the early Slowtwitch articles, I think the author was John Cobb. -
- You're an absolute beginner, and are slow as Molasses:
- Rolf Vector Comps, standard wheels
- Your getting better, you have a TT bike, or a road bike with clip on tribars, and are looking for a decent set of 18mph wheels:
- Zipp 303' or Hed Alps, either of which as clinchers
- You have a road race bike with clip-ons and reversed seat post, or you might have a TT bike. You need a set of 24mph wheels:
- Hed 3's or Zipp 404's. Now start to consider tubulars
- You have a TT bike, you'd give Lance a run for his money, you need the best set of 26mph race wheels:
- Any rear disc. On the front should be a Hed3 , Hed Alps or Zipp 404. Tubulars mandatory.
- You're a girl, you weigh 110 pounds, you go 20 mph, but get blown around and need a safe set of race wheels:
- Zipp 303 front, with a 404 on the rear.
- Alternatively, a Hed Alps front and rear (no 3 or 4 spoke wheels for you).
"Here's how you run a marathon. Step 1: You start running. Step 2: There is no step 2." - Barney (How I Met Your Mother)
I cannot get the tires off the HED rims - and some guys I have been riding with cannot either.
BUT the Zipp 404s are easy for me to change. I put a wheel cover on the Zipp 404s so it is a poor man's disk now and that set seems very light, aero and versatile. I got a good deal on them used. I think that is perfect for the longer venues.
The heds are very aero and I will use those on shorter races and tts - where if I flat I don't care.