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Any consensus on which wheels are fastest?
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I'm looking for a set of race wheels to go on my new P5 disc, and I've narrowed the choice down to either the Zipp 808 NSW/disc combo or the Enve SES 7.8/Disc combo (disc brakes on both). I'll probably run them as clincher (tubed) in the near-term, as that's what I'm more comfortable with at the moment but I don't discount the possibilty that I may go tubeless down the road. On paper, the two wheelsets stack up pretty comparably. Both have a 19mm internal rim width, so I'm guessing the aerodynamically ideal tire should be pretty similar on both.

Is there any reputable data that shows one wheelset to be faster than the other? I've read through part of the Hambini s&*$%show thread (as much as I could stomach) and place exactly zero credence on any of his data.

Other deciding factors? Anecdotes I've read here seem to indicate that folks like the Enve hubs better than the Zipp hubs. That's tempered with stories of Enve rims delaminating if run tubeless with the wrong rim tape (yikes). Overall, I'm struggling to choose one over the other based on anything other than aesthetics and/or perception of resale value (not a big deal to me as I plan to keep them for a while).

Thoughts?
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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el gato wrote:
I'm looking for a set of race wheels to go on my new P5 disc, and I've narrowed the choice down to either the Zipp 808 NSW/disc combo or the Enve SES 7.8/Disc combo (disc brakes on both). I'll probably run them as clincher (tubed) in the near-term, as that's what I'm more comfortable with at the moment but I don't discount the possibilty that I may go tubeless down the road. On paper, the two wheelsets stack up pretty comparably. Both have a 19mm internal rim width, so I'm guessing the aerodynamically ideal tire should be pretty similar on both.

Is there any reputable data that shows one wheelset to be faster than the other? I've read through part of the Hambini s&*$%show thread (as much as I could stomach) and place exactly zero credence on any of his data.

Other deciding factors? Anecdotes I've read here seem to indicate that folks like the Enve hubs better than the Zipp hubs. That's tempered with stories of Enve rims delaminating if run tubeless with the wrong rim tape (yikes). Overall, I'm struggling to choose one over the other based on anything other than aesthetics and/or perception of resale value (not a big deal to me as I plan to keep them for a while).

Thoughts?

I would probably go with the Zipp still for the resale value, but the Enve 7 performed well in the independent wind tunnel test that some STers helped fund back in 2017. Granted the test was more about testing the Corsa tire than anything. It did perform better than that HED JET 6+ (only 60mm deep) with the tires and PSI selected. I know we love to geek out about equipment but unless your races are razor thin margins either one is going to be a great option, but I would probably go with the Enve for versatility. Would just feel better riding it in strong cross winds.


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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [Thomas Gerlach] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks Thomas. I'm decently big/heavy (6'0", 155-160 lbs) so riding a 808 on the front in cross winds hasn't been a huge concern, but I hear you. I was previously riding a pre-Firecrest 808 and Zipp disc on my P4, and never had an issue in cross winds (but never raced in any really bad conditions).
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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.. because of the interaction between the parts of the whole system some frame manufacturers recommend wheels for lowest measured drag [in the wt] // very generally .. ENVEs fit well in modern frames .. HEDs are all & race day wharp wheels .. ZIPPs need DT Swiss hubs if they have to roll around the globe .. and there are so many others with specific specs ..

___/\___/\___/\___ the surfboard of the Kurpfalz is the road bike [classic mec + rim] .. oSo >> Older, and faster ..
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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It seems generally, that x-spokes (4-spokes e.g.) are used in timetrials in professional races.
I wonder why triathletes ignore this fact, and always choose spokewheels.
When I would buy a new wheelset, it would clearly be a disk behind and an x-spoke on the front.
As an exception, for very windy conditions (Hawaii, Lanzarote) I would mount a lower rim spokewheel.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [longtrousers] [ In reply to ]
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Any particular reason for this rule? It seemed from reports a while back that unless you were nearing 50kmph then the interaction of yaw/wind/spoke count/rim depth/whatever other term people want to throw around, then the tri/x/5 spokes are slower than say, top 50-90mm front wheels... Given that most tri races are ridden at 40-ish kmph, it seems that less spokes (well, less than 12) are less popular for a reason?

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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [jaredhartshorn] [ In reply to ]
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I do not have hard facts for my assumption. It just struck me that you see professional cyclists often with x-spokes in the front.
Since disks are faster than any wheel, it also seems logical to me that an x-spoke is faster than a spokewheel. Just an assumption though, as I said.
I do not believe that windtunneltests are revealing in this case, because of the rotational drag discussion which I do not want to start here. Track-tests would be interesting in this case.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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On my P5d I have Zipp 858/disc. I have been riding Zipps since the late 80s (about when they started). I have had about everything they have ever made (wheels) and have never had any problems. They have always been responsive on questions. Until something is really proven better, or the go downhill I suppose, I will probably stay loyal to them. BTW, I also train on Zipp 302s on the P5d and I am a bit surprised just how much I am enjoying those wheels.

David
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Disclaimer: I have personal and professional relationships with many athletes, vendors, and organizations in the triathlon world.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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Enve has a lifetime warranty which is nice... even lifetime crash replacement I believe.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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You might as well ask whether there's a consensus on which political party is best.

Paraphrasing what someone from FLO once said:

"The differences between non-aero wheels and aero wheels is big, but the differences between aero wheels of similar depth are relatively small, and there are too many variables (course/whether/frame/rider) to say one brand/model is always better than another. Pick an aero wheel set you like, and race."

The chances of you losing a win/podium/KQ because you chose Enve over Zipp, or Zipp over Enve, are pretty damn small. Just pick the set that you like and race.

"They're made of latex, not nitroglycerin"
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [longtrousers] [ In reply to ]
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longtrousers wrote:
It seems generally, that x-spokes (4-spokes e.g.) are used in timetrials in professional races.
I wonder why triathletes ignore this fact, and always choose spokewheels.
When I would buy a new wheelset, it would clearly be a disk behind and an x-spoke on the front.
As an exception, for very windy conditions (Hawaii, Lanzarote) I would mount a lower rim spokewheel.

It takes a pretty low yaw angle for those to be quicker. World Tour and high level amateur TT riders are racing at speeds well above the winners of full IM's. Meaning angles that are in the ballpark for those wheels. Sure, some are point to point TT's, but some have some elevation also and the WT guys are still above 30mph. With parts going downhill (with high actual windspeeds vs downwind) well exceeding 30mph. Or, even shorter prologue TT's that are only a couple miles. Those guys will do those little prologue TT's close to 500w.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [gary p] [ In reply to ]
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gary p wrote:
You might as well ask whether there's a consensus on which political party is best.

Paraphrasing what someone from FLO once said:

"The differences between non-aero wheels and aero wheels is big, but the differences between aero wheels of similar depth are relatively small, and there are too many variables (course/whether/frame/rider) to say one brand/model is always better than another. Pick an aero wheel set you like, and race."

The chances of you losing a win/podium/KQ because you chose Enve over Zipp, or Zipp over Enve, are pretty damn small. Just pick the set that you like and race.

And just like that, this thread was over.

- Jordan

My Strava
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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Take the front rotor off :) I'm only slightly kidding, but the data suggests that anything with rotors is quite a bit slower than anything with rotors :)

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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [cmscat50] [ In reply to ]
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cmscat50 wrote:
Take the front rotor off :) I'm only slightly kidding, but the data suggests that anything with rotors is quite a bit slower than anything with rotors :)

Ahahahaha!

You can have these discs when you pry them from my cold, dead hands!

(And it's a bit shameless, but I've been really loving the Flo 90's.

-Eric
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [kerikstri] [ In reply to ]
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kerikstri wrote:
Enve has a lifetime warranty which is nice... even lifetime crash replacement I believe.

This is the reason I just switched from Zipp to Enve. I cracked a Super 9 disc and the replacement cost was hardly a discount. I would train on cheap wheels and switch over to Zipps on race day. Now I can run my Enve 7.8s as training and race wheels with little fear with that crash replacement policy. I'm 5'10 175lbs FOP biker and have bent 2 HED wheels and Zipp disc on descents so that warranty is a big plus in my eyes.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [burnthesheep] [ In reply to ]
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burnthesheep wrote:
Or, even shorter prologue TT's that are only a couple miles. Those guys will do those little prologue TT's close to 500w.

Just finished reading Bradley Wiggins book, when he won the tour he would talk about settling into 460 watts for the individual time trials. 😲
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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el gato wrote:
Thanks Thomas. I'm decently big/heavy (6'0", 155-160 lbs) so riding a 808 on the front in cross winds hasn't been a huge concern, but I hear you. I was previously riding a pre-Firecrest 808 and Zipp disc on my P4, and never had an issue in cross winds (but never raced in any really bad conditions).

Well crap, is 155-160lb considered decently big/heavy nowadays?
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [gromaton] [ In reply to ]
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gromaton wrote:
burnthesheep wrote:
Or, even shorter prologue TT's that are only a couple miles. Those guys will do those little prologue TT's close to 500w.


Just finished reading Bradley Wiggins book, when he won the tour he would talk about settling into 460 watts for the individual time trials. 😲

Yeah, it's bonkers. And the likely powers for the individual pursuit, whew.

Sometimes a TT workout for me is to just go bash around town sniffing out KOM's. Most stuff in town here is 3min or less. So, all out all ya got. Dig till ya finish, till ya stop, till ya puke.

I'll say, it's both exhilarating and terrifying to lay out over 400w on the TT bike even for that short of a period of time as 2 minutes. Especially downhill a touch.

One or two in town are 1min segments and less. For that super short period of time, tossing out 500, 600, 700w on a TT bike is just silly business. It hurts, but when you finish a little hit you're smiling ear to ear while you recover.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [gromaton] [ In reply to ]
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gromaton wrote:
burnthesheep wrote:
Or, even shorter prologue TT's that are only a couple miles. Those guys will do those little prologue TT's close to 500w.


Just finished reading Bradley Wiggins book, when he won the tour he would talk about settling into 460 watts for the individual time trials. 😲


Didn't Wiggo crank about 440w average when he took hour record?

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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [TJP_SBR] [ In reply to ]
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TJP_SBR wrote:
el gato wrote:
Thanks Thomas. I'm decently big/heavy (6'0", 155-160 lbs) so riding a 808 on the front in cross winds hasn't been a huge concern, but I hear you. I was previously riding a pre-Firecrest 808 and Zipp disc on my P4, and never had an issue in cross winds (but never raced in any really bad conditions).

Well crap, is 155-160lb considered decently big/heavy nowadays?

This 190 pound guy was thinking the same thing. They need to adjust the classification for Clydesdale eligibility.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [TJP_SBR] [ In reply to ]
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TJP_SBR wrote:
el gato wrote:
Thanks Thomas. I'm decently big/heavy (6'0", 155-160 lbs) so riding a 808 on the front in cross winds hasn't been a huge concern, but I hear you. I was previously riding a pre-Firecrest 808 and Zipp disc on my P4, and never had an issue in cross winds (but never raced in any really bad conditions).


Well crap, is 155-160lb considered decently big/heavy nowadays?

Bigger than some, smaller than others ;-)

Not judging (LOL) just saying that I think I'm big/heavy enough to be able to manage an 808 on the front in the conditions I race in.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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There is data to show that both brands are faster than obsolete box section aluminum wheelsets. But they aren't really THAT much faster. If the difference between them and non-aero wheels is so small, the difference between the two brands is very likely not measurable -- probably within the margin of error of whatever testing system is being used.

I would lean toward ENVE based on the reliability of the hubs (whichever option you choose) and the warranty. But I'm not sure anyone can prove that they're faster than the Zipps (or that they're not).
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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el gato wrote:
TJP_SBR wrote:
el gato wrote:
Thanks Thomas. I'm decently big/heavy (6'0", 155-160 lbs) so riding a 808 on the front in cross winds hasn't been a huge concern, but I hear you. I was previously riding a pre-Firecrest 808 and Zipp disc on my P4, and never had an issue in cross winds (but never raced in any really bad conditions).


Well crap, is 155-160lb considered decently big/heavy nowadays?


Bigger than some, smaller than others ;-)

Not judging (LOL) just saying that I think I'm big/heavy enough to be able to manage an 808 on the front in the conditions I race in.

I'm always in the 152 to 158 range depending on hydration level and how many dumps I've taken that day. I have done training rides on disc/trispoke with decent wind and so long as the wind isn't like a light switch you can get your "gangsta lean" going on.

I'm not an aerodynmacist either, but the quote above about "similar tech at similar speeds and similar depths"......yeah, I can see it's not going to matter a super lot unless you do some funny business to improve stuff at stupid slow yaw angles (like, way into double digits). I really notice a lot of the Zipps and some companies depend heavily on that 15 deg+ area to make the line showing their wheel on the chart to "shine". Then, once you get single digits everything is so clustered you can't even tell which line is which.

That's all great, but the % time I'd spend at those angles is low if I do TT and not tri.

I don't think folks realize what the actual forward speed to side wind speed ratio would need to be to get to some of those big double digit yaw angles.
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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [burnthesheep] [ In reply to ]
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If you're going 40kph and the wind is 12 kph straight from the side (90°), then the apparent wind angle is around 17°.
Since most wheels look about the same at low yaw, then it is exactly those outlying apparent wind angles that will make the difference in your overall time.

Andy Tetmeyer (I work at HED)

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Re: Any consensus on which wheels are fastest? [el gato] [ In reply to ]
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I am not sure why you would consider wheels with a 19mm internal width. Josh Portner was talking about tire width for road probably settling around 28-30, which is going to look like a lollipop on a 19.

The HED Vanquish might deserve a look. Cannondale licensed the rim profile for the pier Knot wheels and their bike was the only disc road bike that was as fast as the rim bikes in the recent Tour test s.
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