The agony of choice – or which wheel setup is best?
6. June 2022

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Race bikes with disc brakes are finally fully established in the mass start races of the UCI World Tour in 2022. Riders benefit from more safety within the peloton as well as in more difficult riding conditions. In addition, the right choice of wheel not only increases speed, but also riding comfort and puncture resistance on uneven sections of courses. But how do aero wheels differ and what influence do they have on riding characteristics?

It is important to know that up to 8% of aerodynamic drag is influenced by the wheels. The uncompromising aerodynamics of ARC aero wheels can significantly reduce the aerodynamic drag of a racing bike system. Don’t be afraid of higher rims: to ensure that a front wheel with a rim height of 50 or 62 mm does not become less “controllable”, the rim shapes were designed in the development process according to the DT Swiss AERO+ concept, so that the steering moment, i.e. the force acting on the steering and thus the handling, could be reduced compared to previous rim generations. With the 62 mm high rims of the ARC wheels, the Lotto-Soudal team even rode the Tour of Flanders, a terrain with a varied altitude profile. More agility and less weight are conveyed by the Aero wheels with 50 mm rim heights.

The 2022 season also consists of more extreme races: long, fine gravel passages like on the neo-classic Strade Bianche or uncomfortable cobblestone sections at Paris-Roubaix. To better suit these rougher conditions, the pros of the Lotto-Soudal team used the new generation of ERC carbon wheels. A wider rim width of 22 mm allows the use of more comfortable tubeless tires with possible widths of 28-30 mm. Another positive side-effect of tubeless tires is better puncture resistance due to the use of self-sealing fluid in the tires. Aerodynamic optimisation is also considered; the Endurance wheels with rim heights of 35 and 45 mm are characterised by more riding stability and finer, more controllable steering behaviour.

With knowledge and material support, the pro teams riding on DT Swiss have a wider range of wheels at their disposal when it comes to making the best choice for specific races. When it comes to choosing a wheelset for passionate cyclists, the choice of rim height and model should be based on their own preferences and the terrain they prefer to ride. Flat and slightly undulating trails can be ridden excellently with higher Aero wheels. Hillier tours or moderate gravel passages are easier to conquer and control with ERC wheels combined with wider tires.

Once again this year, DT Swiss and Trek Bikes will continue to supporting the Tour de Suisse with Neutral Race Support on all stages. Both ARC and ERC wheels will be used on the Trek bikes.

Find out more about DT Swiss and the latest generation of ERC wheels

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