Research shows a lack of confidence has a negative effect on your performance. As a cyclist, having confidence in your equipment will help you perform better when it matters. If you are doubting your wheels, keep reading to get our advice.
Causes For Concern
After speaking to thousands of cyclists over the years, we've noticed most cyclists worry about the same things.
- I don't have the best wheels so I'll never be able to compete.
- I'm worried my wheels are not safe.
- I'm worried I've picked the wrong wheels for a particular event or conditions.
Building Your Confidence
I certainly can't promise to take away all of your concerns but, let me give you some advice based on years of experience. Hopefully, it will help ease your mind.
You Don't Have The Best Wheels
I start most of my presentations by telling the audience that equipment alone will not win a race. To perform well at an endurance event, you need a strong engine. That said, if you have been working on your engine, the right wheels do help you get across the line faster.
Cost is the biggest reason people do not have high end wheels. If your finances are tight, you'll be happy to know that you do not need $4,000 race wheels to get a massive aero advantage.
Many companies offer more affordable race wheels nowadays. Even still, we recognize that $1,000 race wheels are still out of budget for many people. If you find yourself in those shoes, don't worry, there are still great options for you.
Our best advice would be to purchase a front aero wheel and to install a wheel cover on your rear wheel. This set up will provide very fast results at a much lower price. With this combo on your bike, you can put your aerodynamic concerns to bed.
I'm Worried My Equipment Is Not Safe
Nothing slows you down faster than thinking your equipment might fail.
If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to do is have your gear inspected by a professional. A qualified bike mechanic will help you identify any potential safety problems with your gear. If your mechanic gives your equipment the green light you can ride confidently knowing you are safe.
If however, there is a safety concern with your equipment, stop riding it immediately. Replacing expensive equipment is a pain but, your safety is not worth the risk.
On top of overall equipment safety, we recommend regular maintenance on your wheels. This will keep them in good working condition and prevent or identify any potential problems.
I Picked The Wrong Wheels For This Race
People often think they've picked the wrong wheels for two reasons.
- My wheels are too deep for this windy course and I'm afraid I will crash.
- I could have picked faster wheels for this race and I'm losing time.
My Wheels Are Too Deep, I Might Crash
The deeper your front wheel, the more challenging it is to control in windy conditions. If you have to come out of your aero bars to control a 90 mm front wheel in your next triathlon, your wheel is too deep.
In our experience, most athletes can confidently stay in the aero bars riding a front wheel that is 60 mm deep or less. For this reason, we suggest most athletes select a 60 mm front wheel. Doing so will allow you to optimize aerodynamic performance without being blown all over the road.
If you are overly sensitive to wind, then we'd suggest a front wheel that is 45 mm or less.
We recommend a rear wheel that is as deep as your front wheel or deeper.
I Could Have Picked Faster Race Wheels And I'm Losing Time
Honestly, if you have have any type of race wheels on your bike, you are getting 99+% of the advantages. I wrote an article that explains this concept in detail, but the short version is as follows. Upgrading from stock wheels to race wheels can save you more than 6 minutes in Kona. The difference between a front FLO 60 and 90 in Kona is 1 second.
If you have race wheels on your bike at a race, stop worrying about the small details. Have confidence in the fact that you are getting 99+% of the benefits, and let your engine take care of the rest.
I hope this article helps you have little more confidence the next time you ride your bike.