Member Question: Wheelset Upgrade for Ironman Lake Placid

author : FitWerx
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Member Question

I'm doing the Lake Placid Ironman 2009 and currently on my bike I have Bontrager Race Lite wheels. I was looking into renting Zipp 303's or 404's for race day. The minimum amount of days you can rent the wheels is 1 week, and it cost 250 dollars. I was wondering the amount of time I'll save over the course of the Ironman with the 404's compared to my regular wheels, and if its worth the 250 dollars?

Answer

Wheelset Time Savings
You can expect to reduce you bike time by 4-6 minutes upgrading from the Bontrager Race Lite wheels to the Zipp 404 wheelset for Ironman Lake Placid. The exact amount of saved time will depend on factors such as wind conditions, tire selection, and rider speed, but the savings are always there.

The Bontrager Race Lite wheels have a low spoke count, and for that reason they’re slightly more aerodynamic than a typical 32-spoke box rim. The biggest savings come from the Zipp 404’s patented bulged rim shape that’s been proven to be the most aerodynamic rim shape in the industry. Zipp shares this patent with Hed wheels, and together they’re leading the industry in the most aerodynamic wheelset categories. The bulged rim shape significantly reduces boundary layer separation and turbulence behind the wheels, and this in turn reduces the aerodynamic drag.

Get Good Tires Too!
Also make sure there are fairly fast rolling tires mounted on the 404 wheelset. All too often I see riders with nice aerodynamic race wheels put a pair of tires on there that cancels out a big portion of the aerodynamic savings. You can quickly add those 4-6 minutes of time savings back onto your IMLP bike split by mounting the wrong tire. The bike shop you’re working with should have a good understanding of which tires offer a great combination of low rolling resistance while also offering adequate puncture resistance for that course. Tires such as Michelin Pro3 Race, Continental 4000S, Vittoria Corsa Evo CX, and Bontrager Race X Lite Pro tires are all excellent options that we’ve had great success with for aero wheelsets.

Is it Worth it?
The question of whether or not the upgrade is worth $250 will depend on what’s most important to you. Some triathletes train all year to improve their times by a fraction of that amount and will gladly make the investment in aero wheels, while some triathletes laugh at the thought of worrying about a few minutes when they’re going to be out there all day.

Bontrager Race Lite 

 

Zipp 303 

 

Zipp 404 

 

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date: July 12, 2009

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FitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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avatarFitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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