Performance of NSC Wheels.
Buying carbon wheels for Road and Triathlon applications is an investment that should yield greater <free> speed (apart from better looks), and that is really about both lighter weight and aerodynamics.
Free speed comes as a result of applying your current power to a lighter and more aerodynamic setup - an increase in speed while maintaining the same power output.
Reducing weight and increasing aerodynamics -through both rider style and cycling setup - all contribute to saving time in a race against the clock.
Aerodynamically optimising your position on the bike will let you cut through air faster, so if you are after speed, this needs to be front of mind ahead of bike setup and component selection. Getting this right will allow you to truly capture the full benefits of riding carbon wheels.
The objective matters too - for hills, varied conditions and general road riding, smaller profiles suit better, such as NS38 and NS50.
For fast and flat, time trial conditions or triathlon, aerodynamics are your friend. NS60, NS88, NS Disc and NS Tri-Spoke are your way to go.
Runs were limited to 10 minutes at 220 watts for each of the wheelsets tested. Speed and Power were measured with Aeropod / Powerpod and Wahoo cadence and speed sensors. Tires throughout all runs were the same Continental GP 4000 Clincher at 90Psi. The same rider wore the exact same kit, and rode in the same position (aero position, tucked in).
There was minimal wind and 5-10 degrees Celsius air temp.
- Wheels: Front - Fulcrum racing 5 Alloy and Rear - Shimano RS Ultegra
- Feel: The ride felt solid, although it took slightly longer (than we're used to) to pick up speed and reach the 220W average wattage target
- Average speed: 33.2 km/h
- Wheels: NS38 set / 23mm external width - Novatec hubs
- Feel: The lighter weight was noticeable both at handling and acceleration right away, and higher cadence (pedaling faster) was fairly easier. It also felt a slightly more rigid ride when compared to alloy
- Average speed: 34.7 km/h - Predicted time savings: 1'34" at 20K // 3'07" at 40K // 7'02" at 90K
- Wheels: NS60 set / 23mm external width - Novatec hubs
- Feel: Weight was the first thing to notice, the set felt a bit heavier than the NS38 although still very responsive, and acceleration -even thought it was perhaps a slower than with the NS38, felt quite similar. Sustaining an average output of 220w was easier than with the previous set
- Average speed: 35.0 km/h - Predicted time savings: 1'52" at 20K // 3'43" at 40K // 8'22" at 90K