|Aero wheels- Not aero bag|
Until I was contacted by HED late last year about doing that review, I hadn't given aerodynamics a second thought for gravel grinding, much to my shame. Really, it should be a seriously considered facet of this type of riding when you stop to think about it. I know some riders who have given it serious consideration too. I guess the "aha" moment never sunk in though.
Think I'm goofy? (Well.....okay, I am, but.....) Think about the numbers from a wattage standpoint. If you can save watt expenditures, even if they seem insignificant over shorter distances, that can add up over a longer ride of say- a metric century, or 100 miler. Energy saved that you would have spent on a non-aero wheel set that you could use to your advantage on a longer gravel ride. HED hasn't published data for the wheels I reviewed yet, but for other wheels in the same class that they make, savings are there, and that isn't anything to sneeze at.
This isn't anything new either. Those roadies and triathletes who are reading this are smiling and wagging their heads in knowing humor. They get this stuff, and I think it is rather odd that gravel road aficionados haven't taken to aero wheels in greater numbers. Of course, there are several reasons for this, most likely, but to the degree that it can be of an advantage, (besides the use of aero clip ons), gravel grinders seem oblivious to the possibilities that aerodynamics could have.
One of the reasons could be the perception that aero wheels are too expensive and fragile for this sort of riding. However; with the rims getting a bit wider on the road side, and with materials technology getting better, I see this becoming less of an obstacle. That road wheels are seeing support for tubeless will help as well.
But then again- you've got yer cyclo cross deal. So there is that to think about too. Those guys and gals spend a mint on wheels and stuff. Especially those tubular tires every season.
Then there are tubular tires. What about those for gravel? Ah...........
That's another post!