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I have to note at first that I'm new to road cycling. I cycled mostly as a commuter before.

I'm looking into upgrading my wheelset. I read some very good threads here on choosing the right wheelset and I got more or less clear idea on how to choose the rim depth. But one thing still remains unclear to me:

I understand that deeper the rim more aerodynamic advantage you get. But at the same time you can be blown off your path with a decent blow of a cross wind. What if I use 38mm (or less) deep rim for a steering (front) wheel and 60mm (or even more) for a rear wheel. Apparently I could preserve bike control abilities and gain additional aerodynamics. Looks like a perfect win win solution. But why wheel manufacturers never sell this kind of wheelsets then?

Can you please explain what is good about this combinations and what is not?

Have a good day!

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    That sounds like a good set up, for all the reasons you've stated. On my road bike I ride 6cm rims front and rear usually, but I also bought a 4cm front wheel for windy conditions. I think you need to bear in mind that this is the high-end of the market you're talking about, and wheels are often sold singly rather that as a pair, so I reckon the manufacturers just expect people to buy the front and rear rims separately. My 6cm rims I bought as a pair, but it wasn't a lot cheaper than buying 2 wheels.
    – PeteH
    Sep 1 '14 at 19:19
  • Make sure your on-bike spare tubes have valves long enough for your rear wheel.
    – Criggie
    Jul 11 '17 at 7:49
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I wouldn't worry too much about crosswinds with 60mm depth. Unless you are a very light rider or live somewhere really windy!

Each wheelset handles crosswinds slightly different due to their shape/profile. So it's worth reading the reviews.

One thing to bare in mind is what kind of riding you do and how fast you ride:

  • If you ride in a bunch and shelter behind people you probably won't get much benefit. Lighter wheels rather than aero might be the way to go in order to accelerate out of corners and respond to surges.

  • If you ride alone or do a lot of time trials riding at 30kmh+ then you should benefit more from the aero aspect of such wheels. If you ride slower than this then the case for an aero wheelset will be less as drag is proportional to velocity squared.

They do look (and quite often sound) the business in my opinion. This is probably a significant factor for most people buying a set (it was for me) of aero wheels! I've since converted back to more regular rim depths as I'm not sure I got the benefit out of the aero-ness for the additional weight and cost. (I used to do quite a bit of TT and triathlon, nowadays I do more hills and ride in bunches much more often.)

It's a personal thing but I think different sized wheels look odd. Other than that, I can't really think of many downsides to mixing rim depths. You're obviously getting less aero enhancement from your front wheel, which is the point, and your front wheel does cut through the wind in front of you. That, and that it might be more expensive buying two wheels in different sizes than a matching wheelset.

It is generally thought to be true that you can get away with a deeper section wheel on the rear as that's where a lot of your weight is but I think typically deeper section than 60mm - I'm thinking of triathletes with a 1080 on the front and a disc wheel on the back.

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  • Very good reply! The problem is I'm a noob and I don't have a style yet, but I will take this into account. Thanks!!
    – LoomyBear
    Sep 1 '14 at 15:06
  • would you recommend using equal rim depths? what it would be 50, 60 or which? As I mentioned I'm new to the sport but so far I'd like to go as fast as I can )) weeeeee
    – LoomyBear
    Sep 1 '14 at 15:10
  • I'd go along with most of this, but I would say that crosswinds can play significant part, even with <60mm rims.
    – PeteH
    Sep 1 '14 at 19:25
  • @LoomyBear Best to read reviews of the wheels themselves and decide what your budget is. Which wheels are on your short list? I had Mavic Cosmic Carbonnes - I think they are 53mm - and I rode them hard for over two years and I loved them. They're a strong wheel (I'm 95kg and no issue with them going out of true) and I can only remember a couple of times that a gust of wind caught them that I took notice of. I am a bigger rider, but I was never blown off-course or off the bike! Personally I think having the same rim depth looks better, but that's my main reason for suggesting it :)
    – adey_888
    Sep 1 '14 at 23:56
  • @adey_888 Yes I'm looking into Cosmics at the moment. Thank you so much for the information! I'll go read reviews in the meanwhile ;)
    – LoomyBear
    Sep 2 '14 at 21:47

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