More commonly seen on time trial bikes, the 808 wheelset from Zipp is increasingly a popular choice for road use.
With the 82mm-deep rims, these are the deepest of the Zipp wheels that can be used for road racing. Made up of the Zipp 420 rim combined with the 182 and 82 hub sets, and laced with 18 DT spokes at the front and 24 at the rear, the 808 wheelset is an impressive sight before it even gets put onto a bike.
Handling was at least as good as with the lower-profiled 404 or 202 wheelsets. Even on high-speed descents the bike still felt very stable. The wheels really came into their own when riding on the flat or on gently rolling roads. Once they were wound up to a speed of around 45-50kph, they just seemed to be pushing you along with minimal input.
When climbing, the wheels were extremely nimble and zippy. On short steep climbs, there was no noticeable flex or drag, and on long, steadier-gradient climbs, the wheels rolled well and quickly adapted to any changes in speed or gradient.
Initial doubts about handling were forgotten after several hours of riding. The aerodynamic advantages of the deep-section rims were evident as soon as a certain amount of speed was reached on the flat, and even on slight hills. The wheels tested remained true after some battering on poor roads.
Although maybe not ideal for gale-force conditions, simply swapping out the front wheel for one with a lower profile would remedy that while leaving you with a fast rear wheel. RRP £1,300 (pair)
X-TREME Blade Elite (83mm deep) £1,095, Specialized Rapide Star Carbon (48mm deep) £1,299.99, or the Reynolds SDV 66t (66mm deep) £1,299, could all be considered alternatives.
Contact: Saddleback, 01454 299965, www.zipp.com