Fast enough to win a TT, light enough to float over the climbs, but just lacking safety in the crosswinds - a fair price for a good value set of wheels.
Low weight for versatile
Don't handle crosswinds well
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bearJoining the aero arms race can be a slippery slope, but wheel brand Swiss Side (opens in new tab) are offering some enticing options to reduce your drag.
The Hadron Classic 485 rim brake wheel set sit at the cheaper end of the scale available from the Swiss firm, but provide solid aero and weight benefits without dipping into the realms of unobtainable when it comes to cost.
Swiss Side offer three variations in the Classic line and the 485 comes with the lowest aero profile height at 48.5mm but also the lowest weight at 1,691g for the pair.
The other options are the 625 which come in at 62.5mm profile height and weight 1748g, and the 800 which are – you guessed it – 80mm high and weigh in at 1865.
This makes the 485s the most all-round of the Classic options and they really do the job whatever the terrain.
Swiss Side’s aero tech mean this wheels are rapid on the flat while still being light enough to float up the hills, and the relatively low profile makes you less vulnerable in the gusts when compared with a truly deep rim.
That being said, riding these wheels over some of the UK's more extreme terrain did lead to some sketchy moments in the wind, as the compromise definitely comes in the crosswind.
While descending from the crest of a slate valley in north Wales, there was some serious wobble from the front and that kept me from hitting top speed, for fear of a sudden gust sweeping the wheels out from underneath me.
The same happened on descent from the Mendips in Somerset on a particularly gusty day: as my riding partner dropped like a stone I hung onto the breaks for fear of losing grip in the winds. This level of wobble is far from uncommon on a rim around 50mm, but it did taint my experience.
However, the aero gains from these wheels were evident every time I took them out to race on the flats, as they carried me to a handful of time trial victories I'm particularly proud of, including a club 10 where I was able to catch and pass all the riders on TT bikes in front of me, something I hadn't done on my 20mm wheels in the weeks before.
The Hadrons were also plenty fast enough for a 10-mile road bike championships, while falling well within the maximum rim depth in place for a road bike-only TT.
Swiss Side say the 485s will save you 11.8w drag reduction at 45km/h compared with a standard road wheel set.
These aren’t the most comfortable of wheels however, as the stiffness will often punish you when riding on the rougher country roads.
The 485s are tubeless ready with full carbon rims, twinned with DT Swiss 370 Classic Hubs and DT Swiss Aero Comp spokes, with SINC ceramic bearings as standard.
One slight hindrance to the 485s is the narrow choice of tyre size, as these wheels tend to go against the grain of aero wheelsets by recommending that they work best with a 23mm at the front and 25mm at the back, while many brands are opting for 28mm options.
Whilst the £1,208 swing tag is clearly a big investment, with the aero credentials and all round appeal, these wheels are competitive in the market, offering outstanding aero gains while all-round potential making them a solid choice for an upgrade.
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