The Tech Team encourages those who need a bike worked on before a big race to get it in asap — we fill up fast prior to big events!
Our experiences and opinions after testing the newest triathlon products out there.
Profile Design is best known for producing high quality bike components such as aero bars, base bars, stems and hydration systems at often affordable prices. Their latest product line introduction is the TwentyFour Series wheels which are available as carbon clinchers or tubulars. “TwentyFour” represents the rim width at the braking surface which is 24.5mm’s and is the new standard width for most high end race wheels. The wheels come in rim depths of 38mm, 58mm and 78mm. A popular wheel set for triathletes is the 58(F)/78(R) combo which is very similar to the popular Zipp 404/808 and ENVE 6.7 wheel sets.
Profile Design claims reduced braking distances in dry or wet conditions over that of other carbon fiber wheels by using their proprietary brake pads and higher Tg resins in their wheels. The brake pads use a specially formulated rubber compound, durometer and friction agent. On the rims, they use a 30% higher Tg point resin than other “high” Tg resins resulting in a rim that can withstand more heat, which in turn leads to braking performance unseen on other carbon rims.
The TwentyFour series hubs are forged from 6061-T6 aluminum, then precision machined with a tolerance of 100th of a millimeter, making them durable, strong and stiff. The freehub has an 18% increase in material strength compared to standard aluminum freehubs which prevents the cassette from digging into the freehub body. This results in better shift performance and increased power transfer.
Profile Design also used Course Modeling and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) in designing their wheels. They mapped the performance of their wheels against historical wind speeds, angles and race day conditions of popular road and triathlon courses and consistently came out with distinct advantages across the yaws (wind angles) most commonly encountered. CFD let them manipulate width, width location, depth and conicity to select the highest performing rim profiles.
I recently had the pleasure of riding a 58/78 carbon clincher wheel set. I found them very responsive and stable. They spun up quickly and held their speed during the ride. What really stood out was the braking- which was excellent- probably the best I’ve felt on carbon or aluminum braking surface wheels. It was dry the day I rode, so I can’t vouch for wet conditions braking which is commonly an issue with carbon braking tracks. Aerogeeks.com reviewed the wheels and said there was virtually no difference in the dry or wet braking and they were “astounded that these could be carbon brake track wheels”. I did read one review on Slowtwitch.com that said the braking in wet conditions when it was below 45 degrees wasn’t as crisp because of the hard brake pads used by Profile. Their recommendation was to use softer pads for those conditions. The day I rode was fairly windy and I did feel a little push on the front wheel at times but nothing out of the ordinary for an aero wheel. It’s not really a concern for me but probably something to be aware of on windy days.
Weight on the 58/78 CC’s is 1724 grams, compared to the Zipps 404/808 CC’s 1740 grams and the ENVE 6.7 CC’s 1601 grams, so there’s not too much difference there.
I’ve ridden Zipps and ENVEs which are excellent wheels and the Profile 58/78’s held their on, which leads me to the biggest difference, PRICE! The MSRP on a Profile 58/78 carbon clincher set is $2050, compared to a Zipp 404/808 carbon clincher set at $2869 and an ENVE 6.7 carbon clincher set at $2900. Enough said?
Mark Wicker is the Inside Out Sports wheel manager, Cary floor manager and a bike fitter. He started doing triathlons in 2000 and has completed 100+ triathlons since then. When not working, he trains using the patented “Wicker” training plan. You can reach him at email@example.com.