There was an article on Cycling News early this week about the wheels used by Wiggins’ in the Dauphine’s mountainous stage 5. A few years ago custom stuff used to be common place in the professional peloton but increasing sponsorship money, high-resolution cameras and the Internet have, for the most part, stopped this practise.
There were a few things I found interesting about the wheels covered in the article, especially the ‘spare’ set atop the team car which I don’t think were ridden in the stage. The Tune Mig 45 / Mag 150 hubs are exceptionally light but for some reason Sky choose to use DuraAce quick release levers which weigh 86 grams more than, say, the Tune DC16 skewers even in their (heavier) mountain bike version with a titanium front shaft. It interests me that hub weight was prioritized over skewer weight, despite the Tune skewers working well and being very safe (I use them on a couple of my personal bikes)
Another interesting observation is that the spare wheels don’t meet the UCI’s wheel rules which disallow handbuilt wheels with rims over 25mm in depth. The Hed S3 rims (which are not sold as rim-only by the way) are 33mm deep and not really that light.
The wheels which were used (or the elliptical chainrings) on Wiggins’ bike are not legal either since the UCI doesn’t allow any modification to components, even removing decals.
But do these UCI rules mean much? HTC used an array of non-standard wheels and illegal wheels such as Cavendish’s DuraAce hubs laced to Zipp rims and illegal helmets like the one used to win the Worlds. At the Dauphine Saur-Sojasun’s Corima wheels are not on the list either.
But back to Wiggin’s wheels. I think this is the first time Chris King hubs have been used in a ProTour event. United Health Care use a similar combination but only at a domestic level, and Santa Cruz Syndicate use King hubs and Enve rims on their downhill bikes. I can’t see what spokes are used but they look like DT Swiss’s bladed Aerolites.
This fascination with light wheels is especially interesting considering the current market trend towards aero rather than weight. In my opinion many ‘aero’ parts are just an marketing excuse for making things heavier. Sky has put a lot of money into aero research so there must have been a reason for the light but non-aero Enve25 rims?