SRAM S80 Carbon Clincher

SRAM S80 300x300 SRAM S80 Carbon Clincher


When you start to get into 80mm deep section wheels, you are talking about some serious racing. Deep sections are pretty specialist wheels, designed for maximum aerodynamics, and they aren’t for everyone. They certainly aren’t going to be your only wheelset. That means that I know we are talking to serious race riders and triathletes when we talk about the SRAM S80 wheelset.

So what are they for?

80 mm rims like the SRAM S80 aren’t just about a big flat surface to smooth air flow. There’s a lot more science behind making aero wheel work well, and SRAM hasn’t skimped on research. You’ll notice the Zipp inspired ‘bulge’ to the rims, which makes for heightened aerodynamics, but also means these wheels cope with wind at a yaw angle, and so won’t get jumpy or shudder in crosswinds. That makes them a perfect choice for triathletes, who can find themselves without the shelter of the peloton, and who want a wheel that stays on task even in gusty conditions. Time trialists who don’t have to worry about a lot of climbing, cornering, or sprinting, will appreciate they way these wheels cut through the wind and save valuable watts. As a rear wheel, mixed with an S40 or S60 in front, the S80 will be an asset in flatter road race courses too, if you’ve got the power to get yourself out in front in a breakaway.

Why the SRAM deep section?

There’s quite a bit of competition for the cash of race riders and triathletes, and the deep section rim market is a great place for the manufacturers to battle it out. They know at this level riders are willing to spend a bit, and most are expecting to shell out $2500 or more for a quality aero wheelset. Now SRAM has turned that market on its head with the S80, because at only around $1500 for the pair, these wheels are starting to get into the realm of the keen amateur. Now every aspiring racer or triathlete can have a flashy deep section wheelset to bring out for the flatter courses and less windy days. And flashy they are too – these wheels look fantastic. Given that manufacturers assume a high-brow clientele for deep sections, it’s refreshing to find an aero wheel with a clincher option lie the SRAM S80. If you’ve been dreaming about stepping up to a serious et of race wheels, but can’t be bothered with the hassle and risk of tubulars, then the SRAM S80 is perfect for you.

How do they ride?

Of course, deep sections give you a lot of room for decals, and while they certainly need to look good, they also have job to do. Nobody buys deep sections if they are worried about weight, but the SRAM S80 are perhaps the least competitive when it comes to grams, weighing in at around 2000g, so significantly  heavier than the 80mm Zipps. That said, they are around $1000 cheaper, and that money can buy you quite a few grams elsewhere on your bike a whole lot easier. You won’t give up much other than weight with the SRAM S80. You get a very stiff and responsive wheel, although no deep section is going to be the first choice for high power sprints or chasing down a breakaway. Likewise these aren’t for riders that a weakest on the climb, where every gram matters. That said, once you get these wheels rolling, the super smooth hubs and asymmetrical rear wheel spokes transfer your effort pretty well from the pedal to the road. Don’t let anyone tell you that SRAM has just stuck new decals on the low end Flashpoint wheelsets they got when they acquired Zipp. The SRAM S80 are a cut above, and you’ll notice that in the smoother, quieter SRAM hubs. Since you won’t lose much – hardly anything in fact – in drag either from the air or from the hub, enjoy your descents. For deep sections, the SRAM S80 is a descender’s dream, cornering with stability, and the alloy braking surface can take a beating from  standard brake pads – if you decide you want to slow down.



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