As the season approaches and begins, Highflange does a few upgrades to the race machines. James is stepping into the ring with a new lightweight stem (Thor Hushovd edition) and I stepped in with a set of carbon tubulars (Reynolds DV46KT). I took them out for a spin and realized that I had totally forgotten how amazing tubulars cornered.
The tires we decided on were a set of Continental Sprinters with a kevlar sidewall.
I finally had a chance to test them out: my verdict: Aero is real. It might be really placebo-like, but I noticed a difference above 20 mph increasing exponentially. As the wheels spun faster, they seemed to accelerate more easily. At this stage, I have been off the bike for over a month traveling around the world (more on that later!) however the cornering on tubulars was also something to be reckoned with. I was able to approach corners that before caused the michelin pro race tires I was on (in clincher form) to deform with confidence. The tires may not actually corner better, but the confidence they inspire in their stability will have you turning faster as soon as you put them on. I didn’t expect this to be as drastic, however I will definitely be using tubulars in criterium races this year!
Sadly, I am not going to do any training on these wheels, so back to the case they go and back on go my training wheels. They sure do look pretty, though.