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One of the most effective upgrades you can make to go quicker is to fit aerodynamic wheels, and that means going deep. The V:Race:88 wheels from VO2 Cycling are a bit of a rarity having 88mm deep rims that are also full carbon clinchers.They aren't cheap but are certainly competitive against the opposition.
The profile of the V:88s is a V-shape but with a flatter section towards the brake track rather than the fashion these days of a more rounded, wider rim shape. That doesn't seem to affect the ability of the V:Race:88s to hold speed when out on the road. Above 25mph they come into their own and just roll; they sound amazing too.
Compared to my own usual set up of a 58mm deep front wheel and rear disc the V:88s accelerated quicker and felt much faster over the rolling terrain of various local club time trial courses. Without like for like conditions this may not mean much but riding these courses for the last four or five years on all sorts of different kit I can feel the differences.
Handling in a race against the clock isn't always of the highest priority, the courses are usually straight and not very technical, though even in windy conditions the V:88s never struggled with being buffeted about, which is pretty impressive considering their depth.
If you're not a dragstrip fiend the 1930g weight won't slow you down in the hardrider events either. Okay they aren't the best climbing wheels in the world but they ascend a damn sight better than that figure would have you believe.
Coming back down the carbon braking surface and included pads do a good job of keeping the speed in check without being too grabby when the heat builds. Considering the torturous cable routing of my time trial bike has got the braking power was actually very impressive.
The full carbon rims take the sting out of the road surface, feeling beautifully smooth when running with 23mm tyres at the 128psi maximum pressure limit. You don't sense any vibration getting through or crash from bump to bump which is really going to make a difference on longer distance races of fifty miles and above.
The hubs add to the smoothness, spinning smoothly and practically silent with quick engagement of the pawls as you race away from the timekeeper. The two-cross, 24-spoked rear hub is 11-speed Shimano/SRAM compatible so, if you run Campagnolo on your time trial rig you'll need to use one of the conversion cassettes from the likes of Ambrosio. The front has 20 spokes laced in a radial fashion.
Overall the VO2 V:88s are a great all round set of time trial or triathlon wheels that are well built and smooth running. Being 11-speed compatible they're pretty future proof, and the external nipples allow easy truing without the need for special tools. They stayed true through the test period in all kinds of terrain and road surfaces so hopefully fettling shouldn't be necessary.
On the road they feel fast: lighter and quicker to accelerate than my 58mm and disc set-up certainly and more usable on hilly technical courses.
You can get wheels of this depth for a lower price from the likes of Planet X (although the V:88s roll nicer than those) and others but you'll have to go tubular. Taking the performance argument out of it clinchers are always going to be more practical. Full carbon clinchers are expensive and with the likes of Zipp and FFWD's models coming in at more than twice the price of the V:88s shows what good value they are for £999.
You get titanium skewers chucked in with the brake pads and the option of changing the decal colours.
Fast aero wheels that are relatively light and very well built; good value for full carbon clinchers
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Make and model: VO2 Cycling V:Race:88 wheelset
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Perfect for riders who want to take their time trials and triathlons to the next level. Our 88mm rims have an extremely aerodynamic profile and although extremely stiff, they are very smooth and comfortable to ride." is what VO2 have to say and I'm inclined to agree. They are stiff yet supple and certainly feel very fast indeed.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Full carbon fibre clincher rim
*11psd compatible (Shimano/SRAM fitment)
*20 front / 24 rear spokes
*128psi max pressure
*110kg rider weight limit
*Titanium skewers / carbon compatible pads included
No creaks or groans form the rims and they remained true. Hubs are super smooth and kept the rain out.
Very impressive straight line speed and controllable enough for technical routes.
No issues whatsoever.
A decent weight for such deep rims.
Shock absorbing feel from the carbon construction.
Impressive value compared to the clincher competition but more expensive than tubular versions on the market.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really worked well in all conditions you are likely to find yourself racing against the clock.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The all round usability in varying terrains.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
High price compared to tubular competition although I can understand the extra structural complexities involved in a clincher rim.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I've used a lot of deep section wheels over the years on both road and time trial bikes and I'd happily say the V:88s are up there with the best considering the price. They ride more like a pair of 50mm rims making them very versatile. Overall build quality is impressive too.
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!