A Quick Guide to Deep Section Aero Wheels

A Quick Guide to Deep Section Aero Wheels

If you want to ride fast, then your road bike could do with a set of deep section aero wheels. Deep section wheels are more aerodynamic than standard box-section road bike wheels. In simple terms, this will make you faster for the same amount of effort. As well as making you faster, there is not a road bike out that doesn't look cooler with aero wheels.

Quick Guidance

  • Shallow or deep section?

  • Mid-section versus deep section

  • Deeper rims

  • What should I buy?

Shallow or deep section?

Traditional road bike wheels are commonly referred to as box-section. These wheels tend not to offer any aero advantage and will lead to air stalling at the front of your bike, creating a sizeable aerodynamic drag.


On a bike out the box, you'll tend to find these style of rims fitted as standard. That is because they are generally cheaper than aero wheels. You do also get high-end box-section rims. These rims will be constructed from carbon fiber and will be designed to be lightweight. They will be your choice if you like climbing.

Quick Guide to Deep Section Aero Wheels

Deep section rims now tend to come in two varieties—mid-section, which is 40 mm to 60 mm. Then deep section, which is any rim above 60 mm. 

Mid-section versus deep section

The deeper a rim gets, the more aero it gets. The more aero your wheelset is, the faster you'll go for the same effort. Why, then, would you want to pick a 40 mm mid-section over an 80 mm deep section?


An 80 mm deep rim will be heavier than a 40 mm deep rim. If you ride a variety of terrain, you might then find that the 40 mm rim balances weight and aero advantage at a better point for yourself. One of the reasons for this is the most significant jump in aero advantage is from a box-section rim to a 40 mm deep aero rim. Going above 40 mm starts to bring marginal gains.


The 40 mm rim will allow you to start cheating the wind and not be a huge weight penalty for climbing. Your climbing will also prefer it if you buy a carbon fiber deep-section wheelset. As carbon fiber technology moves forward, many midsection wheels will weight the same as aluminum box-section rims.

ican aero40

ICAN AERO 40

Deeper Rims

If you are riding flatter routes, routes where lightweight isn't as much of a priority, then going deeper will be of more benefit for you. Deeper rims will also be of huge importance if you want to start competing at triathlons or time trials. The marginal gains here could be the difference between 1st or 3rd in a race.


You will also be wanting to ride in a place without too many crosswinds if you're going to ride 60 mm+ rims regularly. 60 mm+ deep section wheels work well if you want to keep them as "good" wheels and use them for racing or if you're going to smash that local KOM on Strava. 

deep section wheel

What should I buy?

If you're a recreational rider, riding somewhere that is hilly or has a lot of crosswinds, then grab a set of 40 – 60 mm deep section wheels. If you want to race, live somewhere flatter, or wish to destroy Strava times, then get a set of 60 mm plus deep section wheels.

  • Oct 19, 2020
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 0
Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published