looking at getting 50mm front +88mm rear Clincher 700c Carbon fiber road bike racing wheelset....my question is for the same price i can get 88mm front instead of the 50mm...what is the difference? why would i need a 50 over an 88? i do olympic and some half irons. This year I signed up for IMAZ and that is the ultimate goal. any input would be appreciated. Thanks
Coming from a triathlon background (mainly olympic distance) I should say that deep carbon wheels (+60 mm) will really benefit you over long distances if there is a really weak head/side wind. I´m currently using 50 mm tubular wheels for training and racing, and just ordered a set of climbing wheels in order to deal with hilly events.
The main problem with deep carbon wheels is that you could have some issues regarding bike control when it is windy out there. For the case of having 80mm front and back it could get really tricky (in the case of windy conditions) because the cross wind could push your wheels sideways and this may result in undesired steering, this could also happen if a car or truck passes you. Personally I´ve had such problem with my 50 mm wheels. When you use a deeper wheel on the back and a less deeper wheel on the front (80,50) this compensates the control issues a lil bit, as less wind force is to be applied on the front wheel, while keeping most of your weight over the saddle and allowing you to stay in control of the bike.
I know deep carbon wheels look amazing, but honestly I´ll go with the 80/50 wheelset, unless you are planning to race them and different depth on wheels during the event are forbidden. In such case I´d get 50 or 40 mm wheels. It also depends on what kind of races you are doing, and specially if drafting is allowed (except for IM), in which case the deep wheels will not benefit you as much.
I hope this gives you some idea of what kind of factors you might consider before putting the money on the table.