Where to invest .... speed wheels or power measuring device?

Lots of talk about off season training and planning. So with that in mind, I’m curious on thoughts with respect to investing dollars (in the form of upcoming holiday gifting :slight_smile: ) when it comes to cycling equipment. Up for discussion is:

Speed Wheels or a power meauring device

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

I need to start dropping hints now!


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I would vote for a Power Meter if you are talking about road cycling. Here is why:

  • In wind tunnel tests, having an aero helmet is more important (i.e., faster) than aero wheels for aerodynamic purposes. Crazy right? Not as well known (maybe because selling wheels generates more profit than selling helmets), but this is well documented in a research performed at MIT. While on the topic, gloves are a real drag!!!
  • Light, aero wheels are still a great investment for the bike, but I would get a power meter first, because in my opinion training with power indoors and out will make you faster than the aero gear.
  • In addition to training, a power meter will allow you to pace yourself outdoors, gauge your efforts, and overall know yourself better as a rider.

Curious about others’ opinions on the topic!!


My husband bought me some power tap wheels this year - I can’t believe I went so long without knowing my power output. Love them!!

I would get a power meter. BUT, maybe you can get both if you find some used gear. You can get 1y old used carbon wheels for 50% off. And likely the same for the power meter. I highly recommend the Quarq power meters. They are more expensive, but are excellent!

Used equipment makes so much sense. Especially if you can buy it from someone you know or from someone who knows someone.


With respect to the speed wheels, do you always train with them or save them for the extra boost on race day? I see many triathletes training with their speed wheels on all the time and I always question whether that’s beneficial or not. Needless to say, I have to work extra hard to keep up with them in group rides, but feel there’s some benefit in training my body harder and then get the “free speed” on race day when it really counts. I know there’s a need to train with speed wheels to get the feel – but all the time??

Looking for great comments from this amazing group!

Martha- if you are referring to carbon wheels with wider rims (not the disc wheels for Time Trials), I’d ride with them all the time. I have them on my two road bikes and never change to heavier wheels. The wheels make a difference but it is not THAT much of a difference to be the equivalent of training harder. In fact, you will notice that cross-winds will be harder with deeper wheels, and you will need to get used to having to keep your bike stable in these conditions.

In addition, you should ride and train with the same bike/setup that you will use on race day as much as possible. Just to give you an idea, at the end of August I “retire” my road bike and do all my rides and outdoor workouts on my gravel bike in preparation for cyclocross. Next year, I plan in riding my gravel bike even more throughout the year.

I have carbon wheeles with wider rims (yeah it is good I learn english here :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) but I do not like them. If it is a little bit windy i think it is dangerous to ride in a group because the wind blows me left and right.
I change to light carbon wheels with smaller rims when it is windy and to my wheels with wider rims when there is no wind or because it looks so good on my bike😍

I would prefer to invest in power meter first.

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Power meter. You buy speed (wheels) and get that increase once. Data (meter) lets you tailor your training over and over again for consistent improvement.

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I ride with carbon wheels all the time. They are very durable. I’ve never broken a wheel (but have broken almost everything else on the bike). I’m looking for every possible advantage and carbon wheels do help. But, you will not get them and see a 20w improvement or ride 2mph faster. You will be able to accelerate faster and will get less tired on long rides. Maybe you will see a small improvement in speed, but not much.


Related question- what about investing in a power meter for my outdoor bike vs upgrading my trainer (Kinetic Smart Control) to a direct drive trainer? I need to shop for my own cycling gear and make recommendations to Santa.


You are reading my mind here. I am also considering upgrading my Kinetic road smart nonErg to a direct drive or get a gravel bike.

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If I had to decide I would buy an indoor trainer because I cycle indoor 90%.
But if you really like to cycle outdoor and do outdoor training most of the time… The choice could be different :wink:


I’mm planning to get a power meter next year - since we train with watts and cadence, I want to be able to focus on the same IRL - my Bolt will only give me watts if i get a power meter - I stopped looking at mph a couple of months after i started working with @Coach_Theia and it really made a difference - my first real IRL with hills and my clipless shoes, i had a major panic attack watching the mph (go down) - after that I took mph off and put watts on the screen - so for 2020 i want to be able to actually see the power

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Excellent points! When I got my dream bike last year (Moots Routt, with handbuilt wheels, Zipp Firecrest 202s), I splurged (even more!) on these carbon wheels because we do a lot of climbing. If anything, I’m riding faster than ever before even though this bike replaced a Cervelo RS that is a few pounds lighter and I’m a few pounds heavier. The carbon wheels make a BIG difference on climbs, but all the rest of my improvements go to…you guessed it…@Coach_Theia :star_struck:


Oh! The gravel bike! I want that, too!

If most of your riding time is spent on Zwift, then a direct-drive trainer is an excellent idea. It makes a big difference in that it more accurately reflects the difficulty/resistance and pedal stroke you encounter/do outdoors. Plus you don’t have to worry about your tires getting worn out or slipping. It also has more accurate power reading - which at first might mean a lower FTP than what you had with a wheel-on trainer. But that last part is not a big deal…

Having said that… a gravel bike is also an awesome idea! It opens up a new world, a world outdoors with no cars… and many cool events pretty much everywhere in the country. So hard to chose!!

Maybe a trainer AND a (used) gravel bike? :grimacing:

I just got power pedals! They are comfortably sitting in their box, waiting to be installed (I don’t have the tool to do that). I ended up getting the DUO. I am looking forward to “see” how big a difference there is between my two legs.