Checking out some serious statistics from the 2014 Ironman World Championship in Kona! It’s very interesting, besides the actual finishing times and splits, what is counted at these races. As triathletes every detail is taken into consideration when it comes to weight, aerodynamics, time, speed, etc. When you look at some of the facts, they can get easily jumbled up in the marketing and the hype. Some facts are hard to ignore, though. Check out the wheel count from the 2014 World Championships:
That is quite a staggering statistic. It’s one thing to nearly own half the field of racers, it’s another to have 7 times more wheels out there than that of the second highest brand. This tells you something that an advertisement or magazine article can’t do…proof is in the pudding. If you are looking for the fastest, smoothest, strongest, and (maybe) prettiest wheel on the market, then the choice for most triathletes (and those racing at a high level of competition) is Zipp. Zipp is definitely the overall dominator when it comes to carbon wheels.
Another interesting piece of information is the fact that the top woman, Mirinda Carfrae, and the top 3 men,Sebastian Kienle, Ben Hoffman, and Jan Frodeno, respectively, at Kona in the 2014 race were all on Zipps. What even struck us as more interesting within that was that all four of the aforementioned triathletes were riding carbon clincher technology rather than tubular wheels and tires. This rose our eyebrows a bit, so we went to the source. The answer for ‘why’ was simple; the potential savings of time from a carbon clincher versus a tubular wheel was not worth the risk in a flat situation. As majority of us know, the carbon clincher (CCL) is a simple tube change rather than an entire tire swap like on a tubular wheel. If a rider got a flat on a CCL the probability of them salvaging a race is very good, where as the tubular scenario, although not a game ender, is a much timelier process and could change the final outcome more drastically.
Of the top 5 bikes raced at Kona in 2014, Gear West Bike & Triathlon has three. Trek, Felt and Quintana Roo offer up some of the best triathlon specific bikes.