• USD
  • AUD
  • CAD
  • EUR
  • GBP
  • SEK

What Road Rim Depth Do I Need?

Road rim depth is one of the most asked questions for first-time buyers. What depth to ride on, and what are the pros and cons? The answer isn’t so simple, as it depends on your riding style.

To simplify your decision, we’ll take a look at the three S’s: Stability, Stiffness, Speed.

Stability: U-Shape or V-Shape Profile

The stability of a wheel is affected primarily by rim depth and profile. The deeper the rim profile, the more aerodynamic the wheel will be, however, the trade-off is that the deeper the profile, the more it will be subject to getting knocked around by crosswinds. For lighter riders (under 150lbs) this can prove to be an obstacle.

Aero rims come in two profiles: V-shape which has been phased out at Light Bicycle, and U-shape which has been determined to offer better aerodynamic performance and less influenced by crosswinds. Note: the claimed V-shaped rims on our website are not the traditional V shape; in fact, this type is between V and U.

AR56-56mm-deep-30mm-wide-V-shaped-carbon-road-hooked-rim-profile-R45-45MM-deep-25mm-wide-carbon-rim.jpg 56mm-u-shaped-30mm-wide-road-bike-rim-45mm-deep-rounded-carbon-rim-profile.jpg

Stiffness: Efficiency or Comfort?

Nothing makes as large an impact on wheel stiffness as the rim depth - a deeper rim is usually stiffer and responds more quickly to pedaling forces. This makes deeper rims more efficient since less power disperses as the wheels flex. However, shallower wheels are more comfortable to ride, especially on rough surfaces since the rims absorb more bumps and vibrations. If you are a commuter, ride rough roads or gravel, then you’ll likely prefer the forgiveness of a shallower profile.


Speed: Aero or Lightweight Rims?

Shallower rims, while lighter, are not necessarily faster. Consider rotational weight, aerodynamic performance, and system weight if you want to buy a faster wheelset.

Lighter or more aero? A deeper profiled rim is more aerodynamic yet heavier, while a shallower rim, lighter, more comfortable and easier to handle. That being said, the benefits of an aerodynamic rim will generally offset the marginal weight gains that come with a deeper profile. If you are riding or racing competitively, then prioritizing aerodynamics becomes paramount. An independent engineer has done some aero tests to find the fastest bicycle wheels on deep rims among which LB AR46 and AR56 rims are rated well.

Inertia or rotational weight also matters. Generally, when two wheels weigh exactly the same, the one with more of its weight percentage at the hub (lower inertia) will be accelerated more easily. It will feel faster than the wheel that has more weight (higher inertia) at the rim. Hub weight matters far less than you might think for a road wheelset.

What Depth is Suitable for You?

Now consider these variables:

1.The terrain you’re riding

2.Rider weight

3.Cycling experience and skill

4.Riding event types

Picking the correct rim depth should be as much about choosing one that is comfortable and confidence-inspiring than it is about choosing one that is just as fast as possible. An experienced triathlete may opt for 88mm-deep rims because typically the cycling portion of a triathlon takes place on a relatively straight and flat course with very little (if any) group riding. However, if that same rider were preparing for their first Gran Fondo, they may be best suited for 35mm-deep rims since the more shallow rim will be more comfortable and easier to control in a tight group. Once again, consider the 3 S’s (Stability, Stiffness, Speed) when asking yourself the four variables above, and you will know what to choose.

AR36-36mm-deep-28mm-wide-carbon-rim-AR46-46mm-deep-28mm-wide-700c-road-rim-AR56-56mm-deep-aero-30mm-wide-carbon-rim.jpg AR36-36MM-DEEP-AR46-46MM-DEEP-AR56-AERO-DEEP-CARBON-DISC-RIMS.jpg

If you have any other questions about rim depth, leave a comment and our sales team will be happy to help.



Con 2020/09/17

Hello I have a pair of old campy Black neutron hubs that I would like to reuse The hole configuration for the front hub is 22 hole radially spoked and the rear is this 24. Non drive side radially spoked. Drive side is is crossed x 1 Could a carbon Rim clincher tubed 35 or 45 mm be drilled for the front hub? Could I send the hubs to you for building up as complete wheel sets and you deliver C

LightBicycle 2020/09/18

Hi Con, We can drill the rims with 22H and 24H for you. Are all spoke holes evenly spaced on the bike rim? Thanks, Lightbicycle


Please leave your name here.

E-mail is required for further contact.

Please enter a message.

Get in touch

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions on our products or other issues.

Please leave your name here.

E-mail is required for further contact.

Please enter a message.

We use cookies for a better experience. Learn more.

Your Cookie Preferences

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. You may choose which types of cookies to allow and change your preferences at any time. Disabling cookies may impact your experience on this website. You can learn more by viewing our Cookie Policy.

  • Cookies required to enable basic website functionality.

  • Cookies used to understand how the website is being used.

  • Cookies that are used to enhance the functionality of the website.

  • Cookies used to deliver advertising that is more relevant to your interests.

Aceept All Cookies
Save Preferences
Reject All Cookies
Save Preferences
Reject All Cookies
Accept All Cookies