I'm not shooting any messengers on here, but one thing that annoys a bit about aero wheel tests is, what the hell is a 'standard' wheel these days? The tests usually compare an 'aero' wheel to a standard one, but as far as what most people are riding, there's no standard alu wheel any more. Maybe in the 'old days', when we all raced on 28 or 32-spoke Open CD4s, Omegas or MA2s, the comparison was much more relevant, but now it (the comparison) has lost a HEAP of meaning.
And, even worse, a lot of tests still use a 36-spoke box rim as the comparison! Who the hell races, or ever rides, on 36-hole box rims any more?!?!! They might as well use a 64-spoke dragster wheel off a kids' bike!
Then, the people in the "my-deep-wheels-make-a-huge-difference" camp jump on the relatively large difference between their 404s and the 36-spoke wheel, and run with it, saying they're riding with a definite advantage. What, then, if
90% of people on here said they ride with Eurus or DAc24s (for eg), which are only a handful of watts slower than 404s? Does the argument for deep carbon rims go out the window?
And another thing: people who SWEAR that they can notice a difference with deep wheels!! PARLEEEEZ!! With all the other things that can make a real difference to speed on the road, such as the teeeeniest change in wind or road gradient, people tell me that thet can feel that their aero wheels are rolling ~.5kp/h faster. Gimme a break! I tell ya right now, I can't tell any difference when I put my Flashpoint FP60s on; the only thing I notice is how much they flex and how crap they handle in crosswinds
The only thing I might
concede if my arm was twisted, is that perhaps some of the heavier deep rims hold more momentum, and this could be what people notice. Some deep alu/carbon rims are heavy: my 2006 Flashpoints are about 595g each, which is hell of lot more than some of the light rims used by people on this forum. I'm not sure if it was my imagination, or that I was having some good rides, but I occasionally felt that the brick-like rims on my old Mavic Cosmic Pros (38mm-deep alu) held speed better than my shallower rims.