"Mullet" style wheel setups for the pros in hilly road races? Any aero/simulation data?

As I watched Remco perform his crazy long-range attacks at Liege and again at San Sebastian, I can’t help but notice he’s riding shallow-rimmed climbing wheels (front and rear).

Considering that they aren’t nearly as aero as deeper wheels, it got me thinking is there any aero data on running a deep rear (like 65-80mm deep) and keeping the shallow front (for stability in cross winds and lighter overall weight)? As in, what’s the marginal gain if there is any? It clearly hasn’t hurt Remco any but also wondering if the big aero boffins have run the numbers and simply don’t see any aero gainz from a deeper rear wheel.

Also, I’ve never noticed any pros running a full aero road frame with crazy light climbing wheels (or maybe I missed it). I could also see this working out too with the light feeling of the wheels but maintaining some aero gainz from the frame. Any data on this setup?


Interested in this as well. I had a set of Reynolds 66mm wheels early in my race career and the rear broke JRA and took like three months to warranty. Oddly enough despite the awful looks just running a deep front in crits with a shallow Shimano RS11 rear felt identical to having a 66mm out back.

I always thought about this the other way, deep front wheel and shallow rear. Theory in my head being that the front wheel is far more air/wind exposed, being the leading edge.

The particular use case was for a hillclimb where you could imagine that the aero of say a 60mm 404 would be great, but you don’t want to take 300-400g weight penalty.

Peak Torque has covered this in his YT channel and, for sure, a front aero and shallow rear is more aero than the other way around. However, on big alpine descents (which I have quite a few where I live) it’s basically suicide to ride down these mountains with wind blowing up or down canyons at 25mph (40 kph) with gusts sometimes up to 36mph/(60kph) with a deep dish front wheel.

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deep front, shallow rear. great combo, twitchy front end, draggy rear end.