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When we introduced the 81mm deep 808, we saw it mainly as a time trial and triathlon wheelset. It did pretty well in those disciplines, netting a Kona IM world championship with Normann Stadler and the fastest Tour de France time trial in history with David Zabriskie. But lately we've seen the 808 more frequently at road races. Fabian Cancellara, no TT slouch himself, has ridden the 808 to victory with his trademark last-kilometer solo attacks at the Tour de France and Milan-San Remo and it was Fabian who told us, “The 808 is the new 404 for me.”
We're not ready to say that officially, but we will say that the fully redesigned 2009 version is the fastest road racing wheel ever. The new fully toroidal tubular rim uses design cues from the 1080 and Sub 9 development to further reduce the drag by 8-25 grams over the original 808. The new shape yields to a savings on the road of 2-7 watts of power for a pair of wheels at 30mph, not to mention the real-world benefits of added stiffness and improved braking due to a slightly wider rim and angled brake track.
At 1462g per pair with 16/20 front/rear spokes, the new 808 Tubular is finding a home with more and more triathletes and road racers. Maybe Fabian is right, after all.
Check out the 2008 808 Tubular