>>> I'm certainly not an expert, but I'd say that the 3 or 4 spoke wheels are less versatile than say a zipp 404. I've got 404s and couldn't be happier.
The 3 and 4-spoke wheels, and of course disc wheels, are not useful in crosswinds. The spoked-wheels are ideal in those conditions. side winds are not an unusual occurrence...I'd hate to have a wheel that wasn't ideal for those conditions. I'd did quite a bit of research when I shopped for my zipps....i don't recall all of the info, but I know that the net result was that I felt that the zipps were the best all around value.
>>> HED is a great company and always on the aerodynamic cutting edge. I also love my Rolf Vector Pros-light and amazing hubs-because my big race is Hawaii, I like a lower profile rim.
>>> I invested in a pair of 650 Hed 3's 2 years ago and I swear by them. I only use them for racing so I notice a huge difference when I go from "cast iron" training wheels to the carbon fiber H3's. They also climb really well.I've used them in Half Iron distances on a Quintana Roo and the ride was no problem. The 2 drawbacks I've seen are (1) if you whack a pothole and ding carbon fiber, the wheel is permanently damaged, and (2) I noticed that a crosswind will ***really*** push you so be prepared.
-Testing is unheard of - I've never known a shop to do this.
-The ultimate set up - for the limitations you suggested - would be a Hed 3 rear and a Hed Alp front. AND I'd do a clincher and not a sewup - I can explain why if you are interested.
-I wouldn't do a tri spoke front as it's too difficult to manage in cross winds.
-I wouldn't do Corima as I've seen too many problems with them
-I've never like the way the Xlab looks with the funky curves but who knows
- I don't see many out there.