A pair of fast, reliable and justifiably priced carbon fiber road wheels are a luxury that riders of all calibers desire to own. In recent years, a growing market has seen more brands emerge and price expectations lowered.
Long time player in the wheel industry, Bontrager, remain on the cutting edge of wheel technology with the continuation of its full carbon, tubeless ready road bike wheel, the Aeolus series. Bontrager claim this series strikes the ideal balance between durability, weight, and aerodynamics.
Recently, Bontrager released an updated version of the wheels, appealing to the all-rounder cyclist who wants versatility out of a carbon wheel. Enter the Aeolus TLR Pro 3. This new wheelset features a few tweaks to the build and a far more attractive price point than its predecessors, and to be honest, many of its competitors.
James Huang, tech editor for CyclingTips gave us his first impressions ahead of putting them to the test.
Better Stopping Power
“The new carbon rims borrow their 35mm-deep outer profile, 19.5mm internal width, and tubeless-friendly tire bed from the flagship Aeolus 3 D3 wheels, and there’s a newly textured carbon fiber brake track for reliable stopping, too” explained Huang, “But instead of being molded in Wisconsin like the Aeolus 3 D3, the Aeolus Pro 3 TLR rims are made in Asia to bring down the price.”
Nevertheless, Bontrager insists that they’re subjected to the same stringent testing requirements as the American-made model, and just as safe.
Not to miss a beat, Huang noted the subtle differences in the build that have perhaps justified the lower price point “The DT Swiss Aerolite bladed stainless steel spokes are utilized here as well, although they’re paired to brass nipples instead of aluminium ones, and laced to hubs built with a conventional pawl-driver driver design instead of the DT Swiss star ratchet setup,” he added.
When comparing the new TLR pro’s performance on the road to its more-expensive big brother, the difference is hardly significant. According to Huang, they offer “the same sense of aerodynamic efficiency at higher speeds, confident braking power (at least in dry conditions), and reliable build quality”.
TLR stands for 'tubeless ready', which sees these hoops come with the addition of tubeless valves, a valve core removal tool, Black Prince carbon pads, and a traditional rim strip.
Huang has a positive outlook for how these wheels might perform when he gets them out on the road. “Provided these early impressions hold true over the long term — literally, in this case — there’s little reason for most riders to spend the premium for the US-made edition.”
Actual weight for the rim-brake wheelset is 1,509g (660g front, 849g rear), plus 137g for the included skewers, and another 135g for the requisite rim strips and valve stems if you want to run tubeless.
Previously a barrier to many buyers, the new and much more attainable price tag is attractive given the level of performance has not been compromised. A disc-brake version is also available, and both retail for US$1,200 per pair.
We look forward to reading about CyclingTips’ experience on the Bontrager Aeolus TLR Pro 3’s in the near future, stay tuned!