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Wind Tunnel Tested: Five Aero Wheelsets

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Jan 30, 2013
  • Updated Feb 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM UTC
Photo: Scott Draper


ROAD TEST

Aero testing is great, but bike races aren’t a math equation. We road tested these five contenders to gauge their ability to translate wind tunnel performance to the real world.

Bontrager Aeolus 7 D3 Clincher
$2,700, Bontrager.com

Roll it: For a glassy ride

Keep looking: If you want snappy braking and sprinting

Braking: Stopping power left a little to be desired. Instead of braking force slowly increasing as the lever is pulled, the Aeolus 7 wheels seemed to “slip a bit” through the pads, reported a tester, until he fully clamped down on the wheels. Full-force stopping power was good, however.

Cornering and acceleration: There is a tiny bit of sway in the wheels when diving into a corner or during a dead sprint, but this subtle flex is imperceptible under more moderate riding conditions. The wheels’ ability to swallow road roughness inspired the confidence to stay in the aerobars through swooping corners.

Road feel: Road vibration is almost non-existent. Whether riding on chopped pavement or fresh asphalt, testers reported the wheels “swallowed roughness and felt glassy smooth,” earning praise as the smoothest-riding wheelset in the test. The wheels’ ability to dampen vibration could be a major advantage over long rides.

Overall: Fantastically smooth on the road, and outstanding performance in the tunnel, effectively tying Zipp for the best results.

RELATED: Bontrager Debuts Carbon Clinchers

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FILED UNDER: Bike / Gear & Tech / Hi Tech Upgrades / InsideTri

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at Ahersh@competitorgroup.com.

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