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Aeolus 3 D3 TLR Disc

Review: Aeolus 3 D3 TLR Disc

scottmares's picture

We Liked

When we got these wheels it was over 5 months until the start of the cyclocross season and that is a good thing. You see we wanted to get lots and lots of miles on these new hoops to see if they are as good as Bontranger is claiming them to be. Initially Of course we were in the honeymoon stages with these wheels as they were light and they rolled up fast. But what do you expect when you put a light weight carbon clincher rim on some super smooth and light DT Swiss hubs! Well its 3 months later and over 1500 miles on them and I can tell you that these wheels are one of the fastest that we have ridden for cyclocross or road for that matter. Scott that's a pretty bold statement! Yes it is. We get to ride all sorts of wheels and based on pure performance we believe that the Aeolus is one of the best off the shelf cyclocross wheels on the market today. here is why...

On the road: The Bontranger Aeolus 3 D3 wheels are nothing but a joy to ride. They accelerate up to speed very very quickly almost with no effort at all. Smooth as silk you will think tapping out the miles. the Rim is a nice balance of aero but not too much mass to roll up and the hub is the top of the line DT Swiss hub. With that combination if you get a set for your road bike you will be in heaven. Because the rim is not deep and does not weigh hardly anything climbing will be actually fun. Well at least for me it was fun and I'm not a climber at 6'3" 175 I don't go up hill fast. i also noticed that the cross winds also didn't bother me as much as they normally would on this type of wheel and again because its not a 45-50 mm cross section there is less of the wind to see and catch.

Out on the trail: Look out and hang on! This where the Aeolus 3 D3 wheel really comes into its own. Most of the high tech & hot wheels for cyclocross now have a 40-50mm cross section. I think we are going to see a change in this. I believe that the new bench mark will be the Bontranger Aeolus 3 D3 wheel. Why? Good question! If we look at how cyclocross is done its turn and jump repeat several times recover on the road section and do the whole thing over again on the next lap. If you have 10 corners in a course that's 10 jumps and 10 accelerations per lap... Less mass to accelerate each lap is a good thing. So over the course of an hour you will save energy by using a wheel with a light rim and smaller rotating mass. Good-by 40-50 mm rims, Hello 25-35 mm rims! So getting back to the trail and the Aeolus wheels... These things rock! They accelerate easier, climb easier and turn easier. So if you put a pair on your bike make sure that you are clipped in because they will roll away without you.

We Didn't Like

The only thing that we didn't like about the wheels was the price tag. Seeing the prices of wheels climb over the years (20 or so) from $400.00 for a set of hand built tubular 32 or 28 spoke wheels to $2,800 for this set is quite a bit. But that also goes to show you how old I am...The wheels that I am talking about are someMavicGL 330 rims with Dura ace hubs and alloy nipples. Back in those days the whole bike was $1,400.

The Final Say

In the though as nails world of cyclocross one of the biggest purchases that you can make is wheels. Rotating weight is a big deal especially if you are accelerating out of every corner every time. That adds up quickly. Think about it if you have 10 corners in one lap and you race 5-8 laps. That's 50 to 80 corners to accelerate out of. That's a lot of getting back up to speed and that means that you are going to expend a lot of energy doing that. So a light weight wheel set that accelerate easily and quickly is something very very desirable. But that aside this wheel set is also quicker and easier to turn because of the less mass it has in the rim. This means that the Aeolustakes less energy to maneuver around things. That also means its quicker too!I think that most if not all of the wheel makers are going to be rethinking their market stagey and even though I don't see the 40 and the 50 mm rims going away. Sure they will be in road races and crits but I Think that a new category of wheel will come into its own. This wheel will be the Bontranger Aeolus 3 D3 and will set a rather high bench mark for the ideal set of cyclocross wheels.

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