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by Matt Wikstrom
September 21, 2012
There are hundreds of wheels on display at Interbike this year. More manufacturers are now offering full carbon clinchers, wider rims, and many have updated their hubs to accommodate Shimano’s new 11-speed cassette.
All of Shimano’s 2013 road wheels will be 11-speed compatible, so an extra spacer will be required if you want to use 8-, 9-, or 10-speed cassettes on these wheels. At the top end of the wheel range, the profile of Dura Ace C50 and C75 carbon tubulars has been modified to improve aerodynamics. The Dura Ace carbon tubular range, as well as C35, C50 and C75 carbon laminated clinchers, will use a new spoke lacing pattern (termed OptBal) to improve rigidity and durability of the rear wheel (twice as many spokes are used on the drive-side compared to the non-drive side, just like Fulcrum’s 2:1 system). For the low profile Dura Ace C24 wheel set, a tubeless-ready version will be available in 2013. Finally, a budget C50 wheelset, the RS80 carbon laminated clincher, has been added to Shimano’s lineup, which weighs in at 1762g.
Here's a look at the profiles the Dura Ace carbon tubular rims, C50, C75, and C35. Note the rounded profile of the C50 and C75 rims that have been revised top reduce their aerodynamic drag.
A cross-section of the carbon laminated clinchers from Dura C24, C35, and C50 wheelsets.
Zipp introduced their 202 Firecrest carbon clincher at Eurobike last month. Now they’ve added Shimano 11-speed-compatible cassette bodies to their entire range of road wheels. For those of you that own Zipp wheels with black or grey hubs, a 11-speed conversion kit is available too, however, there is no word on what options will be available for owners of silver Zipp hubs. Hopefully we’ll have more information after the Ausbike show next month.
HED have joined the group of manufacturers that offer a full carbon clincher. They have named their new range of carbon clinchers Vanquish, and the Vanquish 7 was on display at Interbike. This wheelset features 60mm tall rims that are 26.5mm wide and weighs in at 1543g.
An overview of most of the HED wheel range.
HED introduces its Vanquish range that feature full carbon clincher rims.
A look at the hubs that will be used for Vanquish wheelsets.
3T Mercurio carbon tubular wheels employ a curious spoke arrangement: the heads of straight-pull spokes are slotted into the walls of the carbon rim, while nipples are used at the hub flanges to tension the spokes. Highly polished hubs are used front and rear and three rim heights are available: 43mm, 63mm and 80mm.
Visit the 3T cycling website for more information.
Straight-pull spokes slot directly into the rims, minimising weight at the circumference and simplifying replacement should any spokes break.
The spokes of the Mercurio wheelset are tensioned at the hub flange.
Australian readers may be unfamiliar with Cole wheels, however the company has been manufacturing wheelsets since 2001. Their range comprises aluminium, full carbon, and carbon-aluminium hybrid clincher and tubular rims for road, track, cyclocross and mountain bike use. Most of their wheels employ a unique and patented spoke system termed DSA (Dynamic Spoke Alignment) whereby the heads of straight pull spokes are anchored in the hub by balls or slotted cylinders rather than attaching directly to the flanges. This strategy allows higher spoke tension, improving the performance of the wheels.
See the Cole wheels website for more information.
Take note of the blue balls that are used to anchor the straight-pull spokes at the hub flange.
This is Cole's second Dynamic Spoke Alignment strategy: slotted cylinders inserted into the hub flange.
Reynolds unveiled a new range of full carbon clinchers at Interbike. The Aero range of wheels are a high performance wheelset that offers three rim heights: 58mm, 72mm and 90mm. All Aero wheels benefit from Reynolds’ latest DispersiveEffect Termination profiling that achieves lower aerodynamic drag by smoothing airflow. The wheels have also been rendered a little less susceptible to cross-winds and are 26.2mm wide. There is also a nifty rubber cap that fits over the valve stem to eliminate rattling in the rim.
This is the Aero 58 wheelset. Note the odd valve stem hole: a rubber cap fits into the hole to cushion the valve stem against the rim.
Reynolds joins the market trend towards wider road rims by offering 26.2mm wide rims in their new Aero range.
Easton has added a full carbon clinchers to its huge range of wheelsets. The new AC90 full carbon clincher wheelsets are available with 38mm or 56mm tall rims. They’ve also started introducing wider rims to their wheelsets, such as the EA90 RT, which is 22mm wide and tubeless ready.
See the Easton website for more information.
Rolf Prima wheelsets feature very low spoke counts that are arranged in a distinctive paired patten. The company offers full carbon tubular and clincher rims along with carbon-aluminium and all aluminium rims to cover all price-points. They have also started adding wider rims to their range, so-called Delta rims that are 22mm (aluminium clinchers) or 23mm (carbon tubulars) wide.
See the Rolf Prima website for more information.
All DT Swiss hubs and wheel sets will be available with Shimano 11-speed-compatible free hubs in 2013. DT have also introduced 21mm wide aluminium clinchers to their range that can be had as individual rims (RR415) or wheels (RR21 DICUT). In addition, the rear rim has offset spoke holes to help improve the uneven spoke tension between the drive and non-drive sides of the wheel.
See the DT Swiss website for more information.
The new RR21 DICUT wheelset features 21mm wide rims, an offset rear rim, and comes in black or white.
All DT hubs will be Shimano 11-speed-compatible in 2013.