Vortex wheel range: a lightweight option under $1500

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Vortex wheels has unveiled its updated wheel range featuring the Benchmark, Competition, and No Compromise wheelsets with 40 and 60mm deep clincher, tubular, rim and disc brake options across the lineup. The three wheelsets are differentiated by price, carbon layup, and weight with the No Compromise, as the name suggests, at the top of the range. The No Compromise wheels start at 1060g for the rim brake tubular tyre setup. The Competition wheels are not far behind at 1180g, with the Benchmark wheels tipping the scales at 1399g. Impressively the disc brake, tubeless-ready No Compromise wheelset weighs in at a claimed 1280g.

New to the American market, the Vortex wheels are now in their fourth iteration, having first launched in 2014.

Replaceable Carbon Spokes

Vortex’s lightweight and replaceable carbon spokes (RCS) are at the heart of this weight reduction on the No Compromise wheels. The RCS aero profiled spokes feature hard-die single-shot moulding to create spokes with carbon fibres that run the length of the spoke, from base to head and back again. Vortex claims this ensures a uniform strength throughout the whole spoke. In fact, each spoke is then tested to 350KgF, a level Huangs&Yu say steel spokes would have already failed. 

In addition to this increased strength, Vortex claim the RCS spokes are 40% lighter and 40% stiffer than steel spokes. 

The No Compromise wheels get carbon replaceable spokes and a carbon and aluminium hub.

The rim

The three wheel offerings in the Vortex range all feature a 40mm and a 60mm rim depth option. CFD optimised and wind tunnel validated, the design team focused on aerodynamic efficiency at 10-15degree yaw angles and on improving crosswinds stability. 

The Benchmark wheels are Vortex’s first upgrade option and feature T700 carbon, while the Competition and No Compromise wheels get T800 carbon fibre in the rim construction. However, Vortex says it is an added attention to detail in the layup that “sets these rims apart from standard rims.” Vortex offsets the reinforced spoke holes in the rim, a move it says distributes the tension on the rims more evenly without placing additional forces on the sidewall. 

The Competition and No Compromise rims feature a sealed rim bed for a tubeless-ready setup sans tape, whereas the Benchmark rims are delivered with rim tape applied for a tubeless-ready setup out of the box. Huangs&Yu also balances each wheel with extra carbon fibre opposite the vale opening for a smoother ride at higher speeds.  

The Vortex hooked rims with reinforced offset spoke holes.

The hubs

The Benchmark and Competition wheels feature machined aluminium hubs with 2×1 lacing pattern. In contrast, the No-Compromise rims are constructed from carbon and aluminium to shed a few extra grams. Both hub options feature Vortex’s Fixed Lacing System shaped spoke holes to prevent the straight-pull spokes from spinning and altering spoke tension. 

The Competition and No Compromise wheels are fitted with Enduro’s Zero Ceramic bearings, while the Benchmark wheels get Enduro’s ABEC5 bearings. 

The new Vortex range is available now via Cycling100.com priced at €909, €1,199, and €1,999 for the Benchmark, Competition, and No Compromise wheelsets.