When you get the media together to show off a new wheel line, then put your people in t-shirts that say, ‘The Fastest Wheels On the Planet’, you better have the product, and the numbers to back it up. As Bontrager unveiled their new D3 line of wheels at Kona recently, they had the t-shirts, and incredibly, they seem to have the numbers.
What numbers? How about a 50mm tubular, the D3 Aeolus 5, that produces 10grams less drag than a 58mm Zipp 404 Firecrest? A shallower wheel that is faster than the most talked about new wheel in years. To be fair, these are numbers from Bontrager themselves and the speed at which these tests were done was not disclosed. If the speed in the wind tunnel was 50kph, then they are the fastest wheels for Fabian Cancellara, if it was 40kph, they are the fastest wheels for everyone. We will be getting our hands on a white paper with that information very soon, so stay tuned to the pages of peloton for a full review.
So, how did they do it? The profile is wide, and looks similar to the Firecrest shape, with a slightly sharper trailing edge. Bontrager appears to be the latest manufacturer to scrap the NACA profile. The D3 stands for Dual Direction Design, meaning the rim was engineered to provide an aero leading edge as the tire slices the wind up front and as the interior diameter of the rim becomes the leading edge as the wheel rotates. The width of the rim helps this happen with realistic 23mm tires and also improves cross-wind performance by eliminating the negative pressure build up on the leeward side of the rim. This is the much hyped yaw angle performance, and according to Bontrager’s numbers, the 50mm out performs both the Zipp and HED equivalents. Again, Bontrager has agreed to provide us with all of their data very soon, and we will be digging into this much more deeply. The wider. Blunter shape also makes the wheels easier to handle in cross winds, not just faster.
The rims are made at Trek’s Waterloo facility out of their OCLV carbon and hand built as well. The result of this is wheels with no weight limit at all. The line up of these new wheels is comprehensive, with 4 depths and 5 wheels in all; the Aeolus 3 tubular at 35mm, the Aeolus 5 at 50mm, both tubular and clincher, then the Aeolus 7 and 9 at 70mm and 90mm respectively. The Aeolus 5 50mm clincher is the wheel that will probably move the most units, and like the rest of the line has proprietary hubs with DT Swiss internals. TheAeouls 3 is most likely the next wheel Bontrager will take clincher.
Stay tuned to pelotonmagazine.com and the pages of peloton for a full review very soon.
Aeolus 5 D3 Clincher
Weight Limit: None