Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Bontrager wheels just got a whole lot faster. Today, the Wisconsin-based brand announced three new additions to its flagship Aeolus RSL (Race Shop Limited) line of carbon race wheels, a 51mm, 62mm and 75mm version, which join the existing 37mm version. Additionally, the brand’s second tier wheels, the Aeolus Pro line, which features the same aerodynamic design as the RSL level but with a less expensive carbon material, has expanded to include the 51mm Aeolus Pro 51.
Bontrager introduced the Aeolus RSL line a year ago with an impressive model, the Aeolus RSL 37, which replaced two wheels in the brand’s line by being both lighter than a shallower depth wheel, and as fast as a deeper section wheel—exactly what you want out of an all-around wheelset. Now Bontrager has completely reimagined its design process to create three new deep-section models worthy of the RSL moniker.
Bring on the Computer Modeling
In the recent past, Bontrager relied on relatively simple—emphasis of relatively—two-plane modeling to design its wheels. Now the brand has evolved its process to 3D CFD models, which it ran 24/7 for months, analyzing more variables that affect speed than ever before possible. The results are wheels that are faster across the board than the previous generation wheels, while providing more stability.
Major Watt Savings
The Trek-Segafredo team has already been testing the new generation wheels to some success, with Jasper Stuyven winning Milan-San Remo on them. He rode a 75mm version in the rear and 62mm in the front for the lengthy monument, where aero gains are perhaps more valuable than any other race.
Bontrager’s testing shows that a sprinter like Mads Pedersen can save 34 watts over comparable previous generation wheels in a bunch sprint—30.6 watts of aerodynamic savings and 3.3 watts from lower rolling resistance. All told, that means he finishes 1.6 meters ahead of the pack for the same effort. For a race situation, that’s everything.
All three new Aeolus RSL models feature a 23mm internal rim width, reflecting a broader trend of wide rim widths in modern road wheels. This provides a couple of benefits. First, it makes the transition between tire and rim smoother and more aero. Second, it better accommodates wider tires in the 28mm+ range, allowing them to be run at lower pressures for more comfort, while still maintaining low rolling resistance. The rims are tubeless ready, allowing you to take full advantage of the benefits of low tire pressures.
Like the Aeolus RSL 37 wheels, the new RSL models are impressively light thanks to the use of Bontrager’s premium level OCLV RSL carbon. The 51mm version hits the scales at 1,410 grams per set, while the 62mm and 75mm versions weigh 1,520 grams and 1,645 grams respectively.
Updated DT Swiss Hubs
For the hubs in the Aeolus RSL line, Bontrager turns to the always trusty DT Swiss 240s hub internals, ensuring the wheels have consistent engagement and a fast-rolling ride. The wheels also feature the updated Ratchet EXP freehubs, which help the wheels hit those low weights.
All three new RSL level wheels retail for $2,400 per set ($1,150 front and $1,250 rear)
Sorry, rim brake fans, but all these new models are disc only.
Carbon Care Crash Replacement
We all try to ride safe, but sometimes crashes happen. Luckily, Bontrager’s Carbon Care program offers free repairs or replacement for the first two years of ownership. That’s some reassurance to enjoy your new wheels without constantly worrying about accidents.
Aeolus Pro 51
Aeolus Pro series wheels utilize the same rim design as the RSL level models, but are made with Pro-level OCLV Carbon and DT Swiss 350 hub internals, helping bring costs down. The result is a wheel that gets the same aerodynamic and stability benefits, but at a lower cost, with only a slight weight penalty. The Aeolus Pro 51 is the latest model in this series, joining the Aeolus Pro 37. It retails for $1,300.
More info: trekbikes.com