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In this piece from the April 2017 issue of PELOTON Magazine – dedicated to the art of the climb – the PELOTON Service Course looked at light weight climbing wheels with a disc twist. As more and more platforms turn to disc braking light weight disc wheels will be more and more important. Nothing turbo charges your ability to climb like light wheels (except for losing a few pounds, but that’s not likely, is it?) so here are three of our favorite wheels for climbing and, thanks to the discs, three of our favorite wheels for descending too! To find all our back issues or to get your hands on our new French kit head to our store.
ROVAL CLX 32 DISC
Born from the loins of Specialized, Roval has unfettered access to the Morgan Hill wind tunnel, and its wheels are undeniably quick; but what really makes them stand apart is weight. These things are light and the CLX 32 are the lightest in the family, making them perfect to shave much-needed grams from a disc bike intended to climb. The disc version of the CXL 32 carbon clinchers is just 1,350 grams for a set, beating many rim-brake wheels of similar depth. The dimensions—32mm deep and 28.1mm wide, with an internal width of 20.7mm—make them ideal for the movement to higher-volume tires as well. Add to this the tubeless-ready design and the CLX 32 can shave weight from a pure road bike to an adventure rig taking on rough dirt roads. When Boonen lines up for Paris–Roubaix, we would not be at all surprised if he chooses the tubular version of the CLX 32 Disc—the wheels are that tough. 1,350g, $2,400; rovalcomponents.com
ZIPP 202 FIRECREST DISC
The king of the hill is literally the Zipp 202. It has been winning on the highest mountaintop finishes for almost a decade. The wheel has continuously evolved and last October the Firecrest version of the 202 got disc brakes. Belgian cyclocross wunderkind Wout Van Aert raced them all season long, culminating in victory at the 2017 ’cross worlds, but you can run the clincher version of these wheels to put the legendary 202s’ abilities to work for you, giving your disc climbing rig some more "pop" in the hills. The heart of these wheels is the versatile 77/177D hubs, meaning if you want to tackle some truly terrifying grades the wheels can be fitted with an XD driver to expand gear options to SRAM’s spin-inducing 10–42 cassettes. No climbing wheel is more proven than the Zipp 202 and maybe that’s because it’s so much more than just a climbing wheel. 1,530g, $2,400; zipp.com
EASTON EA90 SL DISC
Easton may be thought of as a cutting-edge carbon company these days, but it was alloy that made it famous, and alloy is still an integral part of the brand’s DNA. The latest EA90 SL Disc takes decades of experience and pours it into an alloy clincher to cut grams, increase durability and improve ride quality. These rims are 27mm deep and the external width of 24mm delivers a 19.5mm internal width, giving them the cutting-edge "wide body" design that pairs perfectly with their tubeless design. While tough enough for the ’cross circuit, the wheels are also just 1,540grams—a very respectable weight for a set of rim-braking alloy wheels and lighter than many carbon disc-braking wheels for less than half the cost. With straight-pull, off-the-shelf Sapim spokes and standard alloy nipples, the wheels are easily serviceable—that is in the unlikely event anything ever goes wrong with them. 1,540g, $950; eastoncycling.com