Hailing from Austria are these good-looking Aero 50 tubular wheels from Airstreeem (we’ll make no comment on the spelling).
Airstreeem is the brainchild of former KTM UCI Continental rider, Stefan Probst, who has established a test centre for his products – road, time trial, and mountain bikes, as well as wheels – in Salzburg.
We’ll be testing these 50mm aero hoops in the weeks ahead, but before we get started, here’s a detailed look at the components and construction.
We measured the full carbon rim at 48mm deep and 24.5mm wide, with the latter placing it on-trend with the latest thinking on rim width and aero and rolling efficiency.
The off-centre (‘asymmetric’) spoke bed in the rear wheel is claimed to offer a very narrow triangle in the two-cross lacing, and with it additional stiffness. We’ll find out in the weeks ahead. Previous experience, however, allows us to give an immediate thumbs up to the Sapim CX Ray bladed spokes, 24 of which reside in the rear.
The spoke bed on the rim of the front wheel is symmetrical. The spokes are laced in a two-cross pattern here, as well: a change from the radial lacing we typically find elsewhere. Airstreeem have deployed 20 of Sapim’s finest in this context. The nipples are concealed inside the carbon rim, presumably for aerodynamic benefit – a nice touch.
A carbon brake track is increasingly de rigueur on wheels of this price, and Airstreeem say its claims for the superior stopping power of the ‘flanks’ are supported by extensive tests by respected pad manufacturer, Swiss Stop. Those claims are bold: a 27 per cent reduction in stopping distance from 40mph with “significantly reduced braking temperatures”. We’ll be seeking out the steepest descents of our test loops.
The front and rear hubs have aluminium bodies with straight pull flanges. They revolve on cartridge bearings. The steel freehub is available with Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo compatibility. At this juncture, we’re compelled to mention the carbon-effect sticker wrapped around the barrel of the front hub, presumably to create the illusion of a carbon-centred shell, a la Mavic’s Cosmic Carbone range. Not flattering.
We’ve already identified the spokes as Sapim’s range-topping aero spars. They’re stainless steel, a central component of many a high-end wheelset, and the choice of the discerning wheel builder. Airstreeem a claiming a spoke tension ‘unmatched’ by competitors, and tension equivalent to 135kg of force. Will the ride by pleasingly stiff or jarringly rigid? We’ll find out.
The Airstreeem Aero 50’s come in at 1380g for a pair sans skewers, which we weighed at 61g for the pair (Ti axle front; steel axle rear).
The weight is competitive for wheels of this price and construction (we weighed Enve’s Simon Smart designed 3.4 at 1275 grams, for example, and for those, you’d need to budget an additional £1,000).
We’ll be testing the Airstreeem Aero 50s in the weeks ahead. Check back soon for a full review.