Bontrager’s range of Aeolus carbon fibre wheels has been updated and is now lighter, with a wider internal rim width – while tubeless-ready and disc-specific options have also been added to the line-up.
The Aeolus is Bontrager’s flagship wheel, available in depths of 35mm, 50mm, 70mm and 90mm, in both clincher and tubular formats. Regardless of the depth, the Aeolus is based around Bontrager’s D3 (Dual Direction Design) rim shape, which considers both the tyre and the rim as a leading edge cutting into the wind.
The rim has a fashionably fat external width of 27mm, but the rim’s leading edge is shallower and not as blunt as something like Zipp’s Firecrest profile. Bontrager say this increases aerodynamic efficiency at higher yaw – or crosswind – angles, and improves the stability of the wheel.
We’ve previously reviewed the Bontrager Aeolus 3 D3 carbon clincher (that’s the shallowest in the range) and been nothing but impressed – so how does the new line-up differ? First up, while the D3 rim profile remains the same from the outside – and so the Aeolus retains its aerodynamic qualities – the internal rim width has been increased to 19.5mm from 17.5mm, which should give the tyre a wider footprint, and Bontrager say that will increase ride comfort and control. Wider tyres (that’s 25mm and above) are all the rage, thanks to reduced rolling resistance and more comfort, but they work best on a wide rim which can provide a stable and aerodynamic footprint.
The weight has also been dropped by approximately 110g and the Aeolus 3 D3 tubular is the lightest wheelset in the range at a claimed 1,150g, with the clincher version a little heavier at 1,356g.
All wheels in the clincher range, from the Aeolus 3 to the Aeolus 9, are now tubeless-ready using Bontrager’s TLR system, previously only offered on a number of the American firm’s aluminium clinchers. We’ve covered the proposed benefits of a tubeless-ready setup before but, to recap, you are able to run a lower tyre pressure, which in turn offers more comfort and – potentially – grip, without increasing the risk of pinch flats. After all, there’s no tube to pinch and the use of a sealant should seal minor cuts and punctures before you lose too much air from the tyre.
Tubeless wheels and tyres have become standard fare in the mountain biking world but have yet to gain widespread, erm, traction on the road, though the choice of tubeless-ready wheels and tubeless tyres is steadily growing. Easton launched the first tubeless-ready carbon clincher, the EC90 Aero 55, in 2013, and Bontrager’s line-up significantly increases the choice.
That’s one trend covered, then, but Bontrager have also introduced four disc-specific Aeolus wheelsets, with the Aeolus 3 and 5 now available as disc options, in both clincher (again, the wheels are also tubeless-ready) and tubular formats. Riders worried by the cycling industry’s uncertainty about whether quick release axles or thru-axles are best for disc-equipped bikes needn’t worry, with Bontrager adopting interchangeable axles to future-proof the disc-specific models.
Bontrager Aeolus D3 wheel line-up
Bontrager Aeolus 3 TLR D3 clincher (claimed weight 1,356g, £2,099.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 5 TLR D3 clincher (claimed weight 1,440g, £2,099.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 7 TLR D3 clincher (claimed weight 1,608g, £2,199.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 9 TLR D3 clincher (claimed weight 1,812g, £2,199.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 3 TLR Disc D3 clincher (claimed weight 1,454g, £2,199.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 5 TLR Disc D3 clincher (claimed weight 1,558g, £2,199.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 3 D3 tubular (claimed weight 1,150g, £1,899.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 5 D3 tubular (claimed weight 1,295g, £1,899.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 7 D3 tubular (claimed weight 1,375g, £1,999.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 9 D3 tubular (claimed weight 1,620g, £1,999.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 3 Disc D3 tubular (claimed weight 1,150g, £1,999.98)
Bontrager Aeolus 5 Disc D3 tubular (claimed weight 1,295g, £1,999.98)