Pro-Lite Gavia 50mm deep rim wheels – £899
Pro-Lite (PROfessional LITEweight) produces an extensive range of frames, wheels and components using the very latest technology and materials, with road, track and time-trial disciplines catered for. The brand covers all manner of cycling equipment, from road and time trial frames to stems, handlebars, saddles, forks, cranksets and wheels.
Deep-section wheels are perhaps the most in demand; with many of the professional peloton opting for such wheels unless it’s a hilly stage, demand is growing among the amateur ranks for the same layout.
Pro-Lite’s Gavia wheels come in a variety of tastes but we’ve been testing the carbon/aluminium clincher offering, which has a 50mm high modulus carbon section with an aluminium braking surface. Aero spokes, 20 front and 24 rear, add to the wheels’ ability to slice through the air, and at their centre sit funky looking Bolzano hubs. The nipples are concealed inside the carbon fairing to reduce drag.
The unique hubs are a Pro-Lite exclusive and form the heart of the wheelset. Inside the CNC machined hubs are fully sealed EZO bearings, two in the front and four in the rear for smooth running. The freehub features a grease port for easy maintenance.
The wheels come supplied with Pro-Lite branded carbon lever and titanium rod skewers and with branded wheel bags to keep them safe when you’re not using them or transporting them to races. Furthermore, all of Pro-Lite’s wheels are hand built at their facility where“each spoke is checked six times for tension during the building process” and they apparently “soak the nipples in oil for 2 weeks before building.”
In use the wheels display a high level of stiffness, no doubt attributable to the larger flanges of the hubs and the high spoke tension their design is claimed to permit. However, at 2.17kg per pair they’re on the heavy side and this is noticeable when winding them up to speed. For comparison, the similar-in-concept Mavic Cosmic Carbon SL wheels weigh less than 1.8kg for more or less the same price, so the Gavia’s are hiding some extra weight. Most likely in the rims, this may be due to the construction process involved in building the carbon and aluminum rims.
Unfortunately this excessive weight does adversely affect their performance, though it’s most noticeable at slow speeds where the weight can be felt through the steering. Getting them up to speed takes a good few more watts than similarly pegged wheels, though once up to speed they maintain a good momentum. They’re surprisingly rapid once wound up, which goes some way to making up for the extra effort it takes to get up to a cruising speed. They proved bombproof during our tests, and when put through a variety of situations coped perfectly well. The aluminium rims, with standard Shimano brake pads on the bike used to test them, proved adept at hauling the bike and rider to a stop.
Available with Campagnolo or Shimano spline pattern freehub body.