FIRST RIDE: BONTRAGER AEOLUS XXX 2 WHEELSET

Dedicated road racing and riding yet durable enough for multi-surface

The crew from Waterloo is adding new members to their Aeolus family. Created with the goal of improving the Aeolus D3 design, the Aeolus XXX line features three unique rim depths, 28mm, 47mm and 60mm. The wheels are available in clincher and tubular designs, with all rim brake models available immediately, as well as the Aeolus XXX 2 disc brake model. The Aeolus XXX 4 and Aeolus XXX 6 Disc models will be available in June Bontrager tells us. The XXX line is made in America and maintains classic Bontrager quality standards. Set to debut with Trek-Segafredo at the Tour of Flanders, we were able to get our hands on the 28mm XXX 2 TLR Clincher and get some first impressions.

THE SETUP

To get the most out of the XXX 2 TLR design, we set them up with Bontrager R3 TLR 700×26 tires. Unlike Mavic and other competitor’s TLR wheel/tire combo, the tubeless setup process was painstaking. The process took an unacceptable amount of time and required us to use rim tape and valves that were not included. After a few frustrating attempts and lots of spilled sealant, the tires held air and ballooned up to a measured 28.3mm wide, thanks to the impressive 21mm internal rim width. On the bike the wheels look stunning, with minimalistic laser-etched branding surface that stands out when comparing to other branded wheel technologies.

THE RIDE

We rolled out into the rain and intended to keep the ride short. The wheels accelerated with ease, highlighting the XXX 2’s low weight of 1305 grams. With 65 psi in the tires we felt confident and comfortable rolling through puddles, and the wet surfaces. Hitting some rough road, the Bontragers dampened most of the vibrations and produced confidence-inspiring feedback to make even the most hesitant rider feel more secure. Still out in the rain, braking was efficient, with comfortable modulation and response that rivals wet alloy rim braking performance. The rain began to let up and the wheels inspired us to hit a couple more climbs. The wide rim encouraged us to push our limit descending, hitting unusually high speeds around corners and we even got a response of “So that’s how that descent should look.”

PUNCHLINES

  • Unacceptable tubeless setup time with the supplied kit
  • Confidence inspiring rim width and braking surface
  • Made in the USA

STATS

  • Laser Control Track braking surface
  • 21mm internal rim width
  • DT-Swiss hub internals with 36 point star ratchets
  • 18 front, 24 rear DT-Swiss Aerolite spokes
  • Includes TLR rim strip, valves, and Black Prince brake pads
  • No rider weight limit
  • Price: $2399.98
  • Weight: 1305g, 1433g w/ rim strip and valves

www.trekbikes.com

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