First Ride: Princeton Grit 4540

Waves... check.

As the name suggests, the Princeton Grit 4540 is a varying (sinusoidal)-depth carbon wheelset. At the spoke holes, the rim is 45mm deep and in between it drops to 40mm. The tubeless-ready rims are 28mm wide with a 21mm internal width and hook bead. Since there are no spoke holes in the rim bed, tubeless tape isn’t needed and Princeton supplies a 60mm valve.

The wheels are built with your choice of White Industries CLD or German-imported Tune hubs. There are 24 Sapim CX-Ray spokes front and rear with alloy Sapim Secure Lock nipples, but the internal rim has only one drilled hole for the valve. Our wheels came laced to the White Industries hubs with 48 points of engagement. The titanium hub body is offered in Shimano/SRAM, SRAM XDR or Campagnolo with three pawls and 48 ratchet teeth for a 7.5-degree gap between engagements.

White Industries’ hubs are a top quality addition to the carbon rims thanks to their impressive durability and precision.

THE RIDE

Setup and mounting on the 4540 was very easy—both tube and tubeless tires went on by hand—but a floor pump was not ideal for seating the tubeless tire. We got it to work, but since there is no rim tape needed, it also seems like there is a bit more room in the bed of the rim. Tubeless tires with a thicker bead were much easier to seat. The rims are a bit wider than the Token at 21mm but not pushing any boundaries in today’s market.

The White Industries hubs are a thing of beauty and truly elevate the build. The titanium Shimano/SRAM hub body should ensure years of durability; however, the center-lock mount seems just a tad narrow, and we had to adjust the clipper in on most of the bikes. This doesn’t mean they are out of spec; rather, just not as quick to swap.

On the road the Princetons put performance above all and are stiff, notably stiff. Laterally and vertically these wheels felt responsive and rigid, even with 32mm tires. This means that even on endurance bikes you get a race-like feel and a bit more road feedback. Many testers liked that feeling, as it offers the sensation of speed as well as the result.

Flats, high speed, cornering and descending all had one thing in common—noticeable performance uptick. Larger tires (28-32mm) at lower pressure felt very good by letting the tire handle the compliance duties, while the wheelset maintained a constant and stable base. At 1521 grams, the Princetons wouldn’t be confused with ultra-lightweight climbing wheels, but owing to their rigidity they got good marks for hard efforts.

STATS

Price: $2800
Weight: 693/828 (1521)
www.princetoncarbon.com

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