VB-RW-55-25 TRUE-U Carbon Road Wheels: Round is the New Aero
First Impression Review:
· 3K Carbon
· Size: 700c
· Rim Depth: 55MM
· Rim Width: 25mm
· Spoke Pattern: 20/24H
· Hubs: Optional Powerway R36 (291g) Carbon Hub available for $75 – R13 (284g) also availabe for only $45
· Pillar aero spokes – http://www.pillarspoke.com/p03-1_aero.htm
· Rim Tape & Skewers Included
· Total Wheelset Weight: 1719 grams (Includes rim tape)
· Tires: Vittoria Rubino Pro Slicks – 25mm
AERO? Yeah, I’ve heard that before
When the factory told us that the new VB-RW-55-25 would be as much as 30% more Aero
than any other “AERO” wheels we have ever sold… of course I was very skeptical. That word gets tossed around a lot by everyone in the bike industry. Normally the real aero savings are tiny and marketing more than science drives the demand and usually performance.
Yes, this is just a first-report after a few rides but the AERO qualities of VeloBuild’s new carbon fiber road wheels is very noticeable immediately. The “feeling” is that the wheels find the aero sweet spot is at a lower speed and previous models with a less round profile. With other aero wheel the effect isn’t really felt or present until 17mph+ is sustained. The VB-RW-55-25 wheels seem to start the aero effect much earlier… 15mph perhaps? I have no science to back up that claim… again at this point it’s just a feeling, but I’ve been riding many wheels over many more years and miles than I’d like to count and these seem to fill the claim.
The factory says it’s the roundness of the rims profile and the 25mm width of the rim. Yes, they are very very round. Photos don’t seem to accurately show the roundness. I do know this… after being caught out in a popup thunderstorm I can tell you the side winds effect aero quality is spot on. My old 50mm deep wheels with a more V-shape would have blown me sideways a few times on such a ride.
For this review we have built up the rims with the options Powerway carbon hubs. They are straight pull, carbon shell and feature a interesting spring design unique to Powerway. They drop 114 grams off the the standard option Novatec 271/372 Alloy hubs weight at 405g. The Powerways look sweet with their carbon shells and seem to perform very well. Anytime I can save any weight at all on wheels I’ll go for it if affordable and these hubs seem worth the upgrade.
Braking is very smooth and even on the first ride I detected no hint of that hot carbon smell after a 2 mile steep decent. I wish I had more to say about this but the fact that I don’t perhaps say the most. The braking was spot on.
The ride quality was stiff but certainly not jarring. The VB-RW-55-25 wheelset gets up to speed very quickly and once the aero sweet spot is found they seem to hold speed very well indeed. My early tests have been on the stiffest bike in terms of ride quality in our stable and they still felt compliant.
Next we will test these on the R-058, R-059 frames under race conditions and all type or road surfaces. Check back soon.