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Bontrager Aeolus RSL: its 'fastest wheels ever'

15 Apr 2021
Verdict:

Trek's in-house components brand releases 'off-the-charts faster' carbon wheels made using innovative 3D CFD modelling

Bontrager has launched a new line of super fast Aeolus RSL carbon wheels, boosted by a new design process that the brand says means the wheels 'aren't just faster but represent a step-change in speed'.

In Greek mythology Aeolus is the keeper of the winds and Bontrager says this new generation of wheels is fast, light and stable, having been tested and refined for wind and drag from all directions.

RSL stands for Race Shop Limited, which means they've been in collaboration with Trek-Segafredo, guaranteeing a race-ready, top of the range product.

You may have already had a hint of what this release offers, with the Aeolus RSL 37 TLR wheels released last year labelled as its 'lightest ever'.

The eagle-eyed may have also noticed the new wheelsets being used by Trek-Segafredo riders, including Jasper Stuyven for his huge Milan-San Remo victory – although he was forced to change his front wheel to a tubular version mid-race.

Winds of change

What sets this generation of Aeolus apart is the use of a 3D CFD modelling with HEEDS (Hierarchical Evolutionary Engineering Design System) software normally found in aerospace engineering to find the fastest all-round designs for a variety of rides.

Essentially, engineers and aerodynamicists carried out an enormous simulation that calculated drag, stability and aero torque with rolling resistance data coming in from a treadmill.

From that, each design was given a grade against speed and stability, with the programme running continuously for several months and learning from each result.

Following thousands of iterations, the finished products 'aren't just fast; they're the fastest wheels Bontrager has ever made', with improved aerodynamics, stability and overall wheel performance across the lineup.

Because of these tests, the team concluded that a 23mm inner rim width was the best choice for the wheels – apart from the 37s which are 21mm. They found that this detail improved both aerodynamics and rolling resistance and allows the rider to run lower tyre pressures, making it even smoother and faster.

Buy Bontrager Aeolus RSL wheels now

Adding that all up, Bontrager claims that in a typical Mads Pederson sprint the new RSL 62 TLR saves 34 Watts over the XXX 6 Tubular and a rider leading the peloton on the RSL 51 TLR will save 6.3 watts over the XXX 4 Tubular.

On top of the design revolution, the new wheels use Trek's lightest and strongest RSL-level OCLV (Optimum Compaction Low Void) Carbon and the extra lightweight Ratchet EXP freehubs with DT Swiss 240s internals.

Also released alongside the RSL wheels is the Aeolus Pro 51, which uses most of the same technology at a more accessible price point, as was seen with the Pro 37 released last year alongside the RSL 37. The Pro 51 has a slightly lower level Pro OCLV Carbon and comes with DT Swiss 350 hubs.

Specs

The Bontrager Aeolus RSL wheels are available in four depths with each designed for specific ride types: the ultralight 37mm for climbing; 51mm for speed and stability in all conditions; 62mm for sprinters and speed merchants; and 75mm for time-trials and triathlons.

All the wheels are disc and TLR clincher only and can be easily set tubeless with rim strips or tape. They are also sold individually and have the same shape for front and rear meaning you can mix and match – Stuyven set out with a 62 front and 75 rear in Milan.

Buy Bontrager Aeolus RSL wheels now

Recommended tyre size for the new wheels is 25c and although rolling resistance improves slightly at 28c, the brand says it leads to slightly increased drag.

Bontrager offers a lifetime warranty with every carbon wheelset and its Carbon Care Wheel Loyalty Program provides a free replacement for any riding damage within the first two years.

For more information, visit trekbikes.com

RSL 51 RSL 62 RSL 75 Pro 51
Rim depth 51mm 62mm 75mm 51mm
Inner rim width 23mm 23mm 23mm 23mm
Weight (per wheelset) 1,410g 1,520g 1,645g 1,590g
Price Front: £899.99; Rear: £1,099.99 Front: £899.99; Rear: £1,099.99 Front: £899.99; Rear: £1,099.99 Front: £549.99; Rear: £649.99
Price: 
£1,999.98

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