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Stans No Tubes ZTR Avion Disc wheel review

11 Jul 2016
Verdict:

Despite its roots being planted in off-road wheels, Stans No Tubes now enter the upper echelons of the road market with the ZTR Avion Disc.

Price: 
£1,550

Not so long ago, just having rims made of carbon fibre was enough to ensure a performance advantage, but things have moved on. Weight saving is now only part of the equation, and aerodynamic gains have taken over as the main focus, with skinny V-sections being ousted by more bulbous U-shapes. Further to the external rim shaping, there have also been big changes to the internal dimensions of the rim bed, which can affect the tyre profile, especially in the wake of wider tyres becoming more popular. Throw disc brakes into the mix, which negate the need for a braking surface on the rim, and the wheel agenda looks very different from a few years ago.

Why the history lesson? Stans No Tubes may be late to the road wheel sector (it’s better known for its tubeless mountain bike wheels), but it has profited from waiting to see how these many developments have panned out before releasing its own deep-section carbon wheelset.

Tough stuff

The ZTR Avion rim, at just shy of 41mm deep (officially 40.6mm), is a new construction for Stans and, unusually for a set of high-end road wheels, the primary goal was not minimum weight or trimming every last ounce of drag. Stans has applied its expertise in off-road rims to create a road wheelset that, it says, can cope with some seriously heavy-duty use. That said, the ZTR Avion Teams grace the office scales at 1,636g a pair, which is still pretty respectable at this rim depth.

‘High-end road carbon wheels are a departure for us,’ says UK brand manager Simon Beatson. ‘The company sees the future as the more adventurous road market – gravel bikes and the like.’ To that end one of the key technologies Stans has developed for the ZTR Avion wheels is what it calls Riact (Radial Impact Absorbing Carbon Technology). Beyond the tongue-twisting jargon, this technology claims to allow the rim more vertical compliance – up to 7mm vertical rim deflection – and significantly improved vibration damping to boot. 

With any tubeless wheel test, the first hurdle to overcome is the ease of tyre fitment, a sticking point that is perhaps a big part of why tubeless has been slow to catch on for road bikes. No one wants to be up to their elbows in latex sealant while struggling to get a tubeless tyre seated. Thankfully there was no such drama with the ZTR Avions. These are the easiest tubeless road wheels to install and inflate of any I’ve tested to date. No need for an air compressor, or any of the usual tricks like removing valve cores. It was simply a case of inflating with a standard track pump. If all systems were this easy, tubeless might just stamp out the inner tube for good. 

Good to go

The tyre profile is noticeably broad and round thanks to the wide internal dimensions of the rim, and the superb 25mm Schwalbe Pro One tyres actually measure close to 29mm once mounted. This adds to the feeling of comfort, and while it’s tricky to determine just how much is due to the tyres and what might be attributable to the wheels themselves, it’s fair to say they had a noticably positive effect on the ride quality of a bike that was initially unforgiving. 

Also worth noting is that these wheels are compatible with a decent number of bikes as they can switch easily between standard quick release and thru-axle. Just a swap of the end caps, requiring no tools and taking a matter of seconds, is all that’s needed to alter the fitment.

Assessing aerodynamic performance is always a tough call to make in real-world testing, but the ZTR Avion Discs felt fast whenever I stamped on the pedals. They also proved to be amply stiff, staying perfectly true despite some fairly harsh testing on off-road tracks. 

It seems they will live up to the manufacturer’s claim of taking most things in their stride. Just in case, though, there’s a three-year crash replacement policy included in the price. Overall the ZTR Avion Discs have versatility in abundance, and if you’re thinking that you might want to stray from the tarmac one day, these wheels would be an investment that would future-proof your bike.

Weight

1,636g (747g front,
889g rear)

Rim depth 41mm
Rim width

External: 28mm

Internal: 21.6mm

Spoke count 24 front 

28 rear

Price £1,550
Contact

paligap.cc

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