High-performance carbon wheels have always come with a high price tag and Bontrager’s Aeolus wheels were no exception. Until now… For 2018, the company based in Waterloo, Wisconsin has launched its Aeolus Pro range of wheels, constructed from carbon and aero profiled, but more affordable.
The Aeolus Pro 3s rely on the same OCLV (Optimum Compaction, Low Void) construction process as the Aeolus 3 wheels but use a lower grade of carbon fibre to reduce the cost. This pushes the rim weights up by about 50g but brings their combined price down by £800.
The Pro 3 rims are 35mm deep and 27mm wide externally, with the same D3 (Dual Directional Design to cut drag at the tyre-leading and rim-leading edges) shape found on the Aeolus rims. They’re tubeless compatible, with a broad internal width of 19.5mm that allows the 25mm tyres we fitted to balloon out to 27mm.
These tip the scales at 750g for the front and 900g for the rear, while adding the thick rim tape to make them tubeless adds a further 60g to each. You’ll save more than the tape adds by ditching your inner tubes, though. Their relatively shallow profile is pretty impervious to crosswinds, which coupled with the lower-psi comfort and extra puncture protection that going tubeless allows, help make the Pro 3 an all-day, everyday wheelset.
As well as having a build quality as good as that of more expensive wheelsets, the Pro 3 is also seriously impressive on the road. The rear freehub picks up quickly and runs so smoothly as to be almost silent. The rims don’t flex when you’re sprinting or climbing out of the saddle and accelerate with an urgency that belies their relatively modest price. At 1,650g for the pair, it’s not the lightest wheelset but the Pro 3 wheels come with no rider weight limit and have a solidity that inspires confidence when hammering downhill.
They come ready for thru-axles, in the fast becoming industry standard 12mm front and rear configuration, but can be converted for use with a 15mm rear thru-axle or conventional quick-release levers. They’re not currently compatible with XD Drive freehubs, which may rule them out for use on a 1x cyclo-cross or gravel bike.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective upgrade for your disc-equipped road bike, we have no hesitation in recommending the new Pro 3s. The only problem from Bontrager’s perspective is that, weighing just 128g more but costing £800 less, they all but render the Aeolus 3 wheelset redundant.
- Front: £550 / $530 / AU900
- Rear: £650 / $670 / AU$1,100