The Bontrager Aeolus Elite 50 wheelset is the deeper of two options in its carbon wheelset range and should leave you enough change to purchase a good set of tyres.
The other option is a 35mm-deep wheelset costing the same, but without the increased aerodynamic punch offered by the deeper wheel.
This wheelset will appeal to a range of riders, for whom performance is a priority, be that road racing, triathlon or competitive gravel riders.
Bontrager Aeolus Elite 50 wheels details and specifications
Measuring 49.9mm in depth and 28mm at their widest point, there’s no doubting the wide, blunt-nosed shape is right at the leading edge of current thinking where aerodynamics are concerned.
An internal width of 19.1mm ensures the tyre forms part of the aero profile of the rim and also forms a wide stance for the tyre, providing increased grip and comfort from the larger air cushion.
As well as the TLR Rim Strips and tubeless valves, regular rim tapes are included in case a traditional clincher setup involving tubes is preferred.
A spacer to run better-value groupsets with fewer cassette sprockets is also included. After-sale care is impressive, with a lifetime warranty and two-year crash replacement available for the original owner, and there is no rider weight limit.
Bontrager Aeolus Elite 50 wheels performance
The Aeolus Elite 50s have impressive trueness and roundness out of the box at 0.1mm or less in any direction. Spoke tension was equally even at less than 2 per cent across either wheel.
More unusual is the fact that although spoke tension did slacken slightly over the 250km of abuse I dished out, it was uniform and the variance was maintained. There was no perceptible change in how round or true the Aeolus Elite 50s were post-testing.
Long-term maintenance is relatively straightforward, and although the bladed spokes are Bontrager’s own, they are J-bend in nature and replacements should be relatively easy to source.
No proprietary tools or even those unusual for the typical mechanic are necessary to get the hubs apart, although a bearing puller and press are needed for removal and installation of the sealed cartridge bearings.
Front-axle end caps pull off, as does the rear non-driveside.
An opposite-threaded driveside cap acts as a retaining nut for the freehub, and is undone with a 17mm wrench acting against a 4mm bar (or Allen key) through perpendicular drillings at the exposed non-drive end of the axle.
Freehub engagement is reassuringly solid, with 20 points offering 18 degrees of engagement.
That’s not the fastest hookup I’ve seen, but it’s also not slow and isn’t a noticeable drawback in practice.
At 1,871g, these aren’t the lightest wheels, but the benefits away from the scales far outweigh the numbers.
Surprisingly for a fairly deep wheel, the Aeolus Elite 50 is an extremely comfortable wheelset.
There’s a huge level of vertical compliance built into the carbon rims while maintaining an impressive lateral stiffness.
It feels like a close to ideal blend of damping for road chatter without sacrificing a confidence-inspiring out-of-the-saddle sensation.
It would be reasonable to think that might translate to a less optimal feel when cornering, but if anything the opposite is true.
I found myself cornering with increased confidence, these qualities of the wheels combining with the wider tyre profile to improve grip.
Bontrager Aeolus Elite 50 wheels bottom line
Keenly priced, these Bontrager Aeolus Elite 50s would be a sensible choice for anyone looking for performance gains across a range of cycling disciplines.
How we tested
We’ve assessed seven pairs of road bike wheels around the £1,000 price point over months of gruelling testing.
From varied endurance rides to high-intensity short but hilly blasts, we’ve put these wheelsets through their paces.
Each set of wheels had a list of parameters measured – including trueness, roundness and spoke-tension variance – out of the box, with measurements taken again at 500km.
Wheels on test
- VeloElite Carbon Wide 350-50
- Fulcrum Racing Zero DB
- HED Ardennes RA Pro
- Bontrager Aeolus Elite 50
- Scribe Aero Wide 42 D+
- Vision SC55 DB TLR
- Zipp 303S
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $1533.00EUR €1029.00GBP £849.00USD $1128.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 1,871g (700c) – including Bontrager TLR strip, Array, g|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Bontrager|
|Features||br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Supplied with rim strips for traditional clincher and tubeless, lifetime warranty, no weight limit|
|Freehub||br_freehub, 11, 0, Freehub, Shimano/SRAM 11speed, 12 speed optional|
|Rim depth||br_rimDepth, 11, 0, Rim depth, 49.9mm|
|Rim internal width||br_rimInternalWidth, 11, 0, Rim internal width, 19.1mm|
|Rim material||br_rimMaterial, 11, 0, Rim material, Carbon|
|Spoke count||br_spokeCountFront, 11, 0, Spoke count, 24 front, 24 rear|
|Spokes||br_spokes, 11, 0, Spokes, Bontrager bladed, J-bend|
|Tubeless compatibility||br_tubelessCompatibility, 11, 0, Tubeless compatibility, Tubeless ready|
|Wheel size||br_wheelSize, 11, 0, Wheel size, 29in/700c|