Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V TLR
Road disc wheels have been evolving over the last few years as bike design has allowed for bigger tyres. The wholesale switch to disc brakes has allowed for even more tyre clearance and the fashion for wider tyres in all forms of road riding and rim designs has been taking advantage, gaining aero improvements and wider rim beds. The Pro 3V may well have taken this width to its far reaches with this new D3 design rim shape measuring up at a huge 32.6mm wide externally and 25.2mm internally – and all that from a rim that’s just 37mm deep.
I fitted 28mm Continental GP5000 TLs and they measured up at 30.4mm at their widest. The wheels are hand-built and very evenly tensioned with 24 multi-butted aero-bladed spokes in each wheel.
The spokes are laced into straight pull hubs and I like that they’ve got external nipples at the rim so you can make corrections should you happen to knock them out of line. I doubt that’s going to be an issue, however, as these have proven tough and stayed true during testing.
The rear hub is Bontrager’s Rapid Drive 108. It has 108 points of engagement so the pick-up feels pretty instant. You get a sonic accompaniment, like a wasp buzzing, when you’re freewheeling; and when you’re descending on the 3Vs that buzz is a great companion to the superb traction you gain from having such a broad tyre shape.
On rougher surfaces, the combination of the tyre shaping and the oh-so-simple tubeless setup (Bontrager’s included polymer tubeless rim strip works brilliantly) means you can run lower pressures for improved comfort should you come across some particularly rough roads.
The weight of 710g for the front and 880g for the rear with 12mm thru-axle end caps in place is competitively light (1,590g a pair). Compare that to Zipp’s 202 NSW at 1,460g or ENVE’s similarly wide SES 4.5 at around 1,600g; but both these wheelsets are more than twice the price of the Aeolus.
When you take into account the price of the 3Vs compared to the competition they have to be one of the best bargain wheelsets around, getting close to the likes of Hunt for value for money, and they are available from your local Trek dealer and not online only.
Bontrager also backs the wheels up with an unconditional two-year carbon guarantee, which means if you break an OCLV rim in the first two years of ownership, Bontrager will replace it for free. That shows some serious belief in their quality.
The wheels come with polymer tubeless rim strips, standard rim strips (for clinchers), tubeless valves and a valve key.
The wheels are hand-built and very evenly tensioned with 24 spokes David Caudery / Immediate Media
- Spokes are laced into straight pull hubs with external nipples at the rim so you can make corrections if they get knocked out
- Bontrager included polymer tubeless rim strip means you can run lower pressures for improved comfort
- This new D3 design rim shape measures up at a huge 32.6mm wide externally and 25.2mm internally
Pricing for individual wheel
Front: £550 / $580 / AU$1,000
Rear: £650 / $720 / AU$1,200