Bontrager has redesigned its wheels for 2008. The striking, white spoked, all new Race X Lite firmly goes against the Mavic Kysyrium SLs in terms of both performance and looks.
The new Race X Lites have been designed to be nearly twice as strong as the old model. The hubs have an increased wall thickness and feature machined recesses on the flanges to reduce stress on the j bend of the spokes. Another bonus is that the wheels use regular Swiss DT Aero Lite 13/15 thin bladed spokes, so hunting down replacements should be relatively easy.
The Race X Lites also feature a new hub and a new lacing pattern. Gone is the two cross pattern of old and in comes the new single cross. The front is still radially laced but the rear features the single cross pattern on both sides of the hub. This has reduced the spoke count by four but increased strength because there are now 10 pulling spokes at the rear compared to six on the old wheelset.
Considering their increased stiffness, the Race X Lites are actually very comfy wheels. We’ve been using them on both road and cyclocross bikes (Trek specs them on the top end XO2 ‘cross bike) and they make a fine all-round, light wheelset.
They sprint well, we haven’t noticed any undue flex and they haven’t worked out of true. The only downside is the white finish on the spokes – fine for the road but it does chip, something we noticed on the ‘cross bike. Saying that, they’re a classy, quality set of wheels that are lighter and cheaper than the Mavic Ksyrium SLs.