With paired spokes in a 14 front/16 rear configuration, Rolf’s Prima Vigor Alpha wheels are highly distinctive. For a better left-right tension balance, a large non-driveside flange on the rear hub is spaced inwards, and for such a low spoke count tensions are high.
The merits of this construction are debatable (truing accurately is certainly harder), but our set was well built, and fewer spokes should mean better aerodynamics.
Highs: Looks, weight
Lows: Price, ease of repair
Rolf’s Delta rim profile is almost a standard vee in appearance, and the rim hides internal aluminium nipples. These, along with small cartridge bearings, mean the wheels aren’t well suited to poor weather riding, and our set needed new bearings after a hard winter’s riding.
Our wheelset weighed 668g front and 848g rear, which is reasonably, but not exceptionally light. The rims measured 33mm deep and 22.5mm wide, which pushed our benchmark 25mm Continental GP4000S II tyre up to almost 28mm in width.
On a sunny day, the Rolfs are everything that you would want from a wheel upgrade (apart from being cheap); they’re snappy, light and taut feeling. The rim section isn’t the widest on paper, but it does produce a good tyre profile and isn’t particularly bothered by side winds. You don’t have that harsh riding feel like many old-school straight-sided vee rims either.