Rolf’s paired spokes design has been around since 1996, and the Vigor model since 2002. Save for a brief hiatus due to the 2008 global financial crisis, the company has stuck with its patented design, and produces aluminium and carbon wheels in the USA for all types of bike.
The Vigor ES comes in rim- and disc-brake versions, and my disc pair has aluminium rims that are 32mm tall, 23mm wide and 19.5mm internally, built with 24 Sapim CX Speed spokes on XR hubs, with steel cartridge bearings, pawls and freehub body.
They’re supplied with thru-axle end caps, with a quick-release option available, and including rim tapes, 12mm rear and 15mm front-end caps weighed 1,824g.
If converted, the Vigor ES Disc rims can be set up tubeless, but I tested them as clinchers. Recommended tyre size is from 25mm to a huge 62mm, but I found them an extremely tight fit for four different 25mm tyres, two tubeless and two clincher.
With very raw hands and no better option, I resorted to a plastic-coated, steel-core tyre lever for help, damaging two of them and inevitably pinching two inner tubes. When the tyres were finally on, they needed 120psi and several minutes for the bead to seat properly. Having spent more than two hours fitting them, I worried about the prospect of roadside repairs and whether I’d manage to remove and refit the tyres again in the wild.
The rim width meant my Vittorias measured 26mm, allowing lower tyre pressures of 75-80psi and reasonable air volume. Lateral rigidity, spoke pattern and tension and freehub pickup all affect responsiveness, and the Vigor ES Disc does feel livelier than its weight suggests it should, spinning up to speed reasonably quickly when accelerating out of slow corners. Sustaining speed on the flat isn’t too hard, but it ebbs a little on long drags.
Lacking the reactiveness and lower weight needed to term it as racy, the Vigor ES Disc is more an effective general-purpose wheelset. With an element of vertical compliance from the unsupported rim sections, and the generally lower tyre pressures that are a welcome bigger tyre bonus, they’re a supple, comfy ride.
Although not cheap compared to a competitive market, the Vigor ES Disc offers modern rim width, some aero benefit, a pleasing ride and extensive tyre width options, once you get them on.
Rolf Vigor ES Disc specifications
Rims: Alloy clincher, tubeless ready
Spokes: Sapim CX Speed
Spoke Count: 24 / 24
Recommended tyre size: 25mm to 62mm
Weight tested: 1,824g
Price: £719 / $949