SRAM S30AL Race road wheelset review
SRAM’S S30AL Race wheelset sits almost at the top of the company’s aluminium road range, eclipsed only by the S30AL Gold’s ceramic bearings and titanium quick-releases. Following SRAM’s acquisition of Zipp in 2007, the S30 bears the fruits of that company’s technology, with a hub design based on the Zipp 1080.
A diamond polished alloy body contains an oversized axle spinning on preload-adjustable sealed cartridge bearings, which should eliminate binding or surplus play. Together these spread the load as widely as possible and make for a really solid platform from which to unleash your power.
The 18 spokes at the front and 20 rear are bladed Sapim CX-Ray stainless straight-pull, laced radially at the front, while the rear is radial on the drive side and crossed once on the left. Both spoke count and pattern mimic that of the tried and trusted Mavic Ksyrium.
SRAM, though, use lightweight internal alloy nipples to further reduce weight and reap aero beneﬁts at the rim. The 30mm-deep Hybrid Toroidal rim is a compressed version of Zipp’s original deeper design, and is said to rival deeper-section wheels for efﬁciency in the wind, but retain the lightness and versatility of shallower rims.
The pronounced bulge cleans up airﬂow from the tyre, creating an aerodynamic effect at far greater yaw angles than a conventional triangular rim proﬁle. The 30mm depth is a good compromise for most uses, though we did have one sail moment on a roundabout when turning across a strong wind. But there is merit in the aero claims, as we found ourselves picking up speed in a crosswind and remaining remarkably stable.
From a standing start or when climbing, the S30s are taut and accelerate instantly, their relatively low weight (765g front, 890g rear, including quick-release skewers and rim tapes) paying dividends. Handling is surefooted and agile, and these wheels have proved tough over some huge potholes and one accidental kerb strike. Included in the price are wheel bags and nipple drives.