Vittoria has been in the bicycle tyre business since 1953, so the introduction of its new range of wheelsets is in many ways a logical progression for the Italian company. There are six road wheelsets in the lineup, with the Fraxion situated near the middle.
The hybrid Fraxions match an alloy rim bed and braking track to a structural carbon fairing that provides the seat for the spokes, and also adds stiffness, strength and an aero profile to the wheels.
Of course, a hybrid rim won’t be as light as one that’s all carbon, but the Vittorias acquit themselves fairly well on the scales. That said, the 45mm-deep front wheel is 818g, and the 50mm rear 1003g, totalling 1821g, which is much more than the 1698g claimed. Adding the QR skewers and rim tapes increases the total to 1982g, which is considerable.
Vittoria’s Ultimate hubs are Italian-made, and the rear features the company’s SwitchIt freehub body. Cassettes mount on a sleeve that can be quickly removed from the hub without any tools, so there’s hardly any need to get your hands dirty should you replace it with another containing a Campagnolo cassette, for example, or lower ratios. An oversized 80mm-diameter hub flange and just seven of the rear wheel’s 21 straight-pull Vittoria Aero Lite spokes on the non-drive side help equalise drivetrain forces, as does the asymmetric rim.
Wider rims are generally faster and more comfortable, and Vittoria’s WSR design is 22mm wide, and optimised for 23-28mm rubber. Fitted with 25mm tyres, the Fraxions gripped and handled well, showed obvious solidity and felt very sturdy, giving good drive when standing on the pedals.
Their rigidity makes them efficient climbers, if not the most rapid, but their performance belies their mass. On a blustery day, a fast descent held no fears for the blunt rim profiles: they were totally unflustered and maintained good stability. Braking on the alloy track was as reliable and consistent as expected, and will always trump all but the loftiest carbon rims.
Acceleration is decent but not earth-shattering, and sustaining flat speed is helped by the aerodynamic effect. Gradients slow progress, but for flatter and rolling riding the Fraxions are a sensibly priced, up-to-date and reliable choice for riders looking for strength, looks and aerodynamics.