If you’re gonna make a kick ass gravel bike like the Trek Checkpoint, you need an equally adept set of wheels to go with it, right? The all-new Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V TLR gravel and adventure wheel set is ready to do just that. While original cyclocross and gravel bikes often used products and components borrowed from road (and sometimes mountain) bikes, that is changing fast. The new wheels use the same OCLV Carbon construction and Carbon Care warranty as the other wheels in the Aeolus family, but with a much wider 25mm internal rim width that better supports high-volume gravel tires for improved handling and feel.

Bontrager-Aeolus-Pro-3V-gravel-adventure-carbon-wheel-set

Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V TLR carbon wheels

Bontrager has been busy updating the Aeolus wheel line, with a major update announced in 2018. Though their road rims have gained width over time, nothing from last year’s announcement was gravel-specific, per se. According to Bontrager, that’s all changing now:

“The new Aeolus Pro 3V wheels are cut from the same refined stock as the rest of the Aeolus family,” said Bontrager Wheel Product Manager Graham Wilhelm, “but they’re better suited for gravel and the road less traveled. They’re designed for all-road riders who want the benefits of bigger tires, but don’t want to sacrifice performance to get it.”

Bontrager-Aeolus-Pro-3V-gravel-adventure-carbon-wheels-action

What’s new? While the standard Aeolus Pro 3 TLR Disc road wheels have inner and outer rim widths of 19.5mm and 27mm, the new rim is massive: 25mm inner, 32mm outer width. As you’d expect, the rims are disc-only, and Bontrager recommends at least 32mm-wide tires.

Do you ride 650b? Sorry – these are only available in 700c for now.

Bontrager-Aeolus-Pro-3V-TLR-gravel-adventure-700c-wheel

As the TLR moniker suggests, the new wheels can be easily set up tubeless using Bontrager’s TLR rim strips and tubeless valve.

Bontrager-Aeolus-Pro-3V-TLR-rim-strip-tubeless

The Aeolus Pro 3V TLR is equipped with the fast-engaging Rapid Drive 108 hub. Stock axles are 12×100 front, 12x142mm rear thru axle, with front 15mm end caps available.

Lacing is 24 spokes front and rear, with no rider weight limit.

Weight for the new Aeolus 3V TLR is quoted at 720g front, 855g rear, for a grand total of 1,575 grams. They’re available through Trek dealers or online for $1,299. Like other Aeolus wheels, they come with a unique Carbon Care Wheel Loyalty Program, offering no-cost
replacement or repair of your rims for the first two years of ownership.

Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V actual weights & widths

bontrager aeolus pro v3 carbon fiber gravel road bike wheels actual weights and rim widths with hub internals photos

Bontrager’s included tubeless rim strips provide a quick and easy way to convert to tubeless without worrying about tape. It’s a semi-rigid, pre-shaped, one-piece strip that slides into the rim bed. Once in there, it snaps into place and probably isn’t something you’d want to try to remove just for fun. Which means, line the valve stem hole up correctly the first time! Pro Tip: You can use the valve to ensure the rim strip is aligned properly by placing the valve through the strip and then through the valve hole, before starting to install the strip. Don’t fully tighten down on the valve just yet – you are just using it to make sure the holes line up and the strip doesn’t shift left or right while installing.

bontrager aeolus pro v3 carbon fiber gravel road bike wheels actual weights and rim widths with hub internals photos

Rim profile has a small shelf, but the insert adds a little more of a platform and provides a flat surface for the included valve stems.

bontrager aeolus pro v3 carbon fiber gravel road bike wheels actual weights and rim widths with hub internals photos

Rims measure true to spec, 25mm internals and just a hair over 32mm external.

bontrager aeolus pro v3 carbon fiber gravel road bike wheels actual weights and rim widths with hub internals photos

On the scale, they weight 705g (front) and 838g (rear) with a Shimano 11-speed freehub body. An XDR driver body is also available, and uses the same thru-axle end cap as the HG freehub body…which is nice: One less part to lose. This is the weight out of the box with no rim strips or stems.

bontrager aeolus pro v3 carbon fiber gravel road bike wheels actual weights and rim widths with hub internals photos

Add the included tubeless rim inserts and weight grows to 767g and 901g, so about 62g per strip. Yes, that’s considerably heavier (probably 3x) than the weight of tubeless rim tape, but it’s a heck of a lot easier and more durable. You don’t have to use it, we’ve used tape before on Bontrager’s TLR road wheels, but figured we’d give this a shot this time around.

bontrager aeolus pro v3 carbon fiber gravel road bike wheels actual weights and rim widths with hub internals photos

Add in the included valve stems and weight for a rideable set of wheels is 772g and 906g. The valve stems weighed at 11g separately on our scale.

bontrager aeolus pro v3 carbon fiber gravel road bike wheels actual weights and rim widths with hub internals photos

bontrager aeolus pro v3 carbon fiber gravel road bike wheels actual weights and rim widths with hub internals photos

The other cool feature is the high engagement thanks to 108 teeth points of engagement, which we’re excited to try out during our long term test.

TrekBikes.com

16 COMMENTS

    • I run nanos on a set of stan’s flows (second gen) that come to 26mm internal. The tread profile on the nano squares off just a bit and they measure out to a cool 42mm but I’ve never had an issue with mounting or riding this setup. The profile would probably be perfect on 25mm inner. I’ve also run specialized tracers in 38 on the flows, with no issues to speak of. I

  1. Does the tire seal against the rim strip? I’m confused about how it seals.

    Also what is the depth of these rims?

  2. Highly suggested that when you take measurements with a digital caliper it is recommended that you at least turn it on. Just sayin’.

    • Or you can just read the analog scale, especially since the internal width of a rim doesn’t require hundredths of a millimeter resolution. Just sayin’.

  3. For about half the price I could build a really nice set of wheels with the same rim width and comparable weight using alloy rims. Genuine question…is there an advantage that carbon wheels like these provide for gravel riding that I’m not considering? Aerodynamics doesn’t seem like it would be much of a factor for the application. Is it just bling?

    • Carbon wheels like these at this size and internal width are generally going to be lighter than their alloy counterparts, but probably only marginally by about 100-125 grams max, with spokes / spoke count being the same. There isn’t really an aero advantage, particularly at the speeds most gravel is ridden at. Even at higher speeds the depth, combined with tire width etc aren’t going to create a big aero advantage. There is however, one gigantic, undeniable advantage to these wheels and others like them – they look cool. Other than a select less than 1% of cyclists who are actually competing and have the power to extract the gains, the huge majority of cyclists get carbon wheels, especially on road / gravel, because they just look cool. On MTB there are some definitive benefits to carbon other than looks alone that can be exploited by everyday riders, but for road / gravel – carbon wheels, if we’re being truly honest, are usually deployed for vanity.

      • According to wind tunnel data from Specialized, aero rims do matter on gravel.

        They’re generally less comfortable than shallow rims, but that’s another story.

        @Threeringcircus- generally speaking carbon rims are more durable, in addition to the weight benefits. They usually have a longer warranty as well.

      • Carbon rims last much longer. My light weight Al rims when out of true (too bent to fix with spoke tension) after few 1000kms. The carbon replacements are still going well after 12000km.

        • I hadn’t considered placebo effect. I think deep carbon rims actually look kind of silly, even more so with a 40mm knobby tire wrapped around them, so maybe I’m faster on boxy aluminum ones!

    • I have carbon and aluminum wheelsets that I use for gravel and I honestly notice a difference in ride quality. When climbing a steep ol’ pitch on some loose stuff it’s great not to have any flex but I appreciate the smoother ride characteristics on longer days (especially on chip seal or choppy-broken pavement). Laterally stiff and vertically compliant are buzz words, but not necessarily lies.

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