Combining all of our favorite features into one, the new Bontrager Aeolus D3 wheels are looking like category killers by going wider and lighter and adding disc brake compatibility.
Across the entire line of depths ranging from 30 to 50 to 70 to 90 millimeters in depth, all of the clincher rims get lighter by up to 110g per pair. And, the clincher rims increase to a healthy 19.5mm internal width between the bead hooks (27mm external) and get their proven TLR (TubeLess Ready) design. All depths come in both clincher and tubular options, and the 3 and 5 series get disc brake options with hubs ready for Shimano’s CenterLock rotors.
All of them use the D3 shaping to improve aerodynamics on both leading and trailing edges, and they’ve got a detailed white paper (PDF) that explains their aero shaping, theory and test results. The short of it is pretty standard for modern aero wheels: it’s designed to reduce drag on both the tire-leading and rim-leading sides while also improving stability in crosswinds. In this day and age, those are simply the minimum requirements to play ball, it’s the other features that make ’em worth a look…
“We brought all the manufacturing in-house for these wheels and developed some new processes,” said Claude Drehfal, composite design engineer for wheel works. “A lot of the removed weight comes from the wheel well area, and there’s a lot less wrinkles now that we have tighter control. If you cross sectioned the old TLR and the new one, the hooks and the tire well walls are a lot thicker, and there’s a little out of the sidewall, too.”
The new design bumps the inside width from 17.5mm up to 19.5mm without changing the D3 shape on the outside, so that remains 27mm and keeps the same aero profile that they’ve tested and liked. Much of the attention was put on the 50mm depth since it’s such a solid all-around size, which is why they eked out the biggest weight savings on that model. A bit more weight savings comes from using the carbon wrapped hubs (which is essentially a DT Swiss 180-based hub with their own shell and standard bearings, not ceramic…but you can upgrade to those bearings if you’d like).
Directly above are the Aeolus 3 D3 TLR Disc Clinchers, which come in at a claimed 668g F/786g R. It, and all the other disc brake models, get swappable axles for QR or 15mm thru front/12×142 rear. Presumably, 12mm front thru axle caps will be available when the time is right. They also get 24/24 spoke counts with their stacked lacing to improve lateral rigidity. Non-disc brake wheels may have 18/24 lacing.
At the top of the page are the Aerolus 5 D3 TLR Disc clinchers, which come in at 722g F/836g R. Both the 3 and 5 disc clinchers retail for $1,275 front, $1,575 rear.
The Aeolus 7 and 9 are rim brake only, but also get the new wider, tubeless ready clincher design. So, the updated products are:
- Aeolus 3 Disc Tubular – $2,400 – 1,150g
- Aeolus 3 Disc Clincher – $2,850 – 1,454g
- Aeolus 3 Clincher – $2,850 – 1,356g
- Aeolus 5 Disc Clincher – $ 2,850 – 1,558g
- Aeolus 5 Disc Tubular – $2,400 – 1,295g
- Aeolus 5 Clincher – $2,850 – 1,440g
- Aeolus 7 Clincher – $3,000 – 1,608g
- Aeolus 9 Clincher – $3,000 – 1,812g
The non-disc tubular models remain the same as before, it’s only the clincher rims that have been updated. Other shared features are DT Swiss star ratchet internals, OCLV carbon rim construction and SRAM/Shimano 10/11 speed compatibility. A Campagnolo freehub is available separately. No rider weight limits on any model. If you’re sticking with rim brakes, the SwissStop Black Prince brake pads are approved for use with both clinchers and tubulars.
Going tubeless? They strongly recommend using their own tubeless ready kit including rim strip and sealant, and preferably their tires, too. They develop those in conjunction with each other, having wheel and tire departments just down the hall from each other.
All rim brake models are available now, disc brake versions should be shipping by early March.
We’ve got a set of the 50mm disc brake clinchers on the way for testing, stay tuned…