Parcours Wheels has a mission to bring aerodynamically optimized, high-end wheels to the world at a reasonable price. The company has plenty of wheels to choose from already. Road, gravel, and even some alloy options are all on the menu. Now Parcours has released the Ronde wheels.
As you might imagine, these road wheels are optimized for wide tires. In this case, Parcours says the Ronde wheels are best paired with 28mm tires.
The Ronde wheels take a similar approach to Parcours’ Strade wheels — wider is better. But the Ronde wheels feature a shallower rim profile. Whereas the Strade wheels feature a 49.2mm depth up front and 54mm in the rear, the Ronde hoops drop down to a 35.6mm depth up front and 39.3mm in the rear.
Both front and rear wheels feature a 22.5mm internal rim width. Parcours says that the rims are optimized for 28mm tires, but they still offer aero benefits for tires up to 32mm. According to Parcours, it would be possible to run 700c tires up to 50mm wide on the Ronde wheels.
Despite the growing popularity of hookless rims, Parcours has opted for a hooked rim that’s compatible with both standard clincher or tubeless tires.
Alloy hubs with “high-grade EZO cartridge bearings” round out the package. Best of all, this 1,400-gram wheelset costs $1,400 — far less than some of its carbon competition.
Ronde wheels go wide for a reason
It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of wide wheels and tires had the road world balking. But going wider allows riders to run lower tire pressures, which in turn leads to a wider contact patch. This reduces rolling resistance, increases traction, and improves ride quality.
The Ronde wheels go wide because of that common knowledge, and they are so named because wider wheels and tires tend to create a much dreamier ride — something that comes in handy on things like the Flandrien cobbles of the Spring Classics.
Parcours says it sought to lower the overall weight of the Ronde wheels and set a benchmark by comparing them to the Grimpeur wheels already in the company’s lineup. Alongside that goal, engineers sought to ensure the best aerodynamic performance possible.
The front and rear wheels each have different rim depths based on the aerodynamic needs of each wheel. The front wheel also uses a blunt, U-shaped rim to address drag at various yaw angles. The rear wheel has a sharper V-shaped rim to address lower yaw angle winds.
According to a Parcours white paper, the Ronde wheels beat out the Grimpeur Disc wheels, as well as Enve’s 3.4AR wheels and Zipp’s 303S wheels in the A2 Wind Tunnel in North Carolina. (The Ronde wheels beat its competitors in a yaw angle from 2 to 8 degrees.)
The Ronde wheels tout 46.1 grams of drag (total wheelset aero drag) versus 46.6 grams of drag from its nearest competitor, the Enve 3.4AR wheels. In other words, when paired with a 28mm tire, these wheels are darn fast according to A2’s wind tunnel data. Of course, Parcours does mention that the aerodynamic benefits begin to diminish at tire widths over 32mm.