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Rolf Prima Rolls Out Road Disc Wheels in the Vigor Alpha & Elan Alpha

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Rolf Prima 2013 Vigor Alpha Disc Wheelset

2013 seems to be shaping up to be the year of the disc for road and cross alike. As to not be left behind, Rolf Prima has announced two new road models that accept those lovely rotors we all keep gravitating towards.

Up first we have the new Vigor Alpha wheel. Cheat the wind with this 33mm deep, 22mm wide aero rim profile. The wheels come in at 1640g per pair. Holding the hub on are 20F/ 20R bladed spokes. And speaking of hubs, Rolf is using their XST+ disc specific hub. More on those…

Proprietary hubs, designed in the USA. Rear hub features our Patented Differential Flange Diameter, which effectively doubles the number of pulling spokes and creates a more durable wheel. Black, CNC machined, hub shells with alloy front/steel rear axles with sealed cartridge bearings provide strength, stiffness and reliability. Both hubs are compatible with disc brakes. Freehub: CNC machined titanium, electroless-nickel plated freehub body has 3 independently sprung steel.

More on the Elan Alpha wheelset upon clicking through.

Rolf Prima Elan Alpha Disc Wheelset

Sometimes, lighter is better. With that in mind, Rolf Prima brings us the Elan Alpha road disc wheel set. The Elan Alpha uses the same XST+ hubs and spokes as the Vigor Alpha, but runs a more shallow, 23mm x 22m rim. Despite using a 23mm rim, Rolf Prima places this wheel into the aerodynamic category. Weight comes in at 1445g for the set. And given that the weight gain over the non-disc Elan wheelset (1315g) is in the hub, these should spin up quick and climb nicely.

Both wheelsets feature a machines rim braking surface as well. Also, both are Shimano/SRAM 10/11 speed or Campagnolo 10/11 speed compatible.

Rolf Prima XST+ Hub

 

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Werdna
Werdna
10 years ago

Had enough of the paired spoking yet?

Naton
Naton
10 years ago

I believe “designed to fail” is the technical term for this spoking pattern.

ChrisC
ChrisC
10 years ago

@Naton –

Do you mean more prone to failure? If so, I’d be interested to see your statistics that indicate paired spoke wheels are more likely to fail.

Or do you mean that the mode of failure is worse? If so, then yes, when one of a pair of spokes breaks, the wheel will swing wildly out of true.

Unreserved
Unreserved
10 years ago

Why would they put a brake track on a disc wheelset? just for the extra weight?

From my perspective, this is a rush-to-market product in an attempt to be first with lightweight disc wheels.

Canucklehead
Canucklehead
10 years ago

@Unreserved:

It’s not that they put the brake track on, it’s that they decided to only stock rims that are brake tracked.

From a cost perspective it makes sense, but I agree with you. Maybe when disc brake road wheels are more common, we’ll finally see some lighter rims — I’d hoped 29er stuff might’ve done it, but I’m still waiting.

Nivlac
Nivlac
10 years ago

I’ll be excited when the rims become disc specific, lighter, and cooler looking. Paired spokes do work well, 5 seasons of NorCal road racing on Bontrager Race X Lites have made me a believer.

offcamber
offcamber
10 years ago

Naton, do your homework: Rolf offers a tandem wheelset which is one of the strongest, and lightest production made wheels for tandems on the market. Oh, there is also Bonti and Shimano/Santana tandem wheelsets also in PAIRED SPOKE designs.

Naton
Naton
10 years ago

@ChrisC, @offcamber

Apologies for the flippant comment! I try not to be that guy on the internet, but don’t always live up to that.

The issue I have with this wheelset in particular is not the spoke pattern per se, but rather the way the spokes meet the hub flange. The spoke pairs act to place the hub flange under high tensile stress. Add in the load cycles exerted by pedalling (and in this case braking b/c disc brake) and that flange will weaken, then break. That’s the unfortunate nature of aluminium. Of course, if you do your engineering right, you expect the rim to wear out before the other failure modes of the wheel (generally spoke breakage due to fatigue) manifest themselves. So you can add in extra material at the hub flange to extend its life, but this is added weight… a link: http://felixwong.com/gallery/images/b/broken_bike_parts9c.jpg Not the same hub, but you get the idea.

I’m not really keen to get into an argument about the ideal bicycle wheel, but my deeply cynical attitude is that most spoke “innovations” are just excellent marketing techniques. Since fiddling with spoking patterns generally won’t interfere too much with the performance or strength of the wheel, just the longevity of the spokes, there’s a bit of wiggle room there for manufacturers.

Anyway, only my opinion. I come at these things from an engineering background with several years experience as a bike mechanic, hence durability (as opposed to outright strength), repairability and simplicity of design appeal to me. My personal experience with paired spoke wheels is one of replacing many, many spokes on Shimano and Bontrager wheelsets with such a design (don’t see so many Rolf wheels down in Australia). Horses for courses, but the day you catch me riding paired spokes is the day someone’s paying me to do it!

rhys
rhys
10 years ago

@naton TLDR

Tom R.
Tom R.
10 years ago

I am running a set of 2011 prima vigor RS wheels in Mass on an 09 SL2 Tarmac. I currently have about 5K miles with no problem. I am 6’2″ Cat 4 rider an I have had them trued once. I love these wheels. The hubs are awesome and spin up so quick. I am very hard on my bikes and typically run about 195 lbs. I think if you keep up on the maintenance of any wheelset they will last. We run into problems when we ride wheels that are not trued and tensioned. If let go too long that’s when you have failures on wheels. With all the rage of deep dish and carbon clinchers lately I will take my Rolfs any day.

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