Swiss Side turns their aerodynamics expertise to gravel bikes in two new Gravon aero gravel wheelsets, in both deep carbon and shallow alloy rim profiles. Developed in the wind tunnel to decrease drag with a range of large volume gravel tires & wide 24mm internal tubeless rim widths, Swiss Side’s goal was to claw back some of the claimed 40W additional wind & rolling resistance resulting from the shift from road to gravel wheel setups.
Especially for long solo gravel riding & racing, Swiss Side says there’s plenty of opportunity to benefit from the improved aerodynamics of an optimized gravel wheel & tire combination.
Swiss Side Gravon aero gravel wheels
The new Gravon wheels aren’t exactly Swiss Side’s first foray into aero gravel, having already partnered with DT Swiss for the development of their aero gravel GRC & all-road ERC wheels. And anyone that knows with the DT Gravel line will find some very familiar specs – maybe even the identical rim profiles?
What is almost most interesting here is the amount of additional aerodynamic testing Swiss Side has done inside the GST wind tunnel to determine how much time really can be saved in a gravel race, and to what extent different gravel tires impact aero performance.
According to Swiss Side CEO Jean-Paul Ballard:
• “A typical gravel bike setup has around 40W higher overall resistance at 30km/h than road bike, with this penalty split equally between aero drag and rolling resistance.”
• “Up to 5W aero drag savings with GRAVON 420 aero gravel wheels compared to standard gravel wheels.”
• “Up to 12W aero drag savings just from the tyre choice.”
• “In a race like the Unbound Gravel 200, the right wheel and tyre choice alone can save over 8.5 minutes. To put this in context, the top 4 riders in 2021 finished within 1.5 minutes!“
Gravon 420 aero carbon gravel wheels
The Gravon 420 is Swiss Side’s premium deep aero carbon gravel wheelset, in 700c only with a claimed weight of 1611g (750g front, 861g rear) and pricetag of 1468€.
They feature a 42mm deep, 24mm hookless tubeless internal, 32mm max external carbon rim with a blunt ‘aerodynamically efficient’ shape. The wheels are built up on older style centerlock disc DT Swiss 240 hubs with 36 SL Ratchet internals (not EXP) and 12mm thru-axles, laced 2x with 24 DT AeroComp straight-pull spokes & hidden DT ProLock alloy nipples.
On paper that looks identical to the DT GRC 1400 that is about 1/3 more expensive.
Gravon 250 alloy gravel wheels
The Gravon 250 is then Swiss Side’s more accessible gravel wheelset, built around a low-profile aluminum rim for affordability and everyday durability. Much lower-priced at 389€, the 700c alloy wheelset has a claimed weight of 1895g (880g front, 1015g rear) while promising some wide gravel tire rolling-resistance benefit, but not any real aero gains.
The alloy wheels feature a 25mm deep, 24mm hooked tubeless internal, 28mm max external rim with a blunt rounded shape that essentially served as the gravel ‘control’ wheelset for aerodynamic wind tunnel testing. The alloy wheels are built up on entry-spec centerlock DT 370 pawl hubs (which could be upgraded to Ratchet LN down the line), 12mm thru-axles, 24 2x DT AeroComp Wide straight-pull spokes & external DT ProLock alloy nipples.
Compare these to the probably identical DT G 1800 Spline 25 wheelset that is essentially the same price.
Both new Gravon aero gravel wheelsets are available now direct from Swiss Side, with max rider/bike system weight limits of 130kg/286lb and your choice of standard Shimano HG, or optional SRAM XDR or Campagnolo (not N3W) freehub bodies.