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Krosswind King: Bontrager Aeolus XXX6

From Issue 77

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Aero carbon wheels are sexy. Nothing screams big watts wrapped up in bleeding-edge tech quite like a set of deep-carbon wheels. But if you’re a bit tired of the all the “X-seconds-over-40km-at-a-speed-that-no-one-who-pays-for-wheels-can-ride” marketing, don’t tune out the latest from Bontrager: the new Aeolus XXX6 wheels.

From PELOTON Issue 77, buy your copy here: pelotonshop.com

PELOTON

At 60mm, these wheels are the deepest members of the new XXX family that has replaced the Aeolus D3 wheels at the sharp end of Bontrager’s offerings. With the D3 wheels already being über-quick, Bontrager spent less time shaving grams than it did making the speed more useful. To be fa

ir, this is a movement that Zipp has really pioneered, but in the new Aeolus XXX6 Bontrager has achieved its most pure expression.

So, how do you make super-quick wheels more useful? First, make them stop better, then make them handle crosswinds more confidently, then make them lighter to expand the variety of courses they can tackle. Bontrager has achieved all of this in the XXX6, making it, in our experience, the best all-around wheel beyond 50mm deep.

RelatedBontrager Daytime Lights

They come in a disc-brake version, which obviously stops incredibly well; but the new Laser Control Track, a laser-etched surface on the brake track of the rimbrake version steals the show. This is a category where the Aeolus D3 was well behind the competition, most unnervingly in the wet. No more. Best. Rim. Braking. Ever.

In crosswinds, these 60mm-deep wheels handle better than most 50mm wheels. Interestingly, they appear to have a more traditional shape, with a relatively sharp taper at the interior diameter, but Bontrager has clearly worked its aero-ninja mojo. In heavy winds, it has “hands off the bars to put a jacket on”-level stability.

Weight is arguably the category that can be most improved in the deep carbon of today and, at 1,530 grams, the 60mm XXX6 rim-brake wheel is just 10 grams heavier than the old 50mm Aeolus 5 D3, making it a potent weapon on anything but a pure climb. At $2,400, the new wheelset is also $300 cheaper then the Aeolus 5 D3 clincher’s debut price of many seasons ago. And just for good measure the rim is 21mm wide internally for today’s wider tire movement—and it’s tubeless, a category Bontrager has helped pioneer. If your last name happens to be Pedersen or Degenkolb, don’t worry, it’s faster in a straight line too. 1,530g (60mm rim-brake version); $2,400; trekbikes.com