Bontrager introduced the all-new line of Aeolus RSL wheels today, expanding its performance wheel offering and setting a new benchmark for speed and stability in carbon wheels. The new wheels are the result of a completely reimagined design process. Here’s how they did it:
In the past, Bontrager’s optimization process was done in 2D but for the new Aeolus RSL, they enabled 3D CFD models — a supercomputer. Simply put, this process allowed engineers to accurately account for every gram of drag, in every direction, through every plane and across all aspects of the system.
With this new approach, Bontrager was able to replicate real-world conditions in a controlled environment to analyze all the data and adjust the wheel design accordingly. Bontrager claims the result is a range of wheels that are optimized for aerodynamics and rolling resistance to compound marginal gains. Through comparative studies with their outgoing XXX models, Bontrager says the new Aeolus RSL wheels are the fastest they have ever made and, are in fact more stable. Through testing, Bontrager has seen that the wider 23mm inner width rolls with less drag, provides a better aerodynamic connection with tires, and adds to the overall speed gains. Plus, it lets you run lower tire pressures for a smoother, less fatiguing ride.
The design process was not exempt from feedback and testing with the professional riders on the Trek-Segafredo team. Their testing shows that with a rider like Mads Pedersen, the Aeolus RSL set can save 34 watts in a sprint finish, which over 200m equates to a gain of 1.5meters. Together with input from their pro riders, Bontrager says running the wheels as a tubeless setup is faster than tubes and indeed faster than any tubular wheel they have offered. Alex Applegate from Bontrager says they used the lightest and strongest carbon available which is one of the keys to the gains. The wheels have no rider weight limit and are warrantied for life inside the brand’s Carbon Care Program which includes a free repair or replacement if damaged when riding within the first two years of ownership.
The top-end Aeolus RSL model is available in depths of 37mm, 51mm, 62mm and 75mm to meet the demands of a specific kind of ride. The Aeolus Pro model is available in a depth of 37mm or 51mm.