On Thursday, Bontrager announced the Aeolus Pro V wheels, for road or gravel riding. The new wheelset features new thermoplastic construction and comes in two different depths, 37 mm and and 49 mm, with the former suitable for general gravel riding and racing, and the latter for running high-volume road tires or gravel racing, when aerodynamics becomes a more important factor.
Thermoplastic carbon construction: a greener way
The Aeolus Pro V wheels use thermoplastic carbon construction. This is slightly different from traditional carbon fiber construction most commonly in used for wheels, bars and bikes. In simplify terms, both carbon fiber and thermoplastic carbon uses sheets that are placed in molds, with the addition of a bonding agent, under heat and compression, are formed to make the structure of whatever you are creating, whether it be a wheel, frame or other components.
Benefits of thermoplastic
Both composites use similar materials, but the difference is the “glue” that bonds them. Carbon fiber uses thermoset resin, or epoxy, and the latter uses thermoplastic, or polymer. There are two byproducts in this process, the most notable being the ability to re-use thermoplastic carbon. Once traditional carbon fiber is cured, it is set, the chemical change means you cannot further modify the form it’s taken.
With thermoplastics, the compound used means the finished product can still be melted and remolded. This method is becoming more popular in the cycling industry as it means you can use leftover scraps, broken materials or older frames and parts and use them for something else.
The rim is produced using a laser-machined mold, which means there is no need to sand it when it’s complete. But it’s not just about looking slick–it also trims some weight and doesn’t need any more paint or decals. More importantly, Bontrager says the process results in a reduction of up to 95 per cent in volatile organic compound (VOC) and carbon dust emissions that conventional carbon rim finishing methods utilizes.
The result, Bontrager says, is a stronger, smoother–and greener wheelset. Not only is the building process better for the environment, the properties of thermoplastic create a less harsh response on the road. With slightly more give than traditional carbon, the Aeolus Pro V wheels absorb vibrations by dampening the bumps in the road.
Wide and aero rim
Both Aelous Pro V wheelsets come in 25 mm…