If you study every picture in my blog carefully, and have attention to detail, you may have noticed that my road wheels are unmatched. It has been said, the art of looking PRO is to be . To paraphrase: Your wheels should match. (among other things).
I bought my PowerTap (an older, wired SL model) about a year ago, and it came laced to a DT 1.1 rim. This is a very simple, box-section rim. It performed great, with it’s 32 non-butted, 14 gauge spokes. I never had to true it. My front wheel was a 13 year old Dura Ace 7700 laced three cross to a Mavic Open Pro, a classic wheel which also performed admirably.
But sometimes, it isn’t all about performance. But certainly, my new wheels will perform better. They are brand new, and I watched the rear wheel being built by hand with my own eyes. The rear wheel was custom built with my old PowerTap, and will still have 32 spokes, but both wheels will have matching 30mm deep semi-aero profile rims, and Sapim CX-Ray aero bladed spokes. The rear weighs the same as the old wheel, but now with the deeper profile rim. The front is 1/4 lb lighter, and more aerodynamic. But mostly I am excited to have a nice pair of matching wheels.
You’ll notice in the new header photo at the top of the blog, I’m racing with my mismatched wheels. One red rim, and one black. Both low profile. Every other racer has deeper section wheels than I do. For 2011 I will be racing on some proper race wheels (deep, carbon tubulars), but if I want power data or to save my race wheels some abuse, I will be much more comfortable on my Race SLRs than I was before on my unaerodynamic mismatched wheels. Although they’re a touch lighter, I expect them to hold up well, with their sturdy rims and conservative spoke count. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how they do after a few months of hard training.
Pro Tip: Take a close look at the pictures, and you’ll see I’ve mounted the tires with the label over the valve stem. This not only looks absolutely PRO, but you can find the valve more easily when you top off your tires before you ride.
Update 6/2012: I owned these wheel for a year and half, logging about 7,300 miles. I didn’t touch them with a spoke wrench a single time and they stayed perfectly true! I trained on them exclusively and even brought them to races I thought were too rough for my carbon wheels. I even on them in summer 2011.
I bought a new crank based power meter and no longer had a use for the PowerTap hub, so I sold the pair. Needing a set of training wheels, I immediately ordered a new pair of SLRs. Not only would I say I’d get Rol Race SLRs again, I did.