World's-largest-bike-maker Giant from Taiwan has entered the upgrade road wheel market with four models to cover most road cyclists' requirements from fast commuting and training to high-performance sport. They are doing things their way too with three tubeless capable models and all the rims being 21mm wide.
Giant are making a big thing of the 21mm rim width, the latest thinking being that the slightly lower pressures afforded by a wider rim and tyre combo can improve speed and performance with better control and certainly greater comfort. The hubs all have what Giant is describing as "high-quality Swiss internals with sealed hub bearings."
The three pricier sets are also designed to accommodate tubeless tyres, which is another development set to grow once a better choice of tyres are available and which will help smoothness, speed and comfort.
The speediest but also most expensive wheel will be the P-SLR1 Aero which combines Scandium - a high-strength aluminium alloy - with carbon-fibre in a 50mm section designed for time trials, triathlons and maybe even less blustery road races and sportives. The aero-bladed straight-pull stainless steel spokes number 20 at the rear and 16 at the front, with concealed nipples. Weight is a very reasonable-sounding-for-aero 1,575 grams and will sell for £1,249.99 when they first arrive in September.
For £749, the 1,390 gram P-SLR1 is a lightweight, non-aero version with an all-Scandium rim and the same spoke configuration using forged and machined 6061-aluminium hubs.
The new P-SL0 wheels feature rims made from 6061 aluminium instead of Scandium which costs a bit of weight bringing them to a still pretty reasonable 1,595 grams but saves some money; £449.99 also seems reasonable as long as they hold up as well as the likely competitors. "Light enough to race and tough enough for everyday riding," as Giant put it.
Finally, for £224.99 Giant will be offering the P-SL1 wheels which the Taiwanese giant says are "for performance road riders who are considering racing." You get DT Champion spokes (18 front, 24 rear) as well as the same 21mm rim width but only for standard clinchers. Weight is 1,775 grams for the pair. The company is bigging up the large asymetric hub flanges, straight pull spokes and careful construction as the means by which these new wheels will be not just light but also stiff and strong.
It's been a few years since Giant offered self-branded wheels although they make quite a few carbon rims for other brand names, we hear. We reckon it was 1997, although we're prepared to be corrected, when Giant offered their first distinctive aero-spoked wheels designed by British carbon guru Mike Burrows and fitted to the first carbon and alloy TCRs.