Vision's Metron 55 SL Disc carbon clincher wheels are a good choice if you're all about riding fast all of the time, though they could be lighter and the hub axle adapters easier to use.
- Pros: Fast
- Cons: Heavy, fiddly end caps
The wheels feature a full carbon fibre rim featuring the now ubiquitous blunt rounded profile, with a generous 25mm external width, 17mm internal, that ensures good compatibility with 25-28mm tyres. Measuring 55mm deep, the wheels are a natural choice for cyclists who love to ride fast or racers on a flatter course. The rims are clincher tyre compatible, but not tubeless-ready.
FSA has designed its own hubs with compact flanges and straight-pull bladed spokes in a 2:1 lacing pattern with external nipples. It uses an adjustable preload system called Preload Reduction Assembly designed to reduce bearing drag from over-tightening the axles. The hubs turn on sealed cartridge bearings — two in the front hub, four in the rear — and they are now angular contact bearings and larger than those used in previous Metron wheels.
The hubs are compatible with a regular quick release and 12mm thru-axles, but they arrived with the former installed. No problem I thought, as all the adapters are supplied to swap the hubs over to the thru-axle configuration. Trouble is, the process of swapping the end caps over is mightily complicated and not in the least helped by woeful instructions. It was as tough a job as the Ikea daybed I recently lost most of a day to trying to assemble.
I did eventually get the wheels converted and running on a thru-axle disc brake road bike, but other wheel brands make it much easier to swap the end caps. One solution would be if FSA just supplies them in the 12mm thru-axle configuration from the factory, given it's just about standard now on most disc-equipped road bikes.
Thankfully, fitting tyres was much easier. I tried several different brands – Pirelli, Continental, Specialized – and they all went on just fine. The rims aren't tubeless compatible so it's inner tubes only I'm afraid, which is a shame and doesn't future-proof them.
What are they like to ride? Just like you'd expect a deep section carbon wheelset: fast!
I've ridden Metron wheels of various types and depths in the past and always been impressed by their performance. They go about their business with no fuss or drama, just lots of speed and dependable durability. These are no different.
These are exceptionally fast, but I can't make any claims about how they compare to other wheels without direct comparison testing in a wind tunnel. They did feel faster than the Zipp 302 wheels they replaced on the chosen test bike and power data backed up this feeling.
Where deep-section wheels tend to falter is in how they deal with crosswinds, but the Metrons handled them very well, being very controllable when the wind was coming in from the side and when caught by a sudden gust in a break in the hedgerow.
At 1,750g they are heavier than some similarly priced rivals and you do feel the weight blunting their performance at lower speeds and becoming really noticeable on steep gradients. It means these wheels are best saved for flatter terrain or races with few hills, or time trials and triathlons.
The wheels do feel solid, stiff and responsive. They're snappy when sprinting out of the saddle, and firm feeling when powering up a steep climb out of the saddle. They're robust, too, surviving a few accidental impacts with unsighted potholes. Spoke tension remained good throughout the test period, and with external nipples it's easy enough to make any adjustments you might need to.
On flat and undulating roads, and on my local Tuesday evening chain gang route, they performed well. Their weight does make them feel a little sluggish at lower speeds but once up to a higher cruising speed, they do that thing that all good deep-section wheels do and maintain momentum really well.
The choice of rim depth is a key decision you'll have to make if buying a carbon wheelset. Traditionally, shallow rims are best for climbers and mountain riding, with deeper section wheels favoured by time triallists, fast roadmen and sprinters. The 55mm rim gives a noticeable benefit over shallower rims at higher speeds so if you're racing, or just interested in riding as fast as you can all of the time, these are a good pick, but the penalty here is the high weight.
The bearings are as smooth as you like and they've not shown any signs of distress, but I should add they've not been subjected to real British weather (rain) so I can't comment on how well the bearings are sealed. They've been keeping out dust just fine. The freehub provides quick engagement, certainly not feeling slower than any other major brand's wheelset, and the whizzzz sound they make is tolerable.
The rim decals are loud and proud which some people will love, but I know plenty will hate. They certainly look good when rolling along at a steady speed. It would be nice to see a more subdued option for people who like their wheels less shouty.
When it comes to rivals and price, the Visions occupy a middle ground between the cheapest and the priciest. For about the same money you could choose the excellent Roval CLX 50 Disc wheels, probably one of the best wheels I've tested in the sub-£2k category. Or you could save a wad of cash and choose the Hunt 3650 Carbon Wide Aero Road wheels. Both of these options are tubeless compatible as well.
Fast and stable aero wheels but heavy and with fiddly hub endcaps
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vision Metron 55 SL Disc Clincher Wheels
Size tested: 700c
Tell us what the wheel is for
From Vision: "The Metron 55 is Vision's Aero Stage Race wheelset. Vision's Metron 55 is the one wheel you'll ride once and won't want to ride without again. This Metron 55 sits comfortably in the mid-range of Vision's Metron rim depths, and offers the most versatility in the line up."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Full Carbon 55mm section clincher rim
P. R.A. hubs with DP spokes
6 sealed cartridge bearings
2:1 aero bladed spokes
ABS self locking nipples
Artisan built, entirely by hand
available centerlock or 6 bolts version
Includes adapters for FRONT: QR / TA15 / TA12 REAR: QR / TA12 / X12
Occupy a middle ground between the cheapest and most expensive carbon wheels, but there are lighter wheels for the same money.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Yes they stayed true.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Heavy and tricky changing the hub end caps for thru-axles.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Maybe
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
Based on speed, performance and durability, the Metrons do well, but they are heavy compared to similarly priced rivals.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.