Vision's TriMax 30 KB tubeless-ready wheels are built to last, look great and stay that way thanks to a clever surface treatment. Weight-weenies might find them a shade heavy, but that's far less important than durability and reliability.
These are probably the most unobtrusive wheels I've ever tested – and that's a very good thing. For a start, they're straight and true, and the spoke tension is decent, which will help them stay that way. They're laterally stiff enough that I couldn't get them to rub on the brakes, even though I run the blocks close to the rim so they come on at a touch. They're unaffected by sidewinds because they're only 30mm deep, enough to give them a slight aero advantage over old-school square rims, but not enough to affect handling when it's windy. Even the freewheel noise is relatively quiet. Very easy wheels to live with, then.
Out on the road, they spin up easily and roll well, and the lateral stiffness of the wide rims – the internal width is 19mm – seems to help them stay on line in corners. It also bigs up your tyres. My 25mm tyres ended up more like 27mm across, so I could run a little less pressure for more grip and better cushioning.
Braking is smooth and very powerful thanks to the machined sidewalls and oxide coating which increases friction with the brake pads. This is especially noticeable in the wet, but even in dry conditions the improvement is marked and well worth having. You can use your standard brake blocks with the TriMax 30 KBs; Vision says there's no need for special brake pads, unlike some other similarly treated wheels.
Conventional tyres go on and off easily. I fitted Continental GP4000S IIs and Pirelli P Zeros without fuss. The pop as the bead goes into place on the rim shoulder is a bit alarming, but that's common with tubeless-ready wheels.
Tubeless tyres vary. A Hutchinson Fusion 5 All Season 11 Storm went on easily with just a track pump. In fact I was able to inflate and get it seated without sealant or anything to lubricate the bead, then add the goop through the valve. I needed a bigger blast of air, and soapy water, to get a Schwalbe Pro One onto the bead shoulder, but it went up. I think this is down to slight differences in the shape of the Schwalbe and Hutchinson beads. The latter has a bit more rubber on the side that's toward the rim well and that seems to help it trap air.
These are good-looking wheels. As you can see from the photos, the tubeless-ready rims are finished in a handsome charcoal grey with subtle graphics in a mid-tone grey, while the hubs, spokes and nipples are black. They'll complement dark-coloured bikes, but they won't detract from something brighter; I think they look great on my red and white Scapin which I deliberately ordered with a minimum of graphics.
Those looks should last. The grey colour is deposited by a plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) process, which puts an extremely hard ceramic coating on the rim. Vision says the PEO surface is extremely wear resistant, so the rims will look new for much longer than usual. That should also slow down the sidewall wear that eventually kills wheels on rim-braked bikes.
After a few hundred miles of riding there was no discernible marking on the braking surfaces, and they live up to Vision's other claim of improved wet-weather braking.
Fans of loud, clicky freewheels will be sad to learn that the Vision Trimax 30 KB's freewheel is fairly restrained. On the other hand, people who think too many modern wheels are a rolling exercise in noise pollution will be pleased that the freewheel here is fairly restrained.
Gram-weenies might be a bit disappointed at the TriMax 30 KB's 1,570g weight. A pair of Mavic Ksyrium Elites costs £539, weighs 1,532g and comes with Mavic's excellent Yksion Pro UST tyres. Ritchey's Classic Zeta wheels are £569 and weigh 1,491g. On the surface, then, these are a shade heavy for wheels that cost almost £700.
But that ignores important features of the TriMax 30 KB wheels that contribute to the weight and cost. Both those wheels have 17mm rims. The TriMax 30 KB's 19mm internal width means they're stronger and stiffer and make your tyres fatter. The plasma electrolytic oxidation treatment that makes the rim sidewalls practically scratch-proof isn't cheap either. Mavic's cheapest wheels with a similar coating, the Ksyrium Pro Exaliths, are £900 and not yet available in a tubeless-ready version.
These are great wheels on a number of fronts: looks, build quality, stiffness, braking, durability and general practicality. They're perhaps overkill if you're a 60kg racing snake, but for those of us who aren't exactly svelte, the extra beef is very welcome.
They're slightly pricey for mid-weight wheels, but you can see where the money goes. They were die-straight out of the box and, more importantly, evenly-tensioned, which is a sign of good-quality wheelbuilding. (And they're entirely hand-built, according to Vision.) The ceramic coating on the rim is well worth the uptick in cost for the improvement in braking and durability it provides.
If you want a set of tough wheels to see you through bad weather, the TriMax 30 KBs have to be on your shortlist.
Tough, good-looking wheels that improve your braking and tyre profile
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vision TriMax 30 KB wheelset
Size tested: Size 700c
Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"The Trimax 30 KB offers a great workhorse wheel for all around use. It has a wider rim profile to allow for a comfortable ride and is tubeless ready. The unique intespoke milling helps reduce weight to increase acceleration and easier climbing. Add in the fully adjustable P.R.A. hub and aero bladed spokes to these hand built wheels and you have a wheel ready to take you anywhere you want to go. The TriMax 30 KB Clincher is the first Vision wheelset to use a Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO) surface treatment on the rim. On the braking surface, this ceramic oxide coating both improves wet braking performance and is extremely wear resistant, allowing your rims to remain streak-free and stay looking fresh even after thousands of kilometers of use."
I can't argue with any of that.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Alloy 30mm section tubeless ready/clincher rim
Interspoke milling R06 system
P.E.O. hard coating
New extra light P.R.A. hubs for DP spokes
6 sealed ACB bearings (2 F+4 R) mounted on a 17mm hub axle diameter
Aero bladed spokes
ABS self locking nipples
Artisan built, entirely by hand
Includes Alloy QR-93 and wheels protection
Front & Rear hubs – Black anodized
Spokes – Black
Straight, tight and evenly tensioned.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Yep; no problems with tension.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Tyres with tubes are easy. Hutchinson tubeless work better than Schwalbe.
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
Improved braking and tyre profile; appearance and scratch-resistant coating.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Nothing. Weight-weenies and certified waifs will probably want something lighter.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
A bit more expensive, but that's almost certainly down to the PEO treatment.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Vision has done a great job here with the mix of features and build quality at a reasonable price. The only thing that marks them down is being slightly on the heavy side.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.