Dutch company AForce takes to Kickstarter to launch its brand new AL33 wheels, which it claims is “the fastest aluminium bicycle wheel” and it's a promise that has proved a hit, with 43 backers pledging more than the €18,000 funding goal, with 27 days still to go.
The company has set out to answer what it sees as a demand for an affordable aluminium wheelset that offers the performance of a carbon fibre wheelset, and it felt there wasn’t a single aluminium wheelset on the market that met its demands. So it developed its own.
Already offering carbon fibre rims, this is the company’s first venture into the aluminium market. And it’s created a 1,450g wheelset with a toroidal rim shape providing tubeless compatibility, so light enough for climbing yet potentially fast enough for racing on the flat.
With the AL33, the company says it is a light, durable and aerodynamic wheel that is tough enough to survive the punishing cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. The rim profile mimics its carbon offerings, with a 33mm deep toroidal shape with a 19.6mm internal width and 26.2mm width at the widest external point of the rim. Spokes nipples are concealed inside the rim.
“The aerodynamic benefits of the toroidal rim shape has already been proven on carbon rims including our A-force carbon rims. However, we are the first manufacturer to bring this principle to aluminium wheels without adding a weight penalty,” says the company.
The rims are manufactured from AF9X-T6 aluminium and feature a ceramic brake track to improve braking performance. It supplies its own brake blocks designed to be used with the ceramic surface. The rim weight is 465g.
The CNC machined alloy hubs are carbon wrapped with straight pull spokes. The spokes are laced using the company’s Offset Crossed Lacing Technique (OCLT), generating a higher spoke angle which the company says contributes to a higher lateral stiffness. It uses 20 radial spokes in the front wheel and 24 spokes in the rear wheel, with 16 lightweight spokes on the drive side and 8 extra stiff spokes on the non-drive side.
As standard, this wheelset comes with a 105kg weight limit, but it offers a wide variety of spoke configurations and drillings from 18 to 32 and stiffer spokes and brass nipples for people over the weight limit. It even offers a 1,395g wheelset using lighter spokes but that comes with a 90kg rider weight limit.
All wheels are handbuilt in Holland and come supplied with quick release skewers, brake blocks and wheel bags.
Currently, you can pledge €559 and get a 20% early bird discount on a wheelset with shipping anywhere in the world, and delivery expected in November 2016.
And yes, it is working on a disc version, with a 465g firm that ditches the ceramic coating and braking grooves for a fully anodised rim.
Check them out at www.kickstarter.com
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.