If you’re looking for more speed, no matter where you fall in the range, a wheel set will be top of the priority list. Swallowing a lot of the money spent on a bike, the wheels are one of the quickest ways to get massive time gains. With wheels now gaining a big portion of the attention, time and resources from the engineers and wind tunnels. It’s no surprise we’ve seen huge developments over the last few years. We had a look at Giant’s top Aero wheel set, the SLR 0 Aero.
Retailing at £1500, the Giant SLR 0 Aero wheels aren’t cheap. Not quite in the same bracket as the almost £3000 zipp equivalent, just how much difference is there? A lot of the time savings in wheels can be quantified, watts are now easy to measure using a variety of 21st century technology. But one thing that can’t be measured is how the wheels feel and how they ride. Available in a variety of depths, visible here, we tested the 42mm set.
Giant claim that the wheels offer ‘improved acceleration and climbing response along with durability, while optimized anchor points increase lateral stiffness for exceptional cornering performance.’ Whilst they also feature Giant’s Dynamic Balanced Lacing technology, which helps increase the life of the wheel, making them less likely to come out of true. SLR 0 Aero’s ultra lightweight full composite construction produces an aero wheel system weighing just 1535g while offering a set of wheels both UCI and ITU tested and approved.
The rims are made of an Ultralight full composite material. The profile is an ETRTO 622 x 17 with a height of 55mm and a width of 23mm. With Giant alloy hubs and a DT Swiss star ratchet driver free hub. The spokes are all stainless steel, double butted, straight pull, bladed aero profile. If that all flies straight over your head I wouldn’t worry, it’s no different from any other 700c road wheel ready for you to hammer around at your liking.
On the Road.
The wheels certainly feel fast. With many similarities to time trial wheels, the 55mm rims have some real zip about them. They hold very well into the corners, even in slippery and windy conditions. The wheels were comfortable to ride and didn’t have the same wobble as some of the deeper section rims. Giant have really maximised speed through the SLR 0 Aero whilst not compromising handling.
Compatible with tubeless or clinchers, the wheels can be modified further to optimise the speed. We hit a comfortable 80kph with a normal clincher tire and we didn’t feel like the wheel was out of control or jumpy. The braking is precise and clean as we’d expect it to be from a top end wheel. Although that being said, it wasn’t too slippery a day so we’d love to see how this wheel performs when the rain really is coming down.
You can really throw the wheels into corners or hammer your way around a road race or sportive course, and the lateral stiffness through the wheels is just what you’d expect. They don’t flex or give when you hit the brakes harder than you’d like or hit the corner at a pace slightly above what you intended.
On the flats the wheel rolls very smoothly, filtering out a lot of the normal bumps and bruises. With little rolling resistance we’re very surprised that Giant haven’t published all kinds of wind tunnel data with the wheel, like many of the leading manufacturers. With a lot of riders now buying wheels purely on straight line performance, this is letting the company down slightly.
As with a lot of the Giant gear, the company have built up a fantastic product with lots to say for it, we love them at cyclestore. The SLR 0 Aero wheel set performs above what we had originally expected from the wheel, and it’s definitely moving up into the realms of the pure player wheel manufacturers. Although as per usual, Giant under market the product meaning that the data and visual examples of the wheels at the top end is limited. If you’re looking for a high performance, slightly more affordable wheel set, we’d definitely recommend you consider the SLR 0 Aeros.