Name : David
Origin : Belgium
10,000km per year. A mountain biker by heart but a road cyclist in practice.
Endurance athlete enjoying long days in the saddle;
from Paris to Brussel, 375km in one day.
European bicycle shops should take an example of this level of pre-and-post support service Light Bicycle offers!
I had my eyes for quite some time on a Light Bicycle wheelset. Its price is just unbeatable and there were many reviews on the internet. When the new AR45 wheelset was announced I took the jump and ordered it!
During the order process, I was informed that DT 240 EXPs were only available in 24 holes. I hesitated to order (Belgium is not known for its smooth tarmac in mint condition) and contacted support. Charlie responded quickly and assured me that with my weight and the stiffness of the AR45 rim there shouldn’t be any issues but to reassure me that I could not opt for the Flyweight option in the rear. And so I did Flyweight in the front, Standard in the rear. There were many more follow-up messages and the response at each time was nothing but instant. European bicycle shops should take an example of this level of pre-and-post support service!
Payment was a breeze using Revolut (I’m not affiliated nor sponsored by Revolut, just a happy customer). The wire transfer was with Light Bicycle the next day.
Production times faced slight delays, but I was proactively contacted by a Light Bicycle sales representative who informed me that there was a backlog due to the newly released AR wheelset and the influx of orders. Nevertheless, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wheelset was completed in 3 weeks after ordering. That’s a textbook definition of business continuity!
Shipping was a bit more cumbersome, but it has to be noted this was outside of Light Bicycle’s control.
Receiving the package.
The package did arrive in mint condition and the first pleasant surprise was when the delivery guy handed it over - it’s so light!! I almost couldn’t believe two complete wheels were in this cardboard box. Foam protection and packaging were excellent and when unboxed the wheels were undamaged as you would expect. When weighed against the standard (Synchros) rims on my bike the new rims are roughly 600 grams lighter! Six hundred grams.
Second pleasant surprise: the beauty. The unidirectional fiber finish in high gloss with the matte Light Bicycle logo is a thing of beauty. I could not find any blemishes or errors and while washing my bike I catch myself admiring how beautiful these rims are when the sun reflects off them.
Spoke tension was excellent, I don’t have a fancy spoke tension meter but my “fingerspitzengefuhl” (fingertips feeling) tells me tension is even and consistent. I have another carbon wheelset with DT Swiss Aero spokes and they are less sturdy in my opinion. After 2000km, the spoke tension has remained unchanged as far as I can sense by hand. I’ll ask my LBS to verify spoke tension after 10,000km (or come spring).
It was easy to mount Schwalbe Pro 28mm tires by hand.
Installation of the disc rotors and sliding them onto the frame was effortless like with any other wheelset, no surprises here. I was able to put on the Schwalbe Pro 28mm tires by hand, pumped them up to 6 bar, and out the door I went. Recently I have installed new Schwalbe Pro TLE (Tubeless Easy) 28mm tires for which I did need a tool to get them onto the rim, which is to be expected as these are tighter. There was no need for tubeless tape as I chose the option to have no holes in the center channel.
As a test (I always do this with new TL tires) I installed them without sealant first, just to see how well they “lock”; front tire popped at 5 bar, rear tire took 6.5 bar to pop. After that, I removed the valve core, poured in 60mm of Stan’s sealant, and inflated respectively to 4.1 and 4.3 bar. A whole new world has opened riding tubeless - so much more comfort and grip!
The ride experience has been excellent.
I've put around 2000km on them in all weather conditions and even some light gravel. There are no visible scratches or blemishes as of yet. On my first ride, I immediately felt the difference (600gr), especially in acceleration; you can just feel the response is snappier and you get more quickly up to speed. They produce a nice whooshing sound but nothing too much.
The AR45 and other 45mm (e.g. Enve) claim there is an aerodynamic advantage to this depth. Although my last couple of rides’ average was 1 or even 2Km/h higher than usual, I’m careful attributing this to the rims. What I can say for sure is that I notice the aerodynamic advantage when riding in a peloton and when drafting, it’s almost like you get sucked into the wheel in front of you. A big difference when compared to previous standard aluminium 25mm rims!
Some claim the disadvantage of this rim depth is their behavior in crosswinds. I’ve done a couple of 2-3 hour rides where winds were raging at 50km/h and sure, you can feel there is some resistance, but it’s very well manageable. It’s not like you have to hold onto your handlebars for your life. This is what I hoped for: 45mm to be the sweet spot between aerodynamic advantage, weight, and minimal drag from crosswinds.
In conclusion, I am very happy about this purchase, get a lot of likes, and would recommend the AR45 wheelset to anyone reading this.