Bontrager Aeolus 5 16/16 spoke vs newer model 18/24 spoke

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:34 pm

by reason

Been reading the WW for years, but don't post often.

I've decided I'd like to buy a (2nd hand) set of clincher Bontrager Aeolus 5 wheels, and am stumbling on different versions from different building years. These are the full-carbon versions.

One version has a paired 16/16 spoke pattern (pre-2010). Black spokes. Seller says weight is 1630g with rimtape.

Others have a unpaired (meaning radially spoked on left side) pattern. 2010 or later.

Newest model is different I suppose, D3 is added. Claimed weight is 1550g on Bonty website.

What are the experiences with the older paired 16/16 spoke version? Are they stiff enough? Problems?
Can anyone compare stiffness between the 16/16 and 18/24 versions? In theory, of course the latter will probably be stiffer. But in practice?

I weigh 85kg, and intend to use it on my 2 Trek Madone 5.9 bikes that are in the 7.2-7.5kg range. Nothing shocking.
Plan to use for mostly flat rides, as I own a raceXXXlight set for the hills.

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Zen Cyclery
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by Zen Cyclery

Well, what you can get away with, and what you should ride, are two completely different issues. Realistically, you could ride either of these wheelsets with more than likely not having any issues. However, I think that getting down to such a low spoke count on the first wheelset really isn't a smart idea. If you were a bit lighter, sure, they would be just fine. But I think that the 18/24 is much more of a safe bet.

by Weenie

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Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 7:58 am
Location: North Carolina

by ECT

I have a set of 2006 paired spoked Aeolus 6.5 tubulars, and I weigh 60kg, and I could hear the carbon fairing flex slightly, and always felt that the wheels flexed a small amount during hard efforts, but it seemed that once they reached that point they were solid. The rim never got close to the pads, though. I bought them second hand, and judging by the condition of the decals they were used pretty heavily, and I raced them on some pretty rough courses and they have stayed perfectly true. Also, my LBS is mainly a Trek/Bontrager dealer, and they have sold numerous sets of carbon Bontrager wheels ranging from XXX Lite to 9.0, and rarely do they see any problems.

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by HugoDrax

I owned a set of the older 16 and 16 spoke Aeolus 5.0's and I am ~75kg. I never noticed any unusual sounds or flexing of the wheels. They were super fast and stiff enough for my efforts! Additionally, only on long climbs did I ever (possibly) notice the weight. They rolled great and I would buy them again if given the opportunity.

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by clarkson

One of bontrager's big selling points has always been that their products don't have a weight limit. I've been riding a 2008 set of aeolus 5.0s which have treated me very well. I'm 60kg, and they have been plenty stiff and very very comfortable.

Lest we forget that wheel design won many a tour de france for USPS and discovery channel, so they're not going to be terrible.

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Location: Gold Coast Australia

by shadwell

Personally i would try and get hold of the latest 3D5 Aoleus (50mm) as the mass, and most importantly the aero (both outright speed and handling), is notably improved over the older offerings.....additionally th wider rim bed is better for clincer and tubby which ever you elect.. clincher for rounder tyre profile and associated benefits, tubbi as the bed is closer matced to the tubie profile in 23m tyres + whih most folk tend to run these days..

I happen to run the 3D3 tubular for general riding, climbing and racing... occasionally mixing a HED Stinger 4 on the rear pending conditions, gearing and coarse (they have different tyrs on them... ) i also run 25mm tubs for what its worth, they are soo nice to ride....

Best of luck with whatevr you choose...

by Weenie

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:34 pm

by reason

Thanks for all the helps in deciding, although everyone seems to be lighter than me.
I was anticipating some problematic stories and tales of broken hearts..errr spokes.
I'm going to meet the seller of an older Aeolus 16/16 set on Saturday 13th Oct, so feel free to offer any extra advice which could help in deciding to go for it.

Other only real option would be a 2010 or 2011 model, second hand.

It would be nice to have the newest model.
But the price difference is an important factor, as the older/second hand model is 1/4 of the price of the newest wheel set. The Aeolus D3 2012 version is listed as E2000,- in my country...

As I don't "need" the wheels for my performance/races/timetrials, the small weight difference (and small aero disadvantage) isn't a problem.
As for the D3 version, it's probably more aero. But the 16/16 count is more aero than 18/24 too I guess....

Just want to avoid buying a set for hundreds of dollars, and then have to true them or repair broken spokes due to my weight and the 16/16 spoke count.

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