Aforce AL33 – £140/rim
Aerodynamic; lightweight; superlative braking power; built to survive the Paris-Roubaix cobbles and more affordable than a carbon wheelset!
- Lightweight extrusion for climbing and fast accelerating – set weights start at 1430g/pair.
- Disc brake and rim brake options available.
- Lower aerodynamic drag than many carbon wheelsets – backed by real science (see A2 wind tunnel data).
- Superb level of aerodynamic stability.
- Choose between either reliable, predictable aluminium braking or upgrade to performance enhancing ceramic coated sidewalls. You can brake with confidence even on the hottest days on the biggest descents.
- Tastefully laser engraved, 33mm profile suits a broad range of frame designs.
- Aforce wheels are built to last. They have been tested on the Paris-Roubaix cobbles, in cyclocross races and inside the cycling peloton by professional and semi-professional racers.
- With the right hub/spoke combination, these rims can be used for riders up to 125kg.
- 19.6mm internal width produces fantastic levels of comfort owing to a more natural tyre profile and increased air volume.
- Our tubeless compatible welded profile allows the use of tubeless and ordinary clincher tyres. The internal profile ensures a safe and secure tubeless setup as well as easy installation of all tyres.
Safe, tubeless, aero, strong, lightweight and affordable. I know of no rim that achieves that package any better than the Aforce Al33. There are lighter rims and there are more economical rims and there are more aerodynamic rims. However the overall balance achieved here is compelling. Especially considering that the Al33 can be built into pretty much any hub you desire.
If you are running a 23 or 25c tyre, then the aerodynamic drag of your wheelset for nearly all riders, nearly all of the time going to be the biggest factor holding that component back. Weight saving only provides a measurable benefit when a rider is changing speed, height or direction, something we do regularly but something that you only pay a small penalty for with the Aforce. It equates to rarely more than 100g on the whole wheelset and often nothing at all. In fact, our Aforce sets are normally lighter than a lot of popular high end alloy wheelsets. Stiffness is certainly important in a wheelset but the Al33 delivers plenty of that.
A lot of people move over to carbon fibre to achieve sometimes, but not always, greater aerodynamic performance. However, that comes with three drawbacks. First is the risk of delamination – see Alto’s video on that to see what can happen to carbon under extreme braking forces. Secondly, even on the very best carbon fibre rims, braking performance, especially in the wet, is not as good as on aluminium. Thirdly, even the most economical carbon rims cost more than these Aforce rims do and yet the most economical carbon rims will provide the least effective braking and the greatest risks of delamination. So really, the Al33 is a sensible way to have a faster wheelset, without needing to spend lots of cash and jeopardise safety.
Their internal width makes them a pleasure to ride and they are reassuringly tough. The AFX9 alloy works well and tyre fit is among the very easiest we have experienced on any tubeless rim.
25c tyres+ are what I would recommend here, given that the rim is so wide internally. It is particularly rare for an alloy rim to have wind tunnel data against it. Similarly, all the alloy aero rims we have seen have been significantly heavier than the Aforce. For the greatest aerodynamic performance we recommend a tyre which comes up a genuine 25mm in width. That is what Aforce’s detailed wind tunnel data revealed. The Al33 is really stable in cross winds for anyone nervous about deeper profile rims.
The rims come in a disc brake and rim brake format which is good to see, especially with the rise in popularity of disc brakes. The internal width adds greatly to their comfort but also means they are well suited to wider tyres so the Al33 can easily be used on CX / Gravel / Path / Adventure bikes with wider tyres. At that point you will see no aero benefit, however it is still a tough, stiff, stable rim.
The 2:1 lacing feature is optional but a nice option to have as it allows for far greater non-drive side spoke tensions and a great number of spokes bracing the drive side rear. We have dabbled with rims less stiff than the Aforce with this pattern and find it can lead to a weaving about but with the Aforce it is solid and we like it. 1:1 lacing is also available for anyone who prefers that pattern, it is a good alternative to offset profile rear rims. Internal and external nipples are available and the OCL feature on the internal nipples is well executed and thought out. We have not found there to much of a difference in stiffness or weight with internal verses external nipples but generally recommend internal nipples as it is stronger and neater and potentially more aerodynamic.
I appreciate that with the Al33 you are unlikely to purchase a wheelset for much less than £600, which is a lot if you had planned on buying a more standard alloy wheelset which may well be half that and still decent (like our Vivaldi set). However if you are considering an economical carbon wheelset, I would strongly recommend you at least consider this as an alternative. Especially if you are planning on doing larger descents and/or you are a larger rider.
Aforce wheelsets through us with CX-Rays start at £580/pair with DCR standard road hubs. You can combine these with a range of other hubs to suit your tastes, popular options being DT Swiss 240s, Chris King R45, Tune and Alto.
You can read more about the Aforce Al33 on their website aforce.bellebikes.com
If you have any questions, please get in touch.