To go with their new 2012 road bikes, Giant Bicycles has introduced several new wheelsets built largely on DT Swiss technology.
The line includes four models, all with 21mm wide tubeless ready/compatible rims and custom hubs that push the spoke mounts out 4mm on the front hub to maximize stiffness. The rear hub flanges were also pushed slightly outward, which forced a design decision that’ll dictate spec: They’re only Shimano/SRAM compatible – no Campy. The hubs use DT Swiss’ Star Ratchet mechanism, bearings, axle and Tricon spoke mount design. Perhaps most importantly for consumers, they combine light weights with reasonable prices, making an aftermarket push by Giant likely to succeed thanks to the subtle graphics that should go well with non-Giant branded bikes.
Above, the P-SLR1 Aero is one of two top-of-the-range offerings. It pairs a scandium rim with a carbon aero shell and Aerolite stainless steel bladed spokes for a 50mm deep wind cheating design. Weight is 1575g and they’ll retail for $1,600. Because the rim is drilled, it’ll require rim strips to be tubeless compatible, but the sidewall is designed with tubeless in mind.
Jump past the break for the others…
The lightweight P-SLR1 wheelset is 1390g and built for racing and climbing. It uses a 21mm deep/wide Scandium rim and Aerolite S/S bladed spokes. Both it, the Aero version and the P-SL0 below, have CNC machined braking surfaces, and both non-aero models use highly asymmetric rims to provide better spoke triangulation for stiffer, stronger wheels. At just $1,000 MSRP, this should be a strong contender in the lightweight wheel market, particularly with the wide, tubeless ready rim.
Above, the P-SL0 is their do-everything wheelset. At just $600 for the 1595g, it trades down to an aluminum rim but keeps bladed stainless steel spokes and the wide flanged hubs.
Not shown is the P-SL1, a solid enthusiast wheelset that retails for just $350 at 1775g. It has a non-machined aluminum rim, DT Champion stainless spokes. Both SL models’ rims are 21mm wide/deep.
There are front and rear specific tires, but not because of any tread pattern. Instead, different durometers use grippier (60/64/60 front) or more durable (64/70/64) rubber to suit the application. Not said but hinted at is that Giant may be looking at buture front and rear specific applications (read: wheels) that are designed to improve aerodynamics and overall performance on their bikes.
At present, the only size offered is 700x23c.
There’s also a 15g heavier P-SLR2 with a kevlar layer under the casing to improve puncture resistance. Word is there’s a tubeless version in the works.