BONTRAGER AEOLUS PRO 37 – BEST VALUE FOR TUBED CLINCHER TIRE USERS

The Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37 is a wheelset that seems designed for the value carbon road disc rider from the get-go. It is a capable performer in all the key areas I look for in an all-around road disc wheelset.

“Capable performer” may read like a backhanded compliment. I don’t intend it to be. It’s just that most of the wheelsets in the value carbon category have one or more major performance weaknesses that limit what you can do with them. This Bontrager doesn’t.

While the Aeolus Pro 37 doesn’t perform at the level of US$,£,€2000 and up carbon road disc wheelsets, its ride gave me equal or better performance across the board compared to other wheelsets I’ve tested within hailing distance of the Aeolus Pro 37’s US$1500, £1250, €1400 price-point.

Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37

It accelerates well and climbs without restrictions. It was plenty stiff enough for me doing either of those efforts and when I powered up for some town-line sprints.

Shod with 25C Continental Grand Prix 5000 tubed clincher tires at 70 psi for my roughly 145lbs/66kg weight, I found this Aeolus Pro 37 wheelset’s comfort and handling good – neither outstanding nor lacking.

The DT Swiss 350 rear hub freewheels with nary a whisper, allowing you to enjoy the peace of your ride or the calls from paceline mates. Audible preferences aside, they perform inconspicuously, neither rolling or engaging noticeably better or worse than most hubs in the value carbon price range.

DT 350 Hub on Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37

I rode these wheels with standard clincher tires and tubes and I’d recommend you do as well. Bontrager includes a cloth-like strap that simply stretches over the wheel’s sidewalls and snaps into place to cover the rim bed spoke holes.

To go tubeless, Bontrager ships these wheels with plastic strips that added over 100g to the total weight and aren’t easy to install. I snapped one and couldn’t get the other one centered correctly. You can also buy what I found to be quite good Bontrager rim tape to seal the beds for tubeless or tube-type tires, but that takes a little bit of experience to get right.

While I recognize everyone has different tastes and therefore don’t usually share my opinion on the looks of a wheelset, I will say that if you prefer stealthy-looking, matt-finished rims with sufficient badging to let people know what you are riding, these Bontragers will be right up your alley.

Design: As with most bike wheels introduced lately, the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37 TLR wheelset is only made in a disc brake option and is “tubeless ready”.  As per my comments above, I’d recommend you ride it with a tubed-tire setup or tape the rims rather than use the rim strips if you want to ride tubeless tires.

The wheelset with the easy-to-install cloth-like straps for tubed tires weighed 1519 grams on my scale. Taped wheels will weigh much the same depending on the tape you use. With the plastic tubeless strips, the weight increased to 1648 grams.

The rims I rode measured 21.2 mm wide on the inside (between the rim hooks) and 27.8 mm on the outside near where the tire and rim join. With the 25C Continental Grand Prix 5000 tubed tires at my benchmark 100psi, the tires measure 27.6 mm wide. At a more comfortable 80psi, they run 27.4 mm. True to the Pro 37 TLR’s name, the rims measured 37.0 mm deep.

The carbon rim’s profile starts off on the inner spoke edge with a softened V profile and quickly adopts a U shape as it travels toward the outer tire edges. The spokes are bladed DT Swiss Aerolites attached to the rim with external alloy nipples. The hubset is also a DT Swiss branded 350 model.

Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37

Quality: While I’ve usually found Bontrager wheels to be very well built, the easy-to-break, hard-to-center tubeless rim strips that I wrote about above were disappointing.

The rim and hub shell finish are first-rate. The decal labels also appear to be well adhered and integrated nicely into the rim design.

Bontrager’s durability policies suggest a high level of confidence in its carbon wheels. You can ride the wheels and still get a full refund within 30 days of your purchase if you decide you don’t want to keep them. They also come with a lifetime materials and workmanship warranty.

The crash replacement policy for these and all Bontrager carbon wheels is decent if not the best. They will replace or repair your wheels for free within 2 years of when you bought them if you damage them while riding.

As they are owned by Trek which has one of the largest dealer networks, you can take your Bontrager wheels to any bike shop that sells Trek products for warranty or crash replacement service.

Price: Use these links to order the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37 for US$1500, £1250, €1400 direct from Bontrager or from Sigma Sports.

For a slightly deeper option better suited for wider tires and maintaining higher speeds on flat and rolling terrain, I suggest you consider the Pro 37’s big brother, the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 51 that sells for the same price at Bontrager or at Sigma Sports.

In The Know Cycling is ad-free, subscription-free, and reader-supported. If you want to help keep it rolling without any added cost to you, buy your gear and kit after clicking the store links on the site. When you do, we may earn an affiliate commission that will help me cover the expenses to create and publish our independent, comprehensive, and comparative reviews. Thank you, Steve. Learn more.

You can read my evaluation of other wheelsets in this category in the post The Best Value Carbon Wheelset.

Follow us on facebook.com/itkcycling | twitter.com/ITKCycling | instagram.com/itkcycling

First published on June 23, 2020. The date of the most recent major update is shown at the top of the post.

32 comments

  • Tubes weigh 100 grams each. Why didn’t you weigh the wheels with tubes in of you weighed them with strips? Also, I just installed bontrager strips on new bontrager wheels and it was the simplest thing possible. A teammate has the pro 3’s and said the same thing. You just install valve through strip. Stretch it easily around to slap in place, and then run your tire lever along the wheel hook to lock in place (per simple picture directions). I will agree, though, those Continental 5000 TL were a bear to get on. I wrestled with those! It inflated right up with regular pump which was nice. I have a set coming tomorrow, so I hope I have better luck than you had!

    • Aaron, When you consider everything that goes into a tubed-tire vs. tubeless tire setup, I’ve concluded there’s little difference in weight. I’ve detailed that here in my review of tubeless tires. What irks me about using Bontrager tubeless strips is that you put yourself at a 50-gram disadvantage per wheel right off the start. I taped the Bontrager RSL 37 (see here) which is a climbing wheelset but I’d imagine most people looking for a $1300 rim aren’t experienced with taping and are likely not tubeless users anyway. Installing those plastic strips right probably aren’t as easy for most to do either. I’ve installed them on four or five Aeolus wheelsets I’ve tested before and never found it foolproof. It should be for a wheelset this price. Perhaps it was the cooler temps in my garage when I put them on or my inattention when I installed them on the Pro 37 but it was a real faff. Sounds like you know your way around these but you might consider tape if you are looking for a lower weight solution to tubeless. Steve

  • I have the option to customize these wheels with DT Swiss 240 hubs and aero lite spokes for about 2k, would it make sense to just go with Aeolus xxx4 for a couple bucks more?

    I have a cervelo Caledonia and my average ride is 30 miles over 2300 ft of elevation.

  • I currently have the Aeolus Comp 5 on my Trek Madone. Would you recommend the pro 37s so should I just stick to the comps. My major beef is the acceleration with the comp 5s since they are definitely weighty.
    I fear giving up some aero advantages with the 37s. The course I usually ride is rolling gaining ~ 2000ft over the course of 50 miles ( which is essentially flat if you ask pro ? )
    What would be your recommendation?

  • Hi there. Thanks for the consistently great content you put out. I have a question on these wheels. I see from the images you installed the Shimano Ultegra rotors. Where you able to fit the rotors with the standard lockring that comes with the rotors, using the cassette tool? I have heard mixed stories about wheels with DT Swiss internals not fitting well with Shimano rotors using the center lockring and that an alternative lockring is needed. Thanks!

    • Kyle, I’ve uses Shimano (and SRAM) rotors at multiple levels (Ultegra and Dura Ace) with lockrings that tighten on the inside with a standard cassette lockring tool and larger diameter rings that tighten on the outside of the ring with a tool like the BBT-9.

      I do know of riders who have not been able to use lockrings that tighten on the outside of the rings but it was because there wasn’t enough space between the rings and the forks on some older forks. Nothing to do with the rotors. Steve

  • Great. Thanks for confirming that Steve.

  • Hey Steve. Great content. Stumbled upon this piece and “THE BEST CARBON WHEELSET FOR THE MONEY – PART 2” while I was researching between Bontrager Pro 37 and Pro 3V.

    I have a stock Trek Domane SL5 2021 and it comes with a Affinity TLR (32C R1 tires) which I’m very keen to upgrade to unlock more performance out of my bike. I typically do century rides over the weekends and half century on weekday and I reckon comfort is my goal here. I had a bad fall once on a wet road so 32C tires gives me the confidence in grip and traction.

    My Trek LBS claims that Pro 37 can take on 32C tires but for most optimum choice, which among the 2 do you think is more suited for 32C tires? Or what other alternatives that is worth considering? My budget is around the value-carbon price point. Also planning to stick with clincher for now. Appreciate the advice. Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Lawrence, the wider the tires, the wider you want your rim to be to better support the tire sidewalls. Better support means better handling. I’d think the 3V would be the better choice. Steve

  • Hi Steve,

    How would you compare these with the aeolus pro 51 wheelset which i think are marketed as more of an all-rounder. A bit heavier but a fair compromise for the increased aero and increased allowable tyre size within the 105/108 rule. What do you think? If you had to choose one wheelset as your only do it all budget wheelset which would you pick between the two?

    • Hi Joel, I tested the Aeolus RSL 51 and Pro 37 but not the Pro 51 so can only attempt to triangulate. I do believe the Pro 51 would be a good value all-round for the reasons you mentioned especially if you do more rolling and flat terrain than hilly and climbing rides and use tubed clincher tires rather than tubeless ones. (If you want to go tubeless, tape the rims rather than use the heavy rim strips that come with the wheels). It’s also in stock (here), something that’s not the case with a lot of wheels (including the Pro 37) these days. Cheers, Steve

      Note: Site may earn a commission when you order after clicking on store links.

      • I’ve never ridden any carbon rims all-round/aero or light weight. So I don’t have a good feel for these things but for a ~100 g difference (51 vs 37) would you expect a difference over a 7% 1.5 mile climb (the tallest climb near to where I live. In terms of time and feel?

        • Joel, You’d be hard-pressed to tell a difference in that amount of weight. Over 150 grams you’ll start to notice assuming you are a fit and experienced rider. Training and technique will make a much bigger difference. Check out this post on how to ride faster. https://intheknowcycling.com/how-to-ride-faster-on-your-bike-10-better-ways-part-1/. Steve

          • Do you feel differently now you’ve tried the 51s? I was umming and ahhing but fundamentally I’m upgrading from the Paradigm Comp 25s that came on my Domane SL6 because they leave my legs feeling dead and heavy. On seeing that you had a heavy-legged experience with the 51s (and considering I’ve got long, spindly legs that are sensitive to weight increases and I normally ride Dura-Ace C24s on an older Domane) I’ve just bought the 37s…

          • Russell, Riding the Pro 51 confirmed what I thought would be the case – you notice little difference on flat and moderately rolling terrain but on anything with bigger rolls or steeps, you’re better off with the Pro 37s. Steve

          • Russell Garner

            Thanks Steve. I do have a choice of east for flat or west for hills. But there’s always a moderate hill to get home, so I think I’m probably good with the 37s. Always going to be curious about deeper wheels but I think the 51s are just slightly too heavy and I’d need to spend a little more…

  • Hi Steve
    In a couple days i will have in my hands my new Emonda Slr with the new Dura Ace and Pro’s 37 as wheelset. Do you suggest to change the wheels with the RSL or keep it as it is? Or maybe can you give a tip for another wheelset? My main rides are in flat-rolling terrain with 500 -700 m elevation and at the weekends i am having 1300-1600 m elevation profile rides.
    Thanks!

  • Hi Steve,
    I was just wondering when your review of the Aeolus Pro 51 would be released? I am currently trying to decide between the Zipp 303s and the Aeolus Pro 51. Would definitely love to read your Pro 51 review if is coming out soon or simply know your recommendations between the Zipp 303s vs Bontrager Aeolus Pro 51.

  • Sandler, thanks for your interest. It’s probably a month or so away. Note that if you prefer clincher tires, the 303 S is not an option. I expect the Pro 51 and Pro 37 to be similar with the former better suited for flat and rolling terrain and the latter for hillier and climbing routes as with the 303 S. If you haven’t seen it, I review Pro 37 and 303 S back to back in this review of value carbon wheels. Steve

  • Just so you know, this (aggregator?) site has lifted your review word for word. You might have approved it, not really sure, but this review made me buy these wheels so I hope you’re getting paid for it…

    swiss cycles dot com forward slash bontrager-aeolus-pro-37-best-value-for-standard-tire-users

    • Russell, Thanks. Yes, a handful of cycling sites copy our reviews without authorization. To call them an aggregator would be kind. That’s the internet for you.

      We only get “paid” or make a small commission on a sale when you buy something at a store after clicking last on one of the links from our site to go to that store. If a review we write makes you buy something that you end up getting from a bike shop or an online store after clicking last from another site, then there’s no payment made to us to fund more gear for review or cover our site expenses. That too is the internet. Steve

  • Hi Steve,

    I am not sure if the reply will be posted as reply to Lawrence’s post… Anyhow. I have similar question.
    For years I had been riding Cervelo S3 (25mm tires) and TT bikes (wheels FC404 and 25mm tires), in total 6-8k per year. Recently, I stopped TT and have decided to go for comfort and longer rides, hence I have bought Trek Domane. This bike is super comfortable but obviously heavier and slower:) Now, I am thinking to upgrade the wheels. I will definitely stay with 32mm tires so do you reco 3V as for Laurence or 37 or perhaps Zipp 303 FC? I will be moving to Spain soon, so finally will be riding in the mountains again.

    • David, If you can afford it, I’d actually go with the 37 V for the tire width you’ll be using and climbing you’ll be doing. If not that, the 303 FC. My review of wide climbing wheels is here that includes both of those and others to consider. Steve

  • Hi Steve,
    Since I own this wheelset and also use GP5000s, I’ve referenced this article on more than one occasion, including as research for the initial purchase – so thank you for the write-up!
    I’ve got about 5000km this season on my Aeolus Pro 37s with 28c GP5000s, and I’ve figured for a while that I’ve nullified any aerodynamic effects to be derived from the wheelset by violating the 105% rule. I’ve now got some 25s on the way (also GP5000) that I’ll be installing next week, and I’m pretty curious to see how they compare – aerodynamics versus comfort, I suppose. In an age where everyone is moving from 25 to 28, I’m doing the opposite!
    In reading your post again today, I suppose your 27.4 measured tire width on 28mm external rim width also isn’t quite within the 105% rule (102%??), but it’s at much better than my 28 (read: 30) tire width. Do you figure that 102% is probably close enough?
    Anyway, thanks again!

    • Matt, While I like your contrarian streak, I’d suggest you stay with 28mm tires. There’s not a noticeable gain or loss to be found on tires this narrow even if you are riding at aero speed. As I wrote about earlier this year, the rule of 105% is grounded in an era that no longer applies and other factors like handling performance and vibration rolling resistance favor a wider tire even on aero depth wheels. Steve

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.