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The Bontrager Aeolus Pro 49V is a significantly less expensive alternative to the Zipp 454 NSW and ENVE SES 4.5, two wheelsets that most of my fellow testers and I would ride eight days a week if we weren’t testing others.

So the Aeolus Pro 49V has tough competition, for sure.


The three wheelsets share the ability to ride 50mm+ deep rims comfortably either on or off-road. That’s partly thanks to their wide rims that allow you to set up road and gravel tires at low pressures.

For the record, the Aeolus Pro 49V wheels we tested measured 50.7mm deep, 25.4mm wide inside their hooked rims, and 32.7mm wide on the outside. The Zipp 454 is a little narrower, and the ENVE is about the same width. Both are, on average, a few millimeters deeper.

Unlike the Zipp and ENVE wheels and almost every other road and gravel wheelset made today, the Aeolus Pro 49V uses thermoplastic resins. It’s a carbon material that can be recycled when you’re well and done with them. Almost all carbon wheels today are made of thermoset resins and end up in the landfill.

Fellow tester Nate and I found the Pro 49V’s comfort one of its strong suits. Leading a dozen or so 30-50 mile A-group rides and a 150 miler, the wheelsets’s over-the-road comfort and ability to suck up bumps really stood out for him. It is also one of the first things I notice rolling out of the driveway on these Bontragers.

Another distinguishing characteristic of these wheels is the almost instantaneously engaging and virtually quiet Bontrager hubs. The freehub has six pawls that seem to respond immediately to every cadence change. And properly lubed, they coast in beautiful peace, allowing you to enjoy your riding experience more.

On relatively flat Class 1 dirt and Class 2 gravel surfaces where aerodynamics and weight are less critical than tire traction and comfort, the Pro 49V is a good, lower-price option in the Type 1 all road wheels category made up by the Zipp 454 NSW and ENVE SES 4.5.


Bontrager Aeolus Pro 49V

But on paved roads, the Aeolus Pro 49V falls well short of these and other more expensive wheels of similar depth and not much different than the best and less expensive value-carbon wheels.

Doing pulls or riding solo above 20mph/32kph, Nate and I never feel that the Aeolus Pro 49V wheels help us go faster or maintain our speeds.

Bontrager’s tests show the Pro 49V rim shape creates less drag at a 10-degree angle in a wind tunnel than the one used on their Pro 51 and top-tier RSL 51 road wheels. In the random range of wind speeds and angles we experience riding on the road, the Pro 49V feels slower than the Pro 51 or RSL 51, which are not on par with the Zipp and ENVE models in our testing.

Likewise, the Pro 49V doesn’t feel as lively as most of the wheels we’ve tested, including the Zipp, ENVE, and Bontragers I’ve compared them to above. Despite how fast the Pro 49V hub engages, the wheels feel pretty damped and slow to respond or accelerate.

At US$1800, £1800, €1800 available at their parent Trek’s online store or through dealers, the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 49V offers a lower price option with the same level of comfort but less performance for road and gravel cyclists looking for a single, deep wheelset to ride on either.

But if you do most of your riding on just one of those surfaces, there are less expensive and better-performing options.

See how these wheels compare to others in my review of the Best Value Carbon Wheelset.

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Thanks, and enjoy your rides safely! Cheers, Steve


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