Anyone claiming to have the fastest alloy wheel on the market is always going to make us sit up and take notice. It’s some claim, and Rolf Prima is nothing if not thorough in demonstrating why.
Most striking is their lack of spokes, with just 14 at the front 16 at the rear. While this may give the wheel a slightly vulnerable appearance, pairing the spokes in this fashion, according to Rolf, actually makes the wheels very strong.
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Hand-built in Oregon, USA, the 6061 alloy wheels’ strength comes from their ability to tighten the spokes slightly higher than a standard wheel. As the spokes are coming to almost the same point, rather than inches apart, they don’t have to deal with counteracting the opposite lateral spokes’ pull on the 33mm rim, thus making them stronger.
Using internal nipples helps create a significantly cleaner rim profile and as a consequence, Rolf believes, a much cleaner wind flow. These aerodynamic elements are possible thanks to a bespoke hub design.
With a wide 85mm flange placement on the front wheel, Rolf has created a very stable base for the rim/spoke/hub triangle, in theory adding to the stiffness for such a limited spoke count.
At the back, a bigger non-driveside flange should allow the transfer or torque from the driveside — making both spokes pull in unison, adding strength to the wheel.
The CNC alloy hub is partnered with a CNC titanium freehub body and, depending on what Vigor model you eventually opt for, either ceramic or steel cartridge bearings.
How all this converts into speed is pretty much down to the correlation between stiffness and lack of wheel mass, equalling minimal drag. We’d need to run tests to prove it, but with the ability to run tubeless, 10 or 11 speed, compatibility with all groupsets and even a disc option for a starting price of £799, there’s plenty of other reasons to hop on a pair and find out for yourself.
The complete Vigor range
The Vigor Alpha and Vigor Alpha Disc are at the top of the four-wheel range, both with ceramic bearings and CX-Ray bladed spokes. Weighing a claimed 1,450g, the Vigor Alpha, the lighter of the two, comes with titanium rather than steel quick release. The Vigor and Vigor RS come with steel bearings and CX-Speed spokes and weigh 1,485g and 1,525g, thanks to a few extra spokes for the RS.
This article was first published in the January 16 issue of Cycling Weekly.