The Giant SLR 0 42s are impressively light wheels with a precisely judged rim depth that performs in all scenarios, but to get the very best out of them they ought to be run tubeless.
Aerodynamic but stable in crosswinds
Good value for money
Clincher tyres don't always seat easily on tubeless rim
17mm internal rim width is quite narrow by modern standards
By Simon Smythe
Giant is one of the big players in cycling with an R&D budget to match, and in the case of its excellent ‘Wheelsystems’ it has spent wisely.
Like Shimano with its C40, Giant highlights its unique approach to spoking its disc-brake wheels – which unlike rim-brake wheels have to take into account braking forces applied at the hub as well as pedalling forces. The SLR 0s are radially spoked on the non-disc side front, which may gain it a very slight aero advantage over many of its rivals’ two-cross fronts. Both sides at the rear are laced two-cross. Both wheels use DT Aerolite bladed straight-pull spokes.
The Giant SLR 0 rim is on the narrow side by modern standards with an internal width of 17mm, which means that for best aerodynamics you’d need to stick with narrower tyres – in the absence of wind tunnel data it looked like 25mm at widest – and sacrifice a bit of comfort.
>>> Best road bike wheelsets reviewed 2019
On the subject of tyres, in the past we’ve had an issue with getting a standard clincher to seat properly on Giant's tubeless-ready rim – specifically with the SLR 1 wheel that sits below this one in the range. Giant suggested using a tyre installation lube or soap solution to get a brand new clincher to seat, as you would with a tubeless tyre. This time a set of Panaracer Race C Evo 3s went on easily without needing lube but for the rear to seat evenly with no low spots it took a blast from a compressor.
On the road the Giant SLR 0 wheels felt crisp and fast. Their lovely low weight – at 1.46kg the lightest of six in our 'fastest deep-section carbon wheels' grouptest in the April 11 issue – took them up hills very quickly, matched by a lateral stiffness that perfectly countered the biggest efforts and highest torque in a low gear.
Unlike deeper wheels, they weren’t too affected by gusting crosswinds, just requiring a little bit of extra attention on windy, fast descents.
With its 42mm rim Giant has found a sweetspot in which the SLR 0 is incredibly fast both on the flat and on climbs.
The freehub is one of the quietest we've ever come across – in contrast with Hunt 50 Carbon Aero Disc's swarm-of-angry-bees inspired noise – which makes it perfect for launching unexpected attacks as well as making chatting easier on the clubrun.
However, the Giant SLR 0 rims were slightly clattery on rough surfaces, possibly partly because of the narrower rim. Using tubeless tyres at a lower pressure would resolve this.
Lastly, if you’re worried you might lose style points for pick-and-mixing Giant SLR 0 wheels with your Pinarello or similar Italian superbike, the SLR 0s can be easily de-stickered.
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
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