With 40 millimetres of full carbon rim and the promise of all-round performance, are the Vision Trimax Carbon 40 Ltd wheels the ones? We take a closer look.
When Vision Tech wheels first arrived back in the 1990s they were, to all intents and purposes, one of two carbon brands to beat, with Zipp being the other one. So it’s fair to say that, along with sister brand FSA, Vision knows a fair bit about carbon and the construction of wheels.
Vision’s Trimax range itself has been around a while now, sitting just below the range-topping Metron with the aim of offering performance and aerodynamics for slightly less. The wheel depth has been tweaked every year, with the 40mm of the Vision Trimax Carbon 40 Ltd wheels settled on for 2018.
USA brand Vision has always used an artisan approach to wheel construction, with each wheel handcrafted from ground up using multi-directional carbon, before being hand assembled, with even the LTD alloy direct-pull freehub also built by hand. This kind of manufacturing requires a significant amount of personnel hours, and would explain the slightly higher price of the Vision Trimax Carbon 40 Ltd wheels compared to others in a similar performance bracket.
Talking of similarly categorised competitors, the Vision Trimax Carbon 40 Ltd do come up rather heavy at 1,696 a pair (without the quick release) against other brands such as Token C45 R wheels (1,588g), or the Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels (1,504g), despite a low aero spoke count of 16 front and 21 rear.
Out the door the clincher-specific Vision Trimax Carbon 40 Ltd wheels felt rapid, and according to the Strava data, my various PBs and a sixth place on a segment (without knowing it was a Strava segment, honest) would seem to evidence that.
The 100 grams or so of weight they carry over their competitors would seem to be all in the hub as clocking over 600 metres on one 29km ride I wasn’t once left wanting or wishing I had brought a lighter pair of carbon clinchers out.
They’re easily on a par with the Token C45 R wheels and overtake the Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels in both straight-line efforts as well as in the hills.
The hubs are very responsive, delivering that push feeling that you only get when riding a fast rolling set of wheels, which is great on any given day but especially impressive considering I felt it only fair to use my current wheel test benchmark tyre, the 25mm Continental Grandsport Race, which measure up as just over a whopping 27mm with around 95psi in them.
This tyre size is thanks to the 17mm internal and 25.5mm external rim width, allowing the tyre itself to balloon up nicely and giving plenty of rubber-to-road contact, allowing corners to track like a dream and, again looking at the Strava stats, me to enjoy plenty of free speed. But what the Vision Trimax Carbon 40 Ltd wheels do in tyre shape and traction confidence, the braking track almost takes away.
Most carbon rim brake wheels are known for their sometimes less-than-perfect braking and it’s always advisable to take a slightly lengthened stopping distance into account, especially in the wet. While the Vision Trimax Carbon 40 Ltd wheels didn’t particularly suffer from delayed braking any more than other brands, they just did it under more duress – namely with the worst screeching I’ve ever come across in a carbon wheelset (including the Mavic Exalith-treated wheels). I’ve cleaned rim and pads, toed them in (adjusted the pad so that the front hits the rim ever so slightly first) and even tried two lots of brake pads, both the Vision factory standard and even a pair of Campagnolo carbon pads to no avail.
To be fair it was only on the steepest of descents, so under high load, but it was so embarrassing that I don’t want to ride with anyone, and kept trying to keep the speed low by semi-braking so that, like a drunken adolescent trying to creep in the front door well past curfew, I didn’t have to deal with the screech that ricocheted off the surrounding hills of the western Peak District
I’ll keep plugging away at fixes and update the review if I manage to silence them.
at £1,349.95 the Vision Trimax Carbon 40 Ltd wheels are without doubt at the upper end of the price bracket by about £350 compared to arguably equivalent-performing peers. They’re closer in price to the Zipp 302 wheels, but aren’t quite up to the level of performance that the 10/10 wheels delivered, and are still £50 more for the prividge.
Knowing each pair is handcrafted from scratch does hold a certain appeal and level of confidence in their durability, and the ride is pretty sweet as long as you don’t have to point the bike down anything too steep. If Vision could solve that issue there might be more space in my artillery room for them.
A good set of wheels that deliver solid performances both on the flat and climbing despite being heavier than rivals, but need to resolve the unbearable braking screech in order to remain on speaking terms with the rest of the peloton and avoid a noise abatement order.