The Bontrager Aeolus 5 TLR D3 wheelset is a versatile, sturdy pair of tubeless ready (TLR) carbon clinchers. With a wide-stance 19.5 mm internal rim width built with DT Swiss hubs and a 50 mm carbon profile, in testing these wheels felt excellent proving to be fast and durable out on the road. These are great wheels if you are seeking a solid pair of carbon wheels that will perform in racing and stand up to everyday riding. Additionally, it is easy to transition if you want to run a tubeless setup.
The wide rims use Bontrager’s dual directional design profile which was designed by Bontrager’s engineers who studied the aerodynamics of the rim and tyre at both the leading and trailing edge of the wheel. The wide profile makes for a smooth transition from rim to tyre and provides a sturdy platform for the tire to sit. Out on the road, our testers felt the wheels accelerated effortlessly maintaining good stability and calmness in cross winds. The DT Swiss hubs helped keep speed when coasting, accelerating and have an overall quality feel.
I had the opportunity to ride the wheels on gravel roads and with the 28-mm Bontrager tires I had installed, they made for an exceptionally pleasant ride. On winding descents, the wheels gave me increased confidence helping me to lean into corners. When out of the saddle they continued to respond well and when digging deep they felt extremely fast. With a tail wind, the wheels helped me gain speed effortlessly and for long hours in the saddle they continued to provide a very comfortable ride.
The OCLV carbon used is light and durable. After many kilometers riding on rough roads, gravel and in rain the wheels stayed true and continued to perform as they had straight out of the box. The wheels also look excellent, with a blacked out Bontrager decal and the wheelset name in smaller white print, they looked very sharp on the Trek Domane SLR 7 we tested the wheels on.
Spoke count on the rear wheels is 24 while the front wheel has 18 spokes. Bontrager use stacked lacing alignment to provide a better spoke bracing angle. Though it is hard to speak to the aerodynamics of a wheel without putting them through testing, in different conditions the whole build stood up really well and felt very stable.
Bontrager recommends using Swissstop Black Prince pads for better stopping power with these hoops or the Bontrager Carbon Stop cork pads which come with the wheels for a softer feel. Though I was hesitant at first to push them to their limit, the cork pads feel great with predictable, steady braking power and absolutely no brake squeal that is very common with carbon wheels. On descents, modulating speeds was never a problem though they lacked a bit of a bite at high speeds. Riding in the rain on the cork pads is not ideal as they lose a lot of their stopping power. Though it can be done, it would be preferable to switch in the Swisstop Black Prince pads if you think conditions might be wet.
The wheelset weighs in at 1440 g. The front wheel weighs 650 g and is available for $1500. The rear wheel weighs in at 790 g and is compatible with Shimano 10/11, SRAM 10/11 and Campagnolo (freehub sold seperately) groupsets and is available at trekbikes.com for $1800. The wheels come with Brontager’s Carbon Stop cork pads, TLR rim strip, TLR valve stem, and qr skewer.