Easton Aero 55 Tubular Wheelset

When you decide to raise your game in bike racing, and step up out of the melee of the cat 5 and cat 4 crowds, one of the first things you’ll do is look at your equipment and see what will give you that extra edge. You’ll pat your beloved frame adoringly, and think about what would make her go even faster. Upgrade the drivetrain? Maybe. Lighter pedals? Sure, but you don’t get much difference for another hundred bucks. Nope, it’s always the wheels. If you want light, fast, stiff, and responsive – and therefore expensive – your first forays into top ends wheels are going to have to do it all. Chances are, you won’t have thousands burning a hole in your pocket to get yourself specialist wheels for criterium, time trial, or climbing stages. You want the best, but it has to be the best of everything.

Enter the Aero 55…

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. We may be talking about an investment on just one wheelset, but the quality you’re looking for isn’t going to come cheap. The Easton Aero 55 wheelset is quite likely the perfect answer for you – and we’ll talk about why in a minute – but at $2400 a pair you are making a serious decision, and no doubt you are going to expect a lot from these wheels.

Let’s talk about versatility first. At 1330g for the pair, they aren’t the lightest wheelset around, but they are more than respectable. Let’s just say at that weight you won’t notice your wheels slowing you down, no matter how steep the climb. The return of a little extra weight is that versatility you are looking for. The 55 millimeter rim depth slices through the air as cleanly as any time trial wheel – better than a lot of them in fact; this wheel took 14 seconds off a top end rival in a 40K wind tunnel test – and yet isn’t so deep that you’ll get buffeted around too much unless the cross winds really pick up.

Top end technology

Easton presents the Aero 55 Wheelset as more than a ‘do everything’ wheel – they say it’s a ‘do everything well’ wheel. That means they haven’t spared the investment on research and design from their specialist wheelsets, and have applied the best of everything to the Aero 55. They’ve utilized their industry leading EC90 carbon for the rims, and applied the rim shape from their best performing time trial wheels. Water based decals smooth out that cool-looking face so there isn’t an edge anywhere to rumple the air flow. The carbon layup process that Easton has perfected gives the rims a remarkable lateral stiffness, and makes then strong enough to handle cobbles and keep you stable in the corners. Easton’s top end and highly regarded Echo hubs make sure that when you sprint for the line your wheels go right with you – no ‘diesel’ delay from the Echo.

Jack of all trades and master of them all

Like I said, these wheels aren’t cheap, but the price compares well with top class wheels in each discipline, and with the Easton Aero55 wheelset you can go from time trial to criterium to road stage without touching your quick release. Easton even touts these wheels as aero enough for triathletes, and certainly the versatility they claim will be attracting the attention of Ironman competitors, looking for aero speed and climbing agility. It certainly looks like Easton has opened the door to a new age of wheelsets. Their rivals need to take notice, as the age of specialist wheelsets may be over, and this is great news for the ‘one set rider’. Finally the playing field is leveled, as nobody needs to sacrifice performance for versatility anymore!

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