SRAM S40 Wheelset

SRAM S40 Wheelset 246x300 SRAM S40 Wheelset

SRAM S40 Wheelset

SRAM bought the renowned Zipp brand, and with it all their expertise and technology. That means that SRAM ought to be producing some seriously light and fast wheels, and they are. The SRAM S40 wheelset may not have the features that die-hard Zipp loyalists look for (like those ever present dimples) but they have a lot going for them. SRAM claims that the S40s are their very lightest carbon wheels, and that even so, they come with a level of durability that makes then pretty good for just about anything.

Light weight climbers

Whatever SRAM says about versatility, these 38mm rimmed wheels are pretty light. At only around 1800g, this wheelset isn’t the lightest around, but SRAM is also marketing the S40 wheelset as tough. Unidirectional carbon fiber makes this one seriously stiff wheelset, although heavier riders (over 170 pounds or so) and those putting out high power may find a little flex when the watts are high. If you are looking for a light, durable sportive wheelset, then the S40 may be ideal for you, but all that stiffness does make for a somewhat unforgiving ride.

Real versatility

Now, these wheels really do belong under riders of less than 220 pounds, so they aren’t as robust as the hype might lead you to believe. Don’t forget that these are light wheels, and that means that material has been shaved off where it could have provided more durability. However, when we tested them, they surprised us.

These wheels did stay incredibly true on our tough test rides. For mile after mile, they were asked to perform in a group, out alone in a mock time trial, to corner like a crit, and to race downhill without fear. They were just aero enough to stay fast when out in front thanks to a toroid shape blatantly taken from Zipp design. They were plenty stiff enough for tight corners, and quality hubs meant they rolled smoothly and quietly.  They may not be as light as we’d hoped given SRAMs claims, but they certainly were fun to ride.

Not superlight

Given that the SRAM S40 are clinchers – which makes sense given that they are designed for long rides where you go looking for big climbs – they probably could be lighter. 1800 grams just isn’t competitive anymore if SRAM wants the S40s to play in the ultralight market. Don’t get me wrong, 1,800g is light enough for most purposes, and if you want a wheel that won’t drag you down on your sportive, that can weather some training rides, and still turn out looking pretty on race day, then the S40 wheelset is great.

That said, there are other options around. Even SRAMs aluminum S30 would be worth a look, and the old boy or the wheel world, the Mavic Ksyrium Elite, is cheaper and lighter.   If you are really serious about your road racing and want the lightest, fastest wheels on the market, then you really need to keep looking. For around $1300 these are good wheels, but are they the best lightweight road ride and race wheelset? Absolutely not.

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