Bontrager Race Lite Wheel Review




The right set of wheels can take your riding to the next level. When it comes to building high-quality race wheels, Bontrager leads the pack with their superior technology, materials and price points. Light-weight, stable and agile, Bontrager wheels are a sure-fire way to improve your performance. 

Check out our review of Bontrager's Race Lite Wheels and see how an upgrade can change the game.

Bontrager Race Lite Wheels


Overview

In short, these are dependable wheels with serviceable parts and the right amount of style.

Now that these road bike wheels are also tubeless ready too, we love them even more as a dependable set of wheels to race and train on.


Front hub

Front hubs get sealed adjustable bearings and get a machining job at the flange that not only looks nice but is also functional by allowing for the straight pull spokes to sit with a reasonable bend and seat well.


Rear hub

The rear hub gets Quad bearings, also adjustable and sealed and with a revised flange spacing. It also gets machining at the flange (which also helps the front and rear weight)…


Spokes

Sure it’s easy to see that Bontrager use paired spokes… It’s even easier to see when they’re nice blingy red guys… And the finish of these wheels got mistaken for carbon hoops with metal brake tracks on their first couple rides.

The stainless spokes go 18 up front and 20 out back and are full 3.6mm blades. The blades seem to be recognized as “aero” but it’s their very good strength that I like as they apply to this wheel set.

But there are two more important things going on than simply the flash factor.


Rims

First is the offset rear rim profile that allows for better strength with the given dish and different tension of drive and non drive side spokes…

And the rim shot here also helps you notice the eyelets with the nipples…. We know that maybe it’s boring to simply build a solid wheel that doesn’t go for much gimmick in the structure, but we like the tried and true (or easily trued), and durable, and still relatively light method of regular old nipples.


Easy maintenance

We like that these things are exceptionally easy to service and you’ll find replacement parts virtually anywhere. And we like the fact (though it might not be too important to some of you) that you can swap the freehub body with a cone and hex…

We also like that they give it a proper greasing inside, and think triple engagement should be a minimum for all wheels…

Bontrager Race Lite Wheels come in a Shimano configuration out of the box but for a charge they can be easily changed to a Campy set up by us.

On The Road

Is the Bontrager RL Wheelset sweet to look at you may ask...Heck Yeah ! They are durable enough for everyday usage and winter miles..keep the miles coming they scream. They are very easily serviced and easy to maintain..a real plus !

The most surprising thing about these puppies is that they will only set you back $450 bucks..yes, that's right...only $450 !

There simply is no better pre-built wheelset on the market, they currently don't exist.

For an 18/20 spoke wheel set, they are stiff both in wind-up and in side load. We can’t absolutely say that paired spokes, more so than very strong spokes paired with a very sturdy rim, are the cause. But we have also spent a brief time on their XXX Lite carbons and can tell you that they are also a nice stiff wheel and are (at 1250 grams) not creating the stiffness simply with more meat, so the thought here is that there may be something to equalizing the load closer together at the rim the way paired spokes do that allows fewer spokes but maintains strength and stiffness.

At 1660 Grams these are not the 1400-1200 gram clinchers that also grace Bontrager’s line up. But we wouldn’t sell them short as only excellent wheels for tough days and great durability. That they look pretty sweet as well is just a bonus.

If your body weight in pounds is similar to the gram weight of these wheels divided by 10, these could easily be considered a performance wheel as well. There are wheels costing more than double the price of the Race Lites that weigh similar to what these wheels do, but these seem to hold their weight pretty well and don’t feel like 1600 gram wheels as much as some 1500 gram wheels we've been on.

An insanely good price for a wheel set from a company that takes very good care of its customers.

Bontrager's customer service is nothing but top notch in our experience.

Racers can certainly welcome these for loads of winter miles and roughing things up in spring. Mid to large sized guys looking for a sweet looking wheel set that can stand up to some punishment as a performance wheel set might like em too. That the set cost less than half the price of a single rim (not wheel, just rim) I just purchased also make “sneaking” these into the house much-much easier…

Roll on...The Dedham Bike Crew.