Stan's NoTubes Alpha 340 Comp Disc-Brake Road Wheelset - Tubeless $649.95
Times are a changin', and Stan's NoTubes has not only made the road tube a dusty relic that you'll someday show to your inattentive grandchildren, but now, its Alpha 340 Comp Disc-Brake Tubeless Road Wheelset is targeting road brake calipers for systematic annihilation.
The Alpha 340s are Stan's first go at road disc wheels, but you wouldn't guess that from the ride quality. Made from 6061 alloy, the 340's 22.6mm rim profile provides well-rounded characteristics of rigidity, stability, and strength. However, the profile and material are only cogs in the efficiency machine known as Bead Socket Technology (BST). This is Stan's signature on the wheel world, and we'll tell you why it's so important -- it all comes down to lower tire pressure. BST eliminates the necessity for a bead hook, and allows the rim to use a shorter sidewall. This design permits the tire to inflate to its natural shape, and thus reduce the stored energy within the rim. Now, to draw comparison to a typical design with a heightened sidewall and bead hook, this system pinches the tire at its base and requires higher inflation pressures to maintain handling. This pre-loading is what contributes to higher stored energy, and accordingly, it contributes to the characteristic of 'rolling off' or instability under lateral pressure, or as it's commonly known, 'cornering.' In contrast, BST actually reduces required pressure by around 30%, and this contributes to a multitude of advantages.
With BST's design, tires can inflate to a higher volume at a reduced pressure. This translates to a tire shape that grabs the road more thoroughly through corners. The lower pressure also directly equates to speed. Tires roll faster at reduced pressure by efficiently adapting to rough or uneven surfaces. With less pressure, the tire is free to absorb shock instead of recoiling from it, and this amounts to less energy being dissipated by the tire flattening and rebounding upon impact. Now, we know that this is occurring near the micro level, but these minute characteristics embody why the pros are so attentive to tire pressure.
Further along the lines of speed, the 340's absence of a bead hook not only reduces the weight of the wheel by around 35g, but it also sets in motion a design that removes grams from the most important location -- the point of rotation. By removing the bead hook, the rim is naturally made wider. Width breeds stability, and stability permits a 2-4mm height reduction to the sidewall. The shorter sidewall reduces air pressure's mechanical leverage enacted upon the rim, which means that Stan's can make the center of the rim thinner. All in all, the chain of events reduces weight by around 100 to 160g without compromising strength or rigidity. Back on point, though, it's important to note that this weight was removed from the rim. This means that rotational weight is decreased, and thus, less energy is required to achieve acceleration and to keep the wheels rotating at speed. You'll also be happy to know that, should you choose to run a tube, the 340 design also greatly reduces the occurrence of pinch flats. And even better, when run tubeless, there's simply no tube to pinch flat.
Now, let's get to newest innovation of the 340s -- their disc-brake compatibility. Whether you're riding 'cross or jumping onto one of the burgeoning options for disc-compatible road bikes, you're going to experience an increased stopping power over standard road calipers. With disc brakes, the levers experience a more efficient pull ratio that provides more subtlety and power to the stroke. Disc brakes also perform better in adverse weather conditions like rain or mud. Stan's has even gone as far as to design the 340 to run with your choice of calipers or discs. Set up as discs, the 340s accept a 6-bolt rotor. The rims have been laced in a 24/28-spoke, two-cross pattern to Stan's 3.30 QR Disc hubs.
The Stan's NoTubes Alpha 340 Comp Disc-Brake Tubeless Road Wheelset is available in a 700c size and in the color Black. The 340s are compatible with both tube/tubeless and disc/caliper configurations. Please note that neither rotors or a cassette lock ring are included, and that the rear hub uses a 135mm spacing. Stan's recommends these wheels for riders under 200lbs.