Fast is fun.
Wagon wheels have had their detractors from the beginning. "Too flexi," "wander on climbs," "don't track right"—we've heard it all. But in the end, they're just faster than their stunted counterparts, and when it comes to XC speed, fast is fun. Race Face's Aeffect SL 29in Wheelset embodies the speed-first ethos of 29ers in a wheel whose rim balances width against weight, going a tad wider than traditional XC wheels without falling victim to the rim-width arms race currently gripping the enduro world.
That's not to say the rims are tiny. At 24mm, their internal width eclipses the standard external width of cross-country race wheels from just a few years ago. They better accommodate slightly larger tires, allowing for higher air volume, lower PSI, increased traction, and an additional layer of cushion for sopping up trail chatter. Since they're branded Aeffect, you can rest assured that they're also tough as hell.
The rims are laced to Race Face's Trace hubs. The Trace model doesn't quite have the lightning-strike engagement of the brand's new Vault freehub, but that's just indicative of their different recommended uses. Since it's featured on an XC model, the Trace hub's three pawls and 9.2-degree engagement are more than equal to the needs of endurance events and long periods spent at speed. The Vault's faster engagement is nice if you're muscling big-travel enduro sleds over stop-and-start rocky cruxes, but the Aeffect SL's Trace hubs do the trick when low weight and high speed are the order of the day.
- A cross-country wheelset for the modern era
- Rim sits wider than traditional XC hoops for increased tire volume
- Straight pull spokes eliminate the J-bend weak spot
- Includes additional five spare rear wheel spokes