When it comes to the big manufacturers in triathlon, it doesn’t get much bigger than Profile Design. We’re willing to bet that someplace in your garage you probably have at least one piece of equipment stamped with the Profile Design name (and most likely more than one). So when PD announced that they were making a new clincher to follow the industry into the domain of wide wheels, you should have taken notice. However, we doubt many did. Profile Design’s components are held in high regard, but the company’s wheels tend to be an afterthought. Looking at the 2012 Kona wheel count, only 24 PD wheels were found in transition, while Zipp had a whopping 2,041. Profile Design wants to change those numbers, and their new TwentyFour series is the opening salvo in that fight.
The TwentyFour series is available in both a 58mm and a 78mm depth and possesses the name-defining 24mm width at the brake track. Both widths come with Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes and are 10- and 11-speed Shimano compatible. PD is claiming a weight of 1,630g for the 58s and 1,820g for the 78s.
But specs are never the important part of a wheelset. What is most important, however, is how they perform. Based on the documentation Profile Design sent us, they have set Zipp squarely in their sights as the benchmark for these wheelsets. They are claiming the 58 series would see a 3-second time savings over a set of 404s at Kona (with the 58s weighing an additional 105g). When comparing the 78s with the 808s, Profile Design says the difference would equate to a 61-second improvement (with the 808s coming in 90g lighter). While we have to see final wind tunnel numbers to determine the validity of these claims, we are stoked that they chose to set the benchmark so high.
For this kind of performance you may be assuming that PD is also looking to set prices similar to Zipp. Fortunately we all know what happens when you make assumptions. The 58s will come in at $1,800 (roughly $925 less than the 404s) and the 78s will cost you $2,000 (or about $975 less than 808s). These numbers are in fact closer to what we see for fairly generic 21mm V-shaped carbon clinchers—not their wider, faster brethren.
So will these be the wheelsets that bring up the Kona count for PD over the next few years? For now it’s too early to tell. But we do know we like what PD is attempting to do. After all, you can only improve when you set your sites on the leaders. And there is no doubt that Profile Design is doing just that with the new TwentyFour series.