Profile Design is a company best-known for their cockpits and hydration systems, so if you weren’t aware that they made carbon wheels, the Altair line, you could be forgiven. Now that Profile Design has launched their new wheelset, the Twenty Four series, the “nobody knew” excuse just won’t cut it anymore. These wheels have gotten some serious attention lately, and on paper, they certainly deserve it.
Since their launch this spring, there have been some big claims about the latest hoops from the company that brought you the Aero HC – claims like a full minute time savings on the Queen K at Kona versus an 808 Firecrest. Without full tunnel data to do our own analysis, here is what we can tell you about these wheels: for our mixed pair – a 58 front and a 78 rear – they come in at 1725g and feel plenty quick. Though not necessarily the fastest wheels we’ve ever put on one of our test bikes, the Twenty Four wheels are certainly no slouches. But what really impresses us is the value proposition. For nearly a grand less than the competition, there is no discernible speed difference between them or a set of 404/808 Firecrests. We are starting to reach a design parity with respect to the “new normal” shape of rim profiles, where the difference between two wheels is down to optimizations of a few grams of drag.
What is even better than their aero data, however, is the braking performance we have been experiencing. Where most companies have been using soft brake pads, Profile Design has opted for a fairly hard pad, which provides a much more consistent braking performance but somewhat reduced initial grabbiness. Profile Design spent time discussing their improved braking performance with us at Interbike, and after we set up the wheels on our test bike it became immediately clear that they had done their homework. The Twenty Four series brake track, coupled with their pads, provide exactly what PD has been claiming—incredibly consistent braking, both in the dry and in the wet. While their dry performance isn’t up to the gold standard of Reynolds, they brake reliably and well. But couple that with the fact that the braking performance was virtually unchanged in transitions from dry to wet to monsoon left us all but astounded that these could be carbon brake track wheels, and yet they were. In this case, “impressed” is too light a word—we were floored.
To say that Profile Design has raised our eyebrows, and our expectations, is something of an understatement. The Twenty Four series wheels, in the short time we’ve spent with them, have become our go-to set for inclement weather training sessions and complement our Cervelo S5 nicely when bombing down slick tarmac and braking late on the straight before diving into a turn. With the hardness of the provided pads, it will be very interesting to see if this level of performance holds up to the long miles we have planned for these Profile Design hoops; here’s hoping they’re as good at mile 1,000 as they are now.