We, as a sport, tend to have short memories. “Whatever happened to…” is a question that gets thrown around AeroGeeks HQ on a nearly daily basis. In most cases, the answer is simple: nothing happened, but other companies released their own products that weren’t necessarily better, just newer. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.
Here’s the thing; most products that end up with this fate are good enough, but not exceptional. Standing out from the crowd is hard, and keeping ahead of ones’ competitors for any significant length of time is harder still. It takes a special something to keep a product stuck in our minds, and we’re starting to think that Profile Design’s 24 Series 58/78 wheels just might have it.
We aren’t sure what mojo Profile Design has worked on the braking surface of the 24 Series, but we are reasonably certain that it involves black magic. Wet or dry, the stopping power of the supplied pads, coupled with the brake surface, maintained impressive modulation in everything from the flash-monsoons of Florida to steep, sustained descents and everything in between without so much as a hint of fade – these could well rival Reynolds fabled dry performance when properly bedded in and hitting their stride. When it’s wet out, and the Reynolds are on a different bike, we find ourselves reaching for the 58/78s without much in the way of conscious thought; that speaks volumes to how highly we regard their braking prowess.
It isn’t as though the wheels are any slouch in the speed department, either. Profile Design says that they’re quick around Kona, and it’s hard to argue with them when the wheels don’t budge in a crosswind, spin up fast and are absolutely content to hum along at race pace even while out on a training ride. Either PD equipped these wheels with tiny motors or they’re naturally disconcertingly quick. Given they are allowed to run in Kona, we’re going with the latter… but someone ought to pass an x-ray machine over them, just in case.
With a 24mm brake track, they fit most of the wider tires that we have in the garage, and don’t complain when we fit normal-width, either, and everything rolls with a smoothness that we expect from a top-shelf set, but the top shelf these are not, at least in terms of price. At about two grand for the 78mm deep set and two hundred less for the 58s, Profile Design has a healthy lead on their competition in the wallet division, and scores well within the same weight class where quality and features are concerned. These are premium wheels for a not-so-premium price.
Yes, they aren’t as light as their equivalent Zipp. No, they aren’t as fast as a set of Reynolds Aero, but what they are is almost a thousand dollars less, and for that price you get 9/10ths the wheel that extra money buys you. If that extra tenth separates you from the podium, we certainly understand. But if you want all-carbon, all-weather braking performance and aerodynamics that are a bargain in watts/dollar, then the 24 Series 58/78 should go to the top of your short list.