We’ve all heard about a “do anything” wheel set concept, a wheel set that is truly the best of all worlds. It’s light and stiff enough to climb and accelerate, yet deep enough to maintain aero performance. But the reality is that, in almost all cases, there are tradeoffs made. Yes, there are aero climbing wheels as well as lightweight aero wheels. But rarely is one wheel great at all things. Catalyst recognized this and created the Arsenal Wheel System – a modular wheel that can be updated for what you need when you need it.
The Arsenal Wheel System
The Arsenal is built around a 1420g (without skewers) aluminum rim wheel set. Featuring DT Swiss 240s hubs, a 420g welded aluminum rim, and Sapim CX-Ray spokes, they’re designed to be your everyday wheels that are light enough for climbing.
But what makes the Arsenal special are the interchangeable Aero Shells. These Aero Shells, which resemble the aerodynamic portion of a traditional aero wheel, feature a magnetic attachment mechanism. This mechanism allows a rider to simply snap the shells onto a shallow-rimmed climbing wheel to instantly convert it to an aerodynamic race wheel. You can see how the shells install in the video below.
The Arsenal will ship with both a set of 60mm aero shells as well as 90mm aero shells. And for those looking for maximum aerodynamic performance, a Catalyst carbon fiber disc cover will be included as well.
Weight wise, the total weight for the wheels with the 60mm shells is 1665g; 1775g with the 90mm shells; and the rear wheel with the disc cover comes out to 950g.
Unfortunately, as of today, Catalyst has not yet taken the Arsenal to the tunnel to see how it compares to the single purpose wheels they’ll be competing against. However, Catalyst feels extremely confidant in the CFD modeling they used as part of the design process – even going so far as to build 3D models of competitors’ wheels to see how their CFD results matched against published data.
While the planned retail price of Arsenal Wheel System is planned at $1599, Catalyst launched the Arsenal on Indiegogo today (June 1) with 100 sets available for as low as $1599 ($1599 for the first 10, $1799 for the next 20, and $1899 for the final 70).
From a concept perspective, we are very excited to see where this goes. A complete wheel set for $1999 ($1599 during the Indiegogo) is something we suspect many of our readers will be excited by. We also like that you don’t need to have (or change) multiple cassettes and tires. One modular wheel is all you need, regardless of the course or weather.
Our big question is how these wheels (with the different aero shells) stack up to the competition in the tunnel. We also want to see how the aero shells hold up over time. Do they rattle? And what happens if you take them through a big puddle? The good news is that those types of questions can be answered by a long-term review – something we are already planning for. So for now, check out their Indiegogo campaign (igg.me/at/arsenal), and stay tuned for our in-depth review!