Rolf Prima Ares4 ES bike wheels review

Sparse spoke lacing means riding them is a test of faith – but they deliver in spades

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Rolf Prima Ares4 ES bike wheels review


The first ride on the Ares4 ES wheels is a test of faith. The marketing material says these carbon clinchers can support the weight of you and your bike, but with so few spokes distributed so sparsely (16 front and 20 rear) you can’t help but have doubts. 

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The ‘few-and-far-between’ lacing pattern is Rolf Prima’s Paired Spoke Concept, which works to better balance the opposing forces acting on the rim.

It allows the American manufacturer to use fewer spokes but maintain a high spoke tension to keep the wheels’ stiffness up and weight down – in this case to 661g/882g front/rear (without QRs, sprockets or tyres). 

And it seems to work, because any doubts you may have about the wheels’ strength are quickly laid to rest once you’re riding.

They’re responsive, just deep enough to provide some aero advantage without being too unruly in crosswinds, and even brake pretty well (in the dry, at least). Put your faith to the test and be ready to believe. 

Verdict: There are cheaper carbon clinchers, but few feel this good, 86%


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