KORTRIJK, Belgium (VN) — Team Leopard-Trek had two pairs of prototype Bontrager wheels in its truck, and VeloNews was lucky to see them in the team parking lot. Unfortunately, Trek team liaison Ben Coates couldn’t comment on the wheels.
From the looks of them, they are designed to take on Zipp’s 303 and similar wheels. The have a wide carbon rim that supports Schwalbe 25mm and FMB Paris Roubaix 27mm tires well. The rims are laced 16-spoke front and 24-spoke rear to Bontrager’s XXX Lite hubs with bladed spokes. Mechanics will be happy to see that they use external spoke nipples.
We may see these under Fabian Cancellara either at Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. Be on the lookout!
2011 Flanders tech, Bontrager prototypes, valve stem
A small piece of tape keeps the valve stem from rattling against the valve hole.
2011 Flanders tech, Bontrager prototypes, dusty wheels
Someone had clearly been testing this set. Still dusty from the ride.
2011 Flanders tech, Bontrager prototypes, FMB Paris-Roubaix tires
FMB Paris-Roubaix 27mm tires may give away the intended purpose of the front pair of wheels. The others sport Schwalbe 25s, possibly for Flanders.
2011 Flanders tech, Bontrager prototypes, rim profile
Bontrager's rim profile is wide at the braking surface and rounded at the spoke bed.
2011 Flanders tech, Bontrager prototypes, XXX Lite
Like the Aeolus redesign, these prototype wheels use XXX Lite carbon hubs, bladed spokes and external nipples. These, however, have a shallower section rim.