Aforce Al33 and RFSW3

Despite all of the hoohah around whale-shaped wheels and crazy wide “cravel” wheels and the return of the V shaped aero wheel and all of the rest of the “hey look at me now!” stuff on cycling news and review sites, it’s possible that more people are actually looking forward to owning a new AForce Al33-based set of wheels than any other. We’ve had a set for several months now, I rode them for the majority of the summer and have had a few friends get after it on them since, and the response has been universally glowing. My personal inclination is to say that they’re the best carbon clinchers I’ve ever ridden – more on that in a bit.

To review, the Al33 is 32.5mm deep, 26.2mm wide (max) 25mm wide (brake track), and 19.6 wide (internal). Our test set of rims weighed 470 and 474g. The brake track is coated with a unique ceramic-ish coating that both allows an alloy wheel to have a durable black brake track, and it provides a really hard finish so your brake pads and not your brake track gets most of the wear. It’s tubeless ready, although of course regular clinchers fit and work just great on them (I installed a Schwalbe One today without any levers, then inflated with a pump, though this performance can not be guaranteed for every tire every time). Valve stems on tubes should be 48mm, while Stan’s 44mm tubeless valves fit perfectly if you want to go that way.

The rims are made of a slightly different alloy than standard bike rims, which feels and sounds harder than standard rims. Measured stiffness is outstanding, and durability has been great so far (our test set has about 2000 miles on it thus far – a little more on the front, a little less on the rear).

Though the eye, arm, speedometer, and butt-mounted aerodynamics sensors all point to this being a quick and easy to handle set of wheels, we are arranging a wind tunnel test on behalf of the manufacturer and distributor in order to verify this. We hope to have that test complete by the end of the month.

For our builds, we will be doing both a standardized build with your choice of our black hubs or black White Industries T11 or CLDs and bladed spokes (which will inherit the RFSW moniker), and a full range of custom road and disc builds with any of the other hub and spoke components we use.

Darn sexy, huh?

Our perhaps uncharacteristic silence on the project has been because we just didn’t want to jerk anyone’s chain too much before we knew that the rims were made, through QC, and on a boat headed to the distributor. That has now all happened, so we have constructed the site pages where you can check out all the options (go into the store and then into the "Custom" section for REALLY all the options) and pricing.

We are scheduled to get our first rims in late February, and will ship completed builds as soon thereafter as possible. Given the vagaries of shipping, customs delays, domestic shipping, and our rapturous joy at getting “are they here yet?!?!?!?  I NEEEEEEEED them for a ride this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!” emails, it would be prudent to consider that earliest in hand delivery will be around March 10th.

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Apologies if you've stated this already, but I can't find it, and I can find pictures of both. Will you be using the rims drilled for internal or external nipples, or will that be an option we can choose? Thanks!


Thanks Dave – that sounds good. Appreciate it!


Adam -There is no answer to that question as yet. We'll be doing disc builds with the standard rims until (if) a full disc version comes along. The brake track on these is barely visible as is, and given that you don't save any weight with a disc-specific extrusion anyhowt's not much if any of a disadvantage. All the work being done at the brake track is actually keeping the tire in, not the brakes out. Carbon you can save weight because the brake track region doesn't have to be a heat sink like it is in a carbon clincher for rim brakes, but that dynamic doesn't exist in alloy. AForce is a small company, it would be understandable if they don't have the capital to do a whole new extrusion specifically for disc without at least turning some previous investment into cash and digesting the process of bringing this rim to market. Joe – Thanks


These look really interesting and looking forward to seeing them go into production. To clarify the the question and answer below – when would you expect the disc brake versions to be available and delivered? Thanks!


Hi Speedware -We aren't the manufacturer or even the US importer. If you send your email address I can put you in touch with AForce directly, or you can contact them thru their Facebook page.Dave


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