Pour one out for the Al33

Pour one out for the Al33

Al33 is dead, long live Al33. 

When we first heard about these rims in the late spring of 2016, it was a dream come true: an aerodynamically astute alloy rim that, wait for it, was all black and looked like carbon. What magic is this? I rode a set all that summer, and came away favorably impressed. The waiting stunk, but these things always take more time than people originally budget, and soon enough they were in production. 

The subject of aerodynamic worth is convoluted to say the least, but we insisted that if AForce was going to make the claims they wanted to make, they had to be tested and verified as such. The results of the ensuing test were eye-opening for us, and continue to inform our baseline aerodynamic beliefs. 

Customer response and satisfaction were huge. Brake performance was more or less out of this world, and here was a carbon looking wheel that you could do downhill repeats on Mt Doom, riding the brakes, and not have a worry in the world.


The US distributor did a wonderful job of smoothing out the lumps of a new supplier, which made beating the drum for them very easy for us. With the distributor's efforts, they fit seamlessly into our operation. 

Alas, nothing lasts. The shift to disc brakes (which, long story short, was among other things significantly driven by the mania for carbon clinchers) happened at lightning speed, reducing the overall market audience. AForce never got up to speed with disc versions of the rim, being at their capacity just to keep the rim brake rims going. Their operations never matured significantly, and we actually wound up fielding all sorts of inquiries and service calls from all over the world. Apparently they stink at answering emails. Eventually this corroded event their business to business relationships, but we held out hope for the new Al25 and disc brake Al33s that were under development.

When the Al25 arrived, well, we didn't love it. It seemed like a dead end product like we've seen a few times before. Sadly, we told the distributor that it wasn't a product we'd want to use, with which I guess he agreed, and things rolled out from there. AForce is now apparently mostly selling coffee on their site, so while this was a great chapter, the chapter is over. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of options still in the rim brake market, and though we're building too many wheels to maintain and update the site as thoroughly as it needs, we've brought some new options on, and there are some other things that we're waiting to hear more about. The Al33 will for sure be missed, but we're glad to have had it and life will move on. 

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I bought Dave’s used set of AL33 wheels with a Powertap G3 Hub and a red I9 Torch hub in front. It’s hard to believe that was 2 years ago. They are beautiful, fast, and smooth. I think they will last a lONG time. I was hoping to get the disc version for my other bike. But I know Dave will have some great options when my Zipp 30 Course disc wheels get tired. I have become an expert at wheel bearing and freehub replacement. (Thank you Abbey Bike tools modular bearing press.) Thanks, Dave, for enlightening us about the winds of change in the the wheel world. Glad you guys are flexible and able to adapt and keep great wheel options for us. I still plan to visit you next May, since my nephew’s wedding was delayed for a year due to Covid.

Jon B

Will miss them. Always was an edge product, but well executed. Love mine…and the Bitex hubs are still going strong 3-4 years later…

Greg Lepore

The Alex Pro 35 (welded) and CX 35 (sleeved) are possible alternatives. Have not found any retail sources for them.. yet. https://alexrims.com/products/cx35/

Richard H

As someone who is quite happy with the simplicity of rim brakes, I’m really glad I was able to get a set of these back in December. I have absolutely loved them since I got them and while I started with clinchers, I recently made the move over to tubeless last weekend and can’t be happier. The ride was superb. They really are a beautiful set of wheels and I get compliments all the time with them. They’re a perfect complement to my CAAD12 since a great alloy bike deserves a great alloy wheel.

I can’t imagine what I would need to contact them about so I’m not too worried about that! I did go look at their website and that’s, um, definitely something. I have no regrets about the purchase though, I think the wheels live up to their billing.

David Tucker

Love my set of Al33’s from November.

Brent Soderberg

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