Is it possible for our bikes to feel emotion? They are mechanical and engineering feats made of carbon and metal, but do they have a soul? When I walk by my bikes hanging in the living room, or leaning against the wall in the kitchen, I imagine them being upset that I am leaving without them.
One day while riding with a group, I asked a someone to describe a sound that I heard from my wheels while cruising along around 25 mph. He said it sounded like a harmonic whistle or singing…my wheels were singing. It’s things like that that make me think maybe they do feel joy when they are out doing what they were made to.
3T is well known for their bars, stems, seat posts, and forks, but the Italian manufacturer is taking the step into the aero wheel market with the Mercurio and Accelero lines. The Mercurio is a full carbon tubular available in 43, 63, and 83 mm depths, all with 23mm wide rims. A rear disc wheel is also available. Keeping the hierarchy of their other product lines, the Mercurio’s are only available in the high end Limited series. An interesting bit on the Mercurio’s is how the spokes attach to the rim. Instead of spoke nipples locking the spokes into the rim, pockets are molded into the rim where the spokes slot into. The nipples are housed in the hubs, cutting down on the rotational inertia. Mercurio wheel sets come with brake pads made by Swiss Stop, titanium skewers, and can optionally be built with CeramicSpeed bearings.
The Accelero line are all clinchers, and more practical for the rider not wanting to deal with tubulars. They available in a 37 mm all aluminum Pro series, and 43 and 63 mm carbon/aluminum hybrid Team series. All use a 23 mm wide rim, that is a similar shape to the Mercurio. There is also a full carbon Limited series on its way, and will be offered in 43 and 63 mm. These also come with titanium skewers.
While there are many other carbon/aluminum clincher wheel sets on the market, the shape is what sets the Accelero apart from the competitors. Instead of your typical pointy “V” shaped aero rims of the past, 3T uses a wide rim with a flat top. The shape was conceived through extensive computational fluid dynamic testing of a wide variety of rim profiles. 3T says the shape is optimized to be stable in crosswinds, and extremely aerodynamic head on and from the sides.
In the real world, these wheels are a solid choice for training or racing on the road and cyclocross. For a 43 mm tall rim, they are surprisingly stable in gusts up to 20 mph. You will feel the wind pushing, but it is predictable and easy to handle. When the road heads to the sky, the Accelero 40 Team’s climb well, and descend even better. The wheels track through corners with no signs of flex, and the aluminum brake tracks stop powerfully, even in the wet. When out of the saddle in a sprint, the hub engages quickly and power is transferred straight to the tires through the Sapim CX-Ray spokes. The wheels feel fast, and breed confidence on the road. The 23 mm rim width makes these wheels great on the cyclocross course too. The wide rim handles a wider tire better, providing better traction. The aluminum brake track works well for a rim brake when things get sloppy.
One downfall to these wheels is the location of the nipples. Being a hybrid rim, the nipples still attach to the aluminum rim, and are hidden under the carbon faring. To true the wheels, the tube, tire, and rim tape need to be removed to gain access. Also, a special spoke wrench is required, instead of the standard horseshoe spoke wrench. While not as easy as truing wheels with exposed nipples, this is a common problem with most hybrid rims, and shouldn’t be held against the Accelero 40 Team’s too much.
When they hit the scales, they were a little heavier than advertised. The front wheel came in at 817 grams, the rear at 967 grams, and skewers at 86 grams for the pair. This is stripped down to just the wheels and rim tape, without skewers. Advertized at 1600 grams, they were about 184 grams heavy, not including the skewers. Personally, it is not something that I would notice, but the weight weenies might see this as a fault.
Overall, these have been fun wheels to ride on the road and the cross tracks. They might not climb as well as a super-light, low profiled rim, or be as fast as a 80mm tall rim, but they are great for an all around wheelset. Their wide platform is great with wider cyclocross tires, or a set of 25mm road tires. If you don’t want the hassle of tubulars or carbon brake tracks, give the 3T Accelero 40 a look for a wheel you can use all year round.