Rolf Prima’s Ares 4 carbon aero wheels tested, rated and reviewed

Rolf Prima Ares 4 reviewRolf Prima Ares 4

£1,999 (pair) or £989 (front), £1,210 (rear)
rolfprima.com

Even in the increasingly crowded high-end aero clincher market, the Ares 4 from Rolf Prima wheels stand out, thanks to their paired spoke arrangement and massive flange on the rear non-drive side – both patented technologies aimed at increasing wheel stiffness. The low spoke count also reduces drag and helps keep the weight down to just 1.37kg on our scales. That’s Premier League for aero clinchers.

The rim profile is essentially a V-shape – Rolf call it Delta – and it’s thinner than the claimed width of 27mm suggests. Certainly, the Ares is nothing like the blunt shape of an Enve or Zipp. The wheels were supplied to us with 25mm tyres which bulged out considerably from the brake tracks. Ridden on the 25s back to back with a set of Enve 3.4 clinchers, direct rivals the Ares felt slightly slower and significantly less stable.

Switching to 23mm tyres improved performance markedly. The Ares then felt as quick and secure in crosswinds as we’d expect of a 42mm rim, and almost on pace with the Enves. Surprisingly, for all the stiffness-boosting features, the Ares 4 felt a bit woolly when out of the saddle and that’s under a 73kg tester, not a big bruiser. It isn’t an issue when you’re rolling along but it does take the edge off climbing performance – they don’t feel as light as they really are. The braking is good, though, especially in the wet.