Thanks to their unique paired-spoke design, the wheels from Oregon-based Rolf Prima are hard to miss. Developed nearly two decades ago, the paired spoke design is more aerodynamic according to Rolf Prima and requires fewer spokes, which reduces weight. Briefly owned by Trek, the brand is now fully independent and building nearly every component of the wheels in the USA, including sourcing hubs from California-based White Industries and rolling many of its own rims in its Eugene, Oregon, facility.
The VCX Disc wheels ($1,099) are the more robust version of the classic Vigor model, especially built for cyclocross, adventure racing and touring. With a claimed weight of less than 1,700 grams, they won’t be keeping you off the podium. They are available in both clincher and tubular versions, with a proprietary hub built by White Industries with a titanium freehub body. There are 20 Sapim CX Speed spokes per wheel, set in pairs of course, and are built by hand in Eugene.
Since more and more cyclocross and disc road bikes are sporting thru-axles, the VCX Disc is built to accommodate with hubs that can be set up in any axle format. Just let Rolf Prima know which style you need when ordering. The freehub can also fit 11-speed cassettes, such as the one on the Niner BSB 9 RDO test bike I’ve been using them with. The hubs also use a proprietary design that has a much larger flange on the non-drive side, transferring some of the drive load onto that side for equal distribution.
I recently visited the Rolf Prima facility and was immediately impressed with the quality of the products and the passion the employees have for them. The paired spoke design is not just a gimmick, and Rolf Prima has done plenty of testing – both by machine and in the real world – to back it up.
I’ve put a couple hundred miles on the VCX Disc wheels myself, and while they might sacrifice a small amount of lateral stiffness to 32-spoke wheels, they have been trouble-free and strong performers. I’ve been racing on them (albeit not to any podium finishes) and have been ripping them down some singletrack trails with zero issues.
Watch for my long-term review in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times and order a subscription today to make sure you don’t miss it.