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Profile Design Altair 52 Semi Carbon Clincher

April 27, 2011
Intro

After wrapping up a few things at work, I went to the bike maintenance area to install the Altair 52 Semi Carbon Clinchers that were dropped by from a Profile Design sales rep for me and a few of the staff to demo.

I did a quick swap of the cassette and wheels in what seemed like record time, and was on my way home to the trail that funnels to Newport Beach.
A picture of the two wheel sets looking sexy in our studio.  Directly pictured is the Altair 80 Full Carbon Clincher
Insight

I rode for about an hour 20 minutes, so I was able to get a good sense of what this wheel set could do when it comes to riding.  The feel of the wheels were undeniably carbon with an aluminum bead and braking surface, thus leading to its name, Semi-Carbon Clincher.  The weight of the wheels are listed at 1756 grams without the quick release.  A natural well known wheel set in the same class is the Zipp 404.  In comparison for comparison’s sake, Zipp’s 404 clincher wheel set wins by about 100 grams at 1,658.  But in terms of value, function, and what you’ll get, I think Profile Design’s Altair wins without question.
Stiff and lightweight, I really liked how these wheels felt during my ride.  The winning point for the Altair 52 Carbon Clincher is its versatility, function, at its price point of only $1698.95.  With a 52mm section, it’s fast yet considerate enough of potential crosswinds that would affect a rider.  Included in the purchase of a Profile Design wheel set are 6 extra spokes, a spoke tool, skewers, valve extenders, and the backing of Profile Design’s industry leading customer service.
The Background on Profile Design Wheels

The story on Profile Design Wheels is that they’re a product of 2 years of research and development.  These wheels are unique to Profile Design, and are proprietary in nature.  They were designed using computational fluid dynamic software that calculates the interaction between the wheels and the elements (wind, air, fluid flows).  Instead of going with a wheel design and approach that benefits only the top 1% of athletes, Profiles Design factored in real world conditions, and more realistic competitive speeds in its production.  What this means is that you don’t have to be averaging 26+mph on a 40k TT course to reap the wheels’ benefit.
The Altairs are individually hand built, and showcases some high end features, such ahigh temperature resin, proprietary carbon lay-up, sealed cartridge bearings and bladed spokes with hidden nipples.

Conclusion

The Altair 52 Semi Carbon Clincher is an excellent wheel set for all sorts of purposes – Tuesday night crit, triathlons, training, and TTs.  Its number one selling point is that it delivers performance, its craftsmanship is backed by its manufacturer, and in comparison to what is often in the market, it’s at a lower price point.  The wheel set is on my wish list!
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