Irwin Cycling Arlo GX 27 Wheels: Getting Rolling- by Guitar Ted
The review on the Irwin Cycling Aon Carbon 35 wheels rolls on, but as a part of the introduction to this brand of wheels, Irwin Cycling was also wanting us to check out something from their aluminum wheel line up. We had them send out a pair of their Arlo GX wheels in the 700c size to compare and contrast with the carbon line that Irwin Cycling makes. These wheels use many of the same components as their carbon siblings. Hubs and spokes, for instance, but obviously, the rims are completely different materials. Let’s take a closer look:
What It Is: This set of wheels from Irwin Cycling sport the same hubs as we have seen on our set of carbon wheels with Sapim spokes, so the only really new thing, as far as this comparison goes, is the aluminum rim and diameter. Here are the specs on the arlo GX 27 rim from Irwin Cycling:
- Rim Profile: 700c/29” 27 mm deep profile tubeless ready aluminum clincher
- External / Internal Width: 24.5mm / 21mm
- Spokes: Front 24; Rear 24. Sapim Leader.
- Black Hub: 6 pawls, 3.75 ̊ engagement. Center Lock rotor mount.
- Enduro bearings
- Interchangeable with Campagnolo cassette body and Sram XD driver
- Convertible end caps for any standard axle configurations
- External nipple design for easy maintenance
- Hand-built with precision and preinstalled with TLR rim tape
We also received the package which comes with any Irwin wheel set that included the end caps for through axles (12mm rear, 12mm front, and 15mm front) with the quick releases and tubeless valve stems. There are the center lock brake adapters for standard six bolt rotors and the center lock locking rings as well. Finally, there is a cassette spacer for those that need it to run 10 speed cassettes. That’s a pretty impressive parts package which is included in the retail price. Plus any extra parts needed, like cassette bodies, SRAM XD freehub bodies, or Campagnolo freehub bodies, are also available through Irwin Cycling and Irwin Cycling wheel dealers.
The wheels have a pretty decent internal width of 21mm, and the weight isn’t bad either with the front wheel coming in at 780 gm and the rear at 890 gm for a total wheel weight of 1670 gm. The rims are tubeless ready out of the box with the addition of the included valve stems and pre-installed blue tubeless rim strip tape. Pop the valves in, add a set of tires and sealant and you are good to go. These wheels are also compatible with tubes, of course. The really surprising thing, in my opinion, is the retail price, which is only $600.00. The hubs, spokes, and the general precision with which the rims are obviously made with speak to a higher price point, and that’s before you include all the extras the wheels ship with. Impressive!
First Impressions: The wheels are sharp looking with understated graphics and with their black/flat black scheme, they should compliment most any bike build. The tubeless set up was relatively easy and they actually made some Kenda tires we have on test possible for us to use as the tires simply would not mount to several rims we typically have no troubles mounting tires to. So if you have a stubborn tubeless ready tire, the Irwin Cycling Arlo GX 27’s may be a good choice.
The quick engaging hubs felt familiar since we are rolling the same hubs in the Aon GX 35’s we are also reviewing. The Arlo GX 27’s did not show any signs of poor stress relief in terms of the spokes, (no pinging or popping noises), and the wheels have a great smooth rolling feel. Like the other Irwin wheels, these are pretty quiet coasting wheels, despite the high engagement internals, which typically make a lot of racket when that sort of design is employed in other brands of wheels.
With several short rides and one good, long, multiple hour gravel ride in on these wheels, there have been absolutely no issues at all with them. They continue to be quiet, trouble free, and simply get the job done when you need it. I felt no undue lateral flex at all, despite the 24 spoke per wheel lacing. This over some really rough, chunky gravel at times and during some higher speed descents. You’d expect carbon wheels to be like this, but in a relatively lightweight aluminum wheel, it is good to find that solid feel.
So Far…. Irwin Cycling impressed us with the carbon Aon GX 35 650B wheels, but perhaps they have a more impressive wheel here with the Arlo GX 27. The fact that Irwin uses the same hubs and brand of spokes on their higher end wheels as they have with the Arlo GX brings more bang for the buck, especially when you consider that the wheels only go for $600.00. Sure, they weigh a little more than their carbon siblings, but the feel is as solid and obviously, with the same hubs the engagement and precise feel is identical.
Tubeless performance is equally as impressive and these may be a great choice for certain tires which seem to be a bit stubborn to mount up tubeless. The internal rim width is in the ball park for gravel and our tires set up well with plenty of low pressure support from the aluminum rims. They should match up well for tires in the 33mm-42mm range, which covers a wide swath of the gravel tire spectrum.
Stay tuned for the “Checkpoint” post which should come out in about a month from now.
Note: Irwin Cycles sent over the Arlo GX 27 wheels for test and review at no charge to Riding Gravel. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will try to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.