The Giant SLR 0 42mm wheels are an ideal all-round go-faster set of hoops. The rims are wide, feel fast and handle well. The hubs are simple to service, quiet and robust. They've performed excellently in my mix of hilly races, flat criteriums and general riding with good braking and stability in crosswinds. They arrived fitted with Gavia AC 0 tyres in a 25mm size, all set up and ready to go with sealant in and everything.
- Pros: Good lateral stiffness, quality hubs, predictable braking
- Cons: The Gavia tyres they came with…
So what does Giant say about these wheels? 'The SLR 0 42 is a fine balance between efficiency, control and durability in a stiff, lightweight and race-ready package'. With that in mind, I took these from the office, popped a cassette on and took them straight to the Maindy cycle track in Cardiff for a little racing. My initial impression of the wheels was very positive: they felt easy to spin up to speed and hold it when I made a rather idiotic attack.
The 42mm-deep full-carbon rims are tubeless ready. The 17mm internal width is perfectly wide for 25mm tyres – more on that later. The spokes are DT Aerolite, 16 on the front, 21 rear, laced radially with a 2-cross pattern on the driveside rear. These are straight-pull spokes with internal nipples. This gives a very clean build, although one that isn't so easy for maintenance. Not that it will matter, for a while at least, as the wheels were perfectly straight out of the box and have remained that way.
Braking is the big compromise with carbon wheels. I've used a range, from cheap Chinese through to top-end Knight. The power will never be comparable to aluminium, so I look for consistency as a marker for good quality. The braking is predictable with power applied smoothly around the whole rim. That makes predicting stopping distance much easier and I'm happy to report a lack of 'grabbing'. The pads that are supplied with the wheels really help; they're nicely soft resulting in good braking power.
The hubs are Giant branded, with DT Swiss 240 internals. This is a great balance between performance and reliability with easy maintenance. They also sound really good, with a soft buzz that doesn't drive you crazy on a long descent.
Out on the road, I found myself instantly comfortable with the wheels in windy conditions. The rounded profile and semi-shallow depth of the rim really works well to make these very stable. The wheels also feel perfectly zippy when climbing both steep Mendip hills and shallower grinds. That is down to the very respectable 629g front and 791g rear, giving a wheelset weight of 1,420g.
Weight isn't everything, though. I've also been very impressed with the lateral stiffness of these wheels. To test this, I wound my brakes right in and headed to a nice steep hill. As much as I threw the bike from side to side out of the saddle, I couldn't get any rub from the brakes. That's crucial for me as the Challenge tyres I now have fitted run very wide, so there's no space in the frame for any movement.
Tyres are quite a personal thing, but I didn't really get on with the Gavias that the wheels arrived with. They fit the rims well and make a good tubeless system, but I didn't feel comfortable in fast corners, which feature heavily in my races. In a straight line, on good tarmac, these do feel fast, but I was pretty surprised at just how narrow they sit. Removing the tyres, I found that the tread is very rigid and fixed in the narrow shape that they take when mounted.
The narrowness of the tyres defeats the point of the wider rim, and also the point of going tubeless. These are meant to be a better system than a clincher: comfier, faster and less prone to punctures. I can't say that these tyres are more comfortable or less prone to punctures as I was left at the side of the road sorting a slow leak from the rear on my first road ride. Tubeless may well be faster, but if it is, it's only a small difference.
After a few weeks on these tyres, I swapped them out for my Challenge Stradas, converting the wheels back to clincher. I didn't want my opinion of the wheels to be altered by what seemed a dull set of tyres. I haven't noticed a difference in speed, but come to a corner and I'm much happier. On normal UK roads, I also appreciate the extra tyre width and suppleness of the Challenge tyres.
Getting those Challenge tyres on was a massive faff. They're really tight on the tubeless-ready rims and once on, they didn't want to seat properly. It took 70psi before the bead popped into place. Having experienced a tyre blow off, this is not my favourite job.
I'd advise that you should consider your intended use. Dead set on tubeless? Then these will be great. If you're not, then tubeless rims can simply make tyre mounting more difficult for no gain. That said, tubeless tyres are improving rapidly, with the Schwalbe Pro Ones being among the best we've tested so far for racing.
On to the smaller things that I like. The decals on the wheels are simple stickers. I like that as it gives you the option of removing them should they get scratched. Of course, you might also just want a stealthier look, not that the design is that loud.
Another great little detail with these wheels is the extra bits that you get. The skewers (66g front, 71g rear) are really good: very smooth to close and secure when shut. You also get tyre levers that really help with fitting, and the supplied tubeless valves are simple to use.
The £1549.98 price tag is getting towards the upper end of a decent budget. What you get for your money is a very good performance wheelset with hub internals that will last very well. There are cheaper options, the most notable being the RP-38s from Prime for only £809.99. They get lesser hubs, but they're also tubeless ready and a great option for a tighter budget. I would say that these are a much better option than the Knight 35s I tested back in 2016. The braking is just as good, the hubs are the same and the price is a fair bit lower. For a race-quality set of wheels, this is a good price.
Overall, I'm impressed with these Giant wheels as they're a great option if you want one wheelset for racing and general riding. The tubeless readiness of the rims will be a plus point for some, but I'd recommend going for a better tyre than the Gavia. Something like the Schwalbe Pro One would probably swing me to running tubeless.
High-quality construction, tubeless-ready wheelset for racing and general riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giant SLR 0 42mm wheels
Size tested: 700Cx42
Tell us what the wheel is for
From Giant: "Made with ultralight composite rims, this pro-level mid-profile aero disc WheelSystem is a great all-around weapon for sprinting to the podium or a solo attack on a ride in the mountains. The SLR 0 42 is a fine balance between efficiency, control and durability in a stiff, lightweight and race-ready package."
This is exactly the type of wheel I'd have for my bike. You get a bit of aero gain, but these are still light, they handle well, the braking is good and the internals will last.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Weight: 1395g per pair (claimed)
Rim height (mm): 42
Rim Width (mm): 17
Hub type: DT240 Shimano
Bearing type: Precision Sealed Cartridge
Axle size: 100x5 (front) 135x5 (rear)
Spokes: DT Aerolite
Lacing: 16H (front) 21H DBL (rear)
Nipple type: Alloy Locking, Black
This build is one that will last very well. The DT Swiss 240 hub internals are great. The rims are well made, resulting in smooth braking.
I've taken these racing and on general rides and I'll be sad to see them go. They haven't caused me any issues in windy conditions and they're nicely fast for racing, picking up speed well on tight criterium courses.
Nothing looks worn and they're still perfectly true.
The decals will chip, but they're easy to just peel off.
This mid depth gives a mid weight. The 1,420g (without tape or skewers) is higher than Giant claims but I'd still say that's respectable for a tubeless-ready wheel.
I'd say these represent very good value. They're well built with quality components that will last. You can also use these for training and racing and even some CX riding too.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Zero issues here.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
My open tubular Challenge Stradas were a pain thanks to the tubeless-ready rim. The Giant Gavia tyres they came with were much easier though.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The skewers and brake pads are great. There was a little sealant under the overlap on the rim tape. I'm not sure if this caused my slow puncture, but I'd probably switch to some Stan's tape.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. I was happy training and racing on these in all conditions. If you want one set of wheels to do everything, these are a brilliant option.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
The build quality is really good. It reassured me that a significant investment like this will stand the test of time.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
The tubeless-ready rim made fitting non-tubeless tyres a faff. I'd say, consider whether you really want tubeless. Some swear by it, I'm yet to be convinced.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes. My general riding takes in some shockingly poor roads and the added width was very welcome. They're fast too.
Would you consider buying the wheel? I'd probably opt for something that isn't tubeless-ready.
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes, if they're like me and they want one wheelset to do racing and general riding.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The wheels are really well made and the DT Swiss 240 hubs are perfect. They handle well, the braking is good and they're fast too. You do pay for it, but £1,549.98 isn't horrendously expensive. The tubeless-ready thing will divide opinion but these are an 8 overall: very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.