Giant are getting into the wheel market, launching several sets for 2012 including the snappily monikered P-SLR1 tubeless-ready lightweight wheelset that puts in a strong performance across the board.
The rims are scandium alloy and they're a little wider than normal. The external diameter is 21mm so you might have to adjust your brakes outwards by a couple of millimetres to get them in; nothing major. Giant reckon this extra width allows you to use lower pressure in your tyres without increasing the risk of pinch flats – if you want to, like. They also say it improves their aerodynamic performance although we guess that's more of an issue on the deep-section P-SLR1 Aero.
The rims are 21mm deep too and the tyre well is tubeless-ready meaning that it's airtight, essentially – you can run these wheels with tubeless tyres and no inner tubes. The valve you need for that is included. The rear rim is asymmetric, the profile offset towards the non-driveside. The idea is that it allows Giant to use a more even spoke tension between the two sides resulting in a stiffer wheel.
The forged 6000-series alloy hubs come with widely spaced flanges for increased stiffness and DT Swiss internals. They feature well-sealed cartridge bearings and a star ratchet design at the rear rather than standard pawls. The 18-tooth machined-out ratchets provide fast engagement when you start pedalling. That rear wheel is compatible with Shimano/SRAM; there's no Campag option on offer.
The wheels are held together with Aerolite stainless steel spokes that are bladed to cut through the air. You get 16 up front (radially laced) and 20 at the rear (radial on the driveside, 2-cross on the non-driveside). At the rim end they sit in little inserts that have a large contact area with the rim itself – it's technology taken directly from DT Swiss. The inserts are the same as you'll find on the Tricon wheels that we reviewed a couple of years ago. By spreading the load in this way, the manufacturer can use less material in the rim and so keep the weight down.
Finally on the tech front, the quick release skewers are DT Swiss's RWS (Ratchet Wheelmounting System) design. Rather than the usual cam system, you just spin these until they're tight and then adjust the position of the lever to suit. They work fine but I don't find them as quick or as easy as a conventional design. Tabs on the nut slot into the dropouts on your bike so you can tighten them one handed but, really, is that a benefit? To me, it just makes positioning them slightly more awkward. They do the job but I don't think they're a huge leap forward.
The weights of our test wheels are 662g (f) and 822g (r) for a combined total of 1,484g (without the quick releases). That's considerably more than Giant's claimed 1,390g per pair but it's still pretty light. You can get wheels of a similar weight for a fair bit less than this though.
These wheels perform really impressively out on the road. I went for a standard setup with Giant's own tyres (which we'll also review soon) and a set of inner tubes. They're lively, sprightly, energetic... all those qualities that you want. They accelerate fast, spin along easily on the flat and they climb noticeably quicker than wheels just a little heavier.
They're stiff too – not crazy-rigid but there's certainly not a great deal of rim deflection when you lean the bike over. Maybe that's partly down to the fact that Giant have positioned the hub flanges so far apart – who knows? The important point is that they retain their shape well when you fire yourself into fast corners, giving you a strong feeling of control that's good for your confidence and overall speed.
The spoke tension was consistent out of the box and it still is after several weeks of riding and all the abuse I've managed to dish out on winter roads. They've remained completely round and true, not even requiring the odd tweak after the initial bedding in period. I've got them soaking a few times too and no water has got into the hubs.
If any of the spokes ever does need adjusting, you need a torque spoke wrench for the job and a bladed spoke holder to keep the profile straight, neither of which is supplied. You do get padded wheel bags, though, which are useful addition if you're likely to travel with your bike.
Light, quick, and efficient tubeless-ready wheels with some high-quality features
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giant P-SLR1 wheels
Size tested: 700c
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
These are intended for performance riding. They're designed to be stiff yet comfortable, and light... and they are.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
These use DT Swiss's Star Ratchet system in the rear hub. Two 16-tooth ratchets glide over one another when you freewheel, engaging with one another when you apply power.
They're really well made with some very good technology from both Giant and DT Swiss.
They're stiff, lightweight, and quick.
The build quality is very high and it looks like these are going to stand the test of time.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. They do what they promise and they seem durable; solid all-rounders.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The all-round performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
We're going to give these wheels a run out in their tubeless guise at some point too so we'll update the review when we do
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.