Irwin Cycling Aon GX 35 650B Carbon Wheels: At The Finish- by Guitar Ted
The time has come for the final word on these carbon hooped 650B rims from Irwin Cycling. So far they have been rather impressive. To read the past posts on these wheels please click the links for the “Getting Rolling” post and “Checkpoint” posts. In this post I will cover using a different tire on the wheel set and on a different bike as well. Let’s got to it.
Changing Tires: The Terrene Elwoods were perfectly fine on the Aon GX 35’s and I could have lived with that combination for the entirety of the test, but that isn’t why we’re here. So, I swapped over to a used set of WTB Byways we tested earlier. Using previously ridden tires makes setting up things again tubeless harder, since, we assume, that some amount of stretch is going to occur with any tire that is used for a time set up tubeless. This should make setting up the Byways a bit tougher, but I found that not to be the case at all. The tires went on as normally expected for any new tire. Furthermore, the sealing properties of the rim on the tire was proven to be just as good with the Byway as they were with the Elwood. This reinforcing my take that the Aon GX 35’s are very precisely molded, especially in the area of the bead interface.
The inner width being wider than the wheel set I tested the Byways on originally made the Byways a bit flatter and wider in profile, which in my opinion is what you want in a gravel tire, and it made the Byways ride all that much better. This is significant to note because with an aluminum rim, you have to compromise on weight with a wider internal width, but the Aon GX 35 gives you that great volume and tire profile at no weight penalty at all, and they probably are lighter than many narrower 650B aluminum wheel sets. Obviously, that comes at a price compromise, but with the GX’s, I think there is a value here that makes stepping up to a carbon wheel set worth that extra money.
Besides the great rim width and precision molded rim/tire interface, you are getting a really nice set of hubs laced in a traditional manner. This comes in handy should you damage a spoke or two and need replacement spokes. These wheels weigh in at 1470 grams for the pair, so at $1550.00 for the set, that is very competitive. Add in the nice hubs and all the end caps and it becomes a really attractive offer. But none of that matters if they ride poorly, or if they have issues.
I can report that despite my best attempts at treating these wheels poorly, they haven’t hiccuped at all. They have been very stable, steady performers to the point that I have put the fact that they are lightweight, race day wheels completely out of my mind. I wouldn’t hesitate to use these as daily training wheels or for “just riding” anywhere. People still do that, right? I should hope so.
I installed these wheels then on my Twin Six Standard Rando, but besides making the bike lighter, there was no change in how the wheels felt. They still were just the same old, really smooth, fast, great performing wheels. Almost….boringly so. Which, in the end, is a great thing. Wheels should just go around smoothly and cause the rider no reason for concern, and these Aon GX 35 Carbon wheels do that really well. The bonus here is the light weight, the nice, wide inner rim width, and the tubeless performance is very good. In fact I am so impressed with these wheels that I am buying a 700c set for a build I will be doing with a new frame/fork this Summer. That’s maybe the best endorsement I can give them.
At The Finish-
The Irwin Cycles Aon GX 35 650B wheels are lightweight, but the details are as impressive, if not more so, than the lack of mass here. The hubs are very nice, engagement is fast, and they are not very loud when coasting. The carbon rims are right in the pocket for internal width and set up tubeless very nicely with the pre-taped rims and included valve stems. Also included are all the end caps and quick releases making these wheels “future proofed”. They also represent a pretty good value in the carbon wheel market at $1550.00MSRP for the set.
Ride quality is great, and even in the worst of conditions, the wheels have not hiccuped once. They roll really smoothly on Enduro bearings and cheat the wind with their 35mm depth. The wheels also seem to help the tires hold air pressure very well too. While The Aon GX 35 Carbon wheels seem like a race day set of wheels at first glance, I see no reason so far not to use them as your “daily driver”, training wheels as well.
Note: Irwin Cycles sent over the Carbon Aon GX 35 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.