Irwin Cycling Arlo GX 27 Wheels: Checkpoint- by Guitar Ted
The Arlo GX wheels have been rolling along underneath me all through Spring and now into Summer. It is high time to give my latest impressions on these aluminum tubeless ready wheels in the 700c format. For a look at the “Getting Rolling” click that title and go check out all the specs on this wheel set. The Irwin Cycling wheels we have reviewed so far are in two different rim materials. The Aon GX wheels were in carbon while these are aluminum. I will attempt to contrast the differences between those two rim materials in this post as well.
The Arlo GX wheels from Irwin Cycling on an early Spring ride
The weather has been hit or miss for Spring so many of the rides I have been able to do with these wheels ended up being pretty messy. However; much like the Aon GX wheels, these do not seem to be phased in any way by the rough conditions. Not to wonder when both sets of Irwin Cycling wheels we have utilize the same, high engagement hubs. The rims are different than the Aon’s, of course, being aluminum, and the Aon’s in carbon fiber. The Arlo GX wheels have a 21mm internal width which is slightly narrower than the Aon’s but this is a nice width and tires will measure out truer to size on the Arlos because of this. Plus, that narrower width does play nicer with true road riding tires, so this wheel can make it so your bike could be more versatile. The major performance differences are in the rims here, and yes, you can tell there is a difference.
The shape and width of the Arlo GX is completely different than the carbon Aon. But the tubeless performance is nearly identical.
The main thing I felt was that the Arlo has a bit more flexibility laterally. The Aon is nearly completely rigid in this way, but the aluminum Arlo rims do flex a bit. This is especially noticeable in deeper, loose gravel where rocks tend to roll out from under the tires or they shift in such a way that the tire then hits the next rocks slightly out of plane. This has the effect of making the tire/rim combination deflect hundreds of times a minute which manifests itself as a vibration in the wheel. You can actually see this if the wheels are flexy enough. I cannot see this with the Arlo GX wheels, but I can feel it.
This sort of flex can upset a bike’s handling, and of course, it can be felt by the rider, which isn’t a positive attribute. That said, I did not find it to be out of the ordinary for an aluminum rimmed wheel set and therefore I mention this only as a counterpoint to the carbon Aon which does not exhibit this phenomenon. The result is that the Aon feels smoother and more composed underneath the rider. The Arlo GX isn’t sub-par by any means though, and of course, it is $900.00 less expensive per set than the Aon GX wheels. At MSRP $600.00 for the set, I think the Arlo GX represents a great value for a wheel set in that price range. Especially with those hubs and all the accessory end caps that you get which make these wheels very versatile.
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 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.
These wheels have moved over to another bike and after I get some more rides in on them I will be back with a final verdict in my “At The Finish” post coming soon.
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.