You’d be forgiven for not knowing Princeton CarbonWorks. Despite this launch marking the fifth generation of this series of wheel, Princeton CarbonWorks has barely made in-roads on the bike count at major triathlon events, including a mere 0.61% showing at this year’s IRONMAN World Championships in Kona.
Yet it’s perhaps because of that quiet nature that the company has continued to evolve, innovate, and work through iterations of its product. Today it launches the Wake 6560 Evolution. The top-line data? It’s naturally faster than the prior generation of its own wheels, but also cites a nearly 8 watt savings over both Zipp’s 454NSW V2 and Shimano’s C60 in testing at the A2 wind tunnel. (The test utilized Continental’s GP5000STR in a 25 millimeter width, inflated to the rim manufacturer’s recommended pressure, with a windspeed of 30 MPH.)
How’d they get there? According to Princeton CarbonWorks, it required a major evolution in the shape of the wheel — hence, in this editor’s opinion, the required name change. The wheel profile matches the alternating deep and shallow rim sections with alternating spoke sides. It’s an interesting pattern which should balance spoke tension and angles for a more uniform riding experience. Of course, it wouldn’t be a new carbon wheel product without being wider or lighter than its predecessor, and according to the company, it is optimized for a 25mm width.
That, of course, is narrower than what a lot of companies are coalescing around in terms of tire width. Zipp, for instance, recommends a 28mm width for the 454 NSW due to the improvement in rolling resistance versus the aerodynamic benefit of the narrower 25mm used in the test. It’s not the only place where Princeton CarbonWorks is marching independently. They’re also sticking with hooked rims — although the beds feature no holes in them, so no tape is required to run them tubed or tubeless. The company says that it “firmly believes in a hooked rim providing the safest and fastest solution for road riding and racing.” Also critical — rim brakes remain an option.
They’re also offering a pretty significant amount of customization on offer. Beyond rim and disc brake, you also have your choice of 7 different hubs from White Industries, DT Swiss, Chris King, or Tactic Racing. There’s also a lot of potential paint options, rivaling Quintana Roo’s bike paint department for choosing your favorite crayon — with appropriate markups for more complex colors.
Prices range from $3,150 for wheels in Paint Tier 1 to $4,500 for wheels in Paint Tier 3.
We will be putting a set of these through our long-term review process.