When shopping for triathlon wheels, perhaps nothing has more cool-factor than the composite three spoke design (also called a trispoke). Old timers will recognize the wheel originally created by DuPont, sold under the Specialized brand name, and later sold to Hed. This original wheel was quite fast and lived on for decades – but was designed around narrow 18-19mm tires. Hed debuted a wider version called the GT3 in 2014, but has since discontinued their three spoke line.
You might not know it, but Vision (the aero sub-brand of FSA) has been selling their own three spoke wheel for several years now. They currently sell it in clincher, tubular, and tubeless-ready versions. However, the most recent (and perhaps most noteworthy) update is a disc brake version. The only competition that we’re aware of includes a disc brake trispoke from Corima, and a 5-spoke from Xentis – both of which can be hard to come by in the United States.
How do you know if a three spoke wheel is right for you? Every manufacturer of such wheels that I’ve spoken to has expressed that they’re intended for professionals and top amateurs, riding at high speeds. I take this to mean that they perform best at low yaw angles and with narrower tires than us less-speedy folks might use (I haven’t received any explanation or direction beyond this from the manufacturers). This is neither good nor bad; it’s just the design intent of the product. In short, if you are in the middle or back-of-the-pack, a more typical wheel with metal spokes will likely be a faster choice for you.
Like most competitors, the Vision 3 Spoke has an asymmetric design, meaning that it must be installed to your bike in a specific direction. If you look closely at the blade profile…
…you can see that one edge is sharp, while the other is more rounded. And of course, since this is a disc brake wheel, there is only one direction you can install it… at least if you want the ability to stop.
As for the basic specs of the wheel, the tubeless clincher version we received is listed at a weight of 860 grams. It has an internal width of 18mm, an external width of 24.8mm, and a rim depth of 55mm. Vision also sells a tubular version weighing in at 723 grams. We received a front wheel only, but their website shows information regarding freehub compatibility – suggesting that they may be working on a rear wheel version.
Vision did not provide us with a minimum, maximum, or recommended tire size, but a warning sticker on the wheel states a maximum tire pressure of 103 psi (7 bar) with a 25mm tire.
The rim edges have hooks, and Vision doesn’t list any restrictions on tire brand or model (i.e. as far as we’re aware, you can run any clincher or tubeless clincher tire that you’d like).
Interestingly, Vision placed the valve hole near one of the spokes… perhaps to allow the protruding valve to catch a draft?
Our test wheel came with the Shimano Center Lock disc brake mounting system (their website also shows a 6-bolt version, though no available inventory). It’s interesting to note that you must unthread and remove the bearing preload cap in order to install your Center Lock rotor. Also note that it requires Vision’s lockring that’s specific to their axle design.
Vision also sent along their own 140mm Center Lock rotor (160mm is also available).
Vision carbon wheels include rim coverings. They're a nice touch intended to protect from scratches or other light damage when storing your wheels.
They also offer a more robust wheel bag for $81. It holds two road wheels, and includes a shoulder strap and internal pockets.
The Vision 3 Spoke Disc comes equipped with a 12mm axle. They also include a kit with 15mm axle and quick release end caps, covering all possible options currently available in 2021.
Just how fast is this thing? Vision provided the chart above to show drag savings, along with the following translation into 40k time trial performance (at 30mph average speed):
-Vision 3-spoke V2 with 23mm tire averaged 18.4sec faster than Metron 40 with 23mm tire.
-Vision 3-spoke V2 with 25mm tire averaged 16.8sec faster than Metron 40 with 25mm tire.
The Vision Metron 3 Spoke Disc Brake is available now for $1,339 (front wheel only).