You may be familiar with Vision Tech as a company catering to triathletes and the “aero” rider, but recently, they’ve put more attention into the road market and now the cyclocross market in a stealthy fashion. We chatted with Mike Lawless of Vision at Winter Press Camp and he showed us what some of the company’s products that are relevant to cyclocrossers.
Vision Tech’s biggest product focus is on wheels, and the company has invested a lot into R&D in their attempt to become one of the leaders in aerodynamic, reliable wheels, and after letting an engineer loose with a wind tunnel for two years, the products that have resulted from all of that homework are now coming to the market.
The company’s goal is to provide superior aerodyamics and reliability, and has found in their testing, compared to competitors, their wheels really shine in real world wind conditions, with yaw angles from 10-30 degrees. Lawless points out that many competitors test only with straight headwinds (0 degrees yaw), but emphasizes that in actual riding the wind is rarely a straight-on headwind.
Regarding reliability, instead of striving to be the lightest wheelset around, Vision has prioritized durability, and one example of this philosophy is their decision to utilize brass nipples over alloy nipples, reducing nipple corrosion, cracking and rounding.
The Vision Tech Metron 40 wheels are designed with a 40mm deep, 24.5mm wide rim, and are the company’s answer to the aerodynamic “classics wheel” made popular by the Zipp 303. Last year, the Cannondale team, with Peter Sagan, raced the Metron 40 wheels in the classics, with zero failures. We had a quick glimpse at Interbike, but the wheels are now widely available and we’re taking a closer look.
The company says they’re ideal for cyclocross too, and this season, without much fanfare, the Raleigh-Clement team including Jamey Driscoll, Allen Krughoff, Ben Berden and Caroline Mani, raced the Metron 40 Disc wheels to countless podiums.
The wheels have several features that reportedly ensure the wheel’s strength and reliability. Rear rim brake wheels have a 2-to-1 lacing, with double the spokes on the drive side to “increase lateral stiffness” and even out spoke tension, according to Lawless. Rear non-disc wheels have just 21 spokes. All wheels feature Sapim spokes.
Like other Vision wheels, brass nipples, not alloy, are used so that wheels are trueable for many seasons. The extra grams are worth their weight, according to Lawless, to avoid the corrosion and rounding issues often seen with alloy nipples.
Additionally, non-disc hubs are designed with a PRA (Preload Reduction Assembly) system that isolates the ceramic bearings from quick release-induced preload. The company calls this benefit “free speed” because of the reduction in bearing drag.
“We’re really excited about the Metron wheels,” Lawless added. The wheels are available as clincher or tubular, and with the Metron 40, they can be purchased as disc or rim brake hub options (the rims are the same) in red and white or black. The MSRP is $2499 for the tubular with canti brakes, $2699 for the clincher rim brake model, and $2699 for the tubular disc model.
The Metron 40 tubular disc weighs 1575g, while the Metron 40 tubular rim brake wheels weigh light 1320g. Clincher options weigh 1495g for rim brakes, and the clincher disc version weighs 1775g.
Roadies may find these wheels familiar, as racer Peter Sagan often opts for the Metron 55 on the road side of things. Both the Metron 40 and 55 wheels were tested in the Spring Classics and grand tours last year by Sagan. “People kind of refer to them as rough rides with cobblestones and rough roads but we never had a wheel sent back to us with a mechanical issue.”
For non-disc riders, the Metron 55 with a—you guessed it—55mm rim depth, may be the sleeker option, though it weighs 80 grams more than its counterpart, the Metron 40. It’s a tad narrower than the Metron 40 at 24.0mm wide.
Both the Metron 55 and Metron 40 wheels could make interesting choices for the racer looking for one high-end race wheelset to handle dual duty of road racing and time trials in the spring and summer, and cyclocross in the fall and winter.
The Metron 55 tubular version weighs 1400g, and the wheels do not have a disc option (yet).
Not interested in aerodynamics? The company also offers its TC24 wheelset, with a 24mm deep rim. The pair weighs just 1280g.
Metron Handlebars and Stem:
Another area that Vision Tech has entered in the bike cockpit arena with a new handlebar and stem. The handlebar is the Vision Tech 4D handlebar, which “has a forward sweep of 10 degrees, which is better ergonomic position for your elbows and it promotes breathing with the wider grip,” according to Lawless.
Available in May/June, the bar will retail for $369.99. The matching stem will have full monoque carbon body with “hidden hardware in the back for a cleaner look.”
Now that Vision Tech has infiltrated ’cross, will we see more from the brand? “We’re working on some things that you’ll see soon but for now we’re focusing on the cockpit and the wheels,” Lawless coyly tells us.
Mike Lawless showcases latest Vision Tech offerings: