Between the Easton EC90 SL wheelset, the Reynolds ATR Disc wheelset, and the American Classic Wide Lightning, the recent trends have pointed to wheel companies wanting to move in the direction of a do-it-all wheelset. Most recently, Full Speed Ahead has entered the fray with three models designed to accomplish more than one discipline: the 29er K-Force, SL-K and Afterburner. We recently spotted these SL-K wheels on Ben Berden's podium-finishing Stoemper Ronny.
Just like their components, Full Speed Ahead's wheels correspond to different price points and material, with the K-Force ($2,049.99) and SL-K ($1,799.99) acting as their carbon models while the Afterburner ($649.99) is their tubeless 29'' alloy option.
Although FSA calls all three models their 29er Mountain Bike wheel, don't be deceived by the name. The company is committed to offering options you're far more often see on cyclocross and gravel bikes, such as quick release versions of the hub at the same price as their alternative: a 15mm thru axle front and 142x12 rear that is also becoming increasingly popular on the cyclocross course.
FSA's SL-K carbon 29er/cyclocross wheels is the middle model of three new mountain bike wheelsets, with the carbon K-Force above, and an alloy Afterburner below. © Cyclocross Magazine
Our test model is the second-tier SL-K model, which is only 36g heavier than the K-Force model and come equipped with stainless steel bearings instead of ceramic. Both are built with the same HOA carbon rim, weighing in at 425g for the 29'' size (with the 27.5'' rim coming in at 390g). The rim measures in at 21mm wide (internal, 26mm external), and 25mm deep.
All rims, including the alloy Afterburners, come with a recommended maximum pressure of 85psi, with a minimum tire width of 28mm. Our test set (with an XD driver and thru axle option) weighs in at 840g for the rear and 720g for the front. The tape & valves are an additional 40g per wheel.
One of the more pleasant surprises was FSA's commitment to allowing riders to determine their own bearing preload, which a few other companies have abandoned. Their system, which they call the PRA (Preload Reduction Assembly) for adjusting the bearing preload includes a pinch bolt The system was originally developed for their Vision Metron Wheelsets, which you might have seen in last year's Grand Stage Races when Peter Sagan was still with the Cannondale Team.
The procedure for adjusting the preload is relatively straightforward:
1. Loosen the pinch bolt.
2. Tighten (or loosen) the collar to adjust the preload.
3. Re-tighten the pinch bolt.
As with many new wheelsets, FSA offers an XD driver option, which is ideal for adding that extra range to your rear gears.
Use the slider below for more details along with a full spec guide. Stay tuned for a full review as we search for the perfect do-it-all wheel. More info: fullspeedahead.com