I really wish that we could all just be honest, admit to ourselves, and the world, that there is no such thing as an “aero gravel wheel“. Acceptance is the first step towards healing, right? I dunno, doesn’t matter because even though there’s no chance in h-e-double-toothpicks that this wheel is aero-optimized*, that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting.
I actually think it’s very interesting, and you all probably guessed that because otherwise I would have just ignored it like most of the product teaser marketing that ends up in my inbox :P.
The primary reason they’re interesting is because of the width and Light Bicycle’s “Hybrid Hook” design. The inner width is 30mm, but the external is 38-40mm, which means you can run anything in the 32-47c range, and not give up a flatter/squarer tire profile as you bump up into the jumbo sizes. And, since the inner width gains don’t sacrifice hooks, you don’t have to be so careful with the tire choice. That said, I think it’s likely that the “Hybrid Hook” thing is mostly marketing, but what’s not to like a wide inner and the easy mount/dismount features that Light Bicycle claims.
So what about price and weight? Well, they aren’t a budget offering. With a DT Swiss 240 EXP, a set will run you ~$1,300 before shipping, and it weighs in at ~1476g. So not the cheapest, or lightest, thing out there. All in I think it’s a solid option at that price if you want to run wider rubber, with a flatter profile, and the increased durability that those extra grams should provide.
Gravel riding has a broad definition, and the WG44 is built to deliver the best ride whatever your preference. Like all our standard layup carbon rims, these have passed rigorous in-house impact resistance tests of 100J of load with no cracks nor lateral/radial run-outs. The Flyweight version withstands the impacts of 70J. The WG44 rims prove that strong and aero does not equal heavy.
* I am willing to entertain the idea that by “aero optimized”, Light Bicycle actually means “we did the best we could”, and that’s probably fair. I’m sure there are things that could have been done to the rims to make them worse, aerodynamically ;).