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Alto Cycling CC40 Wheelset Review | 2018

Alto Cycling CC40 Wheelset Review | 2018

Going to Interbike this year was definitely a must for Gear Mashers and allowed us to meet some really cool cycling companies.  One such company we discovered is Alto Cycling.  They specialize in carbon race wheels designed right here in the US.  Their wheelsets are broken down into road, cyclecross/gravel and mountain bike categories and further broken down into rim and disc variants as well as clincher and tubular.

Bobby Sweeting the owner of Alto Cycling sent us a pair of their CC40 Clinchers to test out.  They looked so fast right out of the box I had to get a picture of them next to a dragster.

Alto Cycling CC40 Wheelset

Alto Cycling History

Founded in 2014, Alto was born out of a desire to solve the problems that plagued bike racers and triathletes for years, namely aero wheels that ride like aero wheels rather than wheels that are structurally sound.  Alto’s desire was to not only make aero wheels but to design them in such a way that would make them laterally stiff, have both great rolling resistance and responsiveness and create wheels that hold up and are durable.

Alto Cycling CC40 Wheelset Review | 2018

When the CC40 Wheelset shipment arrived I was all excited to put the wheels on hit the road.  Unfortunately my Felt AR1 bike setup wasn’t exactly ready for the larger wheel dimensions.  The problem turned out to be the width of the wheels made it impossible swap them for the existing setup without reconfiguring my brakes.  Not being a mechanic and wanting to have everything just right, I decided to take the bike to Bicycle World here in Austin.  Their mechanics are really good and they set me up properly.

Alto Cycling CC40 Wheel Set

The wheels also shipped with Alto Skewers and carbon brake pads.

What makes the CC40’s unique compared to other aero road wheels really boils down to their hubs and their R-Symmetric design.

Alto Cycling Rear R-Symmetric Hubs

What the R-Symmetric design does is make the wheels stiffer and create less spoke tension drop for the non drive side.  This equates to more power going into the pedals rather than having the wheels flex side to side.

Is it noticeable? I am not sure, the wheels feel really good and don’t beat you up.  Where I did notice something rather interesting is when you’re going over 20 mph and then want to accelerate to 25 or more, there doesn’t seem to be a delay reaction to speed change.  Imagine you’re riding on a group ride drafting and the pace picks up.  What I noticed is it was much easier to react to the change in pace.  I also noticed when I was in the draft, I was pushing less watts due to the aero dynamic properties of the wheels compared to my training wheels.

LABYRINTH SEALED HUBS AND NSK ABEC7 BEARINGS

The hubs are built using NSK ABEC7 Bearings.  The ABEC scale is an industry accepted standard for the tolerances of a ball bearing.  The higher the ABEC number, the higher the precision and tolerance needed.  There are five classes of tolerances 1, 3, 5, 7, 9.

All things being equal, the higher the number the faster wheels usually are.  When I used to inline race, having higher ABEC wheels almost always meant a speed improvement and better roll time.

ONE-PIECE ADJUSTABLE AXLES

Alto uses a one piece aluminum machine built 7075 axle.  This design prevents torque from happening and protects the sealed NSK ABEC7 Bearings.  The threaded axle end caps allow for the perfect amount of pre-load on each bearing, without overloading them and causing unwanted friction.   The simple design helps with durability and speed.

CARBON RIMS

The Alto CC40 Wheelset uses a composite laminate design made from carbon fibers and resin laid down in sheets, called plies, to create a laminate.

Alto Cycling CC40 Specifications

Alto Cycling CC40 Specifications

Note: Alto Cycling White Paper

Retail: $2,000 for the wheelset or $856 for the front and $1,144 for the rear.

Alto CC40 features: 

  • Front: 20H, 648g
  • Rear: 24H, 846g
  • Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo Compatible
  • Tubeless Compatible
  • Optimized for 11 speed and compatible with 10 speed
  • Carbon Fiber with EPS Core Mfg Technology
  • 23-28mm Clincher Tires Recommended
  • Alto Skewers and SwissStop Black Prince Brake Pads Included
  • Unlimited Rider Weight Limit

Alto Color Options

When purchasing the CC40’s you have the option to choose decal color and hub color.

Alto Cycling CC40 Wheelset Color Options

Bottom Line | Alto Cycling CC40 Wheelset Review | 2018

25mm tires seem to be the optimal width for the wheels, although they will accept both 23mm and 28mm as well.  I found the CC40s to be a perfect wheel for a road bike having both aerodynamic properties as well as great handling.  The wider wheel base and how the hub is designed makes for a very stiff wheel that corners great and is fast in acceleration.

The CC40s do come with a hefty price tag of $2k, but for that price you get a great set of carbon wheels.  If you don’t mind riding used, Alto does sell used wheels at a discount.  I believe their current pricing structure is to knock off $100 every time the wheels are rented, which can add up significantly over time.

It was a sad day to have to give up the Alto’s and let another person test them out.  I really enjoyed the speed factor that they provided.  Oddly enough, switching back to my original wheels was a snap.  I did have to adjust the brakes to the smaller wheel width, but it was pretty pain free and I didn’t have to take the bike to the shop.  Hmm maybe I am becoming a bike mechanic after all.

Check out Alto Cycling (https://altocycling.com) and their great lineup of wheels and accessories.

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About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of GearMashers.com, 10KstepsDaily.com, EndTheTrendNow.com, AntiqueOutings.com, MiniatureReview.blogspot.com and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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