Rolf Prima Alsea Plus Wheels
They're big and wide for better traction up and down the trail, but the paired spokes and carbon hoops keep them light.
790 grams (f); 890 grams (r)
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Spoke Count: 24 (front and rear)
Rim Type: Tubeless-ready clincher
Rim Width: 40mm internal; 45mm external
Rotational Inertia: 4.58 (f); 4.55 (r)
Deflection: 3.06mm (f); 3.83mm (r)
The Alsea Plus wheels are a tricky set to pin down: They’re big and wide for better traction up and down the trail, but the paired spokes and carbon hoops keep them light. The question is, who are these wheels for? If you’re going with plus-size wheels and tires, chances are you’re not too concerned with weight. Rolf Prima thinks you should be, and perhaps they’re onto something.
24 paired spokes per wheel minimize weight on 40-millimeter-wide rims. That means you’re getting the benefit of plus-size tires without bogging down your rig, but that begs the question of whether the paired spoke setup makes for a floppy wheel. We certainly felt a bit of slop, especially in corners, but that doesn’t necessarily trace back to the paired spokes. We’ve felt the same sort of slop on just about all plus-size rims because of the bigger tires with less air pressure, so we very well might have been feeling this rather than wheel flex.
Indeed, our deflection testing showed a minimal amount of movement, so they’re laterally quite stiff. This explains why they felt stable and responsive out of the saddle on climbs.
Set them up tubeless, point them downhill, and huck off every rock and root you can find. Keep in mind a rim this wide will require a bit more muscle in the corners, and that was certainly the case with the Alseas. But you can also drop your tire pressure significantly for a big contact patch to steamroll chundery descents.
Overall we enjoyed our experience with the Alseas, but we struggled to get a good tubeless seal until we wrapped the rims twice around with tubeless rim tape. Even then it was tough to get them to seal up, and we had to add about twice as much sealant as we would normally use.