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Designed for Paris-Roubaix: Princeton CarbonWorks Dual 5550

The unique-looking, mid-depth wheel is designed for the punishing cobbles of the ‘Hell of the North.’

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The Princeton CarbonWorks Dual 5550 is a mid-depth wheel raced by Ineos Grenadiers in the 2021 season, and now it’s available to consumers.

The wheel designed for racing on cobbles already has hundreds of thousands of kilometers of testing with impressive race results, too. Ineos Grenadiers’ Gianni Moscon finished just off the podium, in fourth place, in the fall edition of the 2021 “Hell of the North” on these wheels. And, Dylan van Baarle rode the same model of wheels to second place at the 2021 UCI world road cycling championships.

Also read: Stealthy worlds-winning Princeton CarbonWorks wheels finally launched

Princeton CarbonWorks was provided guidelines by the powerhouse British team’s mechanics and technology directors to deliver a wheel that can withstand the destructive cobbles at Paris-Roubaix, while also offering aerodynamic gains needed for the relatively flat, high-speed race.

The Princeton CarbonWorks Dual 5550 was raced to second place in the 2021 UCI world road cycling championships under Dylan van Baarle. (Photo: Princeton CarbonWorks)
The Princeton CarbonWorks Dual 5550.
The Princeton CarbonWorks Dual 5550. (Photo: Princeton CarbonWorks)

“The wheel is designed for racing at the pointy end of the spear,” said Princeton CarbonWorks’ Harrison Macris. “This might be the one, do-it-all wheel.”

Shallower than the Mach 7580, which is intended for time trials and triathlon, the Dual 5550 is robust enough to be a daily-use wheel.

Macris also said that each model of wheel designed by Princeton CarbonWorks has its own carbon layup schedule. While the Dual 5550 evolved from the PCW Grit 4540, the latest wheel has different performance characteristics and is actually 1mm wider (claimed) than the wheels designed for riding gravel.

Optimized around a tire width of 30mm to 32mm tires, the Dual 5550 can accommodate a wide range of clincher tires, between 28mm and 50mm.

The Dual 5550 has a solid spoke bed — save for a valve opening — which alleviates the need for tubeless sealing tape. While this design makes replacing spokes slightly more challenging, the wheels are serviceable at home or at any shop by anyone who knows how to true wheels, said Macris.

Macris also indicated that the Dual 5550 wheel far exceeds all UCI impact testing thresholds, and under a 220kgf testing load, the threading in the Sapim brass nipples fails long before the carbon rim sustains damage.

Also read: Tires and pressures at the 2021 Paris-Roubaix

The hooked bead should prevent any tires from blowing off the rim. Princeton CarbonWorks does not state a maximum recommended tire pressure but does suggest adhering to the specific tire manufacturers’ inflation guidelines.

The Dual 5550 rims are claimed to be just 500g each, and a low-weight build could approach 1,440g/set. For comparison, the Zipp 454NSW wheels tip the scales at claimed 1,463g/set, and are priced similarly.

The Princeton CarbonWorks Dual 5550, like modern tubeless-ready, hooked-bead rims, has a deep center channel. (Photo: Princeton CarbonWorks)

Those interested in the Dual 5550 can also choose from a few hub offerings, including those from White Industries, Tune, Industry Nine, CarbonTi, Chris King, DT Swiss, and house-brand Tactic Racing – all of which are laced with Sapim CX-Ray spokes and Sapim SecureLock nipples.

The wheels are available in matte black, matte white, gloss chrome, and gloss gold finishes. Dual 5550 wheelsets come with 2 padded Princeton CarbonWorks wheel bags, tubeless valves, skewers, and brake pads (for rim brake sets).

The Princeton CarbonWorks Dual 5550 pricing starts at $3,000/set and goes upwards depending on the configuration.

House-brand Tactic hubs offer a unique engagement system. The cassette carrier has unneeded material removed to save weight.
House-brand Tactic hubs offer a unique engagement system. The cassette carrier has unneeded material removed to save weight. (Photo: Princeton CarbonWorks)
Another look at a Tactic hub laced into a Dual 5550.
Another look at a Tactic hub laced into a PCW Dual 5550. (Photo: Princeton CarbonWorks)

Wake 6560 improved

The wheel that launched Princeton CarbonWorks into the spotlight was the Wake 6560. After several years, the brand has slightly modified the wheel, and now offers two versions of it.

The new Wake 6560 Strada has an internal width of 20.5mm. The existing model, the Wake 6560 Corsa, retains the original design of 18.5mm internal width.

Both models of the Wake 6560 are designed for use on the road.