The ZTR Alpha 400s come in three models. Un-built rims are available with 18, 20, 24, 28 or 32-hole counts.
With Europe's fabled Spring Classics season just around the corner, and temperatures starting to warm up here in North America, we thought it was time to do a little rough-road wheel testing. To kick things off RoadBikeReview just received a pair of Stan's NoTubes ZTR Alpha 400 Team tubeless alloy wheels.
In the coming weeks we'll be putting them through the proverbial meat grinder on some of the dirt roads around Boulder, Colorado, as well as at a few local Roubaix-style races.
Obviously the primary feature of the Alpha 400 is the fact that it's tubeless, meaning if all goes according to plan, we'll be able to run lower tire pressure without the fear of pinch flats. In turn that lower tire pressure should also result in a smoother ride. At least that's what the marketing copy says.
Already this year we've heard from the Stan's NoTubes team who have committed to using ZTR Alpha wheels during training and racing throughout the upcoming season.
The Stan's NoTubes team is running tubeless Alpha wheels for training and racing.
"Being able to run lower tire pressure is a huge advantage," said NoTubes team rider Jake Wells. "You get the benefit of higher ride quality, without worrying about punctures. As a team we've been tracking our usage all year, and even during training there's not been one flat. It's really impressive. You get better handling up front and better energy transfer in he rear. It's a true performance advantage."
The 150-pound Wells claims he regularly runs his pressure as low as 85psi, and some of his teammates are going even lower. But being that I'm a wee bit heavier (about 25 pounds right now) we'll start a little higher up the PSI scale and see how things go.
The Alpha 400 Team rim shares the same dimensions and Bead Socket Technology (BST) as its lighter little brother, the Alpha 340, but adds the triple channel and internal arch design seen on the mountain-bike-specific Arch EX and Flow EX rims. Stan's claims this stiffens the entire rim while making tubeless inflation easier.
Stan's skewers and hubs come stock.
Meanwhile, Bead Socket Technology is designed to lower the bead-tire interface so that tires lock more securely into place. The lower profile also reduces weight (the Alpha 400 Team set is listed at a reasonable 1495 grams). BST also means greater tire volume, resulting in increased traction, better cornering, and most importantly in the case of road riding, faster rolling. The idea is to convey the feel of tubular tires without the cost and hassle.
The Alpha 400 Team wheels come stock with Stan's 3.30R front and rear hubs, which weigh 79 and 240 grams respectively. Spoke counts are 24 and 28. Rim widths are 20mm external, 17mm internal. Rim height is 22.6mm.
Stan's skewers, DT Supercomp Black spokes, Hutchinson Fusion 3 road tubeless tires, and two 2oz bottles of NoTubes tire sealant complete the package. Retail price for just the wheels is $785. Max recommended rider weight is 250 pounds.
As for best applications, according to the Stan's catalog rating system (1=Good, 5=Best) the ZTR Alpha 400 Team gets three out of five stars for road riding and four out of five for cyclocross. We'll keep our testing on the road bike for now, but look forward to doing a follow-up come 'cross season where the idea of ditching tubulars and still being able to run low tire pressure is hugely enticing.