AEKO is an Italian Bicycle company founded by Paolo Azzolini. They make some pretty incredible bikes and Paolo was an early adopter of fat bikes in Italy. The Zirculum carbon rims caught my attention several years back and every now and then, Paolo and I would trade emails about how things were going. We discussed reviewing a set of their wheels but it didn’t work out for quite a few years. Late in 2022 Paolo emailed me and said that he was sending us a set of wheels to test. We worked out the spec’s that would ensure that they fit on my bike Ten Beers (and most modern fat bikes with thru axels) and last week, the Italian Postal Service shook hands with the US Postal Service and delivered a rather large (and moderately battered) wheel box to our door.
ZIRCULUM 90 – 26″ fat rims – Laminated carbon structure
Width 90 mm – Rim Weight 420 g
The rims are made from a single layer of carbon, so they’re very light. The inner dimension of the bead is 85mm wide and the outer dimension is 90mm wide. The front wheel weighed in at 952g and the rear wheel was 988g. A sub-two-thousand-gram wheelset is very light for a fat bike. Our demo set of wheels came built with Sapim spokes laced to Bitex hubs.
The wheels came taped with black gorilla tape, which was pretty standard a few years back. I’m in the middle of doing some sealant testing and it took a lot of the bargain store sealant that I’m using to get these wheels to hold air consistently. I think that I’ll try retaping them with thinner rim tape and see if that goes smoother with some better brand-name goop.
I bet many of you are thinking ‘twenty-six-inch wheels?’ I’ve been known to ride 26″ & 27.5″ wheels and say “twenty-six ain’t dead” to anybody that’ll listen. One of the best upgrades that you can make to a fat bike is a carbon wheelset and there are a lot of fat bikes out there that preceded the twenty-seven-point five-wheel size. The 45NRTH Wrathlordes that I mounted on the new AEKO set of wheels aren’t made in 27.5 and these are the most BAMF’rs ever made. Same with Bud & Lou and any other great rubber that you may have in your bike shed. So if you own a fat bike that has 26″ wheels, you have every reason to applaud having another option to lighten up your bike’s rotating mass. Which (trust me) is almost always a really good thing! I’ll be putting these wheels through their paces for the rest of the winter and come back with some sort of review in spring.
For more about AEKO visit – https://www.aeko.it/
I like carbon but carbon doesn’t like me.
Can’t wait for the spring half of the review.
I remember seeing these rims in the flesh a few years back. They do look like a quality set of rims.