This piece has been created in association with Princeton.
Among the seemingly endless design challenges bicycle engineers face, none are perhaps as vexing as the myriad factors that dictate the parameters of a good wheel. Fast, stable, and light? Talk about three concepts that are not at all aligned with each other.
Princeton CarbonWorks has gone to great lengths to find the best combination of those three elements. So confident was Princeton in its design capabilities that the company added a fourth parameter to master: versatility.
The Dual 5550 wheels are the natural extension of Princeton’s sinusoidal patterned wheel lineup. As road riding has evolved in the last several years to include more multi-surface riding and, to a grander extent, gravel riding, wheel manufacturers have had to meet the moment with a host of new technologies to scratch all itches. Princeton has done just that with this wheelset, which comes in at 1,440 grammes.
The competitive weight is perhaps not even the most impressive thing about the Dual 5550 wheels, though. That unique shape is designed to create more stability even in windy conditions. The waves help reduce drag and minimise eddies of air behind the rim that can lead to buffeting in the wind, among other aerodynamic enemies.
Another side benefit of those waves: the spokes all connect at the highest point in the rim depth (55mm) to increase strength and lateral stiffness. And reducing the rim depth in between those peaks to 50mm allows Princeton to reduce the overall weight of the wheel by reducing the amount of material where it’s not needed.
Versatility rules the road world right now, which is why Princeton opted for a hooked rim design. That means a wider selection of tyres are compatible with the Dual 5550 wheels. Run tubes if you like, or go tubeless. The Dual 5550 wheels are designed to accommodate either setup. A hole-less rim bed makes tubeless setup vastly easier and more reliable, while increasing the overall strength of the wheel.
It seems Princeton CarbonWorks has considered any and all riders out there. The Dual 5550 wheels are available as clinchers or as tubular wheels, not to mention rim-brake or disc-brake ready. And in keeping with the ‘wider is better’ trend in tyres, the 22mm inner rim width of the Dual 5550 wheels takes full advantage of wide road tyres (the wheels are optimised for use with 28-31mm tyres) all the way up to 50mm gravel rubber.
One of the less obvious benefits of the Dual 5550 wheels lies within the Tactic Racing TR01 Hubs. A conical driver system increases surface area within the interface, which means you’ll get nearly-instant engagement for optimal power transfer. There’s less opportunity for wear, more opportunity for power, and little maintenance to contend with.
If you’re still unsure as to whether Princeton CarbonWorks is up to the most brutal conditions, consider this: the Dual 5550 wheels were tested incognito at Paris-Roubaix in 2021 under Team Ineos riders. Testing grounds for wheel durability, stability, and performance don’t get tougher than that.