The Arrow Wheels AGRS Road Gravel wheelset is on my Planet X Tempest, a bike I intended solely for gravel use, but over time I have found to lean more toward road riding. I have tested these wheels as road and gravel, but in both cases I have run the Specialized Pathfinder Pro tyre front and rear.
- Price: £1,099 as reviewed (builds from £899)
- From: arrow-wheels.co.uk
- Tested by: Amanda for 6 months
Who are Arrow Wheels?
Arrow Wheels, based in Rossendale, are a supplier of hand built wheels to both the bike industry and the public. Matt Holstead, owner and builder, is a fully qualified DTSWISS and CYTECH Level 3 qualified mechanic.
The wheelset we have on test consists of carbon fibre 40mm deep rims with Hope RS4 hubs.
- Toray T700S & T800 carbon fibre
- Smooth Wall Technology; no folded prepreg during curing
- Carbon Strip Reinforcement: the rim bed uses a unique carbon strip to the spoke bed which reduces weight without sacrificing any strength
- Hookless design
The wheels have been ridden for 7 months in almost every condition, and on quite a wide variety of terrain. When it came to fitting them, the Specialized Pathfinder Pro tyres popped on with no issues, and held tubeless on the first attempt. Gravel tyres seem to have a reputation for being a pain to set up tubeless, and I’ve previously struggled a LOT. My old WTB ST i25 2.0 wheelset was terrible – most times it was sealant leaking out at the bead.
Tyres on and holding pressure, I haven’t had to top up sealant and I don’t need to top up pressures every ride, which has previously been the case for my groad bike.
I honestly don’t know how these wheels have survived the torture I have inflicted upon them. No exaggeration – I have been brutal, riding the Pennine Bridleway at high speed, making terrible line choices through rock gardens, and generally treating the bike like a mountain bike. On one notable ride, I hit a packhorse slab with so much force I thought I must have cracked a rim and potentially the bike frame. I didn’t even get a flat.
Despite my aggressive ownership, the rims haven’t got a scratch on them, and the spoke tensions are bang on. I’ve not had any punctures (it certainly pays to get a get a thicker casing for gravel tyres), and Hope RS4 hubs are as durable as every other Hope component. They’re less obnoxious than the Pro 4 (I am really picky about hub noise), the engagement is excellent, and they look fantastic.
The 40mm deep rims strike me as more favourable for road riding than gravel. They’re aerodynamic, and the depth will obviously add some stiffness. There’s something really satisfyingly solid about a deep carbon rim, particularly when you go to put some power down and don’t feel like you’re losing any of it to an overly-compliant wheelset.
I can’t say I’ve had enough experience on the road, or with other road wheels, but this set up with the Pathfinder Pro tyres is like a magic carpet ride on tarmac, and Calderdale’s latest solution to resurfacing – loose gravel top surface.
These have quickly become a reliable and trustworthy component that I rarely think about. Previous wheelsets have taken more upkeep, and always been at the back of my mind when heading out for something ‘big’. I find it very reassuring to know I have a tough wheelset on rough Calderdale roads, and it can tackle any off-road I subject it to.
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