Introducing Atten:

Redefining Performance Carbon Wheels

Designed for performance and versatility, Argon 18’s new Atten wheels are fine-tuned to offer our riders unparalleled ride quality in terms of speed and agility, and provide a complete riding experience when paired with our frames. We knew our riders were looking for durability and versatility from a carbon wheelset - without sacrificing race-ready reflexes. The new Atten L42 wheelset delivers exactly that: a durable, performance-oriented carbon wheelset with a modern rim design, at a competitive pricepoint.

The new Atten L42 wheels can be seen on the 2024 Sum, but they had a long road to travel before they hit shop floors. How did our R&D team test, refine, and validate the design to be sure we offered our riders the best possible wheel? We spoke with Adric Heney, Structural and Aerodynamic Analyst on Argon 18’s R&D team, to learn more.

Argon 18: We can see the new Atten wheels on the Sum right now, but take us back to how the process started.

Adric Heney: We started by defining the scope, or setting the goals that we wanted to hit with the wheelset. We were looking for a high-performing, reliable, competitively priced 700c carbon wheelset. We knew we wanted to hit the sweet spot between aero and lightweight performance – so it’s not primarily an aero wheel nor an extremely lightweight one, but has the best qualities of both. We were looking for medium depth in terms of profile and were aiming for weight in the ballpark of 1600grams. We were also looking for a 21mm inner rim and 28-30 outer rim. So just starting with those criteria, we had a pretty good picture of what the overall target characteristics were.

A18: Once the targets were set, how did the testing happen?

AH: Starting in the summer of 2022, we tested eight different designs. We tested multiple versions of each prototype to monitor variance within each of the designs. The first mechanical and dimensional tests were done before the wheels were ridden. Those tests included spoke tension, rim profile measurements, overall weight, lateral stiffness, and lateral and radial variation. We did our initial analysis with these test results.

The next batch of tests were done after specific intervals of riding – and it was pretty heavy riding! We tested on all surfaces, including gravel, climbing, descents, and race conditions. We wanted to get a sense of the wheels’ performance in every possible scenario. Again, we tested spoke tension and lateral and radial variation, and we also collected a large amount of qualitative analysis from rider feedback. That analysis was more about perceived performance, or how the rider felt: perceived stiffness, comfort and handling, sound – the noise from the hub, for example – and the appearance of the wheels.

That real-world feedback was really valuable. There’s no way to test how confident you feel in a bunch sprint from inside the R&D lab, just like how snappiness and responsiveness is also something you only appreciate by putting in the miles, and really comparing different designs. Different riders have different perspectives too, so we ended up with a real wealth of data on what makes a good wheel.

After our long-term mileage goals had been reached, our lab tests focused on durability. Again we tested lateral and radial variation, and spoke tension. Since this is high added value wheelset, we placed a large emphasis on reliability and confidence. It had to be a wheelset you could be a bit rough with, really beat up a few times, and still feel completely secure in its performance – and also know it both looked and rode fast.

One of the final stages of performance testing was taking the wheels to the wind tunnel. And of course, we ensured all the standard ISO tests had been met or exceeded.

A18: What are the final specs?

AH: The final weight is 1580 grams, with a 42mm rim depth and 4 pawl hub design. The rim is 21mm internal and 30mm external width, optimised for 28-30mm tires. It’s an extremely comfortable, versatile, high-performing all-rounder, compatible with clinchers and tubeless tires. And it’s the wheelset I plan to be riding myself this season – maybe that says it all!