Product Reviews: Stan’s Alpha 340

Here it is folks my review of my first set of tubeless road wheels offered by Stan’s No Tubes. The Alpha 340 Team wheels are the 2nd tier wheels offered by Stan’s (below the top flight Alpha Pro). At first glance these look like a pretty standard aluminum wheel set, but they are far better than most other wheels I’ve ridden on over the years. Out of the box they look good, and I have to say they do nothing to detract from my bike. Lets face it, no one wants to show up to a ride with junky looking wheels, but ultimately performance trumps looks.

I initially road these with clinchers and found them disappointing. I believe that if you’re going to buy tubeless wheels, ride tubeless tires. After finding a suitable tire, which is discussed below, I mounted up a set of Hutchison Fusion 3 tires with minimal problems. I’ve found that mounting tubeless tires on most Stan’s rims is easier than competitor wheels, but occasionally have issues getting the bead to seat. The road wheels were a cinch, taking only a bit longer than clinchers. Adding sealant is even easier and once pumped up, you’re ready to rock.

The Ride
The ride quality for these wheels fitted with Tubeless tires is stellar. Seriously, it’s smooth, fast and the tires are as good as any quality clincher. Even riding Kreitler rollers these wheel are perfectly round, with no bump where the valve stem might influence the ride quality. The wheels are light, responsive and accelerate well. They are advertised weight is about 1425 g and mine weighed in just under that.

Are they equal to my Zipp 404s? That’s like an apples to oranges comparison, so I’ll simply say that if you need a good light set of race wheels, or a fast, reliable training wheel set you cannot go wrong, especially with a retail price of about $785. They’re also standard wheels that need no special tools or skills to work on, essential for training. And oh yeah, tubeless tires with Stan’s sealant are virtually flat proof!

The issue I have with the wheels is the same for any tubeless wheel, the tire choice is almost non-existent and way over priced. I mean the Hutchinson tire’s MSR is about $90 or more. WTF! Seriously, that like buying a high quality tubular. Sure, tubulars are problematic, a PITA to mount, and NOT flat proof, even with sealant. I shopped around and found a much lower priced Fusion 3, and as nice as this tire is, I do not expect to get much more life from these than other tires. That said, I think tubeless is here to stay, and as the demand increases tire options should improve. I’d also love to see good 404 style wheels that are lighter and tubeless ready, but for now I’ll hold onto my Zipp’s, but expect to see my bike fitted with the Alpha 340s at the local ride because flats suck!

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