Do Parcours’ newest wheels offer speed and comfort gains? PARCOURS CHRONO MAX
British-based Parcours has forged a reputation for impressive ride quality at a good price. And so it is with the Chrono Max (805g) and disc (1,240g) combination that hits the tills at £1,649. Yes, that’s still £1,649 and is still more than many of you have spent on your bike. But in the svelte world of carbon hoops, that’s positively frugal with many of Parcours’ more established competitors pricing their disc wheels alone at over two grand. (If you’re looking to purchase either on its own, you’re looking at £600 for the Max with steel bearings, £700 for ceramic, and £1,049.00 for the disc.)
Our test period rolled out through the winter, which traditionally isn’t the perfect platform to combine a front rim that nestles at a sizeable 83.8mm deep and a sail-away disc wheel. But in many ways it provided the ideal backdrop to test Parcours’ anecdotal (from their band of athletes, including Laura Siddall) and empirical (from work done by aero guru Steve Faulkner) feedback that this combo handles with confidence-inspiring stability.
That’s down to Parcours’ focus on rim width – more precisely, the reasoning behind their #thinkwider campaign that suggests all-round comfort, handling and even speed is optimised with a 28mm tyre. That’s down to two main reasons. One, a number of studies, including that undertaken by Parcours, suggest a reduction in rolling resistance with a wider tyre compared to a thinner tyre thanks to a reduced contact patch. Two, you can then reduce tyre pressure without sacrificing speed, which improves comfort. Vis-à-vis, both wheels are optimised for 28mm tyres.
That’s the theory. In practice… Our local circuit shadows the Severn Channel, so you’re nigh-on guaranteed sidewinds. But the front-rim and disc mix, which drew off-season glances from passing cyclists, performed admirably, remaining far stabler than we’d expect; that said, there was a limit to our bravery and we remained offsaddle when the gusts looked too strong for our disc preconceptions. What was arguably more noticeable was the comfort factor, the wider rims (Parcours say its 22.5mm internal rim width for the disc is the highest on the market) and lower tyre pressure absorbing the bump and grind of the UK’s roads smoothly. Yes, a disc wheel still delivers more ‘feedback’ than a shallow-rimmed winter tyre but, certainly in the case of this disc, not of days gone by.
As you’d expect, both the Chrono Max and disc are mooted to deliver more watts savings than past incarnations. That was hard to quantify but there was an urgency that we appreciated. All in all, it seems that thinking wider will serve Parcours, and triathletes, well in 2023.
“The front-rim and disc mix drew off-season glances from passing cyclists, but performed admirably and was far stabler than expected”