Reviewed: The New Super-Wide Parcours Chrono Wheelset
Parcours' latest disc wheel is optimized for wide, 28mm tires, and comes in well under $1,600 for the pair. But how does it perform?
The Parcours Chrono disc brake model checks in at a wickedly affordable price for a decent set of deep-dish carbon wheels—especially optimized for 28mm tires.
Affordable deep-dish carbon wheelset (including free shipping to most places)
Disc brake and rim brake models
Optimized for 28mm tires
Must set own rim tape and valves
Spoke insertion into rim looks messy
Hub is nothing special
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Parcours Chrono: The Basics
British-based wheel manufacturer Parcours debuts its first 28mm-optimized disc brake deep dish wheelset: the Chrono. The front wheel’s depth clocks in at 68.6mm and the rear wheel at 75.7mm with respective max rim widths of 32mm and 30.5mm. As we’re seeing across the industry, wider is better when it comes to tire optimization and also crosswind stability. Parcours claims this wheelset handles crosswinds 17% better than previous rim brake versions thanks to a wider rim and optimizations for 28mm tires.
Related: Should All Triathletes Be Running 28mm Tires?
Parcours Chrono: The Good
Similar to the Hunt 7387 wheels we recently reviewed, the Parcours Chrono disc brake deep-dish wheels are a solid carbon wheelset at an affordable price ($1,600). The set comes with EZO bearings, which are handmade in Japan and, while not quite of the same allure as Ceramic Speed, are still excellent when considering the wheels come in at less than $2,000.
These wheels are also pretty light (1620g), coming in at about 100 grams heavier than the newly-released Zipp 858 pair, which still remains the gold-standard for deep-dish carbon wheels and clocks in at 1530g. Oftentimes, you sacrifice a light wheel in order to obtain an inexpensive wheel. Parcours seems to have found a happy medium when designing a budget-friendly wheelset that won’t have you hauling around upwards of 200 grams of extra weight.
As we’ve seen play out in the past year or so, 28mm tires are having their moment in the spotlight for triathletes. In the past, it was difficult for triathletes to run tires above 25mm due to rim brake width constraints. Now, thanks to disc brake tri bikes, triathletes have enough room to post 28 or even 30mm tires in some cases. The Parcours Chrono are aerodynamically optimized for 28mm tires, as seems to be the trend across all major wheel manufacturers these days.
The hubs for the Parcours Chrono are leaf-and-pawl style, which can be docked in some cases as being more difficult to clean and maintain, but does ultimately offer higher levels of engagement (i.e., more bang for each pedal stroke in terms of watts transferred from pedal stroke to forward movement) than ratchet-style hubs. The Chrono clock in at four degrees of engagement – the fewer degrees, the better – which beats other competitors significantly in this field.
For those who still run rim brakes, the Parcours Chrono comes in a rim brake option, too, but it is only advisable to run a max of 25mm tires on that model.
Parcours Chrono: The OK
The first thing you’ll notice when you take the Parcours Chrono out of the box is that you must lay the rim tape and install the valves yourself. Parcours provides tape and valves, but compared to truly tubeless ready tires out of the box, the Parcours can be a real pain. If you’re inexperienced with setting rim tape or installing valves, it’s best to take the wheels to a shop (even more of an irritation) to have the wheelset prepped appropriately for its maiden voyage.
This is getting a bit nitpicky, but the spokes’ insertion points into the rim looks a bit messy. While there isn’t a safety concern here, there is quite a bit of room between the hex nipple of the spoke and the edges of the rim’s insertion point. From an aero perspective, this creates some drag and if you’re looking at having the most aero wheel, this flaw is a detractor.
The Parcours Chrono is another strong option for a deep carbon rim wheelset for an affordable price. The wheels perform well in wind but still bring with them the typical drawbacks of deep dish rims, which is fundamentally that they can be a bit wobbly in situations with strong crosswinds. This would be an excellent wheelset for someone considering their first pair of race-specific wheels, thanks to the decently light weight of the set, price point, and stability of the pair.
Be forewarned: This set will not be tubeless ready out of the box. You’ll need to plan to install the rim tape and valves yourself or have a local bike shop do this for you. Either way is a pain and delays your ability to take the wheels for a spin.
The Chrono doesn’t have the finesse of some of the top-of-the-line models released this year; the Chronos’ spokes are “meh” at best, yet we do appreciate the set optimizing for wider tires and being one of the brands leading the charge in the “wider is better” school of thought finally being applied to triathlon-specific bikes and tri-depth wheelsets.
All in all, not a bad set of wheels, especially as an introductory pair for a newer triathlete. Are there “more aero” wheelsets out there? Yes. Are they more expensive? Generally, yes. The Parcours Chrono won’t steer you wrong, but they also aren’t about to knock any tried-and-true brands off their podiums anytime soon.