Stayer has produced a lightweight wheelset that balances stiffness and durability in what is a truly all-round option. The optional Hope RS4 hubs are a great addition, with quick pick-up, lots of colour choices and solid support network. That said, how does the British brand fair among the best gravel wheels on the market?
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Stayer Gravel Adventure wheelset - Technical details
The Stayer Gravel Adventure wheelset sits at the top of the brand's available range of carbon and aluminium wheelsets. This Adventure model is available in both 650b/27.5-inch (pictured here) and more common 700c size. The carbon rim is 35mm deep and has a 24mm internal rim width, with 24 spokes on the front wheel and 28 on the rear. The Hope RS4 hubs are an optional extra that adds both an aesthetic and aftersales support benefit to the package.
The wheelset weighs 1,465g (650g/815g, front/rear), with taped rims and tubeless valves fitted, which places them among the lighter wheels that we have tested. They are 50g lighter than the 700c version. The wheels have a rider weight limit of 115kg, which is higher than many others and proves its hardy and durable nature. The decals are minimalist yet unique and certainly stand out among the current design trends.
Fitting tyres was a simple process when using a set of Halo GXC tyres. They rolled on easily and inflated with just a track pump. The Adventure carbon rims have an internal width of 24mm - that is still pretty wide but we have seen a shift to even wider options, particularly the 27mm Zipp 101 XPLR wheels. While the 24mm internal width might impact the shape and performance for 650b riders who want to fit wider 50mm tyres, the Halo tyres we used were spot on with the claimed 45mm once fitted.
Stayer Gravel Adventure wheelset - Performance
The wheels were perfectly straight and the spoke tension felt good and balanced across the full wheel. As standard, the wheelset will ship with 24 holes for the front wheel and 28 holes for the rear but, as all the wheels are built by Stayer at its London HQ, there is the option to customise with 24/24 or 28/28 depending on weight and intended use. Other custom elements include using different spokes, or brass spoke nipples instead of aluminium. Stayer backs up the quality of the build with a lifetime warranty not to mention a further two-year warranty on wheel components, including the hubs and rims.
Despite the low weight, they exceeded expectations - even on more technical riding they felt stable and didn't bounce off line or move laterally. The wheels can't match the same compliance levels of the Zipp 101 XPLR but comfort is certainly acceptable, especially when using wider tyres and suitable pressures.
The Hope RS4 hubs utilise a 44-point, 8-degree two-pawl ratchet system, which is a very low-pawl setup. That said, there were no issues or slip and pick-up should be quick enough for all riders. I find the best way of testing the speed of hub pick-up is on technical or tricky climbs, where regular on/off power is needed to get up smoothly. I found them to be adequate with no issues or noticeable lag. The bearings are smooth and the overall feel of the hubs is great. The Hope RS4 option does add £55 over the standard build with DT Swiss 350 hubs, which are also known for excellent reliability and also offers the choice of six anodised colours.
Stayer Gravel Adventure wheelset - Verdict
Throughout testing, the wheels delivered a performance that was hard to fault. The way they balance stiffness and weight is on par with, if not better, than many premium offerings. The £1,265 price point puts them just above the sub £1,000 VEL 30 GRL and £870 Scribe Wide++ wheels we have tested. You will save a considerable amount over the super-stiff Zipp 101 XPLR wheels but the Stayer Gravel Adventure wheelset trumps them on almost every other level. At £1,500, the FFWD Drift wheelset is its closest competitor, with the DT Swiss 240 EXP hub option and similar rim specs.
The Stayer Gravel Adventure is not the cheapest gravel wheelset available but it does deliver performance to back up the asking price. The superb mix of an incredibly lightweight package, with the stiffness and expected reliability of the optional Hope RS4 hubs, makes them ideal for anyone looking for a premium all-round wheel. The hand-built element also sets them apart from some other options, with the ability to customise certain areas of the wheel.
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