Product Review: H Plus Son SL42 Road Rim

The SL42 Road Rim from H Plus Son is a work of perfection in terms of performance output, durability and braking excellence. Like the Formation Face rim that H Plus Son also make, the SL42 owes its stiffness and aerodynamics to the fine-tuned 42mm profile height.

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G609 Aluminium Alloy Construction

The two models share the same lightness without any reduction in strength or stiffness thanks to the G609 aluminium alloy that was selected for its construction. The G609 alloy is 30% stronger than the 6061-aluminium alloy used in standard rim manufacture, meaning this rim is stronger and lighter than most others on the market of the same weight. The SL42 also features a precisely machined side wall for use with rim brakes.


  • Material: G609 Alloy
  • Height: 42mm
  • Joint: Welded
  • ERD: 557mm
  • Braking Surface: Rim brakes, Machined
  • Weight: 615g

H Plus Son Sl42 Review:

These rims are available from Halfords and Wiggle,

The best rims I ever used were from The Old Spokes Home around 2001-2005. Clincher wheels were a few hundred quid. Wheels lasted for years and were almost as good as Mavic and Fulcrum in terms of performance. Now they actually make the Spokes-Home superlight tubular wheels for racing too. They are priced at £1500-£2000. Try making your own Campag lightening wheels for that…..

Sheffield Wheel Builders have a good reputation among cyclists in Sheffield, for making superb Campagnolo wheelsets. Neil uses Campag record for it’s superior strength, and if you’re going to spend a grand on a wheel set, it has to be the best.

Formula2b Wheels are very light and robust. The owner has recently changed to Mavic. He is a very good wheel builder. His plain silver rims are constructed from Mavic open pro hand built wheels.

Pro Wheel Builders do some very competitively priced wheel builds. Apparently they are all hand built to order.

IF you want to use V brakes then you can get 32 hole rims from here:

Stronglight 32 hole V Brake Rims used to be imported to the UK by Velosmith, but they closed down a couple of years ago. I’m sorry I no longer have a link to their web site. They seem to be unavailable elsewhere in Europe either.

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H Plus Son Sl42 Review:

Rim brake riders have always found the H Plus Son 42mm rims to be excellent all around performers. They are very light and they have a high spoke count which equates to better rim stability at high speeds. Braking is excellent; the rims are more than wide enough for good expansion at the spoke bed. The rear rim is also wide enough to allow ample spacing between the brake track and the tyre.

H Plus Son Sl42 Review:

I was very surprised at how tough and durable the SL42 is. I thought it would be flimsy and prone to denting, cracking or breaking because it is so thin. It stiffens the rear end of my bike by a considerable amount and I have yet to have any problems with it. The wheelset looks as good as new even after a year and a half of abuse. The spokes are in perfect condition and the ride quality is unchanged despite numerous roadside repairs and pothole encounters.

Although it doesn’t look as pretty as a light rim, the SL42 has real substance and this gives it a futuristic, space-age appeal. It is the ultimate in lightweight wheels. All the good qualities of the SL42 can be expected to continue in the SL42 Plus version.

Of course, the fact that this rim is so narrow and light means that it’s not an ideal rim for loaded touring. The lack of sidewall means that there’s not much traction from the tyres, and the wheels are quite sensitive to even minor tyre pressure changes.

If you want a strong, stiff, lighter-than-they-look wheelset you wouldn’t go far wrong with an SL42. Just one word of caution though; try not puncture them!

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H Plus Son SL42 Review:

The H Plus Son SL42 is a much heralded rim, for a good reason. It seats the tires and rims extremely well due to its design. Its narrowing between the two sides prevents any slip from the inside tire bead, and its V-shape creates a very tight seal. I’ve used Brake-Rite tires since I started riding tubulars, and they have always seated exceedingly well. The 24mm variety are superb, with great grip, and they come in many colors without the need for paint and clearcoats. These tires can be hard to get, but there are plenty of other options out there.

H Plus Son SL42 Review:

The most intriguing thing about SL42 rims is that they are not glued. With a little care, they can be re-drilled for different tire sizes. I have re-drilled mine several times to take tires from 23mm to 25mm to 28mm, usually with a 14 or 15g spoke increase. Most of my wheel builds have been for Vuelta Pluses and like Campy’s approach on its later, more modern, racing rims, H Plus Son gives a spoke count for common builds. I’ve used three patterns so far and they are virtually identical in weight. Vuelta Pluses were always a little heavy but, for all their heft, they are a great all-rounder once you add tubulars and clip-on bars.

I’ve talked about the tubulars in a previous review, so I won’t go into depth here except to say that Vueltas seem to be the best value for money.

Most of the wheel builds over the years have been for myself, but I’ve had a few red label builds for friends as well. Once the rim is drilled, the build is certainly simple enough for the average Joe to take a stab at. Upgrading an existing wheelset is a great way to go tubular, and a good wheel builder will only charge a few quid more than if you bought the whole wheelset together with the wheels built. The advantage of buying wheels is that you’re starting with a stiff, well-built set of hubs, something that is usually lacking in a bike shop-bought wheelset. The downside is that they can be expensive and might not have the desired rim depth.

A well set-up tubular wheelset is a beautiful thing. The feel of the bottom bracket, stiffness of the rear-end, and the comfort in knowing the wheels can handle being hammered and dented is worth every extra penny. Just make sure that your rim choice is correct for your anticipated riding, and you will be rewarded.

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Written by Jahanzaib

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