If you shopping for new gravel wheels, the market is awash with premium carbon wheelset options, but if your budget doesn’t stretch to three figures your options become more limited. The result is that most brands opt for alloy rims on their budget gravel bike wheels. There are plenty of great alloy gravel wheels but the disparity of material certainly divides the market.
Enter Prime’s new Orra V2, a budget gravel adventure wheelset and, as far as I'm aware, one of the cheapest carbon gravel wheelsets around. On paper, the Orra V2s numbers are on the money, particularly the price, but how do they compare to the best gravel bike wheels?
Design and build
Designed and developed in-house by Prime, the Orra V2 wheels are built from T800 UD Carbon and come in two options, 700c or 650b. I have the 700c option on test which features a hookless asymmetric carbon rim measuring 25mm internal (30.8mm external). The 700c rims have a rim depth of 35mm while the 650b option is a little shallower at 30mm.
The wheels use built using 24 standard j-bend Pillar spokes front and rear to Prime’s SR2D hubs. These spin on Japanese steel sealed bearings and use a star ratchet system with 36t which gives 10 degrees of engagement and a quiet freewheeling experience. The engagement can be increased by fitting a 54t star ratchet although it's an expensive upgrade at $92.99 / £79.99.
The wheels only come with HG freehubs, although Prime will sell you an XDR driver for an additional $29.99 / £24.99. There are also 9/10/11/13 Speed Campagnolo freehubs available too, although these will set you back $59.99 / £49.99.
Prime includes some spares along with the wheels to help you get set up on your new wheels, there are tubeless valves, QR endcaps, and 15mm front axle adapters included as well as four spare spokes and nipples too. You will need to source your own centerlock lock rings though.
My test wheelset actually comes in under the stated weight given by Prime, weighing in at a very respectable 1,569g (including valves and tape), which is on par with plenty higher priced gravel wheels. More importantly, the sub 1,600g weight is light enough to offer a really noticeable gravel bike upgrade over the basic alloy wheels that are often fitted to the best budget gravel bikes.
I found the Orra V2’s have a lovely energetic feel that can really enhance a bike's ride quality. The wheels feel precise in corners and I haven’t experienced any twisting or twangs while riding. This tautness doesn't seem to affect the smooth nature either as Prime has managed the tune a decent amount of compliance into the wheelset. This balance also makes them feel calm when turning hard so you can confidently place them without worrying that you will be shaken off line and spat into the bushes.
While the engagement doesn’t have the instantaneous hook-up that more expensive wheelsets have, once engaged the Orra V2’s leaps forward enthusiastically and will quickly dig in on climbs or get back up to speed out of corners. The 30mm rims don’t have any aero claims yet still do well to keep turning over at a good pace whilst not becoming a handful in the wind.
Although the winter mud has kept me away from the rowdiest ‘gravel’ sections, I have still subjected the wheels to some rough sections of trail. The wheels are still running straight and true, plus the finish is holding up well too. In fact, the wheels have been a very fuss-free fit-and-forget experience.
Set up was very easy too as the included valves fitted snuggly and the factory-installed rim tape was neatly finished. Tubeless setup was easy with the tires popping very aggressively into place to form an instant seal.
The Prime Orra V2 is a really bright wheelset that offers plenty of forward enthusiasm whilst not being so tight they shake you to bits. All the numbers tick the boxes for running bigger tires and the selection of included endcaps and availability of alternative freehubs means they are compatible with almost any gravel bike.
If you want a budget set of wheels to boost your current bike's performance or looking for a budget wheelset for a custom gravel bike build, then the Prime Orra V2 is a satisfyingly quick and energetic wheelset that far outshines its modest investment.
Tech specs: Prime Orra V2 Carbon gravel wheelset
- Price: $639.99 / £599.99
- Sizes: 700c / 650b
- Inner rim diameter: 24mm
- Options Axles: Front - QR, 12mm, or 15mm, Rear - QR, 12x142
- Freehubs: SRAM/Shimano HG
- Rider Weight Limit: 110kg
- Weight: 716g front, 853g rear = 1569g a set including tubeless valves