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  1. #1
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    TOP NINE: Carbon Clinchers.

    Sunday, March 28, 2010
    TOP NINE: Carbon Clinchers

    Leading into this road season, I gave quite a bit of thought towards moving over to a set of carbon clinchers. Unfortunately, I managed to drag my feet for too long, but it did give me a good chance to do a lot of research on different models. Today's top nine runs through what could have been for me, and what could be for you. Here they are, full carbon clinchers.

    9. Soul C4.0: As of now, there is currently no US distributor for Soul wheels, so you have to purchase them direct from Singapore, which means there's a possibility that you will get dinged by customs with some extra fees. Aside from that, these seem solid with a 40mm rim weighing in at 1390 grams. They also have an aggressive lacing pattern, which should keep them plenty stiff with radial up front, and radial non-drive, and 2x drive side in back. The big draw to this wheelset is the price. At $1000 shipped, they are pretty hard to beat.

    8. Shimano WH-7850 C50 Cincher: These are on the deeper end up my spectrum sitting at 50mm of rim depth. This, along with an alloy braking surface, contribute to a pretty heft 1700 grams that my tiny legs just can't push. Don't count them out due to weight though, Shimano has made some outstanding wheels in the past, and they will turn smooth, and offer a ton of lateral stiffness for bigger riders that like to turn big gears. They run around $2000 for the set.

    7. Spinergy Stealth FCC: These full carbon clinchers (hence the FCC) have a deep 45mm section, and come in at an even 1500 grams. Spinergy has been making good carbon wheels for quite some time, so they come with a good reputation. The spoke count is low with 16 front, and 20 rear, but they do run the thicker PBO spokes, which reduce the aerodynamic a bit. Despite that, they are a good all around race wheel, and and would be a great fit for a bigger sprint type rider. They retail for $1999.

    6. Gravity Zero Full Carbon Clincher: If you live out in western Oregon, you can't afford not to buy these wheels. The braking surface contains the volcanic rock Basalt that lines most of your landscape! Unfortunately, it's probably not the same basalt your used to seeing, as these wheels are made in Australia, but still neat. Moving away from the braking surface, this wheels might be best suited for road races, or perhaps some light gravel. The 38mm deep section rim has a 24/28 spoke count, which lends itself to a plusher feel that will give you a comfortable ride. They aren't crazy light at 1546 grams, but light enough to keep you from dragging on the climbs.

    5. Fulcrum Racing Light XLR: These are an excellent choice for an all arounder. They use a unique lacing pattern to allow them to get away with a higher spoke count for strength, without a huge sacrifice in stiffness, and they are pretty light for a carbon clincher at 1345 grams. The low profile rim, and carbon hubs are the big contributing factors towards their light weight. The price is a bit on the stiff side at $3900, but you do get some slick ceramic bearings.

    4. Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 Clincher: This popular tubular took on a nice transition to clincher, and didn't even take a huge price hike at $2500 for the set. These 50mm deep section rims weigh in at a pretty impressive 1600 grams, making them a great road race/time trial set. As a bonus, they include wheel bags, titanium skewers, valve extenders, and carbon stop brake pads.

    3. Reynolds DV46 UL: I have been really stoked on these wheels for a lot of reasons. The 46mm rim depth is a pretty good depth for an average sized racer, and the DT Swiss 240 hubs with ceramic bearings will give you plenty of smooth rolling seasons. They have been well tested, and are a scant 1410 grams, which make these plenty light for the climbs, and plenty aero for the descent. An excellent all arounder wheelset that would be perfect for any style of race. They retail for $2800.

    2. Easton EC90 SL Clincher: Ever since Easton parted with the Velomax name, and started using Sapim spokes, I've been a really big fan. Their hubs are super smooth, and they make lightweight wheels that can sustain a lot of abuse from little and big riders alike. The EC90 SL Clincher has a 38mm deep section rim, ceramic bearings, and weighs 1460 grams. The aluminum hub bodies are notorious for getting chewed up, so make sure you get the Shimano 10spd specific hub body with deeper teeth, which will last longer, and turn quieter down the stretch. Very well priced at $1900.

    1. DT Swiss RRC 1250: They don't get much lighter than this, at 1290 grams, these 32mm deep section rims will accelerate fast. Ceramic bearings will keep you cruising through the long haul, and double butted spokes are strong, and aero with a thin mid section. Overall, these are some super attractive wheels, but they do cost a hefty $3300. Still, if I could, these would have been my overall choice based on performance.

    So you might be asking why would I be looking for carbon clinchers, when carbon tubulars are lighter, cheaper, and more readily available? I do love the way clinchers roll, but I also have a hard time moving away from the compliant clincher setup. I like to be able to throw in tougher tubes for harsh races, or latex tubes for crits and smooth road races. I also have a huge affinity towards Michelin tires, and have a hard time moving over. I suppose you could also say there are areas where I'm set in my ways.

    Another question you may ask is why did I omit Zipp and Hed. I didn't leave them out because I'm not a fan, or because I think that the wheels listed are superior. I think that Zipp and Hed have the aerodynamic market pegged down, making them best suited for time trials, which is where my ultimate hatred lies.


    That's What She Said About Your Bike: TOP NINE: Carbon Clinchers

  2. #2
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    contribute to a pretty heft 1700 grams that my tiny legs just can't push.
    Fairly ridiculously comment... also recommending 16/20 spoke wheels specifically for bigger, sprinter types?

    The whole "review" sounds like marketing hype and honestly, trash. The only way to sell people $2000+ wheels is to market the living hell out of them.

  3. #3
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    meh, not my top nine, especially #2 that is a crap set of wheels

  4. #4
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    I suppose Enve clinchers failed to meet the ad fee registration date so they must round out a 10th place tie with Zipp and HED.

    Did yuo know that Reynolds rims are used on the DTs?

    Also, using hatred as a term to describe wheels is juvenile.

  5. #5
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    No Zipps or HEDs lol! And Spinergys?!?
    Dr. Cox: Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.

  6. #6
    classiquesklassieker
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    Did he actually test ride those wheels, or did he just look up the specs? Sounds like it's more the latter than the former ... all his comments are generic stuff based on brochure, I don't find anything really specific that requires actual riding experience.

  7. #7
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    Lame.

  8. #8
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    Article is from March of 2010....

  9. #9
    cmg
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    thread drift....eastons

    Quote Originally Posted by Lick Skillet View Post
    meh, not my top nine, especially #2 that is a crap set of wheels
    OK, so lets hear it. What happened to your eastons? i have a pair i like so what should i be worried about? bearing failure, the rear adjuster never staying in place, too much play at the rear hub?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lick Skillet View Post
    meh, not my top nine, especially #2 that is a crap set of wheels
    I would be interested in why you say this as well. I have a set and really like them. Thanks.
    2013 Lynskey R230. Campagnolo Chorus 11 group-set. Campagnolo Neutron Ultra wheel-set. Easton EC90 aero handlebars on 3T team stem. Specialized Romin Expert 155mm saddle. Look Keo Carbon Blade pedals. Garmin Edge 800. Lizard skin tape.

  11. #11
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    Spinergy. WTF?

  12. #12
    mtnroadie
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    I have a set of the Eastons, got them for $1200, I would not buy them again even at that price. At that price go custom and get your $ worth. For me that goes for any set over $600.

    They are ok, but any wheel set over $1000 let alone $1900 should be flawless no questions asked. My $650 custom set is lighter, braking is better (27mm aluminum rim), hubs are way way smoother (WI H3) and much cheaper and faster!

    I have had issues with the bearings, the hubs are junk, they cant get wet at all, I was on top of a mountain when it started to rain, it was a 15 min ride back to my hotel room. I tried to make it back before the rain, however I ended up riding in the rain for only about 10!

    When I got back my rear bearings were toast, Easton sent me new ones, thanks. I give them a thumbs up on the customer service! Others dont.

    The braking on my wet descent was nothing short of amazing for a carbon rim. Just make sure you are using the Swiss Stop flash PRO pads (provided by Easton), not the regular yellow FLASH pads.

    The Sapim spokes are great, and the rims are good as well, though there have been some catastrophic failures (documented on this site). If you like riding your brakes on long descents do not buy a carbon clincher. The only thing missing to make it a truly great wheel set is a great set of hubs, which arguably are the most important part of a wheel. Here the Eastons fail!

    Even with new bearings in the rear I cant get the rear adjuster to function properly. I stop tightening as soon as they stop knocking inside. They seem to spin somewhat smooth, then I hold and spin the wheel in my hands and can feel a huge amount of resistance. I cant feel the knocking when I ride so sometimes I keep them a bit loose. Even my LBS suggested I keep them looser then I want, if I do tighten them “properly” I can feel a drag.

    After riding these for almost two years I am thinking… why go with a 38mm wheel when I can get a deeper wheel for the same price. 38mm rim's aero advantage is there but honestly its just not enough. My next wheel set will be a custom Zipp or Enve set with at least a 50mm rim, white industry hubs or Alchemy if they become cheaper and Sapim CX ray spokes. I will seriously consider going tubular as well.

    There are some sick deals on Zipp 404 clinchers out there now… But if you are willing to spend $2k+ go with a custom set, you will have a awesome set of wheels that will blow all above away!

  13. #13
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    Wow, tough crowd here.

    I thought this was interesting because it listed weight and cost for a few choices which may or may not be on someone's short list. Subjective input is always subject to interpretation and a grain of salt but welcome in a forum such as this.

    Thanks for posting.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnroadie View Post
    I have a set of the Eastons, got them for $1200, I would not buy them again even at that price. At that price go custom and get your $ worth. For me that goes for any set over $600.

    They are ok, but any wheel set over $1000 let alone $1900 should be flawless no questions asked. My $650 custom set is lighter, braking is better (27mm aluminum rim), hubs are way way smoother (WI H3) and much cheaper and faster!

    I have had issues with the bearings, the hubs are junk, they cant get wet at all, I was on top of a mountain when it started to rain, it was a 15 min ride back to my hotel room. I tried to make it back before the rain, however I ended up riding in the rain for only about 10!

    When I got back my rear bearings were toast, Easton sent me new ones, thanks. I give them a thumbs up on the customer service! Others dont.

    The braking on my wet descent was nothing short of amazing for a carbon rim. Just make sure you are using the Swiss Stop flash PRO pads (provided by Easton), not the regular yellow FLASH pads.

    The Sapim spokes are great, and the rims are good as well, though there have been some catastrophic failures (documented on this site). If you like riding your brakes on long descents do not buy a carbon clincher. The only thing missing to make it a truly great wheel set is a great set of hubs, which arguably are the most important part of a wheel. Here the Eastons fail!

    Even with new bearings in the rear I cant get the rear adjuster to function properly. I stop tightening as soon as they stop knocking inside. They seem to spin somewhat smooth, then I hold and spin the wheel in my hands and can feel a huge amount of resistance. I cant feel the knocking when I ride so sometimes I keep them a bit loose. Even my LBS suggested I keep them looser then I want, if I do tighten them “properly” I can feel a drag.

    After riding these for almost two years I am thinking… why go with a 38mm wheel when I can get a deeper wheel for the same price. 38mm rim's aero advantage is there but honestly its just not enough. My next wheel set will be a custom Zipp or Enve set with at least a 50mm rim, white industry hubs or Alchemy if they become cheaper and Sapim CX ray spokes. I will seriously consider going tubular as well.

    There are some sick deals on Zipp 404 clinchers out there now… But if you are willing to spend $2k+ go with a custom set, you will have a awesome set of wheels that will blow all above away!
    Haven't Easton hubs improved over the past two years? I have heard they have but not sure. Zipp hubs used to get trashed on these forums two years ago but now it seems to never be mentioned. Simply an observation.

  15. #15
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    "I think that Zipp and Hed have the aerodynamic market pegged down, making them best suited for time trials, which is where my ultimate hatred lies."

    Good point. Nothing worse than aerodynamic wheels for non time trial road racing.

  16. #16
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    So no Lightweight clinchers too, these are the lightest and may be stiffest out there (priciest too).

  17. #17
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    lol "no actual testing was performed in the creation of this list."

  18. #18
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    I've put about 400 miles on the Easton EC90 SL's and the best part is the comfort. Very comfortable and they soak up the road buzz really well. Nice on the flats and of course descending. Braking is fine I have tested them in this area well. They can get warm under hard or longer braking but not hot. They challenge me a little when I'm climbing and that's the only negative so far. They only weight 150 grams more than my Torelli Ultra lights which are alloy and seem to be a little better when climbing. Overall a great wheel-set but might be to much wheel for this amateur.
    2013 Lynskey R230. Campagnolo Chorus 11 group-set. Campagnolo Neutron Ultra wheel-set. Easton EC90 aero handlebars on 3T team stem. Specialized Romin Expert 155mm saddle. Look Keo Carbon Blade pedals. Garmin Edge 800. Lizard skin tape.

  19. #19
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    you gotta be kidding me no zipp404 FC ?

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