Best Rim Brake Carbon Fiber Rims or Wheelset
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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Best Rim Brake Carbon Fiber Rims or Wheelset

    I am interested in building up or buying a rim brake CF wheelset. My primary concerns or order of importance is:

    1. Rim brake track performance and efficacy
    2. Manufacturer warranty
    3. Rim or wheelset stiffness to weight
    4. Ideal size would be 35-45mm

    I fully recognize that aluminum rim brake wheels are superior in wet braking conditions, however I am fair weather road bike rider and focused on building or buying the most efficient wheelset possible.

    Any and all opinions or actual positive and negative experiences is tremendously appreciated.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Take this with a grain of salt because carbon clinchers ain't my thing. (I assume you mean clinchers not tubular.)

    But someone lent me some Corima wheels to use for a while and the braking was fantastic. Actually better than the alloy rims I generally use. Dry experience only, never rode them in the rain.
    No clue about stiffness to weight but they are highly regarded rims so I assume it's okay.
    No clue about warranty either. I can say though that although Corima is not a well known company in the US they are not some fly by night company or one of those that just puts their decals on rims anyone could buy out of Asia.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    i'm a fair weather rider here in Socal. My terrains here are rolling, with plenty of mountains (Baldy, GMR, Wilson, Calabasas, Big Bear, Crystal Lake, etc).
    I've had like... oh.. close to 10 highend carbon wheelsets over the last 7 years or so, and currently own like 4 of them. I'm a lightweight 123 lbs. So here's my opinions to your questions:

    1. The newer gen of carbon rims have great brake performance in the dry, even those Chinese carbon with the "Basalt" surface is good. If you don't do a lot of "dead stop" braking going down a 10% to a stop sign, you will be ok. However, on some steep descents with a consistent 8-10% gradient, you will need to know to to brake, in addition to having descending skills well enough that you're not dragging your brake the entire way down the mountains! I know all of the mountain descents, and/or skilled enough that I don't drag my brakes to the point that heating become an issue. But I've seen lesser folks on older gen carbon hoops warps their hoops doing down Baldy (consistant -10% for 4 miles with lots of hairpins). But anything less than 10% gradient, eg, 5-7% gradient, no problem with heat. But then again, I've also seen cars (with disc brakes) going down Baldy and overheating their brakes too.

    2. warranty. Some company like Reynolds will give a lifetime warranty. Others vary. You'll need to research on this

    3. Carbon wheels, especially the deeper ones, are just stiff, period. I have a set of Reynolds Aero 65 and they're stiff as hell. Great for sprinting and crit, but a little bit too much for a mellow century ride.

    4. Reynolds Aero series (their top series) have rims in 45mm and 65mm. Rim profile makes a great deal of difference. In the beginning, there was the V-shape. Then Zipp popularized the U-shape. But now, the trend is the "NACA" shape (tear drop) where it's fat at the leading edge but taper off into a sharp edge at the trailing (henc, tear drop). Reynolds and Mavic are making Naca profile. The latest Bontrager XXX (their top end) is also mimicking this (but because Bontrager uses external nipples, they can't fully make a true NACA shape like Reynolds with their usage of internal nipples).

    I still have aluminum wheelsets, and one thing is for sure, all my aluminum sets ride softer and more compliant than all my carbon deep sets, which is nice to have.

    IMO, the best carbon rim brake wheelset on the market both in terms of out right performance and price is the Reynolds Aero series. Forget Zipp and Enve.

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