This is really a review on the buying process, that I´ve sent a couple of times but it doesn´t turn up in the review section. So I´ll put it here as well. I intend to be back with feedback on the wheels themselves later, after I´ve used them for som time.
I bought the wheelset – Epic 50-60 clincher – a few weeks before Christmas, when Tokyowheel had a sale. I chose the Lighter Ceramic Upgrade, but the prize still landed at just below 1100 USD. By comparison, below is what you need to pay for high-end clincher wheelsets in store here in Stockholm as of January 2016:
• Bontrager Aeolus 5 D3 – 2.583 USD.
• Enve Smart 4,5 – 3.065 USD.
• Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 C50 – 1.726 USD (carbon/alu).
• Zipp 404 – 2.349 (sale!).
The Swedish authorities are a bit stiff; very much by the book and flexibility is seldom an option. It turned out impossible to clear the wheel through customs without paying extra fees, as I was buying from outside the EU. The extra cost was 320 USD, and as promised Tokyowheel immediately refunded that 110%! I must admit that I was thankful and amazed at the same time! Make note that even WITH the extra fees, the total sum is LESS than that for the cheapest wheelset in the list above!
It´s winter with snow and ice and frost in Stockholm and I probably won´t be able to take the wheels for a spin until late March or early April. I intend to use 25 mm tyres. The bike is a Cannondale SuperSix Evo with SRAM Red 22.
The wheels look fabulous, by the way, and nothing was missing (the box had been opened by customs).
Nice to hear that even with the customs fees that you were able to get the wheels at a reasonable price and received a refund from Tokyowheel.
Keep us posted on your wheels; I’m especially interested to get your feelings on the ceramic bearing upgrade and the durability of those bearings.
It´s been a couple of months now, since I put the wheels in use. I´ve ridden them approximately 1000 km and I am indeed very satisfied with their character and how they work. They´re definitely stiffer than the (very nice) mid-range Fulcrum aluminium wheels that came with the bike – to be honest, I was a little surprised at how obvious this difference was. They feel crisp and light, even at the minimal climbs that can be found in the Stockholm area! And they do look great, which is not to be underestimated.
I do feel a difference when it comes to side winds, compared with low-profile. It doesn´t disturb me, but it took some getting use to. The braking is excellent. In dry weather I feel no difference compared with aluminium. In rain there is a small difference, not surprisingly, but it´s still very good. Thus far approximately 300 km in pouring rain.
I have had no problems with the wheels themselves. None at all. But, I did have to change from 25 mm to 23 mm in the back, because there is not enough space for a (wide) 25 mm tyre where the chain stays meet the bottom bracket shell. Not on my Cannondale – it´s to narrow. It needs to allow some skewing. Tyre brands are different when it comes to “belly”-size and Continental GP4000 is rather a big tyre.
hey @Helgi, great review. Thanks for the feedback. I’m very happy to hear that your riding is going so well! Send some photos when you can!
Maker bra, Helgi…
Are they still holding up well? Do they handle the cobbles of Gamla Stan and the hills near the Vasamuseet / Skansen? Inquiring minds want to know.
Cobbles? @k200mtbman must had ridden those cobbles. I’m very curious how the wheels have held up on cobbles. Let us know how the wheels handle the cobbles @helgi
Yes, the wheels are still fine. I rode them approximately 3500 km last year, in various conditions. Actually, I didn’t use any other wheels on my Cannondale the whole year.
I´ve had no problems at all with their construction and I´ve been lucky enough to escape any accidents, which means they haven´t suffered any damage. The free hub looks a little wore, as it is made in aluminium and the cassette makes marks in it. I´ve had to tighten the rear hub / bearings once. The brake surface looks and feels almost as new.
Apart from that, I´ve made sure that they are clean!
I´ve only ridden short distances on cobble-stone. It is not particularly common in Sweden, thank god! The streets of Gamla Stan (=old city) are filled with tourists that travel at at maximum of 4-5 km/hour! There are a few short stretches of cobble-stone roads on the route around the lake Vättern (=Vätternrundan), and the wheels felt fine on those stretches. In my opinion, thats more a question of which tyres you choose. On cobble-stone, I mean. I´ve mostly ridden on asphalt roads.
Since my last input here, I’ve ridden the wheels additionally 1550 km, which gives a total of just over 5000 km. There have been no accidents, no falls or anything. And I’ve used them entirely in Sweden, except for a 180 km ride in Berlin (the amazing Berlin Velothon) in June. This means that I have not used them in any mountain areas with steep descents. By the way - they still look new!
Unfortunately, the front wheel is heading for the bin! The breaking surface has suddenly become warped (=bulging) in one section. Most of the breaking happens on the front wheel; this generates heat that has to be dissipated. Sadly, the resin has gotten soft as a result of this and the rim is destroyed. I understand that this is something that can happen with all brands, but it is still annoying to say the least.
Here is more this subject (interesting on carbon wheels in general):
The back wheel is in good order still. I will have to have it trued; it is a little skewed, but that is easy to live with.
Sorry to hear you’re having issues with a rim. As it’s been almost 2 years since your purchase, obviously you’re outside your warranty period now, but if you send me some high quality pics of your issue ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) I will take a look and see if there isn’t something we can do for you. Cheers!
Thanks for your reply. I might try to take a photo; that’s not a bad idea. It is possible to see, even if the bulging is subtle. The tire did not come off in my case. Breaking suddenly became strange with the front wheel kind of “locking” once every rotation. That’s the first thing I noticed and at first I wasn´t sure what had happened. I quickly realized, though.
I know the warranty is history. I just wanted to give you guys (at TW as well as my fellow customers) feedback and share my experience. This is the downside with carbon wheels. On the other hand, you might say that it´s less of a disappointment throwing a cheaper rim in the bin than it is an expensive one!