Friday, May 9, 2008
***UPDATED MONDAY 26th!*** Edge 1.68 Carbon Fiber Rims/White Industries H2 Hubs/ Sapim CX Ray Spokes
Up next for review are a gorgeous set of Edge 1.68 Rims laced to a pair of White Industries Hubs with Sapim CX Ray Spokes. Can you say "WOAH!"
Can't wait to test these out after my trip out west!
OK. I'm back from the Mt Hood Cycling Classic and ready to review some awesome new products. This review will be part of a trilogy within a trilogy. The wheels themselves are comprised of the Edge 1.68 Tubular Rims/White Industries H2 Hubs/Sapim CX Ray Spokes. Incorporated with the review will be some Tufo Tubular Tape and a set of Zipp Tangente Tubular Tires.
First Impressions: Looks. These things just look so badass. The indulgently high profile rims set the perfect tone for the precision and aero Sapim CX Ray Spokes and the rich black anondized White Industries H2 Hubs. The 2x lacing pattern on the front wheel (20 spokes) and 2x non-drive/1x drive rear wheel (24 spoke), was a big plus in my book. The tone set by this conservative lacing pattern draws up images of Lightweight Standards which utilize a similar look with a 1x pattern both front and rear. The man who crafted this set of handbuilts is Eric Gottesman of "Ergott Wheels". Eric tells me this about the rear lacing pattern: "It increases the bracing angle on the drive side. This makes the wheel more laterally stiff and helps to balance the tension of the spokes on both sides of the wheels as well." There you have it folks!
Thought I am not a weight weenie with a digital scale, I can tell you these things are light. Very, very light. But what is light without quality of construction, ride and at apx $2500 a set... longevity? I plan on testing the later of the two in the coming months but for now let's begin with construction.
Construction/Rims: Edge Composites uses a proprietary (but Lew Racing doesn't think so!) molding process in all their rims. The spoke holes are actually molded into the rim as opposed to other carbon fiber rims where the spoke holes are drilled out. The molded holes are proven to provide a stronger more precise spoke/nipple to rim interface resulting in the ability to tension the wheel very high and simultaneously reducing spoke fatigue. This results in a stronger, stiffer build that in theory will last the long haul. Also of note is Edge's elevated braking surface for a more positive pad-to-rim contact area as well as an highly impact-resistant sidewall area aimed at greatly reducing the chance of a "ding" or "crack" should you go down when riding in the bunch. You can actually feel the stiffness of the sidewall when you try to squeeze the side of the rim together. Very little flex. I can't say the same of some other carbon rims currently on the market (don't worry I don't sell them! hint, hint).
Oh yeah, these super-aero and ultra stong (ill be the judge of that though!) weight only 350g each! So not only will they roll super fast on the flats, they will not bog down on the intro section to climbs and will spin up fast when accelerating on both the flats and uphill. Rotational weight is key in cycling... once you have a good position on the bike and all your components are adjusted properly it's all about the wheels.
Construction/Hubs: In my humble (ya right!) opinion the White Industries H2 hubs are the most underrated in the biz. The front weighs in at 97 grams and the rear is a very respectable 252 grams. The front hub employs a whispy yet solid 12mm aluminum axle embedded in a 6061-T6 aluminum shell rolling on two 6901-2rs bearings = way smooth and durable. You will notice a little lip on the axle part outside the front hub flange. This "lip" is merely a surface for the bearing remover tool to "dig" into... not a defect... simply a service feature.
The H2 rear is tres hip because it has a Ti Freehub body and 3 pawl 24 point engagement driver... this translates to no slag in power transmission, very important quality in a rear hub. Another neat feature from White Industries is the high/low hub flange design which gives the wheel a more balanced spoke tension resulting in a wheel that is very hard to knock out of true. The appearance of both hubs is slightly bulbous, but not offensive. The meaty, grated end caps on the axle's instill a solid and positive wheel to frame interface when these things are clamped to your bike... another nice feature from White Industries.
The White Industries H2's are the hubs that Lee Vicaro over at Lew Racing builds his Lew Pro VT-1 wheels around. Those are $5000, 900 gram wheelsets fyi! Goes to show just how highly regarded the H2's are by those "in the know".
* Fun fact with this rear hub is that Eric installed 4 Phil Wood bearings in the rear wheel. Nice Eric! For those of you who have not heard of Eric Gottesman he is one of the most accomplished wheel builders in the States and I trust him with the Custom Wheel builds for you guys and myself.
Spoke Construction: The Sapim CX Ray Spokes are arguably the nicest and definitely the most expensive steel spoke out there. They have a nice aero profile which buts to round and the tip and base. A neat feature about the Sapim's is that the aero blade part is not so deep that you have to drill "slot holes" on your hubs, these will slide nicely into any standard size flange hole. These things are lighter than titanium and claimed (lab tested and proven) to be one of the strongest production spokes on the market. In summary these things cost you dearly at $3 each but you will never have to worry about them not being strong enough (how bad does it suck when you break a spoke on a carbon fiber wheel!? SUCKS!) nor will you ever wonder, "Could I have gotten a nicer spoke for my special wheelset?" No doubts. No compromises. Peace of mind. Awesome.