Well with some trepidation I installed the wheels and Carbon specific brake blocks to my BMC SL01. I say with trepidation as my chosen day was far from dry with damp roads and some light drizzle falling! Not ideal conditions for Carbon rims nor my first experience of them.
The ride started with the usual pot holed slalom out to the Surrey Hills with the mulch strewn lanes looking slippery & treacherous . However from the first pedal stroke I knew these wheels were something special. Pick up was immediate from the rear free hub, and whilst not silent its not noisy either, the reduction in weight of some 400 grammes from my usual wheel set is immediately felt in the steering and any slight incline. My first few rises I encountered I tried out of the saddle efforts to test the stiffness of the rear wheel, with fresh brake blocks and running quite close to the rims any flex would be immediately apparent, but not so my 82 kg could not induce any notable rub and the gentle declines I felt the small but apparent aero effect of the 38 mm rims come into play. there was little or no wind so I couldn’t tell how affected by crosswinds these wheels will be, but at 38 mm I would expect it to be minimal. The wheels are most definitely forgiving when it comes to the rough roads of Surrey, on long flat stretches I could wind them up to speed and found the ride incredibly comfortable. As I approached the North Downs I was about to test them on some more serious climbs and descents. warmed up and confident in the transformed ride of my bike I started my first ascent and was suitably impressed to be in one cog smaller than normal on my favorite first real climb. the descent is marked as 20% so how would this go, well I can say the new Brake Surface doesn’t didn’t throw up any issues with brake performance it was smooth and progressive. However there was the start of some squealing from the pads towards the bottom of the descent. (I had opted for the standard Blue Far sports brake pads.) On to the next climb familiar with many a Surrey rider Box Hill! The climb was as I had hoped with these new wheels faster and less effort I was really I had taken the decision to buy these wheels. the descent on the far side is far longer than my previous one so how would the brake pads fair here! Well the squealing became apparent with any prolonged hard braking, not the worst i’ve heard whilst out riding but certainly enough to annoy me in the long term. Turning for home and keeping to the rutted lanes and away from traffic I was able to try and spot any weaknesses from this wheel set picking out uneven surfaces, some light pot holes, practicing some sprints away from junctions all were met with a big grin. On returning home I checked the trueness of the wheels and they were as true as the moment I received them.
I ordered up some BBB carbon specific brake blocks the next day and swapped over from the ones supplied, the next outing with a change of brake blocks will be posted soon!