Mavic and Zipp are usually the first names to spring from people’s lips when they’re talking about aero wheels. But while that pair may have the highest profile, they are far from the only stalls in the deep-section marketplace.
FSA isn’t exactly a newcomer to that market but is hoping its K-Force wheels will help it grab a slice of the lucrative action. And all the stops have been pulled out in an attempt to do just that.
What you get for parting with the very best part of 1,700 quid is a pair of 50mm-deep, full-carbon rims laced with lightweight, bladed spokes (20 up front and 24 at the back) to hubs containing ceramic bearings. They’re designed for tubular tyres, so as well as the rims being pricier than you might be used to, the rubber you wrap round them will be too. And that’s before you’ve paid for the glue or tape to stick that rubber to them.
In action, they live up to the hype – either it’s the placebo effect of riding nearly two-grand’s worth of wheels or there really is a noticeable benefit to ceramic bearings. They spin up to speed quickly and easily but without that sensation of added-yet-somehow-weightless bulk you get with other deep-section wheels. And, despite the straight sides of the deep section, they are surprisingly comfortable over cracked and pot-holed British roads. But, if they do get dinged, the nipples are externally mounted so truing them back up is easier than with rims that hide the nipples away internally.
Braking performance is as good as you expect for carbon rims, even with carbon-specific pads. It’s positive when you’re just bimbling around slowly but, once you start motoring, there’s a certain amount of seemingly ineffectual stroking before any speed actually gets scrubbed off.
They’re expensive, and for what FSA’s asking you expect an exceptionally good set of wheels. Luckily, that’s exactly what you get. But for that amount of cash, it’s more of a relief than a surprise.
Contact : Windwave 02392 521912 www.windwave.com