Alright, so got my wheels back from the builder finally due to the Alchemy ELF hubs not being available for over a month.
HongFu 40mm Wide/Aero Clincher
F: 20 hole, 473g
R: 24 hole, 468g
Front Hub: Alchemy ELF: 66.45g
Sapim CXRay: 87.2g
Alloy Nipple: 6.2g
Rear Hub: Alchemy ORC UL 192g
Sapim CXRays: 105g
Alloy Nipple: 7.5g
Setup: Mounted some new Conti GP4000S with Conti Race tubes. Went on real easy with not much fuss at all near the end, just used 1 tire lever and popped the tire over.
Red 5mm Velo Plugs installed prior to mounting tires.
95psi Front, 105psi Rear pressure.
Wheels were built very well. During pumping them up and first ride, no popping, creaking or wacky noises I've experiences on some new built carbon wheels. Hubs are smooth, free hub is fairly quiet compared to my Zipp 303 FC tubies.
One thing to note, the Alchemy UL 11sp hub came with a 2mm spacer. I run Shimano 10sp Ultegra 6700 and DuraAce rear cassettes on my wheels. The instructions said to put the 2mm spacer on if running 10spd. But, after tightening, I could tell something wasn't going right. The cassette cogs still had play in them and were rattling. So took it back off, added another 1mm spacer, for 3mm total.
Then put the cassette on again and tighten it up to 40nm. All was fine after that. So not sure, going to email the builder about that one. Seems like it needs 3mm spacers, the 1mm that comes with the cassette, and the 2mm that the hub comes with. That is what I normally run anyway, 2mm on my Zipps, 1mm on my other 50mm deep V carbon wheels.
Curious if anybody else has other experiences with that. Seems to me that 3-4mm is needed for adaption to the 11sp hub when running 10spd cassettes/setups. Right side chain clearance was fine no chance of rubbing the frame/drop either, or spokes when on the biggest cog. Just had to adjust the rear derailleur just a touch. Shifting great, very quiet. Impressed with the build and overall quality and setup.
General impressions, they ride very similar to my Zipp 303 FC Tubulars. The Zipps are running Vittoria Corsa CX 320tpi tires. I would say the Vittoria's provide a slightly smoother ride due to the tubular tire design. Otherwise, they behave nearly identically.
My Zipps since day one make a creaking sound when pedaling, due to the spoke tension and radial DS setup I would assume. Me thinks the NDS spokes are rubbing one another on the cross setup on that side which makes the noise?!?! Don't know, but makes you wonder about how solid the Zipps are with DS Radial setup and Cross on the NDS. Not inspiring compared to these new wheels which were built dead straight, no high spots/no wobbles, just right on. There is no pulsing on the brakes. I run Swisstop Prince pads.
Ride over bumps, nice and no jolts, like the Zipp FC. The wide/toroidal shape definitely takes the sting out of bumps due to the shape/flex under load when hitting them. I ride a Scott Foil, the wheels make all the difference to make the bike tolerable. One of the stiffest frames and brutal rides with regular DeepV 50mm carbon wheels.
Cornering, no problems, felt great the entire tirm. 22-25mph corners taken, chilli tires are the bomb. Never any brake pad rubbing under hard acceleration I could sense, wheels were solid and I have confidence they can withstand pretty much anything the Zipps will.
Wind was about 5-8mph with gusts. Felt the typical nudging of the wind with the wide/aero design, just like the Zipps. It is one of the first things you notice when riding a toroidal shaped wheel. The science definitely translates to a more stable xwind wheel. 50mm DeepV carbon wheels will jerks the handlebars around when xwinds gust up.
Did about 5-800w 30 seconds intervals approximately as a test to the wheels. Wheels handled that completely fine and felt great. Nothing surprising...again, felt like I was on my Zipp 303 FC tubulars I just swapped.
The Alchemy hubs came pre-loaded from the builder and set just right. Wheels felt solid and stiff enough for me. I weight 170lbs right now and 5'10". I consider myself a sprinter, definitely suck at climbing.
Time will tell on the durability, but these are some of the best build quality carbon Chinese/Taiwanese rims I've seen. Overall QC/Finish pretty close to the Zipps. Of course, not as good as Zipp, those are some very finely finished carbon wheels overall. But for the money, hard to deny these are some quality wheels with the build components, and great builder skill applied.
Crappy cell photos: