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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:12 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:32 pm
Posts: 7518
Location: Los Angeles / Glendale, California
Hello -

I figured a few things may help others in the future:
-A thread subject that actually makes sense and isn't vague, helping people if they use the search function
-A thread where everyone can contribute to reviews of a product(line).

Since each person has a different take on what is good and what is bad, it would be nice to have others provide input in some reliable fashion where we would know the differences in each reviewer's parameters that determine their review.

I'll start with a my review on the following post... if others wish to follow the same format, awesome. If not, that's fine too and you can do as you please - but do mention your own parameters so others may be better able to have a frame of reference after reading your review. Thanks!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:13 am 
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Location: Los Angeles / Glendale, California
Weight: 1239g (including 44 red VeloPlugs installed)
Rims: N-type from FarSports
Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray
Hubs: ED Hubs, ceramic bearings
Drilling: 20h front, 24h rear
Finish: UD finish

Rider Weight at time of review: ~155lbs (US) or 11 stone (UK) or 70kg (World)
Tires: Continental GP4000s "Black Chili", 23mm
Tubes: Continental Supersonic Race 60mm (Butyl)
Brakes: Planet-X CNC (aka "Feather" aka ... )
Pads: Reynolds Blue (possibly same as the blue pads sent by FarSports with wheels)
Skewers: 43g Ti with carbon... similar to Tune, generic type.
PSI: Typically 110psi front and rear.

Review terms: 2.5 weeks of off season tempo riding: ~720mi/1,160km, 28k/8530m ascent. 90% of the time this is without a GPS because I'm experimenting with a theory (as stated over in Training).

Build Quality
So far I'm fairly impressed with the build. Wheels were true out of the box and remain true despite sometimes roubaix-like road conditions. The brake-track surface has rubbed down a little bit but this does not seem to have noticeably affected braking compared to the first ride. The box is nice and can be easily re-used for shipping other wheels, a nice bonus I suppose. For the cost ($640USD shipped) I think they are worth it.

Hubs:
There are varying reports on the "ED Hubs" - some say that they are horrible and fall apart, others say they are smooth. Some have stated that the bearings aren't smooth and grind, others have stated the opposite. I really don't know and I am interested in the long-term performance of the hubs, so we'll see how things go. So far the hubs have been great. They are very smooth and engagement on the rear hub is fine. I wouldn't mind if the flanges on the front hub were wider from center, but the wheels are stiff enough that I think for my weight they are ok. If the hubs do eventually break down I can just replace them with some other hubs I have in waiting, which is a nice benefit of the rebuild-ability of these wheels. Are there better hubs out there in the world? Obviously, yes. Those hubs also cost per pair the same or more than the wheels cost in total. If I have some money I'll certainly make a call to Jason @ FWB and order the best hubs money can buy me, but I'm patient for that future to happen and in the meantime I'm riding these and very happy.

Braking
These wheels are my first long-term (more than one ride) experience with braking on a carbon surface and took a little bit of getting used to. Having come off of alloy rims (Stan's Alpha340), braking on these rims is certainly different. I am certain other users here would be better able to describe braking on carbon rims or may think differently, but I would best describe the braking as "fade-in and then out". Coming to emergency stops is not easy, and I do recommend braking earlier rather than later if you are traveling at a high velocity. On descents up to 15% I found the wheels to be perfectly fine for a confident descender. If, however you are not a confident descender I do not believe these wheels are for you. Be honest with yourself here! There is a chance you can over-heat the rims into failure if you are grabbing the brakes too often. For comparison purposes for those of you that are local to Southern California: I'm the type of rider that doesn't touch the brakes from RedBox to LaCanada off of Angeles Crest, barely touches the brakes descending Piuma or Stunt, and use the brakes moderately descending Decker. I have not descended some of the steeper and technically difficult roads just yet - and after reading so many internet horror stories like old wives' tales there's a bit of admitted nervousness about the possibility. Then again, none of those previous reports have had any proper parameters for judgement: what if the rider was a nervous descender and held the brakes down the entire time? How difficult was their descent anyway to a different type of rider? Who knows?
On the short list of roads I'd like to take these on to test (and risk) - descending Mt. Olympus, Deer Creek, Tuna, ChairLift Switchbacks @ Baldy. I'll update in this thread whenever I get around to those.

With these I found the best technique - that works for me - to manage speed where brakes would otherwise need to be grabbed hard is to feather the brakes between the front and rear separately in small bursts. That being said, I don't use the brakes that much on descending compared to many people I know and I'm not a larger rider, so managing my momentum is easier than someone perhaps heavier than myself.

Braking in the Wet
HA! It's interesting, let's put it that way. There certainly is some braking when it's wet, but I would't descend like a madman when its raining or the brake surface is wet. I would prefer alloy rims for wet braking.


Aero Qualities & Sidewinds
I chose the 38mm for a few reasons: some aero qualities, perhaps, and they look cool (semi-deep). Are the wheels aero? Perhaps a bit. Compared to the Alpha340 wheelset I've been riding for years, I can feel a noticeable difference in performance going forward. Am I any faster? These wheels certainly feel like it, but there are so many other factors that may determine speed that I can't state an absolute. On descents I pick up speed a bit more and feel as though sustained speed is stronger. On flats whether pulling a train or tucking in I feel that there is a very slight advantage and less energy needed to maintain the speed - this, again, is only felt. I do not have a powermeter for verification.
Sidewinds: It might be that I ride a "potato chip" as a friend says or that I'm a relatively light rider, but I can certainly feel the wheels being pushed by strong sidewinds. How strong? in 18mph/28kmh sidewinds the wheels were lightly pushed. In 35mph/56kmh sidewinds I was riding at a definite lean. Canyon winds were easily dealt with however and did not concern me. Based on that I am very, very happy that I did not get the 50mm. That is purely based on my experience, rider weight, and so on (parameters described above). 50mm may work for others and may be more aero.

Cornering and Ride Quality
I believe these wheels to be stiff. I have not felt nor seen any serious side-to-side deflection in sprinting or out-of-seat punch climbing. The carbon wheels seem to deaden some rough roads which is nice yet they are by no means soft feeling. Since the rims are not "wide rim" tech, cornering is not as fluid as you may find on wider rims such as ZIPP Firecrest, Enve's Smart series of wheels and so on, but they're good enough for me since I've been riding standard wheel-width rims for as long as I can remember. I am confident that FarSports or other similar companies will eventually come out with wide-rim styles. They may not be companies at the cutting edge of tech, but they'll eventually cover ground and I'm okay with that.

Extras
The wheels came with a pair of light-ish skewers. I didn't use them at all since I have many skewer sets in waiting anyway.

Other Statements
There's inevitably an ongoing debate in the bicycle world and industry about these 'open-mold' type companies. Will they put the big brands and mfgs out of business? I don't think so, and I don't think they ever will. I believe these wheels are fantastic for those that do have a limited budget and want quality performance. Are they better than the top-end wheels such as Lightweights, Enve, Xentis or ZIPP? Not at all, but by no means does that diminish their value and quality as they are. If you do have an ample budget and resources to pick up the high-end wheels than by all means do so. Ultimately your performance comes down to the rider (engine) and the rider's skill level, and these wheels won't hold you back. The rest is up to you.

Don't use Latex Tubes on these rims.

Thanks for reading. I preemptively apologize for not being an "expert" at reviews, experienced with the highest-end equipment available, a Pro-level rider, or putting out 12,000 Watts of power as a rider. I just like riding my bike(s) and climbing. A lot. :mrgreen:

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Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:13 am 


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:11 am
Posts: 439
sweet.... that an awesome review. you mentioned descent and braking... and i'm no where near as good as most riders on here. i'm glad i'm on my alum wheels.. cuz even then sometimes i tend to squeeze the brake to hard.

one thing i learned from mt.biking days is never to squeeze the front on a descent... :(

so i'd be worried about descending with these. i'd generally pump the brake, but occassionally, i just squeeze the brake lightly and hold it there till speed starts to slow.. which i'd guess in the long run would be back on these puppies, i suppose.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:20 pm
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Location: New Zealand
Glad you took the time to write that out :D

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:58 am 
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Nice job. I would be interested in an update in 6 months or so.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:28 am 
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Location: USA
+1000 What a great job and impressive.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:53 pm
Posts: 457
great review. how about you throw some pictures up with it though.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:40 pm 
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Posts: 425
That's a good write up, and I like your review format. It reminds me a lot of how Jalopnik is now reviewing cars to keep everything consistent.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:08 pm
Posts: 1365
Top review :thumbup: . After seeing these wheels on your bike prendrefeu I was interested to see how they would ride . I think like any mountain descent if you know it well then you can lay off the brakes. These wheels sound great if your very sure of your skills and the descents you are riding. They are a great price and a great weight :beerchug:

ps... check out prendrefeus bike with the Farsport wheels. Its a beaut .viewtopic.php?f=10&t=108235" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Posts: 1637
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
addictR1 wrote:
s
one thing i learned from mt.biking days is never to squeeze the front on a descent... :(


Even off road the front wheel has much more traction under braking than the rear, so you should do most of your braking with the front brake. If you brake before the turn then losing traction on the front wheel does not guarantee a crash. When I was doing off road motorcycle competition I used to do an exercise where I'd see how far I could ride with the front wheel locked. I could do 20-30 meters without too much trouble and I'm nothing special in the skill department. You also want to have your weight back on the bike when braking hard on a steep descent, so the bike doesn't flip over.


Nice review! I have the 50m version of the rims. I also don't brake much on Stunt/Piuma (one of my favorite SoCal descents). I'd be concerned taking these wheels down Deer Creek. It'd be ok if I has an unobstructed run down the road but of the times I've done it I've had slow traffic in the way about half the time.

I used the wheels on the Mt Hamilton RR this year, and on the steep twisty descent down the east side (4.5 miles at 8.5% avg) we had a car in the way so I had to brake more than normal. The brakes started fading and were making noises that indicated they were unhappy but the rims stayed true.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:45 pm
Posts: 111
Location: New Forest - UK
have just picked up a pair of 38mm carbon clinchers... tried to mount them up with a pair of vittoria evo cx's (not the latest versions).

i managed to get the rear one on, but the front is not just going to go on... i'm at a loss over what to do.

i've mounted a set of zaffiro pro slicks, but they're not really what i want to be running.

anyone got any good tips on how to get the bloody things on?... having said that, if they are this tight, i don't fancy my chances of changing a tube out on the roads.

any suggestions on high end, lightweight, low-rolling resistant clinchers which are a fairly loose fit?

cheers

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:18 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
Which rims? There's more than one manufacturer.

What are you using for rim strips? Rox would be the very thinnest, giving the most clearance for mounting the tire.

Are you making sure that you push the tire bead to the center all the way around the rim?

Once you get a tire mounted and inflated it'll stretch a bit so it should be easier when you have to change a tube.

Michelin Pro Race tires are a reasonable fit and have decent rolling resistance.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:33 pm 
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Location: FL
Throw the tire into the dryer for 60 seconds to make it pliable or leave it in the sun for a bit and that should help.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Location: New Forest - UK
just managed to get it on by pulling off the cloth rim tape and replacing it with some stans tape (sliced to the right width with a craft knife). bloody tight fit and knowing my luck, in the morning the tyres will be flat from pinch punctures, but they are on!

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Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:44 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:13 pm 
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Good review - thanks. Looking forward to hearing about the performance on steep descents like Deer Creek and Tuna.

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