So a long overdue update to these wheels. Since last writing I have more to add:
-Despite rolling through various construction-zone road issues, hitting some potholes and some rough riding, the wheels remain true and the hubs are spinning up nicely.
-Audibly judging the sound of freewheeling these wheels are more 'in balance' compared to nearly all of the wheels of the people I've ridden with. I'm not sure why that is necessarily, but in any case I am using 60mm valve butyl tubes right now.
-Flats and rolling on them at 0 or low pressue did no damage to the rims. They're quite sturdy and I'm constantly impressed by their quality of construction.
-Steep descents? No problem (for me at least). Recently I've finally had the opportunity to take these down some of the steeper descents in the Santa Monica Mountains area. These include Deer Creek, Cotharin (what I consider one of the greatest roads to ride in Southern California, especially on a crisp clear day), Las Flores, Decker, Tuna and Fernwood.
I've covered Fernwood before in descent earlier in this thread, no change there: the wheels are great so long as you are used to the braking nature of carbon rims.
In order of steepness these might
Deer Creek, Tuna, Las Flores, Cotharin, Decker, Fernwood
In order of technical difficulty these might
Tuna, Decker, Las Flores, Fernwood, Deer Creek, Cotharin
Y'all can look them up on Strava for their characteristics.
Anyway, regardless of technicality or steepness, I did not have any problems. No blowouts, no sudden loss in braking and so on. Was I worried? Yes - mostly because of reading all the old-wives' tales on the internet, recounting the "end is nigh!!!!!!" type warnings from people I otherwise respect and admire for their reviews of cycling products in the magazines or websites. It's amazing how well the power of fear works to some people's or businesses advantage.
I continue to use butyl tubes, not latex, and on the whole I would consider myself a confident descender that doesn't use the brakes too much. I will still state, however, that if you do tend to use the brakes a lot and/or are not used to the nature of a carbon braking surface and/or are not an entirely confident descender (be honest with yourself), I would then advise an exercise of caution at your own risk.
Braking surface on the whole is performing the same as they were months ago. Occasionally I do wipe off remnants of the pads from the rims after a long, technical descent, but this has not affected braking performance to my knowledge. However there is something to be said about 'knowing' your wheels and 'knowing' how to adjust your lines in descending on certain types of wheels because they brake differently. This would be the case with any wheel, I think.
Do I think braking surfaces on carbon rims can be better than this? I entertain the idea and may think so, but I do not have any significant experience with wheels such as ZIPP, ENVE or Xentis all of whom have reportedly great breaking surfaces. They also cost quite a bit more too. So how much
better? I have no idea. Let's assume they have better braking surfaces.
Current (at time of writing) pads being used are the FarSports "Blue" pads that are supplied with the wheels. From testing these seem to be the same as Reynold's Blue in terms of compound and colour, only difference being the branding. I plan on using the SwissStop Black Prince brakes after I run low on all my blue pads just to see how those perform.