Tuesday, January 12, 2010 4.00pm
By James Huang, technical editor
Edge Composites' flagship 1.68 carbon tubulars' versatile aero-plus-lightweight combination makes them well suited for long, hilly road rides and races but also fast, dynamic events like criteriums and circuit races.
They're impressively light at just 1,270g per pair with most of that weight concentrated at the hubs (claimed rim weight is just 350g) so they accelerate well, too. Moreover, the aggressive 68mm-deep rim profile is quite effective at punching through the air at speed and braking is buttery smooth and predictable due to the dead straight and flat brake track and included SwissStop Yellow King pads.
The tall and straight sidewalls are easily caught by crosswinds, though, and can make for nervous handling at times, especially in swirling gusts. Moreover, the rims' impressive radial stiffness makes for a solid feel beneath you but also a notably firm ride.
Lateral stiffness – though still very good – felt just a half step behind the newer crop of wider, bulged profiles that are notably more resistant to out-of-plane bending even without instrumented test rigs.
Durability is superb, thanks to the extremely high initial build quality and excellent DT Swiss and Sapim components but also the inherent design of the wheel.
Moulded-in spoke holes – instead of the more common drilled treatment – retain fibre integrity throughout the rim circumference and work in combination with radiused internal nipple beds to allow unusually high spoke tensions. Indeed, our FSA tension meter recorded a tremendous 20 percent jump compared to some major competitors with nary a hint of dimpling in the sidewalls.
Even tension throughout has also helped our test set stay true over the long haul. Months of pounding on nasty washboarded dirt roads have had virtually zero effect – a good thing considering the tyres have to be stripped in order to access the nipples – and strongly support the notion that the 1.68s don't have to be limited to special occasions. So while they're quite expensive, at least you can enjoy them every day without much worry.
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