Spa Cycles Ceramic Touring wheels £195

Almost wear-proof long-distance wheels

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The advantage of the tungsten carbide finish on these wheels' Rigida Grizzly rims is their outstanding longevity. We’ve run the 26in version for months in unusually tough conditions in the Himalayas, with barely any wear to show for it.

The downside is that you’ll need to use a more expensive ceramic specific brake pad, such as Swissstop’s CSS Blue Pads (£14.99 a set). Conventional pads can wear unusually quickly in poor conditions. There’s also a considerable amount of rim squeal as the rims initially bed in and any high spots are removed – though this disappears in time.

The coating process process gives a super tough finish similar to conventional ceramic but which costs less.

Spa’s wheelbuild is typically good, built to close tolerances, with no truing needed over the test period. Spokes are double butted ACIs at the front and rear lefthand side, with thicker, single butted Sapim Strongs on the right, to allow for the extra stresses involved on the driveside. We can’t fault Shimano’s top end Deore XT hubs either, featuring easily greased cup and cone bearings and very dependable seals. These would be our recommended choice for both long haul touring and year- round commuting.

Rim weight is 590g (the 26in version is 560g) making this a lighter, but still respectably burly alternative to the expedition favourite Rigida Sputniks.

Overall wheel weight is 1020g at the front and 1260g at the back, putting them in the middle weight category, suited to all but the heaviest, fully-laden riders or the most extreme tours. Recommended tyre widths are around 28mm to 48mm, which covers all the bases.

At £195 for the set, the Grizzlies aren’t the cheapest touring option, although if you intend to put in the miles, these really are among the best you can get. And if you do somehow manage to wear them out, there’s an internal safety line that appears to indicate to you that they need replacing.

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