Last month we told you that Knight Composites – a new name in the bike wheels market – had recently launched with a range of three highly developed full carbon clincher aero wheels.
The Oregon-based company has promised to rattle the established market-leaders by being faster, lighter and less expensive. And now we've got our hands on two sets (a 95 and 65) to give them a thorough lookover.
The wheels use DT Swiss hubs and Sapim spokes. The 65 model is 28mm wide and uses a 20/24 spoke arrangement; Knight says it produces drag figures that are 20 percent lower than its nearest rival in wheel-only tests, and 10 percent lower when mounted in a bike.
The 95, meanwhile, is claimed to be 'the outright fastest wheelset you can buy', according to Knight. At 15 degrees wind yaw angle in a wheel-only test, the 95 is said to have 45g less drag than its nearest rival and that it resists stalling (air separation that causes an increase in drag) up to 18 degrees. This equates to a potential time saving of 22.5 seconds over 25 miles (40km), says the US outfit.
The 95 has a 95mm deep rim, naturally, and is 28.25mm at its widest.
Jamie Wilkins of Procyling magazine has been giving the, a spin, and here are his initial impressions:
"So far we've done 90 miles on the 65s and first impressions are really good. They're very stable in gusty conditions and the lateral stiffness is fantastic, so they feel really responsive when you're out of the saddle and digging in. The weight is good for clinchers of this depth – we weighed this early test set at 1,664g and Knight tells us that production versions will be around 50g lighter – and then there's the option of lighter DT 180 hubs.
"It's always very difficult to judge aerodynamics on the road but the 65s feel fast. That isn't purely subjective, either; we rode them back to back with rivals from Reynolds and Zipp using a power meter. The average speeds (over 22mph on a 26-mile commute in this aero road bike) have been higher than we're used to for the power outputs. We're looking forward to riding them a lot more."
"The 95 is a big slab of wheel to put in the front of a bike but any initial worries about manageability in anything but still conditions are soon put at ease. All you ever feel is a build-up of side pressure – there's no alarming snap of the steering – and that's because the profile is actually far from a slab; it's a carefully honed airfoil.
"At nearly 1,900g these are not light wheels but they are light for clinchers of their immense depth and they have the same excellent lateral and drive rigidity as the 65s, so when you're out of the saddle they feel lighter than they are. And, of course, once you're rolling at speed the weight isn't an issue. The 95s felt quick on our first ride but we want to ride and race on them a lot more before passing judgement."
The wheels will be available in October, costing US$2,899 or £2,349 for the 95 Wheelset DT180 or £1,849 for a 95 Wheelset DT240.
Alternatively it's US$2,599 for the 65 or 35 wheelset, £2,199 for a 35 or 65 Wheelset DT180, or £1,649 for a 35 or 65 Wheelset DT240.
There will also be an Avee hub option below these prices and a custom Chris King hub option at the high end. Look out for a review on BikeRadar soon and for more coverage in Procycling magazine.