The name may not be known to roadies, but Superstar is the cost-effective, direct-buy mountain bike component king. The Paves are the first product of an extensive road range it has planned.
Highs: Light, responsive, price, service
Lows: Direct sell only
The tyre-fattening 17mm internal width and rounded aero cross-section of the Pave 28 rims echoes the latest Zipp, Hed, Bontrager and Easton designs. These wheels aren't just thrown together either, but hand-laced into the small barrel hubs with quality Sapim Laser spokes and nipples. The result is light, tight and impressively responsive, with the surefooted handling and easy speed feel that comes with rounded rims and fattened tyres. In fact we deliberately didn’t tell our test team (the branding is subtle) that these wheels were less than half the price of many competitors – they still rated them very highly.
The current freehub can already be swapped from Shimano to Campagnolo, but wait until May and an extra £10 will get you top quality SKF bearings and an 11-speed-compatible freehub. Superstar durability has always been fine and the cartridge bearings are easy to replace if they do wear out.
The extremely aggressive pricing is possible because Superstar works directly to develop product with its Far Eastern suppliers, which cuts distributor and shop margins out of the equation. The actual wheel building takes place in the UK, though, and the price includes free retruing and cost price wear/damage replacement for life. This is more than most shops or bigger brands offer and makes them a clear winner in value for money terms.