Cole have been designing wheels in the US for a while, but their tight and responsive rolling stock has only become available in the UK this year.
The low, geometric-section 24mm rim gets machined braking surfaces with thick-bladed straight-pull spokes arranged 16x1 cross front, 20x2 cross at the rear. The interesting bits are the distinctive double-row flange lobes on the hub, housing brass-coloured barrels which the spokes screw into.
They look like anchor points for a suspension bridge and allow ‘Dynamic Spoke Alignment’. This avoids one spoke weak point (the elbow bend) but introduces another (where it’s threaded going into the barrel). The result is low weight for the price but also outstanding, ride-sharpening stiffness and responsiveness under power or when hustled hard through corners.
As well as being very highly tensioned – the rear drive side is tighter than anything we’ve tested – these wheels are also consistently tensioned, so they run round and true and should continue to do so. They're laterally stiff and the hubs run smoothly, though the rear has a loud freewheel. It’s great to see lightweight factory wheels built with such accuracy. You get a wheel bag included in the price, too.