FFWD F5R wheels review£998.00

Carbon tubulars

BikeRadar score4/5

Fast Forward wheels have proved so popular that we couldn't get hold of any the last time we tried to test them. But we’ve got some now, and they’re proving top tubs for the money.

The 50mm depth, skinny front hub and 20/24 bladed spokes give useful aerodynamic gain. At only 1,356g (582/774g plus 88g skewers), the F5Rs are impressively light for their price. Hand-built quality using DT brass nipples and DT Aerolite Bladed spokes keeps them tight on acceleration and turn-in too.

You get a predictable tyre smear rather than twang if you push hard through corners, and there’s no brake rub when you're honking out of the saddle. Braking is very good for carbon wheels too, staying consistent even on long descents.

Power is also maintained, even when its cold. Our wheels develop some play in the front hub after a few rides, but it’s easily adjusted out.

The F5Rs can be bought with DT Swiss 240s (£1,198), 190c ceramic bearings (£1,598) or even PowerTap SL+ hubs (£2,043). The F5Rs are also one of the few rims available separately, so you can lace them on to your existing hubs.

Considering you get a fat, padded double wheel bag, valve extenders, good-looking secure skewers and carbon pads for under a grand, though, these ‘basic’ F5Rs are a bargain.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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