Gipiemme's Carbon 5.5 race wheels are aimed at those who want some free time with a fast, aerodynamic wheelset.
Being 55mm deep means they offer a good balance of aero advantage on flat time trails right through to riding lumpy and hilly courses. The rims are for clincher tyres so if you don't want the hassle or expense of using tubulars these offer the same advantages, although it does push the weight up a little. The 6092 T6 machined aluminium rims are bonded to the carbon deep section farings. These are laced into Gipiemme's own hubs using Inox aero stainless steel bladed spokes. There are 20 radially laced on the front and 20 on the rear too, although the drive side is one-cross laced for extra strength. The hubs have a forged aluminium shell which runs on sealed bearings with a forged Ergal cassette body with sealed bearings. We think that the Allen lock cones are a nice touch on these hubs. The matt black finish certainly adds a few style points to these stealth looking wheels.
In terms of longevity on the bearing front, they worked a treat during testing but only time will tell after a season of hard riding. It's pretty hard to fault the way the 5.5s ride. They run smooth and offer an aero advantage even on a windy day without making handling a problem. In a straight line they're on the nail. In hard descending turns you do feel a little give but this is typical of most aero wheels of this calibre.
The only concern is the price. There are other deep section wheels that cost less, though most are for tubs, making it a big outlay. These are made in Italy and the quality is all there. That said, they are a little cheaper than Mavic's Carbone clinchers, which are similar. If you want an aero advantage with Italian styling the 5.5s could be for you. They come with forged aluminium skewers and valve extenders, which is thoughtful as you'll need them.