As the industry seems to be embracing the ‘wider is better’ mantra when it comes to rim design, there are still some who continue to forge their own path. Among them is Italian drivetrain component and wheel maker Miche (pronounced ‘Meekah’ rather than ‘Meesh’), and we’ve been racking up the miles on its SWR RC carbon clinchers.
They’re available in three options – 38mm or 50mm deep pairs, or as we have here, a 38mm front wheel and 50mm rear – and there are three colours. The theory behind differential rim height is to maximise handling and control up front, while the stiffer rear wheel transmits more power to the road with minimal deflection.
So that’s the rim depth taken care of, but they’re 20mm wide externally, and a measly 13mm internally, making our 25mm tyres resemble light bulbs. Without rim tapes or quick release skewers, they weigh 1676g, or 1821g including everything, which is average for the price. One reason could be the spoke count, with 18 radial bladed Sapim spokes up front and 24 behind, which are built three cross, although the alloy nipples are there to reduce weight.
One thing these wheels aren’t is underbuilt –from the off, they feel extremely stiff, surging with every pedal input, and they’re definitely not lacking efficiency. CNC’d aluminium hubs spin effortlessly on sealed SKF bearings, and over rolling roads they make fine progress.
On long climbs, good power transfer pays off, virtually making up for a little extra mass, but we found descending at speed less positive with their rigidity and narrower profile feeling less planted. Braking though was very good, with great power, despite the characteristic burning carbon smell.
The rims state a maximum inflation pressure of 123psi/8.5bar, which shouldn’t worry many riders, but is lower than average, and we’d prefer to see the spoke holes in the 50mm rim drilled asymmetrically, as some of the SWR RC’s nipples sit at differing angles, creating unnecessary stresses. Otherwise, this is a reliable and resilient wheelset that does most things very well, but might just be starting to show its age.