Review: Fair Wheel Bikes KinLin XR-22T Aivee wheelset

Budget oriented aluminum wheels deliver solid value and performance

Wheels
The wheels withstood a healthy dose of off-pavement use.

The wheels withstood a healthy dose of off-pavement use (click to enlarge).

The Lowdown: Fair Wheel Bikes KinLin XR-22T Aivee wheelset

There is a sweet spot for road bike wheels that weigh less than 1500 grams while offering wider rim width. Those wider rims allow for a more comfortable ride as the tire is stretched out, increasing air volume. Wider rims also require less air pressure, resulting in a smoother ride. This said, the wider rim requires more material which usually means more weight. So how do you get a relatively light-weight wheel that features a wider rim? Boutique bike shop, Fair Wheel bikes has introduced a line of hand-built wheels that at first glance looked very impressive. At just $375 for the set, the tubeless compatible KinLin 22 rim, Sapim spokes and French built hubs together weighed 1450 grams — and offer a “wider is better” 24mm rim. But how did they ride? Read on to find out.

Rim width is a bulbous 24mm.

Rim width is a bulbous 24mm (click to enlarge).

Stat Box
Claimed weight: 1441 grams without rim strips Spoke count: 24 front/28 rear
Actual weight: 1450 grams with rim strips Spokes: Sapim tapered
Front wheel weight: 640 grams Tubeless: Tubeless compatible
Rear wheel weight: 810 grams MSRP: $375
Rim width: 24mm Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5 out of 5 stars
Rim depth: 22mm

Pluses
Minuses
  • Remarkable weight and width for the price
  • For the price, not many minuses…
  • Comfortable ride
  • Somewhat noisy rear hub
  • Secure, aluminum braking surface
  • Front wheel flex
  • Sapim spokes
  • Not-so-perfect rear rim joint
  • Not carbon

Full Review: Fair Wheel Bikes KinLin XR-22T Aivee wheelset

Fair Wheel Bikes has established itself as a place to get esoteric, hard to find “weight weenie” parts. It turns out that this shop also offer some very good alternatives for more reasonably priced upgrades for those with more modest fun funds.

Nothing beats the braking feel and modulation or aluminum.

Nothing beats the braking feel and modulation or aluminum (click to enlarge).

Among the best bike upgrades is new wheels, both in terms of bang for buck and performance improvement. For instance, the $5000 Cervélo R3 comes spec’d with Mavic Ksyrium Equipe S wheelset that weighs a portly 1690 grams. Despite a frame weight that comes in under 1000 grams, those wheels are heavy and don’t really compliment the frame’s inherent light weight. Further, they are still 19mm wide, which is considered the old school standard for rim width.

The hubs use a traditional 3 pawl engagement system.

The hubs use a traditional 3 pawl engagement system (click to enlarge).

As a potential upgrade (for a stock Cervélo R3, or any bike out there) you might want to consider this hand-built offering from Fair Wheel Bikes. They pair a 24mm wide rim (KinLin XR-22T) with French-made hubs and legendary Sapim spokes. The bonus? They are just $375. You read that right — wide rims, sub 1500 gram total weight, less than $400.

So how do they ride?

I paired these wheels with Schwalbe One 25mm wide clinchers on my second generation Cervélo S3. As equipped, the bike weighed 14.6 pounds. The Cervélo S3 is an “aero” bike and, as such, has a slightly harsh ride quality. It is vertically very stiff and, to be frank, can get a bit fatiguing after about 40 miles.

Each wheelset comes with a certificate of build spec.

Each wheelset comes with a certificate of build spec (click to enlarge).

I aired up the wheelset to 80psi and set out for several test rides. One of the first involved a bit of off-road on a “beginner” mountain bike road. It’s a gradual climb followed by some steeps that required low gearing. The wheels held up well with no complaints on the rough road.

On another memorable ride, it was over 90 degrees; I didn’t feel like climbing at all. But I did my route and the plusher feel of the wider wheels with lower tire pressure really made a noticeable difference. I was happily spinning away, not getting beat up, enjoying the ride. These are very nice wheels and super impressive considering the low price point.

The joint on the rear wheel rim wasn't particularly smooth.

The joint on the rear wheel rim wasn’t particularly smooth (click to enlarge).

There are just three things that weren’t great. The rear hub is a bit noisy. It isn’t Chris King loud but I prefer a more silent ride. There was also some noticeable front wheel flex when pedaling out of the saddle. In fact it was so profound that the spokes would “ping” against the cyclometer magnet. Finally, the joint on the rear wheel rim wasn’t as smooth as the front.

Bottom Line

It’s super refreshing to see an alternative like this wheelset. You would have to pay more than double for a set of Mavic Ksyrium Elites that offer a similarly wide rim but weighs 50 grams more. Hat’s off to Fair Wheel for offering a relatively light weight wheelset that delivers the comfort of a wider rim without the big hit to the wallet. For more information visit fairwheelbikes.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Twain Mein

Twain Mein is fascinated with the technology and gear aspect of cycling, and is a longtime product reviewer. Twain has been doing triathlons since 1987 and has been ranked in the Top 50 U.S. National Age Group on numerous occasions.


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  • Gilles says:

    The flex of the front wheel come from various aspects : sapim laser spokes, aivee hubs, and maybe a too low tensions of spokes…
    Although I believe the kinlin XR22T can be a good rim, the pair of wheels is cheap, and the rest of components is cheap.

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