As with the tubulars, riding with these wheels was amazing. I was able to pass people without pedaling on descents. And they roll so smoothly at speed; maintaining 20mph+ was noticeably easier. One thing that struck me was how stiff they felt; while descending it feels like you have more precision in the turns, something I’ve never really noticed before. Coming out of turns felt like you could rocket forward. Over bumpy roads, the carbon hoops seems to mute bumps–ideally suited to the Cervelo frame. However it does “crash” more over potholes versus my traditional wheelset.
I found two nits with the wheelset. First, the rear hub is somewhat noisy on coast-down, similar to a Chris King hub. Because of the otherwise magical smoothness and speed, I would have preferred a more silent hub.
Second, because the rims are so light and stiff, I tended to climb out of the saddle more than normal. But the rear spokes developed a creak which would chirp whenever I got out of the saddle. The creak got worse with time which must have meant a spoke was loosening.
Carbon rims are notorious for mediocre braking performance. Because they are harder than alloy rims, they build up more friction and require more effort to stop. I used these wheels on both the Cervelo R3 as well as a Scott Plasma. The Scott had carbon-specific Swisstop yellow pads and the braking performance was good; I didn’t have any real complaints. However, I didn’t have a set of carbon-specific pads for the Cervelo, and the braking performance suffered. I went on a ride that had a few climbs with a long descent and the pads started screeching unnervingly. Ritchey does specify using carbon-specific pads and the test would have been more enjoyable if I did. Clearly if one was to purchase the wheelset, a set of carbon-specific pads would be mandatory.