Ritchey SuperLogic Carbon 46 Clinchers Pro Review - by Twain Mein
- Same as the tubulars above but in a clincher-style rim
- 46mm tall for aerodynamics
- Ritchey hubs with premium bearings
- Cool quick releases-extremely light
- Front: 20 hole, 610 grams claimed. $1460.00 msrp
- Rear: 24 hole, 800 grams claimed. $1540.00 msrp
- Actual combined weight of 1430 grams with rimstrips
As promised, Steve from Ritchey came over with the clincher version of their amazing SuperLogic Cabon wheelset. Despite the incredible weight savings that can be had with tubulars, I'm not a fan of them; I've gotten caught in the rain and cold because of a puncture; my hands were too cold to remove the tire, let alone install the spare. I ended up walking several miles before hitching a ride home. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to see the clincher version of these phenomenal wheels. And they didn't disappoint. Like their tubular siblings, these wheels truly make you feel like you are cheating. Though slightly heavier then the tubulars, they are still an amazing 1430 grams--with rimstrips installed! The additional grams put the total build at an amazing 13lbs 11oz.
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.
During the Summer of 2009, I participated in a time trial series. It was a lot of fun and far harder and more painful than I'd anticipated. The course is an out and back 10.4 miles with a two climbs. Unfortunately, at the turnaround, the course tends to be extremely windy. To improve my times, I tried a variety of equipment variations on my Scott Plasma. These are the configurations and the results:
So what does this mean? With the Ritchey Carbon Clinchers, I was able to record my fastest time by over 1 minute and a full one mile per hour faster. On average, this wheelset was over 5% faster than any permutation. The rim height and profile was obviously less affected by the wind and I assume the lighter overall rolling weight played a huge role as well. Regardless, I was amazed by these results; I thought that the deeper wheels would certainly lead to the fastest times. In the very stiff winds, with the deeper Jet 60/90's, I did have to fight the bike to keep it from being blown off course. With the Ritchey's, I could certainly feel the wind but had to expend far less energy to keep the bike tracking straight. Amazing.
This is quite possibly the best all around wheelset currently available. They are very light, yet extremely stiff for climbing and descending. And the moderate 46mm rim depth provides a clear improvement for time trials and triathlons while not sacrificing safety and handling in windy conditions. And best of all they provide all of these performance gains as clinchers.
This wheels epitomize the spirit of this project by providing incredible performance gains and significant weight savings with no real sacrifices.
Incredibly versatile wheelset