Friday 19 August 2011

Strada Handbuilt Wheels H+ Son SL42 - deep section clinchers

I recently took delivery of a pair of SL42 clincher wheels which I had had built using a redundant pair of lightweight hubs by those helpful folks at Strada. Here is what I told Jonathan about the rim and wheel build at the time -
“Just a quick email by way of feedback about the H+ Son SL42s: They have been eliciting admiring responses where ever I go – they look very fast and stylish, even on my cross bike. Whilst the weight is not particularly low, this isn’t immediately apparent. On shorter climbs, their stiffness more than compensates for any extra weight and they feel very fast. Once up to speed on the flat they roll along really nicely, in the same way a deep section carbon does. Where I have been particularly impressed is on descents – they feel so solid and dependable and I have been enjoying faster descents on my usually bumpy local roads whilst feeling really safe. The build of quality is of course fantastic – they’ve been battered around on rough tracks and cobbles as is usual for me and remain perfectly true."

By way of update, these have become my favourite road wheels of all time. Yes, better than tubs even. They were absolutely superb on the flat, windswept terrain around Dungeness, and despite being quite a deep rim seemed remarkably unaffected by cross winds and the sudden gusts that were de rigeur for riding around there. Moreoever, commutes off the moors into my hometown on exposed and gusty main roads that can feel quite dicey have felt reassuringly secure. They catch sidewinds and gusts less than a 30mm pair of clinchers I have previously used, or at least behave more predictably when they do.
The braking surface when new is anodised black with the rest of the rim. Virgin rims therefore look for all the world like full carbon rims. This has predictably worn off now, but the overall aesthetics aren't spoilt - they simply look like a lot of the carbon clinchers with alloy braking surfaces that are out there. Much bling for much less buck.
I particularly like the striking Strada graphics on the rims that look amazing when rolling along and reflected in shop windows. Beware parked cars.....
They remain, still, micron true - something that has hugely impressed me having used similar style mass produced wheels which have not. 
They would be good too for circuit/crit racing as they are super tough and somewhat less fragile than your expensive 50mm carbon offerings...
More to come on the Strada Major Toms too as the cross season gets underway in a couple of weeks.

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