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Independent Wheel Review

We've spent the last 18 months riding and testing our CBX Honeycomb pattern rims and we have always believed in them, their manufacturing and ride qualities, their strength and reliability. CBX recently sent a set of CBX honeycomb rims to an independent cycle reviewer and we're more than happy with the outcome.  Read the review here:

Carbon Bike Xtreme, is a new contender in the highly-competitive affordable carbon wheel market.  An astounding number of such companies have popped up recently, so to stand out from the crowd something eye-catching required. Luckily for CBX, their differing weave options, with honeycomb, 'zoop', and plain UD, offer exactly this.

I was sent a pair of their deepest 55mm rims in a honeycomb weave, strung via Sapim CX Ray spokes to Hope hubs. The wheels have a really unique look, and although I'm partial to more muted UD carbon, they received many compliments from other riders. The fashionably blunt rim profile should make them fast across a variety of yaw angles, and despite the wind cheating depth they're still light, coming in at under 1500g.

On receiving the wheels, the build quality was excellent, although if anything I would say the spoke tension was a little on the high side, albeit perfectly balanced and true. The hubs are a little industrial looking and don't have the lightning fast engagement of some, but their quality and serviceability should keep them running for many years. If you're after a more conventional road choice or some bling, CBX also build onto DT Swiss and Chris King hubs.

Ride review

After just the first few pedal strokes, one thing was obvious. These things are stiff! The power transfer and accuracy of the bike was immediately improved. It felt like I could just pick it up and place the tyres exactly where they needed to be. When combined with the low weight, accelerating out of corners became an absolute pleasure, so most of my rides ended up being absolutely flat out, dribbling-on-the-stem type affairs. When venturing off pristine tarmac the wheels were a little on the harsh side, a common issue with deep carbon wheels. However this could be easily rectified with some larger volume tyres (I was using 25mm Veloflex Masters) or even slightly reduced spoke tension. For the fast paced road and criterium racing they're designed for their stiffness is more a strength than a weakness.

I wasn't supplied with any brake pads for the test as a retail customer would, so was able to try several different pads. I had the most success with Swisstop Flash Pro Yellow, which gave excellent performance in dry conditions. However as soon as the braking surface got even a little damp, stopping times would dramatically increase. The small delay while the brake tracks cleared wasn't to the point of being unsafe, but took some getting used to when approaching junctions and corners. It may be that CBX have found a pad compound that works, so I'll have to reserve judgement until I can try theirs.

On the plus side, there was no discernable wear to the brake tracks after two months of use in all conditions. I've also not had to go near a spoke key for the whole test.

Now I haven't got access to a wind tunnel, so can't say in absolute terms if the CBXs are fast, but they certainly felt it, with a noticeable change over shallow rims. I've raced them in criteriums, TTs and hill climbs with moderate success, although that mediocrity is down to me, not the equipment. Their (relative) light-weight makes them a smart choice for nearly all terrains - gone are the days when aerodynamics meant lumbering weight.

Conclusions.

It's heady times we live in, when a set of carbon wheels with proven hubs and spokes, that are this fast and tough, can be had for £635. Granted, the wet weather braking is slightly sub par, and the ride a little rigid for cruising, but for hammering around a race course on a limited budget these are hard to beat.

Paddy Atkinson

 

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Comments
06/02/2019 19:43
I am NOT a racer. I am overweight and no more than a steady rider. Yet... my CBX Honeycomb 55s are amazing and I see significant improvements on Strava sections when riding them. Climb well too. As for the “harsh” ride - I did 320 miles on them and they were super comfortable. Opinions will differ, no doubt. But for me, best wheels I have ever ridden bar none.
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