Gipiemme have been out of the UK scene for a while, but now they're back in force with a range of wheelsets from £75 budget trainers to a £1k carbon disc. The Tecno 1.55 Light sits comfortably in the middle of the range - it's designed as a lightweight all-purpose wheel that's fit for training and a bit of racing.
Given the name, there's two things we should expect, it would seem: good technology and light weight. So are they techno? Well, you're certainly getting some nice touches for your money. The hubs feature alloy axles and bodies, cartridge bearings and O-ring seals to keep the elements out. They're simple and well-designed, and easy to strip apart if you like to get your hands dirty. The semi-deep alloy rim is fairly standard fare, with a nice laser-etched finish, and the middle and edges are held together by 20 Sapim CX Ray spokes in a two-cross pattern. They're tightly built and stayed true throughout the testing, which included slamming them into a couple of potholes in the dark (not on purpose!)
And are they light? Yes, at least for a £400 wheel. The front wheel tipped the scales at 678g, the rear at 842g, making a grand total of 1520g (without skewers). Not as light as Gipiemme claim, but about the same as Shimano's new Carbon/Alu RS80, and a good 100g less than our long standing favourite £400 wheel, the Fulcrum Racing 3.
Weight isn't everything, though: how do they ride? pretty smoothly is the answer. The axle faces are quite large which helps to hold the wheel tightly in the frame, and there's no play in the hubs at all. They rolled very well on with the Schwalbe Ultremo tyres they came shod with. Lateral flex is okay; on our test rig they measured 4mm of sideways flex under 15kg load which is decent, more than the super stiff Fulcrum 3 (3mm) but still pretty good. Some brake rub was noticeable under effort. Comfort wise they're on the stiff side with the very tight spokes and deep rim feeling a little harsh at times.
Our only major gripe was that the alloy on the freehub body was a bit soft, meaning that our ten-speed cassette dug into the splines a bit, especially in the middle of the cassette where the cogs are single units. If you have a solid body cassette it won't be a problem, and it didn't affect performance, but it did make the cassette difficult to remove.
The Tecno 1.55 light is probably better employed as a budget race wheel than a mid-range trainer. They're light for the money and roll well, bladed spokes and a semi-deep rim will help their aerodynamics a bit too. If you're planning some long rides or your goal is a big sportive, then they might feel a bit stiff after a few hours in the saddle. But the bottom line is that they're a well made and light wheel for the money.