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Verdict: 
Eye-catching wheels that spin effortlessly and won't break the bank; a decent upgrade option
Weight: 
1,640g
Spada Wheels Breva Forgiato Wheelset
8 10

Spada Wheels might not be a household name but with the Breva Forgiato wheels they are going the right way about becoming. The wheels are built in their workshops in Tirano in Northern Italy and they are hugely impressive out of the box.

At £599 they are not your entry level set so to offer a comparable experience I have put them up against my regular summer wheels, a set of Mavic Ksyrium Elites. They come in at a lower price point but for the money offer a very decent performance.

The Spada Breva Forgiato wheels are striking for several reasons. Out of the box you are struck by the colour combinations. Around the white hubs you have a predominance of white aero blade spokes with four red ones for contrast with the colours of the Italian flag on one. These are complemented by the anodised red aluminium nipples and skewers. The rear is laced with 24 spokes to provide strength where it's required and 18 up front.

The Forgiatos are a 32mm clincher and are tubeless ready thanks to the plastic rim tape. They weigh in at 1580g for the pair. To top the wheels off you get a lovely set of skewers in red to match the spokes. The decals on the rims are not quite so subtle and stand out loudly distracting from the good looking wheels. All the decals are stickers so the longevity here may be an issue but hasn't proven to be in the test period. The hubs have sealed bearings so again should prove to be durable over time and against the less the clement conditions.

The wheels out of the box were ready to ride. The spokes were taut and the hubs spun true. With some big rides on the horizon I would have plenty of opportunity to put them through their paces. Initially they were shod with 23mm Schwalbe Durano S tyres. I fitted a 10 speed Ultegra 11-28 cassette to give me enough options for the fast approaching Dragon ride, the Devil. They are also suitable for running an 11-speed cassette if you choose to.

The Breva Forgiatos spin very smoothly and the rear hub has a very pleasing buzz when you free wheel. The gear changes were smooth and swift which given the challenges ahead was very satisfying and reassuring. There is no need for rim tape and they are tubeless ready.

Fitting tyres was straightforward, with no need for levers. Once in place, inflating them was a piece of cake and the tyres were solid and reassuringly fitted despite the ease at which they went on. After the Dragon ride, I switched to 25mm Gatorskins, which also fitted with no problem.

The initial pre-Dragon ride was a pleasant experience. The hubs whirred smoothly. Just as well with a 300km ride around the corner. With everything in place for the longest ride of my life I felt confident that the Spada Breva Forgiatos would get me round, coping not only the with distance but allowing me to climb and descend without missing a beat.

The ride was memorable not only for the sheer length but the climbing, severe in parts, and the descending were truly awesome. I'm not one for getting all mushy over climbing, quite the opposite generally but the mountains in this part of Wales are sublime. The Forgiatos allowed me to climb with ease and despite not being the lightest wheelset available I felt no hinderance on the Welsh ascents. They rolled smoothly and descending the long and occasionally twisting roads offered great reassurance to hit decent speeds. The rims are aluminium and deep enough to cope with any brake blocks. They felt smooth at the start of the test and have not altered in any way shape or form. No rough edges to cause an issue.

Not only did this help with confidence but helped to make this a truly memorable day in the saddle. Post Dragon the Forgiatos have contuinued to excel. Back on Sussex roads they have been put through their paces and accumulated over 700km without missing a beat.

That was until one Friday ride home when I noticed a slight ticking noise coming from from the front wheel. One of the white spokes had worked itself loose. It did tighten but the wheel will need checking to ensure it remains true.

This last note could be the harsher punishment on the less than fine roads of Sussex but not a game changer. The ride quality and performance of the Spada Breva Forgiatos has been top class. For the money you get an eye catching wheelset that spin effortlessly regardless of the terrain or which way the road is pointing.

Verdict

Eye-catching wheels that spin effortlessly and won't break the bank; a decent upgrade option

road.cc test report

Make and model: Spada Wheels Breva Forgiato Wheelset

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Anyone looking for an upgrade would do well to take a look at the Spada Breva Forgiato wheelset. They look great, decals aside, and besides spinning effortlessly have proven to be durable. All you look for in a wheelset is confidence, looks and an ability to cope with the tough terrain in the UK whether climbing or descending. Affordable and competent with good looks to match. Each wheel is supposed to be hand made, given the quality you would have to agree.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Given that each wheel is hand made, the quality shines through topped off with a good looking set. The Spada Breva Forgiatos are only slightly let down with the stuck on decals but the aluminium rims, anodised red nipples and skewers all reek of quality. The aluminium cassette body may suffer over time but the sealed hubs will take and have taken some serious punishment.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

At 1640g for the set they certainly aren't the lightest on the market but this is offset by the performance and attention to detail in the construction. The aren't a penalty on climbs and descend really well. On the flatter terrain the roll on and on.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

Given the rough stuff they Forgiatos cope well and even when shod with 23mm tyres were able to deal with the vibrations without making the ride too harsh.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

For £599 you are getting a hand made set of wheels with some very nice touches. Anodised nipples and skewers married to sealed bearing hubs and aluminium rims this is a tough act to follow for this money.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They look great, decals aside and besides spinning effortlessly have proven to be durable. All you look for in a wheelset is confidence, looks and an ability to cope with the tough terrain in the UK whether climbing or descending. Affordable and competent with good looks to match. Each wheel is supposed to be hand made, given the quality you would have to agree.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The attention to detail and performance, a great package.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The excessive use of stick on decals, lacks some subtlety on an otherwise great wheelset.

Did you enjoy using the product? Certainly did and the wheelset enhanced the rides I did with them.

Would you consider buying the product? Without a doubt.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

At a pound under £600, you get a hand made set that look like a much pricer set of wheels. There are some very nice touches only slightly let down by some over zealous addition of decals.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 178cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three  My best bike is: As above

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT

 

9 comments

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IHphoto [117 posts] 2 years ago
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Two different weights claimed. Are those for with and without skewers?

Also no detail on what the cross section of the rims is like. Only mention of depth referred to the brake track which by the way is not rim depth. How do they track. Do they flex under load. For £599 I'd want to know they are more than just smooth running and reliable - that should be a given. As for reliability,bbbbbb a spoke nipple loosening off that much is big black mark.

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dannycarr2k [30 posts] 2 years ago
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A spoke loosening off a black mark?

Well, that depends. When I build wheels, it always strikes me how much the rim can be out vertically around the weld. Now, I'm sure Spada aren't extruding rims, and this is common of most alloy rims I've seen. Perfectly even tensioning is not achievable, in order to pull areas of the rim into shape and, like most things in life, it's a compromise. When everything balances more or less, single spokes are less likely to work loose.

I'd rather see a spoke work loose and balance it's tension back up rather than have all the nipples threadlocked to stop them working loose, despite their being uneven spoke tension. And that's an even bigger black mark you won't find out about too easily.

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IHphoto [117 posts] 2 years ago
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I agree with you regarding the settling down process (I build wheels too) although given they had a lot more miles in them by then and by the sounds of the report it was a lot more than that.

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andyp [1484 posts] 2 years ago
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Jeez, what ugly wheels.

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Jez Ash [225 posts] 2 years ago
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andyp wrote:

Jeez, what ugly wheels.

I quite like them ... On the right bike, mind.

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ColT [327 posts] 2 years ago
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How, exactly, do they spin effortlessly?

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Wookie [242 posts] 2 years ago
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They would work very well on my black red and white bike  4

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ColT [327 posts] 2 years ago
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ColT wrote:

How, exactly, do they spin effortlessly?

Anyone...?

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Kauto [22 posts] 2 years ago
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I like the look of these wheels but I think I'm going to opt for the light weight Spada Stiletto Crystal wheelset instead. Just a thought, could you remove the decals with a hair drier or any other method?