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Verdict: 
Deliciously fast and smooth carbon clincher wheels at a great price and weight
Weight: 
1,465g
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Spin K2 Carbone XLR38 25mm Fat Boy Clincher wheels
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Spin's K2 Carbone XLR38 25mm carbon fibre clincher wheels offer bags of speed with a fat rim profile reminiscent of a Zipp or Enve but at a fraction of the price, making them an ideal upgrade for anyone looking to invest in their first deep section carbon heels.

The all-carbon rims are 25mm wide at their widest point, with a toroidal rim profile. It's the way most rim manufacturers are going, as it's commonly accepted to be faster in a greater range of yaw angles as well as being more stable in crosswinds than the previous generation of narrow V-shape rims. They certainly feel fast in testing and hold their own against more expensive wheels.

One easily detectable benefit of the wider rim is that the 23mm Schwalbe One tyres I fitted actually measured 25mm across, providing the benefits of a wider tyre with no weight increase. This also produces a nice seamless rim and tyre profile – no light bulb effect here – which produced a very stable tyre and was a noticeable benefit through hard cornering, such as in a criterium race.

Spin offer a choice of rim depths. At 38mm, these are the shallowest option. It's a good all-round option, more stable in windy conditions than a deeper rim, and obviously lighter as well, so ideal for hilly terrain. A deeper rim might be more aero, and better suited to heavier riders and flatter terrain, but I think the 38mm is the perfect choice for a wider range of applications.

The rims are laced to Spin's own SPN Precision hubs. These hubs are diminutive in size and the HyperDrive freehub produces instant engagement and a pleasing sound when freewheeling, without the excessive noise of some hubs. It's an 11-speed freehub with a spacer provided if you're running a 10-speed setup. Any problems Spin might have had in the past with hub reliability are firmly in the past; these hubs were utterly reliable.

These wheels feature Sapim CX Ray aero bladed spokes, 20 in the front wheel and 24 in the rear. Spin build all their wheels at their own facility in the UK and it's testament to the build quality that I have ridden these wheels through some very unfavourable conditions and rough roads, and the spokes are still showing good tension, and the wheels still very straight.

The wheels weigh 1,465g for the pair. That's 655g for the front and 810g for the rear. It's a very competitive weight, certainly for the price. You won't get much lighter unless you're prepared to spend quite a lot more money.

Braking performance has been an issue for carbon rims in the past, but with the supplied QuickStop Black Shadow brake blocks, there were no issues with braking. In fact, braking was excellent and up there with the best braking carbon rims. No noise, no drama, no fuss, just solid and dependable braking all of the time. That's good to know if you want to ride the wheels all of the time, every day. With this level of braking, there's really no reason why you can't.

They're fast and fun wheels to ride. They accelerate very quickly, with nice response when sprinting out of the saddle, and no detectable flex at extreme lean angles. Get them up to a fast cruising speed and they feel wonderfully stable even in blustery cross winds. Over rolling terrain they exhibit a nice nippiness when cresting rises and swoop through steep descents. What I wasn't expecting was for them to be as sublimely smooth as they proved to be.

There has been a rapid rise in the choice of carbon fibre clincher wheels at the £1,000 mark and it can be difficult to differentiate between them. Spin have a good few years behind them, and it's nice to know they build all their wheels by hand in the UK. These have a thoroughly modern rim design echoing that of more expensive wheels on the market, but at a fraction of the price and with fantastic speed, reliability and dependable braking performance. That they look good too makes them easy to recommend.

Verdict

Deliciously fast and smooth carbon clincher wheels at a great price and weight

road.cc test report

Make and model: Spin K2 Carbone XLR38 25mm Fat Boy Clincher wheels

Size tested: black,700c

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?

K2 Carbone XLR38s deliver ultimate speed, lateral stiffness and stable handling in all riding conditions thanks to their 25mm superwide section, 38mm deep 3D Toroid aero rim profiles.

The superlight forged & machined alloy hubset from SPN Precision features HyperDrive 48-point fail-safe engagement and is 11-speed ready. And for wheels this fast, only the finest aero bladed Sapim CX Ray spokes will do.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Weights (average, grams):

Front 655 / Rear 810 / Pair 1465

Rim Width, Depth (mm) & Profile:

25 wide x 38 deep / 3D Toroid

Spokes Front - 20 Radial:

Sapim CX Ray

Spokes Rear - 24 Two-cross:

Sapim CX Ray Drive / Sapim Laser NonDrive

11 Speed Drivetrain:

Shimano/SRAM standard, Campag Optional

What's In The Box:

Rim tape, QuickStop carbon brake pads, Quick Release skewers

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Excellent ride and handling performance especially when considering the price, with state-of-the-art toroidal rim shape.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Brilliant durability through the testing period.

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

They're not the lightest but they're not bad for the money.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

Surprisingly smooth over rough roads.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

There is a lot of choice at the thousand pound mark. These comfortably tick all the boxes and are an excellent choice. There aren't that many wheels at this price with the latest toroidal rim shape that is doing the rounds at the top-end of the aero wheel market.

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

Really good performance in all aspects.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Easy speed and good braking, easy to live with on a daily basis. Shallow rim is good in the wind, and means you don't need to shop around for inner tubes with long valves.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing really to dislike, they performed flawlessly.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

While there's a lot of choice at this price, these wheels easily make a strong argument for their selection over other carbon wheels at this price, as they're clearly head and shoulders above just about everything else at this price point.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

20 comments

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mikesean mcc [16 posts] 2 years ago
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he say, i've been riding 10 -20 years ? wat is he not sure how long ? i no how long i've been riding 5 years this year

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Mr Turning [124 posts] 2 years ago
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mikesean mcc wrote:

he say, i've been riding 10 -20 years ? wat is he not sure how long ? i no how long i've been riding 5 years this year

Very interesting. Out of interest, how long have you been learning how to write?

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mikesean mcc [16 posts] 2 years ago
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ther are sum noobs on hear

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mikesean mcc [16 posts] 2 years ago
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im in my 50s and left school at 13 as i am dislexic and yes my gramer and spelling are crap as when i was in school it was a punisabl ofence to be dislexic

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Jamminatrix [162 posts] 2 years ago
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Is this the same Spin that made the 3-spoke carbon fiber MTB wheels in the late 90's, or is this a different company using same name?

Those hubs also look like Novatec hubs...

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SamSkjord [39 posts] 2 years ago
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Different company, that was Spinergy,

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Eebijeebi [102 posts] 2 years ago
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Are the rims actually made in the UK or are they just put together here?

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Jacob [40 posts] 2 years ago
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"Stealth" version please!!! The graphics are some of the worse out there and why the red spoke nips?

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Nixster [365 posts] 2 years ago
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Good review, liking those very much. Not sure why the odd coloured spokes though? I don't mind the graphics or the anodised spoke nips but three distinctive visual features seems over the top even if trying to be 'different'.

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700c [1130 posts] 2 years ago
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hoOn what planet is £1k considered cheap for wheels?!

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Yorkshie Whippet [605 posts] 2 years ago
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700c wrote:

hoOn what planet is £1k considered cheap for wheels?!

When you consider that other carbon wheels are £1400 plus. Madfibre's are £2500, I think. £1K is relatively cheap for carbon. Please note the use of the word "carbon" as they are comparing carbon against carbon. Not alloy but carbon.

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Broady. [99 posts] 2 years ago
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Pretty much Farsports rims on Novatecs for twice the price?

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BSausage [28 posts] 2 years ago
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You can get it with black hubs (and presumably spoke nipples) as well.. I think they look nice

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robthehungrymonkey [171 posts] 2 years ago
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Interesting. I just looked up the far sports and the similar rims are £555 at the current exchange rate, but you'll probably get nailed with 20%(?) duty bringing it up to £666.

Given that these are made in the UK, it seems they could be a similar (or the same) rim. I'd expect that price increase as they're made (assembled?) in the UK. I don't know the differences in the hubs etc.

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David Arthur @d... [779 posts] 2 years ago
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700c wrote:

hoOn what planet is £1k considered cheap for wheels?!

Who's saying they're cheap?

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crikey [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

offer bags of speed

Quote:

feel fast in testing and hold their own against more expensive wheels.

Quote:

They accelerate very quickly

Quote:

They're fast

Quote:

with fantastic speed

Quote:

Deliciously fast

Unless you have some actual numbers to support these superlatives, I'm calling BS.
Given that the speed/fastness/acceleration is so noticeable, you'll have done some kind of proper testing on the wheels, with a sensible comparison to a basic wheel. Say a 32 hole, 3 cross standard rim.

If you haven't, please give over.

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Nixster [365 posts] 2 years ago
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robthehungrymonkey wrote:

Interesting. I just looked up the far sports and the similar rims are £555 at the current exchange rate, but you'll probably get nailed with 20%(?) duty bringing it up to £666.

Given that these are made in the UK, it seems they could be a similar (or the same) rim. I'd expect that price increase as they're made (assembled?) in the UK. I don't know the differences in the hubs etc.

Far sports similar profile with DT Swiss hubs and CX Ray spokes were around £600 ex duty last time I looked. Hand built but not UK built and a little harder to return if any issues but they have good reviews so seem stonking value (in the context of spending a ton of money on wheels).

Sam on here threatened to write a blog on some 38 x 25 Farsports I think?

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700c [1130 posts] 2 years ago
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David Arthur wrote:
700c wrote:

hoOn what planet is £1k considered cheap for wheels?!

Who's saying they're cheap?

Ok not cheap as an absolute, (clearly they're not), but you're suggesting they're cheap for what you get ie good value, well priced 'a fraction of the price of competitors' etc

I'm not convinced this is the case, as others have pointed out - when you compare to far sports etc and these look like they could be the same open mould design rims too, ie not a proprietary design when they've spent £££ on R&D..

Would need to know more about the rim, origins, design, warranty, manufacture crash replacement offer (if any), before deciding whether these £1k wheels are indeed 'good value'.

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usedtobefaster [197 posts] 2 years ago
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I've got a pair of Spin 50mm carbon clinchers and I've found them great value for money (total setup; wheels, tyres, tubes, cassette was about £600) and they "feel" fast once you get up to speed.

One thing I have found is the freehub aluminum is fairly soft and the splines on the freehub get bitten into buy the cassette under load (I had to take a file to some burrs to get part of the cassette off).

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Jamminatrix [162 posts] 2 years ago
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SamSkjord wrote:

Different company, that was Spinergy,

No. Spinergy is a different company from Spin. Spinergy made the Rev-X wheels.
Spin made the 3-spoke wheels: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/download/file.php?id=99900

Yorkshie Whippet wrote:

Madfibre's are £2500, I think. £1K is relatively cheap for carbon.

MadFiber were full carbon wheels made in America...and they are out of business. These are only carbon rims on Chinese hubs. Apples to oranges.

Broady. wrote:

Pretty much Farsports rims on Novatecs for twice the price?

Pretty much.