These lightweight C-Max wheels from Sonic offer very good value for money. Okay, £700 is hardly cheap, but you get a lot of performance for your cash here.
Sonic are a new brand to these shores, having just got a UK importer in the shape of Roche Sports, the people behind Sabbath bikes. The C-Max is a mid-level road wheelset in their range – high level compared to most – that’s pretty darn light. Ours weighed in at just 1,378g (610g front, 768g rear) plus skewers at 106g the pair. That’s not quite superlight but it’s not far off, and very good going at the price point. It’s certainly lighter than any of Mavic’s ultra-popular Ksyriums.
You get 23.7mm-deep aluminium alloy rims with aluminium hubs that feature Enduro ceramic cartridge bearings – and they go on forever when you give them a spin. The freehub body, which is available in both Shimano/SRAM and Campag versions, is titanium and the spokes are bladed DT Swiss Aerolite – 24 radially laced at the front, 28 two-cross at the rear – with red DT Swiss Pro Lock alloy nipples. You also get a Sonic wheel bag, quick releases and brake pads as part of the deal.
We’ve put a lot of miles into these over the past few weeks and have got on with them really well. For a start, they’re built strong with an impressively even spoke tension, and they’ve stayed almost perfectly round and true throughout testing despite a few unscheduled pothole encounters – no issues there. The freehub body is all but unmarked too, which bodes well for long-term durability.
As you’d expect from wheels of this weight, the Sonics have a spring in their step, accelerating with a real urgency when you wind up the power. Climbing is a definite strong point too – they really help take the pain out of the steep stuff, giving you a helping hand when your energy-levels start to fall. And they’re stiff with it. You can get them to flex a little if you really put your mind to it – throw the bike around like a lunatic and they’ll bend a little – but ride like a normal human being and they’re perfectly well behaved, even when you're riding out of the saddle or leaning over hard into a tight downhill corner.
Really sound wheels. Quick, light and strong and well built from good components… there’s really not much to gripe about here
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sonic C-Max wheelset
Size tested: standard
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? On the shortlist
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 184cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.