Gipiemme Tecno 032 wheelset  £160.00

7/10

Good, comfortable, budget wheels ideal for training, touring and winter riding

Weight 1905g   Contact  www.osporto.co.uk

by David Else   August 15, 2011  

Gipiemme is an Italian manufacturer with a venerable history and a wide range of wheels, including these Tecno 032s. They're straightforward in appearance, with standard section 19mm clincher rims, small-flange hubs, and elbow spokes rather than straight-pull. Construction is also standard: hubs and rims are aluminium, while spokes are stainless steel. The freewheel splines are aluminium too.

First thing we did after taking the wheels out of the box was hold the axles and give them a spin. The bearings were nice and smooth. The front wheel was true, but the rear had a bit of a wobble - just 1mm on each side. Not enough to be a problem, and not unusual for budget products, but still not really what you want with a brand new pair of wheels.

The wheels are built with 14-gauge spokes, slightly butted, except on the cassette side of the rear wheel, where plain-gauge spokes are employed for extra strength. All standard stuff, but an unexpected feature was the way the spokes were laced. Both wheels use a standard 3-cross pattern, but had some noticeable kinking in the spokes, most likely the result of some heavy treatment during building in Gipiemme's factory.

The spokes were also set fairly loose. This is not necessarily a problem - it's often a deliberate feature on wheels designed for long-distance riding, bad roads or heavy loads (or all three) - and if preferred, you could get the spokes tweaked up by an expert to make the wheels more taut. We showed our test set to a professional wheel-builder who reckoned that a lot of the slack could easily be taken out, although those noticeable kinks would be unlikely to disappear completely because the spokes were only slightly butted.

Next, we put the wheels on the road.cc scales and checked the weights. We made it F 860g R 1045g - so not quite the F 841g R 1009g quoted in the catalogue (although that does include a +/- 5% caveat).

Then it was time for a ride. We put the wheels in a much-loved hand-built steel frame with carbon forks, and fitted a pair of 700x23 Schwalbe Blizzard Sports. There was no trouble with fitting the tyres, indicating that the rims on these Gipiemmes are neither over-sized or under-sized.

In the first mile or two there was a lot of pinging as the spokes settled in, which would suggest the wheels had not been stressed after building. To be fair, after about five miles, the wobble in the rear wheel now seemed a little less evident.

As expected when spokes are set fairly loose, the ride was very comfortable, with the wheels rolling effortlessly over some pretty rough surfaces and absorbing the vibration (along with the already comfortable carbon-and-steel frame combo). With the wheels now pretty true, there was no problem when standing up; they flexed a bit, but not enough to rub on the brake blocks.

And talking of brakes, the braking surface on the rims was good - with nice positive stopping from the get-go.

After 100 miles, the wheels were still fine, although that wobble in the back had returned. A visit to the local wheel-smith sorted it out in a flash. Using a special spoke-key fitted with a magnifying glass he also pointed out that the spokes were Sapim - a reputable brand.

The wheels are available with freewheel either Campag or Shimano compatible. One thing we noticed when changing the (steel) cassette was signs of wear on the freehub's aluminium splines. And that was after just 100 miles. This issue is not restricted to the Tecno 032s - it happens on any wheel where a few grams have been saved by using an alu freehub and a steel cassette has been fitted.

The Gipiemme Tecno 032s are a budget option, but the quality is a a step or two above entry-level. They retail at around £150 to £170 per pair, which is fair for wheels of this sort.

Verdict

A good comfortable budget option, ideal for training, touring, winter-riding and other duties where low weight is not essential.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Gipiemme Tecno 032 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?

They are not really big on product descriptions on the Gipiemme website but luckily Osporto who bring them Gipiemme in to the UK to have a product description

Alloy clincher road wheelset

Depth: 25mm

Width: 19mm

Versions: Campagnolo, Shimano/Sram

O.L.D. 100/130

Rim: Aluminium welded 6005-T5, CNC holes, 6.5mm valve hole.

Spokes: Stainless steel spokes, 32 front and rear.

Nipples: Self locking ABS L 12

Hub: GPMJ forged aluminium, ergal cassette on sealed bearings

QR: Forged Aluminium - weight 116g

Weight:1850g (841g front, 1009g rear)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
6/10

The kinks in the spokes indicated some probable clumsy building in the factory, but a good mechanic would be able to take out the worst of these, and this particular set might not be indicative of all the Tecno 032s coming out of the Gipiemme factory

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

With the spokes set fairly loose, the wheels give a relaxed ride. They could easily be tweaked up for a more responsive performance. But it depends what you want, and what you'll be using the wheels for.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

It's too early to say on how the Tecnos will be after 1000 miles, but early indications (especially after a bit of tweaking from my friendly local wheel-builder) are they'll be fine. See the note below about the aluminium splines on the freehub though.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
6/10

These are not a lightweight set of wheels, but they're not being sold as such. They're a good option for training, touring, winter-riding and other duties where you're not looking to shave every last gramme. With that in mind the aluminium splines may trim the overall weight a tad, but this saving will be hardly noticeable when you ride, and the splines will tend to wear more quickly.

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

Very comfortable, thanks to the relaxed spoke setting. As mentioned above, the wheels could easily be tweaked up for a more responsive performance. The pay-off would be the loss of a bit of comfort. Horses for courses.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Did you enjoy using the product? yes

Would you consider buying the product? yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm  Weight: 11 stone / 70kg

I usually ride: an old Marin Alp   My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,

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