Soul S2.0 wheelset  £575.00

9/10

Light, stiff, and strong, a fantastic bangs per buck aluminium wheelset

Weight 1353g   Contact  tinyurl.com

by John Whittington   November 30, 2011  

Fresh to UK shores is the S2.0 wheelset from Singapore based brand, Soul,  lightweight aluminium clinchers that aim to combine pretty much everything you could want in a wheel, being light, stiff, fast and easily serviceable. Okay maybe they don't major on comfort and though they are billed as all-rounders we'd put them at the racier end of that particular spectrum… maybe the roads are smoother in Singapore.

Taking the wheels out of the box, the first point was successfully ticked off. At a combined1353g for the pair, and a mere 7g more than the claimed weight, this is a noticeably light set of wheels. A lot of the weight seems to have come off at the hubs, the neatly machined, needle like cylinders have a good quality finish which would leave you pleased with your purchase before you've got them in your bike. Red anodised hub caps complete a tasteful and understated set of wheels in black or white.

Inside the hubs are Japanese sealed bearings, whether that makes them better than other countries of origin is up to you. An important consideration when buying a set of wheels is whether you will be able to get them serviced, especially coming from a new brand in the market. Thankfully Soul have designed the hubs so that the push-fit bearings can be accessed with a couple of allen keys. The freehub can be popped off in a similar manner. The wheels remained tight and smooth rolling over the course of the test - Soul suggest replacing the bearings at 5000km - and are covered by a 1yr build warranty (spokes, bearings, true). The freehub is a six pawl design; the pawls in a hub are what engage in one direction and allow the cassette to separately spin in the other. The norm is two or three but the six here provide super quick engagement and an expensive sounding, high frequency buzz.

The 25mm section, 20mm width, aluminium rims, have been hand-built to the hubs using 2.3mm, bladed, stainless steel spokes. The hand-built part is usual coming from the East and they seem to have been built well, with none of the spokes losing tension or wheels going off true during the test. Similar to the bearings, by using standard parts from a wheel builders inventory, if you do break a spoke or need a true, you can be confident your local bike shop will be able to service them.

So what are they like to ride? In one word... stiff. Swapped with the Mavic Aksium wheels on a CAAD 10, the difference in stiffness was immediately noticeable. Corners become rails, sprinting presents no hint of winding or brake block deflection and a spring was added to my climbing step, due also in part to their weight. The lightweight rims combine with the overall stiffness to create minimal spin-up and a very capable set of wheels.

As one of the stiffest wheelset I have used, I would be pleased to have them on a carbon race bike but the stiffness also gives you something to consider. Sould bill the S2s as a general wheelset - for racing and day to day riding - that is a hard, if not impossible, niche to fill without sitting smack bang in the middle of everything in terms of performance, comfort and weight. The S2s are definitly not middle of the road wheels in terms of the performance on offer when you're wanting to thrash it.

Nor do they sit on the fence when it comes to comfort. The poor British roads and at the moment, all the fallen sticks, became much more noticeable than on the Aksiums. I wouldn't mention it except for the fact that they are described as all round racing and training wheel - the amount of road feedback you get from the S2s is a given really on high performance race wheels like these. Obviously, they are strong enough to be used every day and there is nothing stopping you making them your sole wheels (pun intended), just expect a racier ride. I would expect someone buying these to be keeping their old wheels for training anyway.

Verdict

The S2.0 wheels are impressive, especially considering the RRP of £575. Their common serviceability techniques make them more attractive them some more expensive wheels, big brand wheels too. Wheels are the first point of call if you are looking to upgrade your bike's performance and you will certainly notice the upgrade with these

road.cc test report

Make and model: Soul S2.0 wheelset

Size tested: Black

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?

'It took us 4 years and 5 variations of the S2.0s to get here! deeper and stronger, at an actual weight of 1330g/pair. It is also now built with a deeper rim at 390g/ 25mm. It is one of the lightest full aluminium clincher wheelset in the world'

I can't backup the lightest wheelset in the world remark but they must rank right up there and represent great £/g.

'They are built strong enough for everyday training and light enough for climb specific races.'

Can't argue with that, just expect to feel more of the road if you use them everyday.

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

Hand built 25mm section aluminium clinchers onto sealed bearing hubs with 2.3mm bladed spokes, 6 prawl freehub design, 1330g/pair, easy to service, 95Kg (15st) rider weight limit, 1yr warranty.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The machined hubs are pleasing to the eye and the hand building seems to be of a high level.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Quick spinup with the light rims and rapid freehub engagement.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Spokes didn't loose tension or require a true, bearings remained tight and smooth over 30 day test. Recommended replaced after 5000km.

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

I wouldn't personally want them on my sofa like winter bike.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

RRP of £575 presents an excellent £/g compared to other lightwheel sets.

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

Can't fault them as a lightweight, stiff set of wheels.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The hub finish.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The slightly jarring ride.

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: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 184cm  Weight: 66kg

I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter  My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10

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

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

 

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I have Mavic Aksiums on my Kuota Kebel Ultegra 2011, and a new wheel set is my first port of call. I had been swithering about a pair of aero wheels to go on my Trek Speed Concept, and share onto the Kuota, but maybe these are a better upgrade for the road bike.... Cheers for the info.

Having said that, Wiggle have Dura Ace C24s for only £50 more....

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/shimano-dura-ace-7900-c24-cl-clincher-wheelset/

posted by Faroon [20 posts]
30th November 2011 - 18:15

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I love my Dura Ace C24s, and the hubs in particular are fantastic, but they take straight pull spokes which are nowhere near as easy to get as the stock ones on the Soul set. I wouldnt swap my DA wheels, but these do seem to be a very good buy. Perhaps a slightly larger volume tyre would help with the comfort issues?

posted by step-hent [644 posts]
1st December 2011 - 10:49

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The C24s are certainly good value at less than £600. They're about the same weight as the Souls but the ride is a touch more forgiving. horses for courses, really.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7233 posts]
1st December 2011 - 11:00

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Interesting to see a proper review of these. I looked at them at the start of the year after good reports on weightweenies (and actually went for the DA C24 cl wheels in the end).

But RRP of £575??? 8 months ago (and now) they were available direct from Soul at $500. That's around £320 (including shipping but not including import duty). Seems a bit steep for UK RRP.

Incidentally one of the big pluses of these wheels were the reports of excellent customer service for people with problems from Sean at Soul, which takes away one of the usual concerns about buying internationally.

Also the review doesn't mention the rider weight limit of 95kg.

posted by TimB34 [16 posts]
4th December 2011 - 22:24

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Morning Guys,

A quick introduction, my name’s Adam and I work for Advanced Sports Distribution, the company that bring Soul Wheels to the UK.

Firstly thanks to John and Road.cc for publishing such a great review of one of the Soul's most popular products and thank you lot for taking your time to post comments.

To add to the above comment above for TimB; Tim is absolutely right these wheels have been offered directly from Soul for $500.00, this cost includes shipping but excludes Import Duty, VAT and Clearance Charges, these costs along with the expense of stocking in the UK so that there is product available to the ever growing team of dealers, keeping a demo fleet of most models and extending Soul’s standard 1 year warranty to 2 years with the first year including bearing wear and any required truing. When all of these extra costs are taken into account I think an RRP of £575.00 is a lot easier to relate to, especially when considering the thick end of £100.00 of that is VAT!

With regards to the suggested rider weight limit of 95kgs; there is also that S2.0 Max model that uses the same light weight rim and very similar hub internals but uses 5mm bladed steel spokes that are straight pull, the S2.0 Max has a suggested rider weight limit of 120kgs. The Max version is also ideal for more powerful riders.

As suggested above ASD do keep a demo pair of these along with most other models from Soul’s range in stock for existing and potential customers to try, they are available with either Shimano/SRAM or Campag freehub bodies so if you’d like to borrow a pair to compare to another manufacturers offering please feel free to contact us on sales@asd.uk.com to check for availability.

Please use the above email address to contact us with any queries at all. I’d also like to apologise to those of you that have tried Googling for our website; it is currently under construction but fingers crossed it will be up and running early in the new year…

See you soon

Adam

posted by Adam Buckland_ASD [27 posts]
5th December 2011 - 9:47

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I note these wheels can now be had for £380 - that has to be a great deal.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2890 posts]
17th April 2013 - 22:52

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Cheers notfastenough, good spot.

Our web dealer racewaredirect.co.uk are helping to get through the last few pairs of 2012 Soul wheels and all of the remaining stk of aluminium rimmed models are £380.00 from their website. There are also similar savings on the carbon rimmed models!!

Go grab a deal!

posted by Adam Buckland_ASD [27 posts]
18th April 2013 - 20:29

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Hi Adam, unfortunately I can't at the moment, domestic stuff taking priority. However, for future reference, can you tell me:

I believe there were some issues with bearing seals letting in water - has this been sorted?
Will the rim take a 25mm tyre? Thinking of options to manage the stiffness mentioned in the review.
Do you have a demo set of the s2.0? Can these be sent to Manchester once I'm ready to start looking seriously?
Do you have any stockists in north west England yet?

Cheers.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2890 posts]
18th April 2013 - 21:02

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There has been an issue with a batch of bearings where the seals haven't been up to scratch but we thankfully seem to be through them. To reassure you all of these bearings have been replaced under warranty

25's work really well, I use them quite often.

Drop us a line at sales@asd.uk.com when you're back to and we can arrange a demo pair for you. There aren't and dealers up your neck of the woods, the best place to buy them from is Raceware as they've supported us really well with the revised pricing.

Any queries just let me know

Adam

posted by Adam Buckland_ASD [27 posts]
19th April 2013 - 19:14

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Great, thanks for the info.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2890 posts]
19th April 2013 - 22:48

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