Pro-Lite Bracciano wheelset  £349.99

9/10

Light on weight and light on your pocket, but heavy duty performance. Superb.

Weight 1501g   Contact  www.hotlines-uk.com

by Dave Atkinson   August 18, 2009  

There's no two ways about it: this is a really excellent set of wheels. They're light, they're well built from quality components and they're great value. On top of that the ride quality and stiffness are well up there with rival wheelsets – even some considerably more expensive ones – and if you don't like the silver polished ones (we do) you can have them in black instead. There's really not much to moan about here.

Pro-Lite make great play of the fact that all their wheels are hand built without machines, so it wasn't a great surprise to find an evenly tensioned, well trued set in the box. Picking them out the first thing that you notice is that they're light. Really light, for a £349 wheel. Ours didn't quite measure up to the claimed weight of 1482g for a set, but at 1501g (without skewers) they're the lightest sub-£400 wheels we've tested by a good margin.

The 27mm deep rims are mated with stainless flat bladed spokes (24 at the rear, 20 on the front) to some very slight-looking hubs. The front particularly is minimilast to the same point as something like an American Classic: there's enough metal to cover the two bearings but not much more. The rear is a slightly beefier affair that boasts five bearings (four standard and one angular contact) and both hubs, and the quiet freehub, were buttery smooth throughout the test. The one bit of weight saving I could probably do without is the alloy spoke nipples, for the two or three grams they save I'd prefer hardier stainless ones. The alloy freehub body needs a good firm hand too when you're tightening the cassette. It is possible to notch it under load, but it's harder than others I've tested.

Out on the open road the Braccianos are everything you'd want a wheel to be; responsive, comfortable, stiff and quiet. I didn't manage to eke any brake rub out of front or rear; in the workshop testing the 4mm deflection of the rim for a 15kg lateral load is about average for the money, on the tarmac they never felt flexy.

Acceleration is excellent, and you certainly feel the lack of heft on the climbs too. On the descents the bike felt a little more nervous than with the Fulcrum 3s I was running before the test, but I find that's a common side-effect of a light wheelset. You have to take care when sprinting too, as it's easier to throw the bike from side to side. I took the Braccianos out on a couple of long rides sporting the Conti Force/Attack combo tyres I've been riding on other wheelsets, and they certainly weren't any less comfortable than comparably-priced (and more expensive) wheelsets on the same setup, even after four of five hours in the saddle.

Verdict

Anything not to like? No, not really. You'll have to pay a lot more than £349 to get a similarly light wheelset from the likes of Shimano, Mavic or Fulcrum – nearly twice as much in two of those cases – and there's nothing in the quality of components or construction, or the ride experience, to suggest that these Pro-Lite wheels won't give you comparable performance over time. Effectively you're getting race wheel weight and function for training wheel money. And that has to be a good thing.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pro-Lite Bracciano wheelset

Size tested: 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?

Lightweight alloy 700c wheelset aimed at mid-market racers and Sportive riders

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

Super light Alloy 6066 material, Flash Welding.

27 mm profile for superior aerodynamic performance.

2 in front hub, 5 in rear hub angular contact bearing (Japanese EZO)

Available for Campagnolo or Shimano freehub bodies

20 Spoke Front, 24 Spoke Rear.

PRO-LITE double butted stainless aero spoke.

Alloy T73 nipple.

100% built by hand.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

True both laterally and radially on arrival (and they'd come from another test), smooth hubs and quiet freehub

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

Can't fault the performance at this price

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Not the longest test we've ever done but there were no problems on test and nothing to suggest any flaws in the design

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

For the money, spot on

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

Really easy rolling wheels, never felt harsh

Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

For £349 they're a steal. Pro-Lite tell us they've currently run out, and we're not surprised

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

Excellent performance all round

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Pretty much everything: the build, the weight, the ride feel

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I'm not a fan of alloy spoke nipples

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Probably the best bang for buck wheelset we've seen this year.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 190cm  Weight: 98kg

I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs  My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Now £250 on Chain Reaction Cycles.
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=29086

What.A.Steal.

Ordered myself a black Campag set Big Grin

posted by Pifko [88 posts]
10th March 2010 - 19:53

63 Likes

that's super value. they really are excellent wheels. Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
10th March 2010 - 22:14

65 Likes

£175 at Ribble. Should arrive Monday. Nice.

posted by boxelder [2 posts]
17th October 2010 - 16:00

57 Likes

crikey. it just keeps on getting better. let us know how you get on with them Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
17th October 2010 - 17:57

53 Likes

got a black pair ... very nice indeed. slightly out of
true straight out of the box, but nothing that 5 mins
in a jig couldn't sort out. since then perfect Smile

and favourably comparable to planet-x model b

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [768 posts]
17th October 2010 - 19:22

57 Likes

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