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Verdict: 
These wheels looked great on paper, but the bearings are terrible and we wouldn't recommend them
Weight: 
1,543g
Spin Speed Metal 30 wheelset
2 10

My relationship with these Spin Speed Metal 30 wheels didn't get off to a good start. The valve holes in the 30mm deep semi-aero Niobium alloy rims are a little small which makes it hard to get some valve extenders through, actually, make that impossible.

There was a lot of rummaging around in the spares bin before an extender was found that fitted. Of course if you have a selection of long-valved tubes this isn't going to be a problem. We don't though, and you could get to the hole a little with a file - but you don't want to do that to a new set of wheels do you?

Things didn't get much better from there on in, but we'll save that for later shall we?

Spin is a company that can supply you with a titanium road frame (we tested their Spitfire Mk III Supermarine bike) and then most of the bits to fit on it; forks, headsets, stems, seatposts, a whole temptation of little spangly parts, and a flock of carbon and alloy tub and clincher wheels. These Speed Metal 30mms are the least expensive wheels they do but even so they're hand built with Sapim Race / DT Swiss Competition stainless spokes, 20 laced one-cross in the front, 24 two-cross out back and they come complete with QuickLight skewers.

On top of this you get to choose between Campagnolo or Shimano/SRAM freehub bodies, four hub colours and you can upgrade to Sapim CX Ray aero bladed spokes, alloy nipples and Seriously Trick Ti skewers should you wish, plus there's a one year warranty, lifetime rebuild and crash replacement service too.

Sounds brilliant. Cheap, well, certainly not expensive for a pair of wheels nowadays, hand-built, funky colours, skewers, warranties, great.

Well, actually, no. The front wheel lasted about 20 miles before it started making a worrying clonk-clonk-clonk noise and developed a noticeable amount of play in the 'high quality precision sealed steel bearings', sufficient for riding companions to express concern about my chances on the next descent. It took another 30 miles before the rear wheel started to show a similar amount of bearing play. Hmmmmm.

Sadly the front wheel bearings can't be adjusted for any wobble. You can tighten up the front quick-release a little bit more, which helps for a bit, but not long. The front wheel rattled around happily from then on in, making the bike feel floaty at times, a not unpleasant experience, like riding home from the pub after two pints, but not confidence inspiring on twisty downhills.

Luckily as they're sealed bearings it's an easy job to replace them, and even simpler with these Spins as the bearings will gently fall out of the hub body with no need for specialist hitting tools to drift them out as is normal. Ah.

Thankfully the rear wheel bearings can be nipped up with a 17mm cone spanner to the axle, but make sure that the threaded spacer between that adjustable one and the frame is as tight as you can get it by hand otherwise the wheel will creak and groan. This might start to happen mid ride, pleasingly.

Oh, and don't put the cone spanner back in the tool-box as the rear wheel bearings will need adjusting every other ride. Pffffff.

From an aesthetic point of view I found the Spins a bit cheap shiny-shiny rather than posh matte shiny.

The steel axled QuickLight quick-releases are of the large and clunky variety, of the kind you might find on a considerably cheaper set of wheels, and possibly negating all the aero benefits of the wheels, although they're functionally fine.

Achilles hubs aside the Speed Metal 30s are certainly light enough not to use them as an excuse and spin up to speed quick enough, and they're well built too. They've shown their handbuilt quality by only needing the slightest of tweaks with the spoke key despite having received quite some punishment.

Sadly the Speed Metals manage to possess that magical stiff-yet-compliant quality that's usually the Holy Grail of bike designers, sadly because in this case they're stiff up and down and compliant side-to-side.

It's not helped by the rear hub being incredibly narrow with a lot of spacers on the non-driveside, leading to both sides being acutely dished, making for a lot of flex back there. There's frequent brake rub when honking out the saddle and even in high-g turns the wheel flexes enough to rub. Sigh.

I'm not angry, just disappointed.

On paper the Speed Metal 30 clincher wheels look promising, cheap enough, light enough and with a choice of colours to match your bike and socks. The reality is sadly different.

Verdict

These wheels looked great on paper, but the bearings are terrible and we wouldn't recommend them.

Editor's note: We've spoken to Spin about this wheelset and they tell us that there was a problem with the wrong sorts of bearing - high speed rather than low speed - being specced in one particular batch that caused the problems Jo reported with our test wheels. Unfortunately the problem was only detectable once the wheels were ridden. As you would expect Spin replaced the bearings in all the wheels in which the problem was reported to the satisfaction of the customers affected - unfortunately they forgot to tell us about the problem when it arose. The guys at Spin understand that we have to stand by the findings of our reveiw, but assure us that they've had no further reported problems with the Speed Metal 30 Wheelset and we will be testing some of this year's batch soon at which time we will either update or replace this review depending on how they do.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Spin Speed Metal 30 wheelset

Size tested: silver/red

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?

Spin say the Speed Metal 30s are bombproof hand built light alloy wheels for year round racing & training in all terrains and conditions. If I could get a year out of these wheels I'd be happy, if I could have got a day out of them I'd be happier still.

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

Spin Fast forged and machined aero alloy hubs with high quality precision sealed steel bearings and 6-pawl interchangeable freehubs for Campag 9/10/11 speed or Shimano / SRAM 8/9/10. DT Swiss Competition or SAPIM Race double butted stainless steel spokes, Speed Metal 30mm semi-aero profile 6061 Niobium alloy rims, QuickLight steel axle quick-releases.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
3/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
3/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
1/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
3/10
Rate the product for value:
 
2/10

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

Terribly.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Erm, price and weight.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The appalling bearing play, the vertical clatter with the lateral sponginess, the look.

Did you enjoy using the product? No.

Would you consider buying the product? Ha!

Would you recommend the product to a friend? I wouldn't even lend them to someone I didn't like to do a race where giving them rubbish wheels meant I could beat them.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Avoid.

Overall rating: 2/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

 

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

29 comments

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 4 years ago
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Ouch!

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jamesfifield [108 posts] 4 years ago
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"they're stiff up and down and compliant side-to-side" I suppose at least it's at least a change from the "Vertically compliant, laterally stiff" buzz phrase that usually populates the industry  39

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Jimmy Ray Will [515 posts] 4 years ago
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I'd be keen to learn Spin's thoughts on your experiences. Sounds to le that there is a either a problem with Tue hubs, or a problem with the bearings beyond the norm. If this happened 6 months down the line I'd say fair enough, shit product, but to be so quick makes me think dodgy batch.

As for the wheel performance, this seems fairly typical of a pretend race wheel. Normal wheels use 32 spokes for a reason, I find it curious that people are trying to build alloy wheels with so few spokes and being surprised by the end performance. Again carbon rims and all their short comings are used for a reason and that's to provide enough strength without weighing a ton.

So there.

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russyparkin [570 posts] 4 years ago
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sheeeesh! i nearly bought these before i settled on my Visions.

if one wheel had issues i could see that being a dodgy batch but for both to go thats a bit alarming!

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notfastenough [3716 posts] 4 years ago
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Cripes. I got the impression that Spin did decent kit.

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Nick T [971 posts] 4 years ago
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Come on Jimmy Ray, it's not just the spoke count. How do you explain the Campag G3 otherwise?

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Jimmy Ray Will [515 posts] 4 years ago
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Never ridden a G3 so can't comment.
Ibhave ridden Vision wheels however and found them to be the worst wheels I ever used... Until I experienced the joys of the Sram s30's, truly shit.
It's not just about spoke count for sure, its a whole host of things. Camp rear wheels have very widely spaced flanges which help resist lateral load, but I'd imagine if they do perform well it'll be a fat beefy rim that is adding a lot of the strength.
Just using the same spokes as any normal wheel, with a normal hub and standard rim does not make a fast wheel. Ok, responsive wheel.

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Nick T [971 posts] 4 years ago
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There's plenty of anecdotal evidence out there on Zondas, Eurus etc so won't give you mine. Regardless, they manage a low spoke count with lower profile rims than these do so its certainly possible. Zonda/FulcrumR3 manage a similar weight and profile to these at a similar price, the only downside is replacing spokes.

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mikroos [257 posts] 4 years ago
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Mr Brand Manager, we have an emergency here!

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koko56 [330 posts] 4 years ago
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Seems odd, have you tried to contact the manufacturer?

Seen a few reviews where product was shockingly bad initially and after contacting company got something without that.

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finbar [128 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

otherwise the wheel will creak and groan like Stephen Hawkins' marriage bed.

What on Earth is this supposed to mean?

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usernameforme [53 posts] 4 years ago
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I assume the rims are kinlin XR-300's, there's nothing wrong with the rim, I've built multiple sets of wheels with these rims and they perform brilliantly, perhaps you received a faulty pair or their (spin speed's) wheelbuilding skills aren't top notch.

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usernameforme [53 posts] 4 years ago
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russyparkin wrote:

sheeeesh! i nearly bought these before i settled on my Visions.

if one wheel had issues i could see that being a dodgy batch but for both to go thats a bit alarming!

The Vision's (I assume 30mm alloy?) and these wheels use the same rim

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Bez [602 posts] 4 years ago
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"...they're well built too. They've shown their handbuilt quality by only needing the slightest of tweaks with the spoke key"

Is that the yardstick of "well built" these days? I has a sad.

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Campag_10 [153 posts] 4 years ago
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This review is so negative that I'm wondering what more there is to this story that has been left out.

I have been paid to write reviews of niche, hand-built products for specialist magazines and quality issues on test are not uncommon. It is highly unusual though, in my experience, to publish a damning review without having a dialogue with the manufacturer to understand the reasons for the product's failure and what the remedial action will be in ongoing production.

I haven't heard of Stephen Hawkins – is this an in-joke? If VecchioJo is referring to Stephen Hawking, then mis-spelling Hawking's surname is slapdash and the metaphor is in poor taste.

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Tony Farrelly [2871 posts] 4 years ago
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I agree with you Campag_10 about the Stephen Hawkin [sic] 'joke' it was in poor taste, and worse still it wasn't funny - it should have been cut and it was my fault it wasn't.

However after that I think our paths are going to diverge.

Not sure what you mean when you say 'I'm wondering what more there is to this story that's been left out." The short answer to that is nothing.

We have no axe to grind with Spin. In fact all the other Spin products we've reviewed have done very well - we really like their headsets and of course the bikes.

http://road.cc/content/review/56311-spin-bling-ti-headset

http://road.cc/content/review/56860-spin-quicklight-carbon-bottle-cage

http://road.cc/content/review/49881-spin-unobtanium-monobloc-cassette

http://road.cc/content/review/40913-spin-spitfire-mk-iii-supermarine

When it comes to these particular wheels - while Jo did not know it - we're not the only publication to find them wanting.
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/product/534621/100-miles-later-polar...

As to talking to manufacturers before publishing a damning review? Well, in my experience that can lead to pressure not to publish a damning review or at the very least to tone it down. While that might be of short term benefit to the manufacturer it doesn't help the cyclist looking to spend his or her hard earned cash on a set of wheels and who otherwise might end up buying a dud.

Of course good reviews are very useful for marketing purposes but that's a happy by-product of the reviewing process. Our reviews are not designed with that in mind, nor as some extra part of a manufacturer or distributor's quality control process, their sole purpose is to be as useful as possible to the users of this site looking to buy that particular product or trying to find out what bikes, wheel, jerseys or jackets are available.

"Trying to understand" the reasons for a products failure can all to easily slide in to making excuses or adding 'context'. If we pulled our punches or tried to be helpful nobody would read or trust our reviews which would in turn negate the usefulness to manufactures of a good review. Better for all to keep some distance.

That said, talking to manufacturers and distributors to find out more about how a product is designed, made or its application is a standard part of our reviewing process, telling them beforehand how their products have done is not and to be fair it's very rare for a manufacturer to ask.

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Campag_10 [153 posts] 4 years ago
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Tony

I think you underestimate your readership – most of us are capable of reading between the lines of a so-so review and recognising when a product is damned with faint praise anyway.

A review is just a snapshot of one sample in the hands of one reviewer, with all his/her experience/prejudices. The best managed factories will always produce defective products (usually measured in parts per million) so I maintain that it isn't doing the readers a disservice to return an unsatisfactory product to the manufacturer and ask them to replace it. After all that's what those of us who part with our hard-earned have to do. Telling the story about how the supplier handles a failure would be far more useful than a hatchet job, which could tarnish the brand's previously well-reviewed products.

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wakou [80 posts] 4 years ago
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Quite refreshing IMHO for ANYTHING to get a Road.cc review score of less than 4/5, most reviewers seem to think 'ooh some free kit that no normal person would dream of actually paying for, I'd better give it 4/5.."

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notfastenough [3716 posts] 4 years ago
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I might well be capable of reading between the lines to detect faint praise, but why on earth would I want to read encrypted reviews? I might actually buy a Spin for my next bike, but this page has at least warned me that having Spin wheels as well might not be a great idea.

As for everything receiving four stars, my understanding is that most publications go for:

1 = awful
2 = does the job with some significant flaws
3 = does the job well, some minor flaws
4 = does the job really well
5 = truly exceptional/best in class

Given how competitive the market is these days, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a lot of kit to do their intended job really well. Er, that'll score 4 then.

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VecchioJo [400 posts] 4 years ago
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firstly, apologies if the Hawkin(g) comment offended anyone

just to echo what Tony said, there's no backstory to the review, i was sent the wheels to review, i wrote down my findings

notifying a manufacturer/supplier of an off review is a slippery slope, for example how many times does the product get sent back before one that's decent enough for a less damning review arrive? relate that to being a consumer and returning a product you've spent hard-earned money on countless times before you get a good one, or just lose faith in the product altogether

as Tony said getting involved in a discussion with a manufacturer mid review can get awkward, the good ones will suck up a poor review and make the necessary changes

and yeah, most stuff is 4/5 these days, to find something that's a 1/5 is a rare treat

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Tony Farrelly [2871 posts] 4 years ago
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wakou wrote:

Quite refreshing IMHO for ANYTHING to get a Road.cc review score of less than 4/5, most reviewers seem to think 'ooh some free kit that no normal person would dream of actually paying for, I'd better give it 4/5.."

Actually most reviewers that I know (and not just on road.cc) think no such thing - all they are interested in is 'does it work'. As a rule most experienced cycle kit reviewers have got so much kit that the idea that there head is going to be turned by the price tag or how shiny it is is frankly laughable. You're right in once sense though - the problem is bringing in assessments of value when often testers are solely interested in performance. That's why at the end of all road.cc reviews the reviewer has to say whether they would actually buy the product themselves.

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tomisitt [58 posts] 4 years ago
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As a journalist who has spent 20 odd years testing products for consumer magazines, I can see all sides of the situation. FWIW, I think Spin should be encouraged to respond (if they haven't already been). The right of reply is a fundamental journalistic principle, and I think most readers would like to hear Spin's side of the story. They're unlikely to say "fair cop, guv...our wheels are shite", but they may have an explanation as to why this particular wheeelset was so poor. As the owner of a prototype pair of black Speedmetal 30s, I would certainly be interested in their comments (on mine, the hubs are fine but there is a bit of lateral flex in the rims). I was also interested to note that Cycling Weekly described them as being heavy, whereas your review described them as light (1548g on my scales doesn't seem very heavy). So, come on Spin...let's hear your side of it.

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Municipal Waste [241 posts] 4 years ago
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Bez wrote:

"...they're well built too. They've shown their handbuilt quality by only needing the slightest of tweaks with the spoke key"

Is that the yardstick of "well built" these days? I has a sad.

Seconded  2

VecchioJo wrote:

For example how many times does the product get sent back before one that's decent enough for a less damning review arrive?

I guess you'd have to look at it from the point of view that any reasonable paying customer would have. That is to return the product to the supplier and ask for either a repair or replacement, if that fails then it's time for your review.

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nuclear coffee [217 posts] 4 years ago
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Municipal Waste wrote:

I guess you'd have to look at it from the point of view that any reasonable paying customer would have. That is to return the product to the supplier and ask for either a repair or replacement, if that fails then it's time for your review.

+1 All manufacturers occasionally let slip a defective product - I've just returned a faulty tyre from continental. By all means mention the first set was faulty, and if they're arsey about a free replacement DEFINITELY don't hold back, as that's pretty important to the end consumer. But it does seem a bit harsh to rubbish the whole product when most examples are probably fine and faulty ones are dealt with appropriately. If all the wheels are that bad, wow.

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sorebones [139 posts] 4 years ago
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I was really gutted to see this review. I bumped into one of the top guys at Spin a few weeks ago in the Cotswolds - he was out for a bike ride on a non-branded carbon frame and gorgeous looking carbon wheels that caught my eye. We have a god chat about Spin (it was then the penny dropped about the titanium frames I'd seen reviewed) but it was the wheelset that really got my attention.

He was on a set of their 50mm carbon clinchers - they looked like v expensive, well made wheels and I was really impressed when he said they were £599 a pair, with full service and warranty backup in Stratford. I have to say I was intending to buy a set, but this review has seriously dented my confidence. Hopefully there will be some feedback or follow up on this from Spin.

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joeegg [43 posts] 4 years ago
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Surely a manufacturer/importer would make sure that a product going for testing and review would be spot on.
Who would put a hub together where the bearings were a loose fit ? Even a home mechanic knows thats wrong.
Reviews like this should not be dumbed down but the manufacturer should have a reply.Hope its not the normal "its a one off" "shouldn't have slipped through" "it was Bob's fault but he's left now" !

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Spin Cycleworks [1 post] 4 years ago
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Hi Folks,

We just want to direct everybody's attention to the statement underneath the review, where it has been stated that the bearing issue has been resolved, Unfortunately we did not contact road.cc about the bearings and nor did they contact us to check if there was anything we are aware of.

Luckily this is not affecting any of our wheels anymore, as the bearing issue was confined to one batch of hubs received last November (when we the reviewer took possession of the wheels).
And as mentioned by many people in these comments it is obvious that there was a bearing issue as it occurred over the course of a single ride, rather than 6 months down the line.

We are pleased to say Road.cc will be reviewing another set of our wheels in the near future and will ultimately back up our already large portfolio of happy customers.

Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to call us, We have wheels available to take out and test on the roads of the Cotswold's to put any cyclists mind at rest.

Many thanks
Spin Cycle works

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stealfwayne [123 posts] 3 years ago
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So where is this new review of the Spin wheelset. I am eager to find out as I have a set of RS10's to replace before the end of the season and the next best option is either a set fo RS80's or the Pro - lite Bracciano's for the same money...Publish this review soon guys

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notfastenough [3716 posts] 3 years ago
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I was in Stratford-Upon-Avon at the weekend. I realised Spin were local and went to have a look round and possibly treat myself - until checking the website showed that they are only open office hours Monday-Friday. How very 20th century, not being open on Saturdays (at least) must cost them a fortune.