You might remember that a few months ago we gave you a sneak peek of new brand Blk Tec’s C1 wheelset; now they’ve been kind enough to send us in a set to review. We’re going to be getting the miles in over the next couple of months but here are some details to whet your appetite.
Apart from the freehub and internals, the entire wheel is made from Toray T800 carbon fibre. That’s a grade that was previously only used in the aviation sector but it has now made its way across to various sporting markets.
The rims, hub body and spokes are all manufactured separately before being bonded together. They come with a 100kg (15st 10lb) rider weight limit and they’ve certainly seen some knocks on the pothole strewn local roads.
Carbon fibre’s main selling point is its stiffness versus weight and the C1s highlight this with an all-up weight of 1,363g, excluding skewers. That's pretty impressive for a 45mm rim depth, we reckon, and initial testing miles haven’t seen any form of flex under hard acceleration, so Blk Tec seem to have got the balance right.
The front wheel is minimally spoked with just 12 carbon blades while the rear has 18 positioned to deal with the stresses from the dished driveside having a 12/6 split. Should one of them snap, Blk Tec say that they are replaceable which is reassuring, as is the fact that the rim can be repaired too depending whereabouts the damage is located. If things do go properly pear shaped, they do offer a crash replacement scheme.
Wheel design has come a long way in the last few years, especially when it comes to aerodynamics. Deeper is generally thought to be better in something like a time trial but in the real world, when you’ve got to steer and ride in crosswinds, a deep rim isn’t always the most practical option.
Going broader and blunted, claim many experts, is a great way to lower turbulence especially at greater yaw angles, which improves aerodynamics while keeping the rims useable in all conditions. This is the direction Blk Tec have gone with a 25mm rim width that is maintained practically to the spokes, with a rounded edge.
They haven’t been to the wind tunnel yet but it is in the pipeline and we’ll bring you the results as soon as we have them. Out in the real world, the wheels do feel very quick when paired with some 24mm wide tubs, and they don’t suffer with buffeting when it’s windy.
One other thing I will say for the C1s is that they offer some of the best braking I’ve known for a carbon rim when paired with the included SwissStop yellow pads. A really solid bite in wet or dry conditions gives you plenty of confidence.
So, that all important price then. At the moment all we know is that the wheels are US$2,999 because Blk Tec haven’t got a UK distributor in place yet due to being such a new company, but they’re on the case. It is clear that we’re talking high-end here so we’re going to give the wheels a good test over the coming months to really see how good they are.
In that time we should have the UK price and the all important data from the wind tunnel to go along with our findings, so stay posted for the review. If you can’t wait, get over to blktec-cycles.com for more details.
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!