If you need a wheelset that can do a bit of everything for a bargain price, the Pave 28s from Superstar Components need to be on your shopping list. Light enough to race on while still managing to be as tough as old boots is a winning combination, more importantly though look how shiny they are.
The weight of 1640g (including rim tapes) is impressive for a sub £200 wheelset and when you ride them it's apparent that the weight is more of a by-product of a quality build and solid components rather than the start point. Solid is the key word in that last sentence as the Pave 28s feel super strong and Superstar Components offer a two year warranty and a lifetime of free truing which strongly implies they've got a lot of faith in their product.
Handbuilt in the UK the 28mm deep Pave wheelset uses 20 Sapim Laser spokes laced radially in the front wheel with 24 two-crossed at the rear. These are mated to Icon Ultra hubs with the rear being 11 speed compatible Shimano with an option of switching to a Campagnolo freehub should you need it.
The cartridge bearings are sealed which they've needed to be considering the last four weeks of testing have been decidedly wet, salty and muddy. Without going out of my way to damage them they haven't been cleaned or seen any form of maintenance and while the bike is creaking like mad the Pave 28s are still smooth and as quiet as a mouse.
The Pave rims have an external width of 23mm which increases the width of the fitted tyre. For instance the 25mm Vittoria tyres used for testing measured 26.9mm from shoulder to shoulder. This brings two benefits: more rubber on the ground for grip and the option of running lower tyre pressures too. I still like the feel of a hard narrow race tyre beneath me and with the Vittorias pumped up to the 100psi rim limit I still got that feeling while having the extra grip.
My only criticism was that the narrow rim tapes provided had too much room to slide around. Even with the tyres and tubes fitted the tape slid over on both the front and rear exposing the spoke hole edges causing some frustrating punctures.
They accelerate well thanks to the low weight and even hard efforts don't see them flex at all. You can feel the stiffness in the rim all the time although they are never harsh even on rough surfaces. A testament to the spoke choice and lacing to allow just enough give to take the road buzz out. Using the same tyres and pressures with a similarly wide wheel highlighted just how comfortable the Pave 28s are.
Overall they have the feeling of a performance wheelset that suits a lightweight race bike but also feels right at home tapping out the miles on a heavyweight steel tourer; I've tried them on both. It's this kind of versatility that makes them such a good buy being able to swap them over between bikes and not having to compromise on ability.
It's the reliability though that is the biggest selling point. I seem to be pretty hard on wheels especially in the winter months and it's not uncommon for me to return test bikes with broken spokes but these are still running as they were when they came out of the box.
The Superstar Components are easily worth the £194.99 asking price and while you can get various entry level wheels from Shimano, Campag etc. for less they just don't compete when you take into account the build quality, ride and aftersales maintenance package. In fact nor do a lot of more expensive wheelsets.
UK handbuilts that are a long term investment. Lightness, value & quality – for once you can choose all three
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Superstar Components Pave 28 wheelset
Size tested: 17mm
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?
With a wider rim profile than most the Pave 28s are designed to run larger volume tyres at lower pressures while still giving a feeling of speed and performance. I think Superstar Components have delivered a brilliant wheelset here with a common sense choice of quality components and wheel building knowledge.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*20 spoke front - radial
*24 spoke rear - two-crossed
*Pave 28 Rim - 28mm deep, 17mm internal width, 23mm external width
*Sapim Laser spokes
*Icon Ultra 11spd hubs (Shimano, SRAM & Campag options)
*Sealed cartridge bearings
*2 yr warranty
*Crash replacement discount scheme
*Lifetime free truing service
*Silver, red or black versions available
*0.2mm trueness tolerance
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A brilliant set of wheels that are fast and strong too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The overall ride feel
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Narrow rim tapes
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The Pave 28s are just brilliant wheels. The quality and durability is easy to feel as you ride and they look great too. For the maintenance package and build quality the price is truly exceptional, you aren't going to need to replace them anytime soon.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.