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Club Roost is perhaps better known on the downhill mountain bike scene, but has decided to dive into the performance road wheel market, and its FCR50 carbon fibre clincher wheels don't disappoint.
The wheels comprise 50mm-deep, full-carbon rims laced via Sapim spokes (20 front, 24 rear) with internal nipples to unbranded aluminium hubs. The rear hub is Shimano/SRAM and - importantly for anyone with a relatively new bike - 11-speed compatible (and 9 and 10-speed). There isn't a Campagnolo variant available.
Internal nipples are a bit of a pain when it comes to truing the wheels yourself, but at least Club Roost provides you with a suitable tool for the job, along with spare spokes/nipples, QR skewers, a wheel bag, and brake pads, which is nice.
For deep-section wheels at this price, their overall weight of 1660g is pretty good. They certainly felt light and responsive in both bikes I tried them in when putting in a dig up one of Bath's many climbs, or when having a bit of a sprint on the flat.
Club Roost hasn't jumped on the wide rim bandwagon just yet, and these have 21mm external rims. Nonetheless, I ran 25mm Continental GP4000S tyres with them and they didn't become too 'lightbulby' in cross section when inflated to riding pressure.
Out on the road I found the FCR50s a cracking set of wheels for racing and general flatlanding. They spin up to speed quickly and, unsurprisingly, hold their speed better than shallower rimmed aluminium wheels - which tend to be what I use for everyday riding. Although light and responsive on climbs, deep-section rims are always going to suffer a bit of a penalty over shallower rims of a similar price when the road points upwards. But put it this way: you'd have to be a pretty excellent rider for these wheels to be the limiting factor to your performance.
I did have one main niggle with the Club Roosts: the squeal/screech you get when yanking hard on the brakes. Even on the driest of days, I found the rims would start squealing very quickly under hard braking with the supplied pads. The good news is that there is no detrimental effect on the braking performance - braking is actually very good in both wet and dry, no carbon rim issues - but the squealing is irritating for anyone who enjoys riding a silent bike.
The only other point where I wasn't totally happy with the FCR50s was in windier conditions. Deep rims are always going to catch the wind more than a traditional box section rim, and it was certainly noticeable even in low to mild wind conditions. This is really where the difference in price shows between these wheels and, say, Zipp 404 Firecrests (around £1900) or Reynolds 46/58 Aero wheels (£2000-ish). The big companies spend vast amounts of time and money in a wind tunnel at plenty of yaw angles and wind speeds, honing not only the aerodynamic efficiency but also the crosswind performance of their wheels. On the plus side, the Club Roost wheels are far cheaper than their exotic counterparts.
Overall I've enjoyed my time using the Club Roost FCR50s. I would happily take them to my next local crit round or road race over my usual aluminium wheels, safe in the knowledge I would be saving a few watts for the final gallop - and for a hell of a lot less money than your average deep-section carbon clincher. As an every-day/Sunday club run set of wheels, though, the brake squeal and crosswind performance would probably put me off.
A great value – if noisy – set of carbon clinchers for racing and fast flat riding
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Make and model: Club Roost FCR50 Carbon Clincher wheelset
Size tested: n/a
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?
Club Roost says: "Clubroost FCR50 Full Carbon Clincher Wheels At last! The result of extensive testing by champion systems/VCUK Racing Team with FCR50 rims, these wheels weigh just 1620g per pair so are extremely light - perfectly suited for riders requiring quick acceleration and nimble handling.
"The FCR50 has full carbon origin lay sidewalls which help improve braking, whilst being extremely lightweight.
"The Club Roost FCR50 wheels come complete with skewers, brake pads, spoke tool and padded wheel carry bag.
"The FCR50 depth makes these wheels great for fast-riding. Designed with high specification for use with crits, general racing, time trials and triathlons.
"Both our new carbon clincher wheels are built on lightweight hubs with 6061 aluminium bodies and high-strength aluminium axles and freehub body. They turn on super-smooth(rfe) Japanese-made sealed bearings - two in the front hub, and four in the rear, so they're durable and easy to rebuild. Hubs and rims are joined by cold-drawn, (SAPIM) Double Butted bladed spokes made from stainless steel. The configuration has 20 spokes up front, while 24 spokes in the rear means these wheels won't let you down. This is considered the optimum balance between aerodynamics and strength. No odd spoke designs here either - we've used industry-standard J-head spokes, so spares are available when needed. For Support, buyabike carry a large selection of components including repalcement cassette hubs, bearings, spokes etc. All components are compatible with 10/11 speed shimano and sram.
"Recommended rider weight limit 100kgs
"Combined wheel weights (without skewers) Front: 710g Rear: 910g Pair: 1620g
"Combined wheel weights (with skewers) Front: 770g Rear: 960g Pair: 1730g
"All wheels have a unique serial number(register your wheels for security and warranty here)
"Note weight may vary slightly, as wheels are and handbuilt, and different scales have different tolerance.
"FCR50 full carbon front rear come supplied with Club Roost wheel bag, brake pads, skewers, spoke tool, 10/11 speed cassette hub (shimano/sram)
"Club Roost - Enjoy your ride"
Value is always going to be a very subjective one when it comes to wheels like these, after all they cost 600 quid, which could be viewed as a lot. However, specifically looking at the carbon wheel market and the performance of these wheels, I would consider the value to actually be pretty good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They looked great, and rode as well as wheels that are significantly more expensive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The noisy braking was the only let down for me really, the screeching is not something I'd want to experience on every ride.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if I raced more often or more seriously than I currently do
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
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: cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking