If you're looking to inject a bit of performance into your ride without breaking the bank, the Syntium AXY wheelset from Italian component manufacturer Miche would be a good place to start. These wheels offer stiffness, a decent build quality and a respectable weight.
We've tested a few pairs of Miche wheels over the last 12 months or so, and they've always impressed, so it's no surprise that the Syntiums continue the trend.
They are quite traditional in relation to the changes we're seeing in wheel design at the moment, with an internal rim width of just 15mm and a shallow 24mm rim depth. Something that is getting rarer with the fashion for wider and deeper.
They certainly don't suffer for it, though – even fitted with 23mm tyres pumped up to 120psi they were far from punishing. In fact the ride was very smooth, even on rough patches of tarmac, probably the shallow rim coming into play, as you tend to find the deeper the profile, the harsher they become.
Weighing in at 1586g (no rim tape or skewers), they are just 32g heavier than the recently tested Mavic Ksyrium Elites and the ride difference between the two is barely discernible, impressive considering the Syntiums are £200 cheaper.
Thanks to that weight, acceleration is pretty brisk and you certainly notice the benefits in the hills. Plus, thanks to the low rim depth, the handling isn't affected by strong crosswinds.
The stiffness is what has impressed me the most, though. You can really whack the power through the Miches without any lateral movement at the rim. To aid this, Miche has created an asymmetric (off-centre) rim for the rear wheel. Because of the width of an 11-speed hub, rear wheels can end up with virtually no dishing on the drive side and loads on the non-drive side, leading to an imbalance in spoke tension. By moving the nipple holes off-centre towards the non-drive side, you reduce that imbalance, making for a stronger wheel.
The Syntiums use Sapim aero spokes, with 18 laced radially on the front and 24 on the rear, radial on the non-drive with a two-cross pattern on the drive side. These are then attached to the rim using alloy nipples. They certainly look cool anodised red, but if you use them in salty conditions make sure you keep them clean as with previous experience I have had them corrode and fail.
The hubs are Miche's own. They have an aluminium alloy body that is precision CNC machined for a tight tolerance before being fitted with SKF sealed bearings. They've seen plenty of rain soaked, mud and grit-strewn country lanes without bother, so longevity shouldn't be an issue.
The hubs are easy to strip down as well. We were supplied with both a Shimano/SRAM and a Campagnolo freehub, with the changeover being a 10-minute job.
Overall, the Syntium AXYs are very impressive wheels and would make a great upgrade, with all-round durability and performance high up on the score card. They also look the business, too, with their red/white/grey logos and matching anodised nipples.
Proves you don't have to spend a fortune to get a top performing wheelset
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Make and model: Miche Syntium AXY
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?
Miche says: "The Syntium AXY wheels are distinguished by their high rigidity and a particulary low weight, charachteristics that make them suitable, and sought after, for a professional competititve use."
Fair enough I reckon, the Miches are certainly fast enough to race on, stiff enough too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Rim: Aluminium Erto 622-15C
Hubs: CNC machined AL 7075-T6
Bearings: Sealed SKF
Compatibility: Shimano/SRAM 10-11spd or Campagnolo 10-11spd
Spokes: Sapim Aero 18F 24R
Nipples: Sapim AL 7075-T6
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent all-round wheels that suit a multitude of disciplines.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The price, considering the weight and quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Alloy nipples aren't ideal for year-round use.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A solid scoring wheelset from Miche that delivers well across the board. The build quality is good with what feels like even spoke tension, and they remained true through to the end of the test period. An impressive weight means they are quick enough for racing, all topped off with a very attractive price.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Mason Definition
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.