Good news everyone: road disc wheels are becoming more abundant, the price is coming down, and the wheels themselves are getting better. The Kinesis Racelight 700 Disc is a case in point: a sub-1600g wheelset for £400 that's well built, tubeless and thru-axle ready, and great for bigger tyres.
With 28 stainless aero-bladed spokes front and rear, these wheels are sensibly built for the stresses of disc brakes, and of general UK road riding. The rim is a disc brake-specific, 22mm-deep extrusion with no brake track, and it's 24mm wide with an internal width of about 19mm. That makes it spot on for larger road rubber up to cyclo-cross and even monster cross tyres; I ran these wheels with 28mm Schwalbe Pro Ones as well as 35mm G-Ones with no issues.
The rims are tubeless-ready but they come with a standard non-tubeless rim strip, so to convert you'll need to buy tape and valves: factor that into the cost if you plan to go without inner tubes. It's a simple enough process to get them sealed, and the flattened profile in the middle of the rim means the valve sits nice and snug too.
In terms of getting tyres on and off they're reasonably tight, but no more so than other similar wheels I've tried such as the Pro-Lite Revos and Zipp Course 30s; there wasn't any tyre I tried that I struggled to get seated.
Like those two wheels, the Racelight 700s are around 1,600g. Kinesis states a weight of 1,550g; ours weighed in at 1,590g with rim tape, so that's about right. That's a good weight for an all-purpose wheel. Obviously adding a disc rotor will bump that up a bit. The Kinesis-branded hubs use Shimano's Centerlock rotor mount as opposed to the more dated six-bolt. Centerlock makes discs much easier to fit and remove, so that's a thumbs-up from me.
In use these Kinesis wheels were very good. They're tightly built and there's no sloppiness in them at all, either at the bearings or in the straight-pull spokes. They were true when they arrived, and they stayed that way over the few hundred miles of testing I put into them. They're not super-light but they never felt sluggish and the ride feel is very good; that's probably down in no small part to the types of tyre they were wearing, and the fact that I was running them tubeless. Hard cornering didn't reveal any vagueness and slamming them into the odd pothole didn't knock them out of line.
Switching from quick-release to thru-axle (12mm or 15mm at the front, 12mm at the rear, all supplied) is a simple job that doesn't require any tools; the end caps are push fit. The quick releases that come with the wheels are simple external cam ones, but they're nicely made and effective. Removing the cassette at the end of testing revealed some minor notching of the alloy freehub body, but no more than is usual for a wheel at this kind of price.
They don't really do a lot wrong, these Racelight wheels. For £400 you'd expect a well-built and reasonably light wheelset and that's what you get, with a forward-looking build that uses tubeless rims and Centerlock disc mounts, and covers all the current axle standards. A good value choice for your road disc or gravel build.
Solid performing road disc wheels that are well built and a good weight for all-round use
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kinesis Racelight 700 Disc
Size tested: 24mm width, 22mm depth
Tell us what the wheel 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?
Kinesis says: "A reliable and fast road disc wheel set, the Racelight 700 disc wheel features wider tubeless ready rims, centerlock compatible hubs, bolt thru axle fitting and 11spd hub body"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
*Rims: Tubeless ready clincher. 28h, 24mm width, 22mm depth, true disc-specific profile, high strength alloy, T6 Heat treated.
*Hubs: Rear: 9mm QR/142 12mm. 7075 alloy, High quality. 3 pawl alloy freehub. compatible freehub available. 4 large sealed bearings, Centrelock disc mount.
*Front: 9mm QR/15mm/12mm Thru axle. Lightweight 7075 alloy, double sealed bearing, centrelock disc mount.
*Spokes: Stainless steel aero bladed spokes, with black anodised alloy nipples. 28h 3-cross build.
*Weight: Front: 710g. Rear: 840g
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Performed well throughout testing.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Fitted tubed and tubeless tyres, no real issues. For a tubeless rim they're about average in terms of tightness.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
Supplied without tubeless rim strip but easy to switch. Skewers are good.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Well built, fairly light, good profile for larger tyres.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
No real issues.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Racelight 700 discs put in a solid performance and they're decent value too.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.