Edco's Optima Roches are a tough set of wheels that are tubeless ready and compatible with SRAM, Campag 10/11 and Shimano 10/11-speed. This is the disc brake version of the wheelset our Stu tested a year and a half ago. I like it as much as he did.
These wheels are built around Edco's own SuperG hubs, which are handmade in Edco's Swiss factory. They are guaranteed for a whopping eight years (the other components get a two-year guarantee), a strong hint at Edco's confidence in their durability. They use radial stainless ball bearings and are laced to the alloy rims with 20 Sapim Race double butted spokes on the front and 24 at the rear. You'll need Centerlock disc brake rotors for stopping.
That rear hub has Edco's own MultiSys cassette hub body, making the hub compatible with both Campagnolo and Shimano/SRAM cassettes. The hub body also has a hardened steel inlay to protect the aluminium body from being eaten by the sprockets. I found this didn't work perfectly, still finding evidence of sprocket-chew, but it was still easy to get the cassette off, something I have found tricky with other cassette bodies. You also get two Campag threaded locknuts (as in you need a Campag locknut tool, a Shimano one won't work), one for the 11-tooth small sprocket and one for 12T small sprocket. Note that these are specific for this hub, standard lockrings won't work. Make sure you don't lose 'em. You get enough spacers to cover both 10 and 11-speed cassettes as well.
The rims are wider (24mm) than they are high (22mm), making them bang on the bigger tyres trend. Edco recommends using 25mm tyres, and indeed they come with Continental Grand Sport Race tyres in this size. I personally like wider tyres, and have used this wheelset mainly with 30mm and wider.
The rims are tubeless ready, though a bit of perseverance was needed to get them to work, and even then only certain tyres worked. I ended up ditching the rim tape the wheelset came with, and went for one wrap of Stan's yellow tape and three more wraps of electrical tape to build up the internal rim diameter. Once that was done, mounting Schwalbe S-Ones was a doddle.
For cyclo-cross duties, I couldn't get my personal favourite tyre, Vittoria's XM Pro TNT, to mount. The set I tried to mount has seen some action, so a new tyre being tighter might work, or more electrical tape might too. I had some Bontrager CX3 TLRs hanging around which did go up but needed re-inflating a handful of times before they stayed up. After this, I didn't have any issues with burping, despite some enthusiastic attempts at jumping hurdles, which sometimes worked. Ahem.
Once mounted, the rims are wide enough to take full advantage of the grip afforded by the thread on cyclo-cross tyres, something I find is compromised in narrower rims.
Despite the assault by hurdles in cyclo-cross guise, and a good 300km of heavily laden touring with the family on and off road on 32mm Schwalbe Marathons (which were not as much of a bastard to mount as they can be), the Edcos stayed perfectly true. That's despite the fact that I reckon while touring, with my 80kg and at least another 35 of bike and luggage while touring, I was over the 110kg maximum rider weight Edco recommends.
These really are about as tough as they come, which is no mean feat for a pair of wheels that weigh 1725g, have a low spoke count and spin up fast enough to enjoy sprints. Like a good wheel, they are stiff without rattling the fillings, making them perfect for any kind of riding that requires a fast wheel that will take a battering.
An RRP of a penny under £600 might seem a bit steep for a pair of wheels that aren't the lightest in this price bracket. But, as I keep banging on about, they are durable and strong. You also get 'free' tubes and tyres, though I'd probably prefer to see them a bit cheaper and make my own choices of tyres. They are backed up by a decent warranty and a crash replacement policy. Oh, and the quick releases are really nice too!
Not the lightest, but they're tough, durable and they ride really well
road.cc test report
Make and model: Edco Roches (22mm) Disc Brake, Tubeless Ready
Size tested: 22mm aluminium clincher rim
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?
Edco says: "The Optima Roche disc brake is our alloy wheelset for serious cyclists who are looking for their first wheel upgrade, especially anyone wishing to have the option of running tubeless tyres. Disc brake specific this wheelset is also ideal for cyclocross and performance road, particularly the growing sportive market.
The tubeless ready rim design means that tubeless tyre bead snap in with ease and make an airtight seal. The rim itself is a wide 24mm, which compliments the current trend of running wider tyres. We suggest that 25mm are used with the Roche wheels for optimum performance. The wheels are supplied with Continental Grand Sport Race tyres as standard.
The hub is centre lock disc, coupled with our disc adaptor it can be used for six bolt rotors.
Our SuperG disc black anodized hub is handmade in Switzerland at our factory which has been making bicycle components since 1902. The hub body is guaranteed for 8 years whilst all other parts are covered for 2 years.
The Roche wheel is also covered by our crash replacement policy."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Weight: 1725g (Front 775g / Rear 949g)
Rim: 22mm aluminium clincher rim
Spoke: Front 20, Rear 24, Sapim Race db (Round black stainless steel)
Nipple: S.I.L.S. – Polyax Internal Sapim Integrated Locking system, brass silver plated 14mm
Front hub: edco SuperG black anodized with 2 radial stainless ball bearings
Rear hub: edco SuperG centre lock disc brake black anodized with 2 radial stainless ball bearings
Cassette: Multisys (body is compatible with Campag 10/11, Shimano 10/11 and SRAM)
Quick release: QR-OC Customized edco aluminium handle ( Front 58g / Rear 61g )
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed perfectly true despite the beating I gave them.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Tubed tyres went on fine; I tried Schwalbe Marathons which can be hard to fit and they went on with a bit of patience. Fitting tubeless tyres was a mixed bag, see main review for details.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The quick releases are nice, but they are about 5mm shorter than other quick releases I have. This might be an issue on bikes with particularly wide dropouts, but was fine on my bike.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These were fit-and-forget, which to my mind is a high accolade. Touring, cyclo-cross, training on rough lanes... they took everything in their stride without complaining. While they are not the lightest, they are light enough to be a joy to ride.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
They are tough, and nice to ride.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
They could be tubeless readier.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes, I would consider it.
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Depending on what they were after, yes.
Use this box to explain your score
Edco's Roches DB wheels should be near the top of your list if you're looking to upgrade to tough all-rounders, for everything from touring to cyclo-cross. They are not the lightest in this price category, but they have stood up to being thrashed around and should last you a long time. They come with a set of tubes and tyres and are backed up by a long warranty and a crash replacement programme.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking