Home
Verdict: 
Decent quality wheelset that offers impressive value for money and all-round performance
Weight: 
1,580g
CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset
8 10

You normally don't see much change from a grand after purchasing a set of carbon fibre wheels, so CES Sport has priced its RC50s very competitively at just £600. Value isn't the only quality either, it's a solid set of wheels that'll stand up to daily riding in a range of terrains.

  • Pros: Good build quality, great value, awesome braking surface
  • Cons: Cheap looking logos, nondescript ride feel

Value is the main driving force behind the CES Sport RC range, with the company "on a quest to bring to market a product for the 'Joe Bloggs' of the triathlon and cycling world, whilst maintaining high quality and without cutting corners".

> Buy these online here

It's done a very good job delivering a set of wheels that are just as at home on the club run or recovery bimble as they are in the middle of the peloton. They aren't quite the best performing, the fastest or the lightest, but when you looking at the complete package there is little to dislike.

Build and quality

At 1,580g (without rim tape and quick releases) they aren't the lightest, matching that of alloy rims of around £250 to £500, but obviously here you are getting the slight aerodynamic advantage of the 50mm rim depths without the added weight. They also tip the scales at exactly the same place as the very good Deda Elementi SL38s which are more than double the price at £1,444.99.

Like most other wheels on the market currently, CES Sport has chosen to go with a wider rim width than we used to see three or four seasons ago. Across the brake tracks the RC50s measure 25.71mm according to the digital verniers, which stretches out the 25mm Continental GP4000 tyres used for testing to 26.8mm.

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rim bed.jpg

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rim bed.jpg

I've ridden a lot of carbon fibre wheels both through testing and racing on my own over the last 10 or so years and just like bike frames they all feel different with their own characteristics.

The aforementioned Deda Elementis, for instance, had a lovely shock-absorbing feel to the carbon that seemed to take out the tiny road vibrations. The Cole C40 Lites were very stiff and buzzy over tarmac surfaces and it's worth bearing in mind that all of these wheels were ridden on the same bike with the same tyres at the same pressures.

In comparison, the RC50s don't really offer any feedback; just like some carbon fibre frames, they have a 'dead' feel. It's not a deal breaker, because it takes very little away from the ride – and nothing from the performance – but it was noticeable by its absence. This is my only real criticism of them.

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rim detail 3.jpg

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rim detail 3.jpg

That aside, the way they deal with everything else is very good for the money. The hubs run very smoothly and have stood up to the snow and wet roads we've experienced recently.

The rear engages quickly enough from a standing start, and if you like a noisy freehub then you won't be disappointed with the RC50s.

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rear hub.jpg

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rear hub.jpg

The front wheel uses a 20 aero spoke setup laced radially and the rear has 24 in a radial pattern on the non-drive side and crossed on the opposite side.

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - front hub.jpg

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - front hub.jpg

This, along with the rims, has created a strong and stiff wheel build, great for sprinting and climbing. I never really noticed any flex at the brake blocks.

Speed

At this weight the acceleration doesn't feel quite as quick as the lighter and sprightly Hunt 3650 Aero Wide wheelset or the 1,430g Cole C40 Lites I mentioned above, but it is still well within what I'd expect for a wheel of this type.

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rim detail 2.jpg

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rim detail 2.jpg

Speed is what 50mm-deep rims are all about, though, and the u-shaped rim feels fast on the flats, especially once the speed starts to increase above 25mph or so. At 76kg I noticed a bit of buffeting from a keen crosswind, but not to the point that I found the bike difficult to handle.

Braking

One thing that is very impressive is the braking performance in the wet and dry. The brake tracks have basalt added to the mix, which is used to help resist the high temperatures caused by continuous or persistent braking, like when you're in a race or descending.

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rim detail 1.jpg

CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset - rim detail 1.jpg

Braking was very progressive right from the start, both with the included pads and my favourite Swissstop Yellows. Wet or dry, the rims braked very much like an alloy rim, with a really good bite between the surfaces of wheel and pad.

Plus, there was no squealing and no grabbing from the pads as the temperatures increased, something that can be a big problem on some carbon rims.

Value

When it comes to value we already know that the RC50s are impressive. They are cheaper than virtually any other carbon fibre wheelset we've tested to date but are no way the worst.

All three wheelsets I've mentioned above are more expensive and not much lighter, and even though the Hunts are some of my favourites thanks to their ride and build quality, they are still almost £400 more expensive. The Coles are £1,700 and I'd say the CES Sports offer a very similar ride.

If you shop around on the likes of eBay there are various options direct from the Far East, but never having physically seen or ridden them it's hard for me to offer a comparison.

> Buyer's Guide: 27 of the best road bike wheelsets

CES hasn't scrimped on the quality to hit the price point, with decent components and a solid feel to them straight out of the box. They come with UCI approval to be used in the pro races, plus the build will take a rider of up to 120kg.

When it comes to finishing, the decals could be seen as a bit cheap looking, but that's a personal thing. Red is the standard, but you can have them customised from a selection of colours from the website, though it'll cost you an extra 25 quid.

On the whole I'd say that the RC50s are a decent package for the amateur racer and rider, doing pretty much everything you'd want for the majority of riding. If you want something lighter or with a bit more zing, you might want to spend a little bit more, but for the money these are very good.

Verdict

Decent quality wheelset that offers impressive value for money and all-round performance

road.cc test report

Make and model: CES Sport RC50 Clincher Wheelset

Size tested: 700C, 50mm deep

Tell us what the wheel is for

CES Sport says, "Our range of carbon wheels are manufactured using the same rim moulds as some leading bicycle manufacturers, using Toray T700 carbon fibre sheets through a process of resin permeating. The one piece moulding process ensures a stabilised and strong structure for a better finish.

"The specially developed basalt brake edge offers a high temperature resistance and a better brake force, which is both quieter and more durable than most common carbon fibre weaved edges.

"Finally, all our wheels are built with Taiwanese precision CNC machined hubs, reinforced spokes which are four times stronger than standard spokes, and are hand built by a team of skill technicians."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

From CES Sport:

Material - Toray T700 Full Carbon

Red Decals (Other colours are available for an additional £25)

UD Matte Finish

Width - 25mm

Depth - 50 mm

Wheelset Weight - 1655 +/- 30g

Lightweight Aluminum Road Hubs (CNC Manufactuered with sealed bearings) - 9,10 and 11 speed compatible

Aero bladed Spokes - Pillar PSR1423 with alloy nipple

Spoke holes - Front 20, Rear 24

Quick release skewers

Free brake blocks (4) - Shimano compatible

Free Rim Tape

Warranty - 1 year

Please note;

Max weight limit 120kg

Max Tyre Pressure 130psi

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
7/10

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

The front went out of true by about 1mm during testing, though the rear remained pretty spot on. Spoke tension was fine throughout.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

No issues at all. Thumbs only.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

Everything worked fine and as expected.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The RC50s are promising all-rounders.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Their braking performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Not a lot of road feel feedback.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes, they offer good value.

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

They aren't the best carbon wheels out there from a performance point of view, or the lightest, but considering the price they are solid performers for just about everyone.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein

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.

10 comments

Avatar
sammutd88 [86 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Never seen or ridden any wheels from the Far East?? The ones in this review......???

Avatar
koolchris99 [2 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

"If you shop around on the likes of eBay there are various options direct from the Far East, but never having physically seen or ridden them it's hard for me to offer a comparison"

The CES wheels are chinese wheels with a sticker on. Buy the below and save yourself £300. (they are lighter too)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/U-Shape-25mm-Width-Super-Light-50mm-Clincher-...

Avatar
KendalRed [206 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
sammutd88 wrote:

Never seen or ridden any wheels from the Far East?? The ones in this review......???

'If you shop around on the likes of eBay there are various options direct from the Far East, but never having physically seen or ridden them it's hard for me to offer a comparison.'

..is what he said.

 

Avatar
philhubbard [144 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Some people would rate the UCI sticker and a warranty as £300 worth, is the warranty 1 or 2 years on these?

Avatar
sammutd88 [86 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
KendalRed wrote:
sammutd88 wrote:

Never seen or ridden any wheels from the Far East?? The ones in this review......???

'If you shop around on the likes of eBay there are various options direct from the Far East, but never having physically seen or ridden them it's hard for me to offer a comparison.'

..is what he said.

 

In essence he’s ridden them. These are just the Far East wheels that went direct to a fake wheel company who then charge another $500 or more and send them to the consumer. Middle man or not, they are “Far east” wheels. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with them....

Avatar
cw91 [1 post] 3 months ago
0 likes
philhubbard wrote:

Some people would rate the UCI sticker and a warranty as £300 worth, is the warranty 1 or 2 years on these?

Except when the UCI sticker has already been obtained by Farsports (check the UCI approval list) and the warranty no doubt goes back to them anyway given "all wheels are made to order with a lead time of 4-6 weeks", i.e. you pay them, they pay Farsports.

Not sure exactly what the £300 is getting you, apart from the "cheap-looking logos"?

Avatar
timbarnes [15 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
koolchris99 wrote:

"If you shop around on the likes of eBay there are various options direct from the Far East, but never having physically seen or ridden them it's hard for me to offer a comparison"

The CES wheels are chinese wheels with a sticker on. Buy the below and save yourself £300. (they are lighter too)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/U-Shape-25mm-Width-Super-Light-50mm-Clincher-...

 

Add 20% VAT and import duty (6% ish?) plus the shipper's customs handling charge and you're pretty close to £500. So you're paying £120ish for the warranty, someone in the UK to talk to if things go wrong etc. That seems very good to me when you consider they've got the other costs of being a business in the UK to cover. Certainly makes Hunt, who operate a similar business model, seem bad value.

Avatar
koolchris99 [2 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

The chinese ones all have free shipping usually, and some people get away with no VAT and Import.

Im sure the warrenty passes back to the manufacturer, not CES i would imagine. The one i linked to has good aftercare.

Avatar
timbarnes [15 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
koolchris99 wrote:

The chinese ones all have free shipping usually, and some people get away with no VAT and Import.

Im sure the warrenty passes back to the manufacturer, not CES i would imagine. The one i linked to has good aftercare.

Although your ebay link had £40 shipping, so I'm not sure of the relevance of the first comment.

You might get away with not paying the VAT etc, but you can be sure that CES don't.

Equally, maybe CES do back off any warranty issues to China, but they are legally responsible in the UK, whereas a Chinese no-name has no such responsibility. Just out of interest, have you ever had to send anything back to China? How does the shipping etc work?

Which still IMO adds up to making the CES wheels good value.

I've bought stuff from China in the past and it has sailed through customs too, however I'd feel more comfortable (both morally and from a warranty/service perspective) paying the taxes and buying locally at CES' prices.

Avatar
jellybike [10 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Pillar PSR1423 is the model name for the spokes. Pillar don't make hubs