Prime's BlackEdition 50 Carbon Wheelset represents the brand's first push to compete with high-end performance wheels. They vastly outperform their price-tag, with stable rims, great braking, smooth hubs and easy tubeless setup.
- Pros: Powerful braking, stiff out of the saddle, tubeless valves are solid
- Cons: The rim tape isn't the best quality, but it works
If you're not familiar with Prime, its a brand sold exclusively through Wiggle and CRC. Wiggle is using its buying power to produce a very capable race wheelset at a much better price than many well-known brands.
The range covers pretty much all road, time trial and cyclo-cross options, with a mix of clincher and tubular rims at depths of 28, 38, 50, 60 and 85mm. There is also a mix of hubs, with disc and rim brake options.
In the box, you get tubeless valves, carbon brake pads, QR skewers, spare spokes, nipples and a 10-speed spacer. They don't come with sealant, but that's something I'd get when selecting tyres.
The 50mm deep rim brake option on test can be run using both clincher and tubeless tyres. They arrived with Hutchinson's Fusion 25mm tubeless tyres fitted, but I also tested them with Vittoria's 25mm Corsa G Tubeless and 28mm Goodyear Eagle tubeless tyres. All were easy to mount up with a standard track pump.
The rims are designed to work best with those wider tyres. The 19mm internal width allows the tyre to be nice and fat and I was very happy running these at around 55psi, especially with the 28s! The 27.5mm external width, in theory, creates a wind-cheating profile. Until we get a wind tunnel, all I can say is that these didn't hold me back. On the flats where I train, they hold speed easily and glide over poor surfaces.
Prime has used the experienced it gained in producing the RR and RP wheels to refine the balance between stiffness and weight. It's also looked at the wheelset as a wheels and tyres package and attempted to smooth the junction between the two. While it's not giving away any data, you can easily see that the result is a really wide rim with a smooth flow from tyre to rim.
Speed is a difficult one to judge, but I've not felt bogged down by these wheels. They've done some speedy group rides and general riding on mixed terrain and my lasting impression is that these are perfectly quick and very, very comfortable.
The braking is one of the highlights of these wheels. When used with the supplied pads, the power is really good and it's consistent too. I've been happy to run these in the rain on my winter bike, which has got noticeably faster and more comfortable with these replacing some narrow box section aluminium rims. I did feel the wind a little more, but only when it's properly gusting. Hardly surprising given the depth.
Spokes are DT Swiss Aerolite (12, laced 2X non-drive) and DT Aero Comp (12, laced 2X drive side) on the rear, and DT Swiss Aerolite on the front (20 laced radially). The Aero Comps used on the rear are a little heavier but handle the extra drive-side forces well, resulting in a nice stiff wheelset. Thankfully, nipples are external and therefore easy to access should you need to true the wheel. I've not had reason to: the wheels arrived perfectly straight and have stayed that way.
Hubs are the Prime R010. This straight pull hub contains four sealed bearings in the rear and uses four pawls to create pretty quick engagement. The hub noise is audible but not annoying, and this design means that it's easy to drop some grease in there should you enjoy the sound of silence.
The freehub body is made using a lightweight alloy which I would expect to show signs of wear, especially when using a cassette with some individual sprockets, but between the Anti Bite Guard and some good torque on the lockring, there have been no indents made into the body.
At a claimed 1,580g (we weighed them with the Hutchinson tyres at 2,220g), the weight is slightly higher than the Bontrager Aeolus XXX 4 that Mat tested earlier this year. Then again, those wheels are a full £900 more expensive than the BlackEdition hoops. I'd also advise that unless you're hill climbing or crit racing, weight isn't the deciding factor that it once was. Aero has taken that crown now and these are simply very speedy wheels.
At £1,099.99, these represent very good value and compare well with Hunt's 50 Wide Aero Wheelset (£919). They're similar in weight, width and hub design, and the Prime BlackEditions are currently discounted to below the price of the Hunts. Having read Stu's review of Hunt's 3650 set, I'd say you'd be very pleased with either set.
You can easily spend more. Fulcrum's Racing Speed 40C wheels are £2,009.99 and, for pure performance, they're better. But at nearly twice the price, the lower weight and extra zip out of corners probably won't be worth it unless you're at the very top end of racing.
A great buy if you're looking for wide, fast and stiff wheels at a sensible price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Prime BlackEdition 50 Carbon Wheelset
Size tested: 700C, 50mm deep
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?
From CRC: "Stability, handling and aerodynamism are assured with the BlackEdition 50 Carbon Wheelset. Built with peerless straight-line speed in mind, this is a pair of wheels ideal for those looking to reach their personal best or secure that podium spot."
I took a Strava KoM using these wheels on my winter bike. Just saying. Jokes aside, these are a very good performance wheelset that many of us will be able to afford.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Rim Material: T700 UD carbon fibre
Rim Width: 19mm (internal) 27.5mm (external)
Rim Depth: 50mm
Hubs: R010, CNC machined 7075 alloy hub body
Freehub: Anti Bite Guard, Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11 speed
Spokes: DT Aerolite (non-drive), DT Aero Comp (drive side)
Hub Bearings: Front: 2x 699, Rear: 1x 15267 & 1x 6802, Freehub: 2x 15267
Weight: F: 700g: R: 880g: Pair 1580g
The spoke count is perfect for heavier riders and those with a lot of power. I really like the external nipples; they're much easier to adjust should they be knocked out of true.
The width of the rim makes these feel very stiff and it also helps with holding onto rolling speed. No issues with flex either. The acceleration isn't as hyper-fast as the Fulcrums that I tested earlier in the year, but these are still quick to spin up to speed.
These have taken rain rides and plenty of hits with no issues. The anti-bite guard on the freehub body also works very well.
They're not slow, but there are lighter options out there that will also lighten your wallet.
If you're looking for outright performance and you've got the cash to buy more expensive sets, got for it. For the rest of us, these are everything that you'd want from a wheelset at a very attractive price.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Yep. Perfect out of the box and still true.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Very easy: 25 and 28mm rubber went straight up with no issues.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The skewers were easy to close and didn't creak. Tubeless valves didn't leak. Brake pads were really good if a little bit thin. The rim tape was the one thing that I'd change if I could. It worked just fine, but it was quite creased. That might just have been poor application though.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. If you're racing or just riding, you'd be happy with these hoops.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
A fabulous wheelset for the money.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Out of the box, the freehub is bordering on noisy. Nothing a dab of grease won't fix.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Hunt does a very similar wheel for less (with a little lead time on orders). These are still excellent value, though.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Loved them. So comfy for general riding yet still fast.
Would you consider buying the wheel? I'm considering a set of the tubular wheels for cyclo-cross.
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes, absolutely.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Well built with great rims and other solid component choices. They come in at a good price, although it's not quite as good as Hunt's 50mm tubeless wheelset. The only minor point is that the tubeless rim tape isn't the best; it works just fine, but I'd like to see DT Swiss tape.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.