The new Edco Brocon Disc Brake wheelset certainly pushes the boundaries when it comes to the design and use of carbon fibre pretty much throughout. The wheels are light, strong and offer a wonderful ride feel, but you do have to pay nearly three grand for them.
- Pros: Carbon spokes give a smooth feel, durability
- Cons: Recommended max tyre width of 28mm could be offputting for some
For the Brocons' construction, Edco has used a 10k carbon weave design rather than a uni-directional one (woven, rather than all the fibres travel in one direction), saying that the higher shield strength of the woven material increases the impact strength. It's certainly a strong set of wheels and they feel absolutely solid.
> Email: info [at] edco-wheels.co.uk (info [at] edco-wheels.co.uk ) to place an order
The Brocons are based around 28mm-deep, tubeless-ready carbon rims, which means they are more of an 'all-rounder' than a deeper pure race wheel, although that does keep the weight down. (Ignore the name on the rim – we were sent an early set, incorrectly labelled.)
The pair weigh just 1,500g including the supplied tubeless rim tape, which is pretty impressive for a disc brake wheelset. They are generally heavier than a rim brake design, often needing more spokes and beefier hubs because of the higher braking forces.
With an inner rim width of just 17mm they aren't the widest wheels we've seen, especially with the way rim width is continuing to grow. It's not a massive issue unless you are a big fan of fat tyres, as on the paperwork I received with the wheels Edco recommends tyres up to 28mm wide.
What really sets the Brocons apart from many other wheels is the use of carbon fibre for the spokes.
Edco says that the wheel is built in exactly the same way as one using alloy or steel spokes, and unlike other carbon spoked wheels I've ridden in the past they are easily replaceable rather than being bonded to the rim.
The spokes themselves are made from a single piece of carbon fibre with a threaded steel end added to allow it to be screwed into a standard 14g nipple. This makes the wheels easy to true should you have any issues after hitting a pothole or suchlike.
A lot of top end wheels that we see use carbon fibre for the hub shells, but Edco has gone down the aluminium alloy route.
It's a brand new design for Edco, with a special drilling pattern to work with the straight pull carbon spokes. With NBK bearings and water resistant o-rings they roll very smoothly indeed.
Most frame manufacturers have settled on 12mm thru-axles front and rear on disc brake-equipped bikes and Edco has followed suit with the Brocons, although you can get adaptors for quick release and 15mm thru-axle setups.
The freehub has some options too, with Campagnolo 11 and 12-speed compatible offered alongside the standard Shimano/SRAM version supplied.
So, that's the technology – but how does that translate to the road?
Very nicely indeed is the answer.
The Brocons are a very stiff set of wheels and there is absolutely no feeling of lateral flex when you are absolutely giving it everything in a sprint or on a climb. This stiffness doesn't translate to harshness, though, as the carbon fibre spokes give a plush ride taking out any road buzz.
The Edcos are solid and feel very strong. I didn't go out of my way to try to destroy them, but I was taking rougher lines through broken tarmac and small potholes than I would have if I'd just landed this much money on a set of wheels myself, and they stood up to all of the abuse, remaining true.
The hubs feel very smooth and the freehub pawl engagement is brilliantly quick – exactly as I'd expect for a top-end set of wheels.
After 500 miles of testing, removing the cassette showed minimal indentations into the body, helped by the steel insert added to stop the cassette digging in under hard efforts.
There is no getting around it, £2,900 for a set of wheels is a very large outlay, but how do they stack up against the opposition?
Against the eye-wateringly priced Lightweight Meilenstein C Disc wheelset (£4,779) the Edcos don't look so bad. They offer loads of stiffness like the Lightweights and are only 130g heavier, plus the Edcos are user-serviceable.
For nearly half the money, though, you could get the Acros Road Disc C 28 wheelset if you're happy to forgo the carbon spokes. The Acros weigh 10g less and I was very impressed with their stiffness too.
On the whole, the Edcos are a very good set of wheels and although the price is high, because of the technology and materials, it's not necessarily excessive for what you are getting.
The ride from the carbon build is very impressive, but I'm not sure the extra outlay over other builds with standard spokes would swing it for me personally.
The Brocons will be available from early April, but you can place an order now.
Excellent ride comfort and overall performance from a very top-end set of wheels
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Edco Brocon disc brake wheels
Size tested: Thru axle, 700C
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, "Carbon rim, carbon spoke and a special designed hub - as a result a innovative wheel set (FW/RW) for your bike. Brocon are fully tubeless ready, great looking by using a 10k carbon weave design."
It's a very good all-round set of wheels, and well built too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Edco lists these details:
10k carbon fibre rims
28mm deep, 17mm internal width
Carbon fibre spokes, 24R/20F
6061 Aluminium Alloy hub body with 7075 axles
12mm Thru Axle (adaptors available)
Shimano/Sram freehub (Campag available)
Solid build throughout.
The Edcos deliver on all of the above, even when on the absolute limit of the power I could put out.
Solid performance and no issues during testing.
1,500g is pretty good for a strong set of disc wheels.
About what you'd expect for the technology and materials used.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Yes, no issues at all.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Tyres fitted easily onto the rims.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The wheels came with tubeless rim taped fitted and it worked exactly as expected.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As all-rounders the wheels perform well whether sprinting, climbing or just cruising along on the flat.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
For me it's the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For the technology used in the design and construction of the Edcos the price isn't excessive when compared to the likes of Lightweight and its carbon wheels and spokes, but when it comes to stiffness and performance they are near-matched by plenty of standard spoke wheels for half the price.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Probably not, it's a big outlay.
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Brocons deliver a very good all-round package, especially when it comes to comfort. The performance gains are minimal over much cheaper alternatives, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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.