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The Pacenti Forza-C 30mm Disc Clincher wheels are a new design from the ground up and they are absolutely lovely. You can feel the quality of the build as soon as you start riding, and their stiffness is impressive considering their very svelte 1,378g weight. Pacenti hasn't even stung you on the price either.
Pacenti builds these wheels by hand in the UK and it shows – not necessarily the UK bit, but definitely the handbuilt part. The wheels feel tight and stiff, but the spoke tension allows enough comfort through to take out any harshness.
The tyres will obviously do the majority of this, but using the same tyres, pressures and so on between the amount of wheels I get through, you can feel the tiny little differences.
Speaking of tyres, the Forza-C rims are hookless so they are only compatible with proper tubeless tyres, none of that tubeless ready stuff, so that might limit their appeal somewhat to prospective purchasers. You can fit an inner tube if you like, as long as you use a tubeless-specific tyre.
If I'm honest, as much as tubeless is making inroads into all aspects of road riding, personally I haven't really felt the need to make the transition. The number of punctures I suffer on both road and gravel throughout the year considering my mileage is minimal (probably two or three), so I haven't bothered. I'm not fussed about running lower pressures for comfort either, which is probably the main reason I haven't swapped.
That aside, I had some tubeless tyres kicking around, the Ere Research Genus in a 24mm width, tyres that admittedly I wasn't that impressed with when it came to their ride quality, but they did little to damp the feedback from the Pacentis.
Fitting them was easy on the 21mm wide rim (internal) using the rim tape and valves that came with the wheels, and I managed to get them inflated with just a standard track pump after a bit of fettling and a few videos – it being the first time I'd used hookless rims.
The wheels were running true straight out of the box and that is exactly how they stayed throughout testing.
The 30mm-deep carbon fibre rims have an asymmetric spoke bed, to offset the dishing, creating a stronger wheel thanks to better spoke tension to cope with today's current wide-ranging cassettes and the width of adding disc brakes to the hubs.
They are laced with 24 spokes front and rear in a two-cross pattern for strength, using Sapim's CX-Ray spokes up front and its D-Lights at the rear – something we see on a lot of builds, especially the drive side as the D-Lights are very strong, being primarily designed for mountain bike use.
Hub-wise Pacenti uses its own in the build, which are fitted with EZO bearings. They run beautifully smooth and have stood up well to varying weather conditions.
It's good to see the freehub getting a bite guard, too: a small strip of stainless steel to stop the cassette gnarling up the alloy body under load.
I spoke up top about how stiff and comfortable these wheels are, but that is only the half of it. What this build has created is a set of wheels that are not only durable and robust but impressively efficient.
A pair of wheels weighing (without valves and tape) sub 1,400g (747g rear, 631g front) are never going to feel sluggish, and these certainly don't, but they don't feel like they have sacrificed anything to achieve that. Acceleration, climbing and sprinting are delivered without hesitation and... well, I can't really sum it up more than that these wheels deliver the all-round package, such a joy to ride.
And on top of all that, you can have all of this for a penny under £900!
Yes, it's still a wedge of cash, but from some of the more mainstream brands you'd be looking at getting on for double the price.
Similar options such as the Token Prime Ventous Carbon Disc wheelset will set you back £1,099.99. They certainly impressed Sean, so it's not a bad comparison and they have a decent weight of 1,479g.
And for a little less, the likes of Parcours with its Grimpeur wheelset (£819/1,406g) and JRA's £850 Gecko wheelset are worthy competitors, and show what quality company the Pacentis find themselves in.
The Forza-Cs are up there with some of the best carbon disc wheels on the market thanks to quality components and a great build. If you've embraced tubeless and want one of the lightest, durable, best value for money wheelsets out there then this could be the one.
Light, strong, good value – you don't have to pick two, you can have all three
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pacenti Forza-C 30mm Disc Clincher wheels
Size tested: 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?
Pacenti says, "Hand-built in the UK. We'll build you a Forza-C wheelset complete and ready to ride. Enjoy an ≈1470 gram wheelset built with 24h drilling front and rear, Pacenti hubs front and rear, Sapim CX-Ray spokes in front, Sapim D-Light spokes in back, and laced two-cross to optimize strength and low weight. Hubs are configured as 12mm front and 12mm x 142 rear. QR and 135 x 10mm rear are available through end caps purchased separately.
"Our Forza-C rims are the heart of this wheelset, and they are optimized specifically around tubeless tires. The inner width of 21 mm provides for more air volume (comfort) and improves tire profile (control). The asymmetric profile provides for good spoke tension when lacing to offset hub flanges. These rims are the result of a clean sheet design that brings our best thinking to the table on what a rim should be."
The Forza-Cs are a great all-round package at a decent price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
TIRE TYPE Hookless Clincher
TIRE SIZE 700c
TUBELESS READY Yes
RIM CONSTRUCTION Molded carbon
MATERIAL UD Carbon Fiber
WEIGHT 1455g +/- 15g
INTERNAL RIM WIDTH 21.3mm
EXTERNAL RIM WIDTH 26.6mm
RIM HEIGHT 30mm
MAX TIRE PRESSURE Refer to tire pressure guide
FREEHUB BODY 11spd Shimano bite guard
HUB BEARINGS EZO Japan
SPOKES FRONT Sapim CX-Ray
SPOKES REAR Sapim D-Light
SPOKE DRILLING FRONT 24h
SPOKE DRILLING REAR 24h
LACING PATTERN FRONT 2 cross
LACING PATTERN REAR 2 cross
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
No issues at all throughout testing.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
No problems at all once you get used to hookless rims.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The rim tape was easy to fit and if you need quick release adaptors these are available as an optional extra.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're great all-round. There's nowhere that they don't really deliver.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
A quality build throughout at a great price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
If you aren't interested in tubeless then they aren't for you.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We've seen a lot of smaller brands entering the market with some quality wheels that can take on the big names when it comes to value for money, and these are right up there with them.
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 overall score
A really good wheelset that covers all of the bases for the rider who wants a fast, light and strong wheelset for their race bike.
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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!