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Verdict: 
Super-stylish and brilliant performance – a great upgrade for a retro build or a training bike
Weight: 
1,690g

Pacenti's Brevet Wheelset offers a classic look with modern features and performance that exceeded my expectations. The weight is good, but this is a wheelset all about comfort and style, both of which Pacenti has got spot on.

  • Pros: Classic style; wide rim; easy tubeless; handbuilt quality; great price
  • Cons: No tubeless tape and valves; no skewers

Ever since carbon wheelsets rudely made an appearance in Paris-Roubaix, my love of a classic box-section rim has grown ever stronger. These days, Enves are more common on the club run than a classic, handbuilt wheelset and that saddens me. I've owned many shallow section wheels, the best of which were Ambrosio's Excellence rims laced with plain gauge spokes to blissfully silent Ultegra 6800 hubs.

> Buy these online here

Pacenti markets these wheels as classic style matched with modern features, intending them to be used for a retro bike build that you can take to L'Eroica. What I see is a stylish set of wheels for getting the miles in.

The classic style is the main feature for me, and wow do these look stunning. The chrome box-section alloy rims are just 15mm tall and have 28 spoke holes holding silver Sapim D-Light J-bend spokes. These attach in a two-cross lacing pattern to the high-flange hubs.

Pacenti Cycle Design Brevet Wheel Set - front hub 2.jpg
Pacenti Cycle Design Brevet Wheel Set - rear hub.jpg

It's all very classic then, but look down at the rim from above and you'll be struck by the modern width. These rims are following the trend for going wider and the 19mm internal width is perfect for pairing with 28mm tyres. It seemed fitting to pop some classic looking tyres on and handily I had a set of Bontrager's 28mm R4 Classics tyres with a cotton casing.

Pacenti Cycle Design Brevet Wheel Set - rim bed.jpg

The rims are also tubeless-ready, though you'll need a tubeless kit to convert them. The rim tape here is for clincher only. Pacenti does a 10m roll of tubeless tape for £6.99 and 50mm tubeless valves for £11.99. It's not a huge upgrade cost and if you're looking to go tubeless, Pacenti will fit everything with new Continental GP5000 tyres for you. Do this and Pacenti will include the cost of the tubeless tape and valve in the price of the tyres.

As I had a roll of tape and some valves in the shed, I popped some sealant in Hutchinson Fusion 5 tyres and found that it was easy to seat the tyre and get retention of air overnight. Personally, though, I still prefer my cotton sidewalls!

By the way, if you want Pacenti skewers you'll need to buy them separately, or use ones you already have. I used my Shimano Ultegra 6800 skewers which aren't a huge outlay.

Thanks to the classic design, my expectation was of a very comfortable wheelset that would feel a little doughy on harder climbing efforts. My first thought was proved correct. These are very comfortable wheels and will suit an endurance/touring bike perfectly. There's just enough compliance to take the buzz out of surface-dressed roads, though I'm also benefiting from the improved tyre profile.

Pacenti Cycle Design Brevet Wheel Set - detail.jpg

I was surprised to find, though, that the lateral stiffness is pretty darn good too – there was no brake rub when leaning the bike over, hauling up steep climbs. The spoke count, lacing pattern and high hub flanges certainly help to create a wheelset that performed much better than I was expecting. I'm well aware that this isn't the main purpose of the wheelset, but it's nice to know that they can easily handle a good stomp on the pedals.

Pacenti Cycle Design Brevet Wheel Set - fron hub.jpg

These wheels replaced a narrow set of Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels that had been demoted to the role of hard-yard hoops. While they are quite a bit lighter, I much prefer the comfort gains found with the Brevet wheelset. The better support for wider tyres results in more cornering grip and a smoother ride over the broken Somerset B-roads, and I don't feel that this has been traded for too much climbing speed.

Pacenti Cycle Design Brevet Wheel Set - spoke nipple.jpg

The freehub is a bit on the noisy side for me, but going in there to pop a bit more grease on the pawls allowed me to test the serviceability. Removing the freehub is an easy job, though, thanks to the EZO bearings, that's not something you'll need to be doing often.

Pacenti Cycle Design Brevet Wheel Set - rear hub 2.jpg

Rivals for this wheelset are good and in the case of Mavic's Open Pro rims, well-proven. The newer Open Pro has been widened to 19mm internally and also been given the tubeless treatment. Unless you can build wheels, you'll be paying extra for a build, though. Strada wheels, for example, will build them on Aivee SR2 hubs for £440.

H Plus Son makes the TB14 rim which Malcolm Borg of the Cycle Clinic will build up from £262. That has a similar rim profile, but only comes in a 32H drilling and doesn't have tubeless compatibility.

> Buyer's Guide: 37 of the best road bike wheelsets

For classic styling with modern comforts, I really can't see past the Pacenti Brevet Wheelset. The looks are absolutely spot on and the performance punches well above what I was expecting.

Verdict

Super-stylish and brilliant performance – a great upgrade for a retro build or a training bike

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pacenti Brevet Wheel Set 700C Rim Brake Shimano

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?

From Pacenti:

"Our classically styled brevet wheelset is built for strength and good looks with modern standards.

The wheelset is supplied with a pair of snap-fit rim tapes, tubeless conversion requires a tubeless tape and valve kit.

Perfect for a retro build or restoration ready to ride L'Eroica or Strade Bianchi.

Designed in the USA."

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

From Pacenti:

TIRE TYPE Clincher

TIRE SIZE 700c

TUBELESS READY Yes

RIM CONSTRUCTION Welded

MATERIAL Aluminium

WEIGHT 1665g +/- 15g

INTERNAL RIM WIDTH 19mm

EXTERNAL RIM WIDTH 23mm

RIM HEIGHT 15mm

MAX TIRE PRESSURE As tire recommends

FREEHUB BODY 11spd Shimano bite guard

HUB BEARINGS EZO Japan

SPOKES FRONT Sapim D-Light

SPOKES REAR Sapim D-Light

SPOKE DRILLING FRONT 28h

SPOKE DRILLING REAR 28h

LACING PATTERN FRONT 2 cross

LACING PATTERN REAR 2 cross

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Perfectly balanced wheels.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

Vertical compliance is good – they feel much more plush to ride than my Mavic Ksyrium SLs with the same 28mm tyres on at the same pressure. Lateral stiffness is surprisingly very good – there was no brake rub when leaning the bike over on steep climbs. Acceleration was never going to be their strong point but they don't feel sluggish at all. There's a lot to love here.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10

The beautiful silver is easy to clean and the freehub looks un-bitten.

Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10

Fine here. The weight might sound a bit hefty but it doesn't hold them back.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
8/10

Though they cost more than the H Plus Son TB14, I'd say these offer better value because of the tubeless-ready design.

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

Perfectly true. That's one of the benefits of a hand-built wheelset.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Easy to fit clincher and tubeless tyres.

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

The standard rim tape was fine.

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

Really well. They're comfortable to ride, look brilliant and cope well when you stamp on the pedals.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

The match of style with a modern rim width is just brilliant.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Nothing really.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

We've not really reviewed anything like this recently. The price is very good though.

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 beautiful wheelset to look at and ride. This is the perfect complement to a retro bike.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 24  Height: 177cm  Weight: 62kg

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. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

8 comments

Avatar
kil0ran [1771 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Oooh, nice. Wondering what the rider weight limit is. Ritchey do a similar rim (Classic Zeta), as do Hunt, but the Hunt rims are limited to 100kg and both are more expensive than these.

Avatar
Prosper0 [251 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Beautiful wheels. And nice to have tubeless in classic styling. 

Avatar
Liam Cahill [213 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
kil0ran wrote:

Oooh, nice. Wondering what the rider weight limit is. Ritchey do a similar rim (Classic Zeta), as do Hunt, but the Hunt rims are limited to 100kg and both are more expensive than these.

I just spoke with Pacenti. No weight limit on these wheels. Or any of their wheels it seems.

Avatar
Aussie Rider [11 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Nice wheels but just for the record these wheels are not L'Eroica complient as a minimum 32 spokes in each wheel is required. Yes they do random checks, in Gaole in any case. 

Avatar
Ritchey UK [2 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
kil0ran wrote:

Oooh, nice. Wondering what the rider weight limit is. Ritchey do a similar rim (Classic Zeta), as do Hunt, but the Hunt rims are limited to 100kg and both are more expensive than these.

Hi.

In Sept Ritchey will launch a revised Zeta Classic.  It will have a new 19mm internal rim, Phantom Flange hubs for j bend spokes, high polish finish, 1450g, and a new, lower, MSRP of £349.90.  The rider weight limit is 110kg.

Regards.

Avatar
Liam Cahill [213 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Aussie Rider wrote:

Nice wheels but just for the record these wheels are not L'Eroica complient as a minimum 32 spokes in each wheel is required. Yes they do random checks, in Gaole in any case. 

Well, you learn something new every day! Is this their version of dope control? Nipple count as the new hematocrit?

Avatar
mylesrants [514 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

lovely, Stainless spokes glinting in the sun.

Off to buy a pair. thanks

Avatar
Simon E [3890 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Liam Cahill wrote:
Aussie Rider wrote:

Nice wheels but just for the record these wheels are not L'Eroica complient as a minimum 32 spokes in each wheel is required. Yes they do random checks, in Gaole in any case. 

Well, you learn something new every day! Is this their version of dope control? Nipple count as the new hematocrit?

Hey! You can't use EPO in L'Erioca as it wasn't available back then. You'll need to research what the likes of Fignon, Kelly, Anquetil & co used (in some cases just about anything they could find, it seems). You could start with Paul Kimmage's book Rough Road.

Cycle Clinic seems to have a number of rim-braked 32 spoke options.