review

Prime Kanza 650B Carbon Gravel Wheelset

9
£599.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Solidly built, with a great performance – top-level carbon wheelset at an entry-level price
Tough yet light
Tubeless compatible
Plenty of accessories included
No SRAM XDR or Campagnolo version available as standard
Weight: 
1,550g

Prime has created a tough yet lightweight package with its Kanza 650B Carbon Gravel wheels. The wide rims make fitting larger tyres a breeze and they stand up to a lot of abuse on the trails. At under 1,600g they are responsive too, and you certainly can't complain about the price.

A lot of gravel bikes are coming with the smaller diameter 650B wheels these days, over the more standard 700C, or at least have framesets designed to work with them, and if you are looking for an upgrade then these Kanza wheels are a great place to start.

> Buyer's Guide: 22 of the best gravel and adventure bikes

Wider tyres fit easily with the wheels' 32mm-wide rims (24.5mm internal), sitting with a nice rounded profile once installed.

Prime_Kanza_650b_Gravel_Wheelset_Rim_Width.jpg

I went with the excellent Rene Herse Juniper Ridge tyres in a 48mm width. As the Prime wheels come with tubeless tape already fitted and valves included, it's a pretty inexpensive way to get set up.

As you can see from that review, the Juniper Ridges aren't the easiest tyres to fit without using some kind of compressor to get the supple sidewalls to pop up against the rim edges, but once in place on the Kanzas the fit was fine and I had no issues whatsoever.

> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best gravel and adventure tyres

If you don't want to go tubeless, they work fine with an inner tube too.

Once fitted to the bike and out on the trails, the Kanzas felt nippy and responsive. Lighter gravel wheels can be had, but at 1,550g (730g front, 820g rear) for the pair, Prime has delivered on performance without sacrificing the durability.

They seem to pick up speed well and certainly don't give a feeling of getting bogged down when accelerating hard from a standing start or a slow speed. Stiffness levels are also high, with no feeling of flex when accelerating hard or climbing.

With 24 Pillar PDB 1415 double-butted spokes front and rear it's a strong build, and at the end of a month of testing the wheels are still looking and feeling pretty much like new.

Prime_Kanza_650b_Gravel_Wheelset_Offset_Rim.jpg

At speed on my local gravel tracks I had a few 'moments' and whacked a couple of potholes which, because of the colour of the stones and the angles when descending, are near-impossible to see at times. The noises weren't good but the Kanzas took it all in their stride and it didn't affect their trueness either.

The hubs are CNC machined from 7075 aluminium alloy and look nicely finished, adding to the overall quality of the wheels.

Prime_Kanza_650b_Gravel_Wheelset_Front_Hub.jpg

The sealed cartridge bearings have seen plenty of grit, mud and water over the test period and are still running smoothly. I can't see any signs of water ingress either. Replacement bearings are readily available and cost around a tenner a wheel, so when they need replacing it isn't exactly going to break the bank.

The hubs come as 12mm thru-axle as standard, although there are various kits you can buy for quick release, and you get 15mm end caps in the box.

Prime_Kanza_650b_Gravel_Wheelset_Rear_Hub.jpg

The freehub has an anti-bite guard which stops the Shimano cassette body from digging into the splines under heavy pedalling loads, which is a nice touch at this price. There is a SRAM XDR freehub available and one for Campagnolo too, but these are optional upgrades and don't come as standard built wheels; this will add around £25 to the price.

Prime_Kanza_650b_Gravel_Wheelset_Anit_Bite_Guard.jpg

Even if you had to add that on top, though, the price is still very competitive with an rrp of just a penny shy of £600.

Mike absolutely loved the Hunt 35 Carbon Gravel Disc X-Wide wheelset and Hunt also does a 650B version. They have a shallower rim depth of 22mm compared to the 30mm of the Prime Kanzas, but are a similar width internally and a similar weight.

It isn't often that Hunt is beaten on price, but the Primes are £199 cheaper than the £799 asking price of the Hunts.

> The 650B alternative: Is this smaller wheel size right for you?

The Primes stand up well against the FFWD F3A Disc Brake wheelset, too, which cost £624.95. They're very good wheels in their own right, but for the money you are getting an alloy rim rather than a carbon one, and they're a little heftier.

Overall, when it comes to performance and build quality, I can't really fault the Kanzas, especially for the money.

Verdict

Solidly built, with a great performance – top-level carbon wheelset at an entry-level price

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: Prime Kanza 650B Carbon Gravel Wheelset

Size tested: 650B

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?

Chain Reaction Cycles says, "Sending you through forest pathways and gravel routes with ease, this Prime carbon 650b wheelset is a venturesome and versatile wheelset for the curious cyclist. Whether touring around town or taking the road less-travelled, the Kanza is sturdy and stiff, whatever the terrain. With a 32mm inner and 30mm deep rim profile, each wheel gives unbeatable balance on every journey."

They're very good gravel wheels that will take the abuse of off-road riding.

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

From Wiggle:

Thanks to a 650b carbon rim you'll have more room for wider tyres, meaning comfort, compliance, and cornering performance is improved, and with more tyre between the rim and the road, the wheel diameter when the tyre is fitted is similar to a standard 700c wheel and road tyre combo, meaning you won't lose out on speed.

Tubeless Ready

Our new carbon fiber layup keeps the weight down, yet still maintains Prime's proven carbon rim durability. And, when paired with tubeless tyres, you have the option to run lower tyre pressures, to increase comfort and cornering grip and reduce the risk of pinch flats.

Thru-axle Compatible

Paired with RD020 hubs and Pillar spokes to produce a stiff and responsive wheelset, they also come with removable end caps, making them compatible with QR's and thru-axles, including 12 and 15mm front thru-axles as well as 12x142mm rear thru-axles. A Prime XDR freehub is also available for those who want to run SRAM 10-42 cassettes.

Optimal Braking Performance

Disc brakes generate an incredible amount of stopping power, even in wet conditions, so you can fly over tarmac or gravel with confidence knowing that the Prime Kanza 650b Carbon Gravel Wheelset can handle it all.

Delivered With:

4 spare spokes & nipples

Tubeless Valves

15mm thru axle end caps

10 speed spacer

Note: QR conversion kits sold separately.

Spoke Length

Front Drive Side: 265mm, Front Non-Drive Side: 264mm

Rear Drive Side: 264mm, Rear Non-Drive Side: 265mm

Bearings

Front: 2x 6902 Sealed Cartridge Bearings

Rear: 2x 6902 Sealed Cartridge Bearings

Freehub: 2x 6902 Sealed Cartridge Bearings

Rim ERD

542mm

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10

Impressively stiff wheels when sprinting and climbing.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
8/10

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

No issues with trueness or spoke tension at all.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Various tyres fitted fine and tubeless tyres sealed well around the bead.

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

In the box you get tubeless valves, four spare spokes, 15mm end caps and a 10-speed spacer. Tubeless tape is already fitted. It's all decent quality stuff and does the job without issue.

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

They consistently took plenty of abuse from the rough gravel tracks.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Very durable for a reasonably lightweight set of wheels.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

No SRAM XDR or Campagnolo options as standard.

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

Very competitively priced. Up against something like the the excellent Hunt Carbon X-Wide wheelset mentioned in the review, the Primes still manage to come in nearly £200 cheaper, and they are a similar price to many alloy wheelsets like the FFWDs.

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

When it comes to how great they are to ride, the build quality and the weight, they can't really be faulted. The only downside is that if you need a SRAM XDR or Campagnolo freehub you have to purchase that as an extra.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

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!

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