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review

CES Sport PT26 wheelset

8
£400.00

VERDICT:

8
10
High quality all-rounders and priced competitively, though a little on the weighty side
Great build quality
Tubeless or clincher compatible
Impressive durability
Not the lightest for this kind of build
Weight: 
1,720g

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The CES Sport PT26 wheelset is built to cope with whatever the weather is throwing at you, thanks to a reliable build of well-specced parts. With plenty of stiffness and a ride feel that belies their 1,700g heft, they can cope with speed work or long leisurely rides, as well as seeing duty on your winter trainer. They are priced towards the upper end for an alloy wheelset, but the handbuilt quality offsets that.

Fun fact: The 'PT' in the name stands for Pedwar Tymor, which is Welsh for Four Seasons. Why Welsh? Well, that's because CES Sport is based in South Wales and the PTs are handbuilt there. The 26, meanwhile, refers to the rim depth in millimetres (not the wheel diameter in inches – these are 700c).

> Buy now: PT26 Wheelset from CES Sport for £400

The build is typically classic for a rim-braked training or all-round wheelset, with a shallow rim and plenty of spokes to create a strong, stiff and durable set up. The rims are 26mm deep; perfect for avoiding crosswinds during the winter, and they help keep the weight down too.

At 19mm wide internally (24mm externally) they are perfect for 25mm and 28mm tyres, although you can obviously go smaller or larger if your calipers will allow it. Note that this rim width broadens a tyre by up to 1.5mm, which is worth bearing in mind if your frame is tight on clearance.

Tubeless tape is included and arrived fitted on these test models, which explains the 1,720g on our scales compared to the claimed 1,670g – tape adds about 20g per wheel. The hooked rims mean you can also run standard clincher tyres and inner tubes.

2022 CES Sport PT26 wheelset - rim bed.jpg

I fitted both 25mm and 28mm tyres, tubeless and tubed, without issue. It was a bit tight popping the final bit of the tyre over the rim, but it still only required a bit of extra thumb pressure. All setups easily pinged onto the rims, and neither would be an issue to repair on the side of the road should the need arise.

2022 CES Sport PT26 wheelset - rim detail 2.jpg

The PT26s use 20 radially-laced Sapim Leader J-bend spokes on the front wheel, and 24 on the rear in a two-cross build. They're connected to the rims using brass nipples which is good to see. Aluminium nipples are lighter, but can corrode on winter roads and split. There is no issue with that happening on this build.

2022 CES Sport PT26 wheelset - spoke nipple.jpg

This particular wheelset had already seen plenty of miles before arriving, and I put another 400 miles on them in all kinds of weather. It had no bad effects on the Bitex hubs.

The pickup from the freehub is very quick, and when freewheeling you get a subtle click from the pawls; it's loud enough to let people know you are coming, without being distracting. What all this means is that the performance is pretty decent.

2022 CES Sport PT26 wheelset - rear hub.jpg

True, at around 1,700g they are far from the lightest in this price range, but they don't feel sluggish when accelerating and they climb well enough too.

Lateral stiffness is very good too. Hard efforts out of the saddle see minimal flex, and that was with running the pads around a millimetre from the rims.

> road.cc’s Best Cycling Wheels of the Year 2020/21

You get a set of brake pads thrown in (although I didn't receive them), but with standard Shimano pads I found the machined braking surface gave a smooth feel at the lever, and the pads never grabbed the surface.

2022 CES Sport PT26 wheelset - rim detail 1.jpg

Ride quality is good as well, and even with the tyres pumped up to my preferred high pressures there was no harshness even on broken surfaces. All in all, the performance is better than expected and everything is backed up with a fairly hefty 130kg weight limit and a two-year warranty.

Value

At £400 (£510 including Continental GP 5000 clinchers or £545 with GP 5000 TL and tubeless kit), the PT26s are at the upper end of the scale for a set of shallow alloy wheels.

That's the same price though as Hunt's Race Aero Wide wheelset, give or take a quid. Dave was massively impressed with them, and a lot of that came down to the weight – just 1,507g. That was with tubeless tape fitted and a 5mm deeper rim of the same width as here. With the Hunts you're limited to a 100kg weight limit, though you do get a three-year warranty.

If you want to match the 130kg weight limit of the CES's you'll want the similar Hunt Race Aero Superdura wheelset at £429 and 1,595g.

Scribe's Race Wheelset has a virtually identical build to the PT26s for rim size and spoking, but also lighter at 1,520g. They are currently £410.

Last year I tested the BORG31 Disc wheelset and was very impressed. BORG31 also offers rim brake versions like the All Weather Aero wheels, which come with the same spoke count and rim measurements. They will set you back £540.

Overall

The PT26s are a solid all-round wheelset, and I was impressed overall with their performance and durability. They are heavier than most (not that that is a deal breaker) but on price they still sit well against other high quality competitors.

Verdict

High quality all-rounders and priced competitively, though a little on the weighty side

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road.cc test report

Make and model: CES Sport PT26 wheelset

Size tested: n/a

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?

CES Sports says, "'Pedwar Tymor' is Welsh for 'Four Seasons' because these wheels, that have been hand-built here in South Wales, have been designed in a way that will allow you to ride comfortably in every weather condition thrown at you. Perfect as a training wheelset, or for those long weekend rides!"

I think this perfectly describes the PT26s.

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

Rims: Enhanced 'super' alloy with anodised matt black finish

Braking Edge: 9mm Alloy

Depth: 26mm

External Width: 24mm

Internal Width: 19mm

Tubeless Ready: Yes

Hub Front: Bitex RAF12 (20h) – 82g

Hub Rear: Bitex RAR12 (24h) – 207g

Spokes: Black Sapim Leader J Bend

Nipples: Black Brass

Lacing Pattern: Front – Radial, Rear – 2 Cross (asymmetrical)

Wheelset Weight – 1670g

Free QR skewers (2)

Free brake blocks (4) – Shimano compatible

Free Rim Tape (2)

Warranty – 2 years

Please note:

Max weight limit 130kg

Max Tyre Pressure 130psi

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
5/10

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

Yes, the wheels stayed true throughout testing.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Tyres were easy to fit whether tubeless or clincher.

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

The rim tape worked fine although I didn't personally recieve the quick relase levers or the brake pads, so I can't comment on these.

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

Solid in almost all conditions away from racing.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Very good build quality.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

A touch on the weighty side compared to others.

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

The price compares well to some of the other high quality wheels of this type, as mentioned in the review.

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 good spec list and very well built, and the price is competitive too. Some of the competitors are a good 200g lighter though, if that's critical for you as a rider.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  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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