The new Prime Doyenne 56 wheels have gone down the wide-and-deep route to create a wheelset that embraces being ridden at speed on flat roads and descents. They aren't the lightest in their category, but once they are rolling it really doesn't matter as aerodynamics trumps weight virtually all the time.
Prime has brought its Doyenne deep section wheels in at a cracking price of a penny under six-hundred quid. And as our best road bike wheels buyer's guide shows, you can easily pay over a grand (or two, or three...) for a quality set of aero carbon wheels.
But in spite of their very appealing price, the Doyennes do not feel like cheap wheels when you're riding them. The carbon fibre rim is stiff – as is the rest of the build – and the ratchet-style freehub gives instantaneous engagement for hard and rapid acceleration.
Ride quality overall feels smooth. The Doyennes are most definitely a stiff set of wheels that are capable of coping with big out-of-the-saddle efforts, but they don't feel harsh and they don't resonate over poor road surfaces.
In fact, for wheels with such deep rims they feel surprisingly comfortable even with the tyres pumped up hard.
A wheelset with 56mm deep rims is only going to be about one thing: speed. The wide-profile rims measure 23mm internally and 30mm externally, which gives them a bulbous shape and a smooth transition between rim and tyre with tyres from 25mm wide and upwards.
Above 20mph there is a noticeable aero boost where you feel that you don't need to put in a huge amount of extra effort, even though your speed is increasing, until you get to the point where wind resistance starts to become a drag for the whole package – including you.
The best thing, though, is that the Doyennes make that swooshy noise like all good deep-section wheels do. After all, everyone knows a fast-sounding wheelset is worth at least 20 watts!
At 1,840g per pair, including rim tapes, these aren't the lightest set of wheels around. This is noticeable from a standing start, but when rolling it really isn't an issue. I don't think I'd want to use them in a crit where you have to accelerate out of bend after bend, but for time trials, triathlons or for just riding fast, their aero benefits outweigh any negatives.
I also found that the deep-section rims weren't overly affected by sidewinds, except when they were especially gusty.
Rather than use pawls for the freehub, Prime has gone for what it describes as a dual-sprung star ratchet system that gives 36 points of engagement. While most freehubs aren't exactly slow to lock in, you can sometimes feel a little lapse in between the bite points, especially when rocking the bike while track-standing. There is none of that with the Primes.
Overall, the performance of the wheels has been very impressive, which has been matched with durability. Both wheels have remained true throughout testing, and this being Britain, I haven't only taken them out for rides on smooth tarmac (as if you could actually find any of that in a British winter...).
The T700 UD carbon rims are compatible with any tyre. They have a hook for the bead of a tyre to lock in under so that you can clincher tyres with inner tubes – or you could go fully tubeless. The wheel boxes include tubeless valves, which is a nice touch.
The hubs use steel sealed bearings inside 7075-grade aluminium alloy hubs, which are laced to the rims via 24 J-bend Pillar spokes on each wheel.
The freehub is compatible with Shimano/SRAM 9-/10-/11-speed cassettes and comes with an anti-bite guard to stop the cassette notching into the splines when under load.
Brake rotor capability is for Centerlock, which makes for quick and easy maintenance.
In addition to their excellent performance, the other area where these wheels excel is their £599.99 price
For a similarly shaped, wide, deep-section wheelset you are looking at something such as Hunt's 54 Aerodynamicist that I really rated. They are lighter than Prime's Doyennes at just 1,620g a pair with tape fitted, but at £949 they are over 50% more expensive.
Vel's RL Carbon Tubeless Disc wheelset has a slightly deeper rim but they are a similar weight to the Primes and I thought they were great value at £749 when I reviewed them.
The performance of the Doyennes is great if most of your riding is about cycling at speed. Their weight blunts acceleration a little, but that's only a concern in disciplines such as criteriums. But for day-to-day fast riding and events where that isn't a concern – time trials and triathlons for example – I'd say Prime's Doyennes are well worth the comparatively modest amount of money being asked.
A deep-section aero carbon wheel that feels very fast in the real world, though they aren't the lightest
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Make and model: Prime Doyenne 56 Carbon Disc Wheelset
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?
Prime says: "Never accept ordinary. At Prime we believe that ordinary isn't good enough and with the Doyenne 56 Carbon Disc Wheelset, it's all about riding faster and longer with a lightweight and responsive wheelset packed with the latest technology available today."
This is a wheelset that feels fast in real-world conditions, and while not as light as some, this doesn't really affect them for the riding they are designed to do.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Rim Material: T700 UD Carbon Fibre
Use: Road, Time Trial (TT); Triathlon (Tri)
Rim Width: 23mm (internal); 30mm (external); Rim Depth: 56mm
Hubs: SR2D, 36T Ratchet System, CNC machined 7075 alloy hub body; Hub Bearings: Front: 2x 15267, Rear: 1x 6902, 1x 17287, Freehub: 2x 6802
Freehub: Anti Bite Guard, Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11 speed
Spokes: Front: PDB1415 JB, 256mm (Disc Side), PDB1415 JB, 258mm (Drive Side); Rear: PDB1415 JB, 252mm (Drive Side), PDB1415 JB, 257mm (Disc Side)
Brake Type: Disc Brake; Disc Mount: Centre Lock
Rider Weight Limit: 110kg
Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
Rate the wheel for performance:
Rate the wheel for durability:
Rate the wheel for weight
Rate the wheel for value:
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed perfectly true throughout testing with no issues whatsoever.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
I fitted a range of tyres from 25mm to 36mm in width and most of them fitted easily. Those that did take an effort proved just as hard to fit on other rims too.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The wheels came with rim tape fitted, which offered plenty of coverage, and in the box you'll also find tubeless valves, a 10-speed spacer, 15mm thru-axle end-caps and QR end caps. A lot of those bits are normally classed as extras, and everything was of good quality.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As deep-section carbon wheels their focus is on speed – and they don't disappoint.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
They make a 'swooshy' sound when they're going really fast – and let's face it, who doesn't love a 'swooshy' sound?!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
The stickers are easily damaged.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are cheaper than many of the competitors as mentioned in the review, although they do have a slight weight penalty.
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
Not the lightest wheel on the market with rims of this depth, but in terms of aerodynamic they work very well indeed. They are also well built and the price is impressive considering the quality.
Age: 44 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,
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