The aftermarket carbon fibre wheel market has gone through the roof in recent years, with more choice and lower prices the defining trend. CES Sports is another company to add to that growing list, and the Welsh outfit recently dropped off some wheels for us to review. Before that happens, here’s a first look.
We say CES is a new company, it has actually been around since 2016 but we only started speaking to them last summer. The company was launched with the bold aim to “make carbon wheels affordable and accessible to the growing population of cyclists and triathletes, whilst at the same time trying not to cut corners on the quality.”
That quality has been noticed by the UCI, with the company just this week getting equipment approval from the sports governing body across its entire range. That means the company can partner with any professional cycling team that might be in need of a new wheel sponsor or individual athletes that need to ride approved equipment.
UCI approval is obvious and notable on frames, there’s a small sticker and everything, but less is known about the approval status of wheels and other key items of equipment that are sold for racing purposes. You can see what is involved in the UCI’s wheel testing here and the full list of approved wheels here.
But we digress… The company offers a range of carbon wheels from 38 to 88mm rim depths, what we’ve got in for test are the RC50 which, yes you guessed it, has a 50mm deep rim. That’s a really good all-around choice ideal for road racing and time trialling.
These are the clincher rim brake wheels - tubeless and disc brake versions are also available - with a 25mm wide rim made from Toray T700 carbon fibre and featuring a basalt brake track intended to resist the high temperatures often involved when braking, especially in the mountains or race scenarios.
The hubs are CNC-machined with Pillar PSR1423 aero bladed spokes with alloy nipples, 20 in the front and 24 in the rear. The wheels have a max rider weight limit of 120kg.
Claimed wheelset weight is 1,655g, but we weighed them at 1,580g so someone’s scales need calibrating.
Included with the wheels are carbon-specific brake blocks, rim tape, quick releases and a one year warranty. You can customise the rims with 11 colour decals to choose from.
These RC50 wheels cost £600 for the pair. Because the wheels are made to order, there’s a 4-6 week lead time. Shipping costs £9.95 in the UK and they’ll ship internationally as well.
The company also offers a disc brake version of all its wheels, the RC50 Disc Brake wheelset costs £650. There are also three tubeless wheelsets in the range, the RC50 Tubeless costs £620.
Of course, £600 is still a lot of money, but before these came along the most affordable wheels from a reputable company was probably wiggle’s in-house Prime brand, with a set of carbon wheels currently costing £699.98. Or there’s Hunt with its 36Carbon Wide Aero wheels costing £880.
So £600 seems a very competitive price indeed, and we'll be finding out if they live up to this promise once we start testing them. Stay tuned for the full review soon.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.