One of the type of events I did well at last year was the Hill Climbs (HC). Despite being one of the largest, heaviest riders and riding my Boardman AiR 9.8 with Zipp 404 wheels (not the greatest HC setup!) I still managed 5th in the East Sussex CA HC. This got me thinking what if I lost a few more kg, and got a bike and wheels more suited to going upwards? The bike I can sort at a later date, probably borrowing one from one of my local bike shops but the wheels I wanted to look into further.
I searched the internet for the best but lightest wheel set I could find and came across a company called TU who hand make carbon fibre wheels in Yorkshire. So after a brief discussion with them they sent me out a demo pair. Unfortunately, and very honestly they did mention that their HC wheels were too fragile for normal riding so sent me the next best thing their 38mm deep sections.
They sent me out a demo pair the next day, great start. They come with all the usual options, choice of shimano/sram or campag, clincher or tubular (no tubeless yet) and you can even customise small details like bearings, spokes and nipples, already sounding like a better option than off the shelf. I of course got what I was given, but I can’t complain as it’s a demo set! Other than the 20mm and 38mm deep sections they also make 50, 60 and 88mm too, so plenty of choice depending on your needs and discipline. They are making a cover for their wheels to turn one into a disc but no plans to create an actual disc wheel as such.
There were no problems putting them on my bike, they came with the carbon brake pads and all was good and painless in that department, although I can’t remember a time I had problems installing wheels! Admittedly I was fairly nervous on my first ride. Not only because I was riding someone else’s wheels but because I really had no idea of had how they were going to handle, but I soon relaxed. They are fast wheels, a very impressive first ride. They rolled smoothly and were responsive when needed. I would put them at least on par with my Zipp 404’s and when you consider the price difference you should give these wheels some serious thought.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. I was lent the clincher version and they came fitted with Schwalbe One tires. They are a great tire but I wouldn’t use them for everyday use, as I found out when I suffered a double puncture upon impact of a pothole… Luckily there was no damage, testament to the making of the wheel I guess. Not a successful end to borrowing the wheels from that perspective but at least I also got to test out their durability!
Price wise starting at £775.00 you’ve got to give them some consideration. You’re talking about twice that for the Zipp 404s which I think they’re as good as. I’d like to see an actual disc wheel and tubeless ready options but for handmade carbon wheels I think you’ve got to buy British!