Tuesday, August 07, 2012

WMD-C38 Bicycle Wheel Review

Happy Birthday to me!

Needless to say I was gobsmacked when Canada Post dropped off a box this morning from Steve at Wheels Of Mass Destruction based out of Montreal Canada. Let the record show that Steve is my brother in law but I had no idea a set of (gorgeous) carbon fibre wheels were heading my way. Dude - you rock!


Not without some strings though. I quote....

    "I wanted someone to test out my wheels that I know will give me constructive feedback. If you don't mind riding these wheels hard and giving me updates every couple of weeks I would really like it if you can give them a good run for the money...."

No problem at all! I'll gladly do my best to test their mettle.


Packaging -

As a former warehouse supervisor for most of my working career I was impressed with the quality of the packaging. The wheels arrived at my door in a 26X26X12 sized S-4912 Uline singlewall box. Completely sealed with durable packing tape along all seams.

The wheels themselves were encased separately in sufficient amounts of heavy duty bubblewrap and were quite secure within the box. I was unable to feel any movement or shifting.Note - the following picture was a recreation after I had removed the wheel from the packaging so does not reflect the original wrapping but does show the abundance of bubblewrap/tape used to protect the wheels.

Within the box was an envelope containing documentation as opposed to being pasted upon the side of the box which is a nice touch. Included in the envelope was also a set of brake pads which negated the possibility of them being missed in the initial box opening.

C-38 Wheels -

The wheels themselves are absolutely beautiful. Here are the specs from the WMD website....


I was sent the version with the White Industry hubs which are really pretty with their classic styling.Very nice!

The decals are well designed and nicely applied to the carbon fiber rims. No issues with the cosmetics at all. These were basic white but Steve does offer different color variations to match bike and/or kit.

Customization is also available including the ability to personalize...I feel so "pro" now (wink).A very nice touch as well.

My initial impressions after the unboxing is nothing short of perfect. Packaging was well done and more than sufficient to protect the wheels. The wheels themselves were pristine and made the journey without any issues. Part of the credit to Canada Post as well. Build quality, decaling and presentation of the wheels look spectacular right out of the box.

Next up will be to add a cassette and mount some tires and put the C38's through their paces here on the rough and rugged roadways of Nova Scotia. Stay tuned............


   Got out this morning for my initial ride on the wheels. Weighing in at 210 pounds with a tendancy for pushing a big gear I have always been leery of low spoke count wheels.That said I have been riding Shimano's Dura Ace WH - 7850 and have been very happy with both the durability and performance of those wheels. Today was my first time on carbon fiber hoops so I was looking forward to the test.

The wheels felt really good right from the first pedal stroke. They spun up quite fast, offered a good road feel and was very stiff with no discernable flex. Out of the saddle on a steep grade they felt good under power. Cornered well at speed and tracked nicely. Overall the wheels performed as good as my Dura Ace 7850 if not better over a short trial distance.

No real issues to report. The White Industry hubs are loud(er) when freewheeling so if you are looking for stealth in the peleton just keep pedaling. Not an issue for me but maybe for others. I did end up with some squealing from the cork(?) brake pads but I'm guessing that may be my setup. I will need to do some research on the subject and redo the installation.

Gonna ride the heck out of these wheels.............stay tuned!

Update - toeing in the brakes fixed the squealing. Simple fix.

Aug 10 2012

Heading under an overpass and going from bright sunshine to shade I inadvertantly nailed a pothole in that moment before the eyes completely adjust. Managed to steer the front wheel along the rim but dropped the rear into the heart of the crater.


To my surprise there was no "ping" of a broken spoke, no "hiss" of a pinch flat and no "wobble" of a wheel out of true. Guess the wheel passed the stress test!

Aug 18 2012

Attended the Saturday morning club ride for the first time outfitted with the WMDs. It was a good opportunity to test the wheels in race paced conditions and scope out their handling within the paceline.

It also would give me the opportunity to cross several railway tracks which is always a challenge for me as I have crashed on them twice in the past. One particular crossing is quite problematic due to the angle it crosses the road and the other is at the bottom off a descent and is not a smooth crossing. The WMDs felt rock solid on the crossings which definitely inspires my confidence in the wheels.

Jumped into an intermediate group on the ride out to Fall River. I have not added my cycle computer magnet to the wheels yet but my understanding was we averaged 30kph on the rolling terrain in a paceline of seven riders. I then jumped over to a fast(er) group of six riders and completed the loop at about a 32kph average. Both groups were riding pacelines and the wheels felt quite responsive and solid within the tight quarters of the rotation. The wheels spun up quite well and had no flex when jumping out of the saddle at speed when the pace picked up at the ad hoc sprint points or on the various short steep rollers found along the route.

Total distance for the ride including the cycle out and back from the start totaled 76 kms at a (BNS) Cat C race pace. Wheels performed well without any issues and remain true and smooth.


UPDATE - October 2013
As another road cycling season comes to an end I am happy to report that the wheels continued to perform well. I have ceased racing and, as a result, my time on the bike training was far less than previous seasons. That said I have gained weight(wink)as a result but the WMD's remain a solid wheelset despite my added girth. FYI - I am yet to have to true the wheels.

UPDATE - April 2014
After a long winter I got out for a Good Friday road ride.The legs felt surprisingly good considering I did not bike commute this past winter. After dusting off the Giant and pumping up the tires I heading out to climb some local hills and get the backside reintroduced to the saddle. The WMDs felt awesome right from the start and I'm looking forward to logging kilometers this season.Stay tuned....

Update-May 2 2015
The start of another season of cycling with my first club ride of 2015. Wheels remain as smooth and solid as ever and have yet needed to be serviced. Rock solid!

Update - May 3 2016

Another Canadian spring is upon us and that means time to dust off the Giant and get ready to hit the road bike club circuit. Cleaned up the WMD`s and everything looks great with the wheels heading into their fourth season upon my TCR. I might add they are YET to be trued. Steve certainly built me a bombproof set of wheels. I`ll post an update later on in the summer once I get back out logging some kilometers.



martin bourassa said...

Thanks for the review. I also own Dura Ace C-24 7850-cl, but look forward to buy a 38 carbon wheelset. How would you compare them both, ride quality, speed, handling, comfort?



George said...

The DA wheels are sweet. They have been a bombproof set that after 2 years I still have not needed trued.

The C38's are really nice so far. I find them at least equal to the DA's in terms of stiffness and handling but better in terms of ride quality. They handle the road "chop" hereabouts with less vibration.

I have some further testing I`m anxious to try regarding road feel. Stay tuned.

Ian Stock said...

does Steve have any other sisters to be married? That's an awfully nice gift from a brother in law.

Do you think there is a power savings from the aerodynamics of the deeper rim?

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Ora Grant said...

A happy birthday, indeed! Aside from a bike itself, what else would serve as a better gift you could give to a bike enthusiast than a carbonated wheel? Needless to say, you must've been thrilled to be a recipient of those gorgeous carbon fibre wheels. Cheers to that!

Ora Grant @ 2Quik Carbon Technology