Carbon Race Wheels by Luxe Wheelworks
Any chef will tell you: Great food starts with the best ingredients. Even the greatest culinary talent in the world can only result in a mediocre finished product if applied to sub-par constituent parts. Conversely, the finest, most meticulously selected ingredients can be utterly ruined in the hands of a novice cook. Truly good dishes require not only prime ingredients but also the knowledge and skill to treat and prepare those ingredients. A skilled chef will know how to treat each ingredient and work the interplay between them to produce a dish that is more than the sum of its constituent parts. In this way, wheel building is similar to cooking. A few simple parts are combined in just the right way to create an item indispensable to the cyclist, and that has profound impact on the ride quality and performance of any bike. Sub-par parts will result in a poor wheel, no matter who the builder, while wheel composed of the finest parts will simply not function if assembled by one of insufficient skill.
The Carbon Race wheels from Luxe Wheelworks are the finest race-type carbon wheels that Justin Spinelli makes. We've discussed the philosophy of Luxe Wheelworks, and we have good reason to believe that this wheelset represents the best all-round race-type wheel we've encountered.
So, let's start with a look at the ingredients:
Luxe has built wheels using just about every carbon rim currently available on the market and, after all the riding and testing, has settled on the Aero+ carbon rim from Corima as the go-to option for performance wheels. If you're like most English-speaking cycling enthusiasts, you've probably heard of Corima but don't know too much about them. Corima has been designing and making products in France since 1975 starting with products for the aerospace and automotive industries and adding composite bicycle parts to their product offerings in 1988. By the time standards of the composites sporting goods market, this makes Corima ancient, and with advanced age comes unrivaled experience in product development and technologies. Their rims are examples of this experience and offer the perfect balance of high performance features, user-friendly design and attention to detail.
Corima's Aero+ rims are 47mm deep, which puts them in the Goldilocks zone for race wheels: deep enough to have serious aerodynamic benefits and maintain speed, but shallow enough to spin up quickly and contribute minimally to the overall weight of a bike. The rim bed is 22.6mm wide, which means these are wider than 'traditional' wheels but do not have the super-wide profile of some other modern rim types. This measured approach to rim width is in keeping with Corima's desire to make a stiff, aerodynamic and durable rim that's also user-friendly and a perfect match for 23 to 25mm tires. The shape of the rim is also slightly toroidal, meaning it's not a straight V shape, but has a curvature to the rim profile - not dissimilar from other high-end carbon rims made presently.
Unlike other modern carbon rims, which are mostly hollow, Corima adds a low density structural foam to the inside of their rims. This foam, which adds only a few grams, has the dual benefit of boosting the strength of the rim, making it especially resistant to impact damage, as well as absorbing a greater amount of high frequency vibration. The strong, stiff rim with this foam reinforcement creates a ride quality that is smooth and stable. In fact, it's a world of difference if you're used to hollow carbon rims, which feel plastic-like and rough by comparison.
And then there are this small details. A classic 12k carbon weave top layer adds another level of impact resistance and and distinctive look. On the tubular rims, the tire bed has a recessed channel down the center, which allows tubular tires with center seams to sit straight and flush on the rim. The spoke holes are drilled at an angle to assure that spokes can pull completely straight from the hub to the rim, as intended. All told, the innovative construction method, the width and shape and the small details make this rim the cornerstone piece of a fine wheel. We offer wheels with both the tubular and clincher versions of this rim.
Unlike Corima, Chris King doesn't require much of a back story. Their machined parts are legend and a handmade bicycle frame is considered all but incomplete unless the appropriate King headset is pressed into the head tube. There are a few good hubs on the market, but the decision to use King's R45 road hubs was a no-brainer for a performance wheelset. The R45 is King's long-awaited road-specific hub, available in a variety of color options and in HG and Campagnolo versions with the option of ceramic bearing upgrades. The internals are all machined to exacting standards and assembled by hand in Portland, OR to the same exacting standards as a Swiss timepiece.
Spokes and nipples come from Sapim, a family business that has been focusing on spokes and nipples for nearly 100 years. Like Corima's commitment to carbon rims and King's drive to produce the best components, Sapim has a well-deserved reputation for producing the finest spokes available. The CX-Ray is Sapim's top-level bladed spoke and the preferred ingredient for high end Luxe builds.
On the road, these wheels represent nearly the perfect balance of speed and smoothness. It's shocking how quiet these wheels are as they do not reverberate with road noise like many carbon wheels. They're low on drama and high on predictability. They spin up quickly, hold their speed well, feel solid and provide just the right amount of feedback from the road. The hubs spin all but drag-free and the braking is smooth, with consistent modulation. We see these wheels as the ultimate race-day wheel due to their balance of weight, speed and stiffness. Having said that, they're fully capable of being an everyday wheelset. No need to treat these delicately because fragile they are not.
We sell both clincher and tubular versions of the Luxe Carbon Race wheel. The ride quality differences between the versions will depend more on tire selection than anything else, as the tubular and clincher rims are identical with the exception of the tire mounting system. Weights for the wheelsets vary but come in around 1225 grams for the tubulars and 1325 for clinchers. You have your choice of hub colors from Chris King, as well as a choice in Campagnolo or Shimano 10/11 hub compatibility. We offer the wheels as sets with several tire options for you to select. Each wheelset comes with a set of cork brake pads from Corima and limited edition Luxe Wheelworks quick release skewers.
Notes:Standard spoke count is 20 front / 24 rear. In the check-out, please indicate your average weight or if you have any specific spoke count requests in the COMMENTS field. Each wheelset is built to order, so please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. As with all of our products, please Contact Us if you would like to discuss details of a wheel build or place an order directly.
Carbon Tubular Wheelset - Starts at $2159
Carbon Clincher Wheelset - Starts at $2299