Tuesday, March 15, 2016

URSUS wheel review

We were just reading an online press release/early review of a set of the newest-latest, carbon clincher wheels from one of the big wheel companies. $2200 gets you a fancy wheelset that offers better braking performance than any other carbon clincher (according to the review, but of course there was no comparison to aluminum wheels, and they did mention the special brake pads required wear away amazingly fast) at a weight of only 1450 grams for the set. 

Larry's been riding on a set of URSUS Guara wheels since last spring. He's been an advocate of hand-built (by him) wheels for years -  forged alloy hubs, 32 14 gauge stainless spokes laced 3X into a box-section aluminum rim, preferably from Ambrosio, which Torelli used to import and can still be found online if you search.  Bullet-proof wheels with a nice ride at a reasonable weight. Hand-built wheels carefully created from high-quality parts never need truing or much care at all other than the normal cleaning with the rest of the bike.

Above: Larry's URSUS front wheel

These URSUS wheels use a bit more modern thinking, the rim being a bit wider at 21 mm which gives your tire a wider base, which for 23 mm tires is great. A 25 mm profile means the front wheel's not going to try to steer you on a windy day. They use forged hubs, which hold spoke tension better than CNC machined hubs and are more durable to boot. More technical information on URSUS wheels can be found by clicking HERE.

Above: Larry's URSUS rear wheel

The graphics are understated, which we like. Apologies to URSUS as these photos show rather dirty wheels as we've ridden through a puddle or two here in Sicily recently.

The ride is great, pretty much like handbuilt wheels while the braking surface is good too. So far they've stayed as true as when they came out of the box, despite a pretty serious sideways load put on them the other day as Larry slipped sideways exiting a round-a-bout. He briefly lost the front to a slide, but caught it in time for the rear wheel to then hit the same slick spot and go sideways. When the tires regain traction, the sideways forces are often enough to "taco" your wheels, but these came through just fine and are still rolling true.

Above: Understated graphics and simple wear indicator for braking surface

The best part? You can buy these at your local bike shop or by clicking HERE at just $350 for the set. They weigh 1879 gms, 429 gms more than those newest-latest $2200 carbon wheels. 

Above: 500 grams

Perhaps the average American cyclist doesn't have a good grasp of how much weight 429 grams actually is? To give you an idea the package of dry pasta above weighs 500 grams.

There is NO way (to us anyway, if you REALLY want to save weight on wheels, tubulars are the way to go, not clinchers!) saving less than the weight of a package of dry pasta on a pair of wheels is worth paying an additional $1850 - that's enough money to fly you over to Italy to ride with us!!!!!

If you're in need of a new set of wheels for your bike and a good ratio of price vs quality matters to you, take a look at URSUS.

Disclaimer: wheels supplied by URSUS/Albabici as official suppliers to CycleItalia. 
Wheels on bike shown with Campagnolo Q/R, not the suppled URSUS model.

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