Fair Wheel Bikes Launch Affordable, Lightweight Alloy Road Bike Wheels

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Typically, Fair Wheel Bikes deals in the high end goodies from boutique brands that make us all drool. And, usually, those goodies are well beyond our budget or just extremely difficult to justify.

Now, they’re bringing their careful parts selection and eye for details to a quartet of light and surprisingly affordable road bike wheels. All are built with DT Swiss hubs and spokes, laced to rims from Pacenti and Kinlin.

At the top of the heap is the Symbiote wheelset. It’s built with 24mm wide/26mm deep, 450 gram Pacenti SL23 rims mated to a set of custom drilled 20/28 DT Swiss 350 hubs using black Sapim Cx-Ray spokes and aluminum DT Pro Lock nipples. Claimed weight is 1560 grams, price is $625. Complete with Pacenti rim tape and free shipping in the continental U.S.

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The Phalanx wheelset is built on the 23mm wide, 28mm deep, 490 gram Kinlin XR-279 rim. Similar to their other stock wheelsets, the Phalanx utilizes a set of 20/28 DT Swiss 350 hubs laced with black Sapim Laser spokes and aluminum DT Pro lock nipples. Weight is 1650 grams, retail’s $450.

The Skrull wheelset, not shown, is a heavy duty version of the Phalanx intended for gravel grinders, cyclocross, heavier riders, or those just looking for a super durable everyday wheel. It’s built on the same rim, but increases the spoke count to 28/28 with double butted Sapim Race spokes and brass nipples. Weight is a reasonable 1760g. Price is $450.

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The Kree wheelset is designed as an SL climbers wheel intended for lighter riders. Recommend rider weight limit is 175 pounds. Based on the superlight, 400 gram, Kinlin XR-19W single eyeletted rim and DT Swiss 350 hubs in a 20/28 spoke count. It’s held together with Sapim CxRay spokes and DT prolock nipples. Complete wheel set weight is 1475 grams, price is $525.

All prices include rim tape and free shipping inside the continental U.S. Available at FairWheelBikes.com.

Comments

480rider - 05/12/14 - 5:23pm

I have 5,000 miles on a set of wheels Fair Wheel built up for me. (Hed Belgiums w/ T11s) They are rock solid with zero maintenance. I’ll definitely consider that Pacenti build for my next bike.

David - 05/12/14 - 6:01pm

The Skrull wheels sound versatile – like they can transform into whatever they need to. They should make a Super version which has extra strength, is heat treated, possesses a very high modulus of elasticity and is invisible to the wind.

Kree mountain bike wheels are next perhaps?

choela - 05/12/14 - 6:39pm

We’ll see if this works, fairwheel’s wheels have never really been the same since Troy Watson left…

Robo - 05/12/14 - 6:44pm

Skrull…Kree….Phalanx….I smell a Marvel Comics fan over at Fairwheels….

Psi Squared - 05/12/14 - 6:47pm

I’d beg to differ with choela. I’ve got an FWB wheel not made by Troy, and it’s been holding up great for the last few years.

Natenstein - 05/12/14 - 9:46pm

I just built up a set of wheels on the Pacenti SL23 rims. They are absolutely fantastic rims.

greg - 05/12/14 - 10:38pm

surprised about the DT hub spec. in Fairwheel’s own hub reviews, DT hubs come off as mediocre and overpriced, with reliability its only saving grace.

Greg - 05/12/14 - 11:52pm

I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with the idea that the above wheel sets are good deals. I have a set of Kinlins (XR-270) build up to under 1500 grams (1430 grams without skewers) and they were $300 shipped, hand built and brand new. While my hubs are not DT swiss and the XR-270 is not as wide or deep, and the Pacenti’s are a great rim, I fail to see these wheelsets as that great.

thesteve4761 - 05/13/14 - 12:21am

@greg #1- Fairwheel came to the same conclusion as Trek, Specialized, Sram, Enve, Fast Forward, Saris, Cannondale, and more. When it counts, choose DT Swiss. Others may be lighter, cheaper, or more exotic, but when you want hubs that just work, DT is the choice. Reliability is a pretty awesome saving grace to have. The 350 hubs are not terribly pricey either.

@greg #2- With what spokes? with what hubs? You pretty clearly indicate that the build you chose is cheaper (if lighter). Give us real detail. Pillar spokes and some Asian 3 pawl hub are not comparable here.

@bikerumor- top of the article states with DT hubs and spokes, remainder says DT hubs and nipples with Sapim spokes. Which is it? Belgian or Swiss?

bikermark - 05/13/14 - 8:36am

@thesteve4761: Don’t throw stones about Asian hubs. The 350s are made in China. The quality of the hub is fine, but its construction is nothing special. (An Ultegra hubs is nicer: its spoke holes are countersunk unlike the 350.) The 350 is likely the least expensive name brand hub FWB could find that could be drilled 20 hole.

SL23s are nice rims… until you have to install tires. $650 is a good value for that setup.

nunyab - 05/13/14 - 9:32am

@greg, you might be thinking of the older review, the one they did last year looked at the DT hub in a new light, directly from the review about DT hubs: “However with the new 11 speed dimensions my opinion of this hub has changed making it one of my favorite hubs. Bracing angle is now very respectable and tension balance is one of the best in the review.”

@greg#2, so what you’re saying is that for your wheels you chose a cheaper rim, cheaper hubs, cheaper spokes, and the wheelset ended up being cheaper? Doesn’t really seem all that surprising.

thesteve4761 - 05/13/14 - 12:12pm

@biker- 350′s are made in Taiwan or Switzerland in DT owned factories, not China. Check country of origin code on a box, CH=Switzerland TW=Taiwan CN=China. Not sure where the made in china idea came from, but it’s not true. I’m not knocking Asian 3 pawl hubs, but they are not the same quality level as a DT hub (or Ultegra). Further, 350 spoke holes are countersunk, I just looked at one. And if you have an issue with a DT hub, at least you can get it sorted out fairly easily.

Greg (#2) - 05/13/14 - 12:13pm

I’m just saying, what am I really gaining for over 2x the price?

Yes, the hubs I’m talking about are BHS hubs and the spokes are Wheelsmith.

I’m sure the above wheelsets are good, I just don’t quite see the value here.
You are correct the lower priced components built together makes a lower priced wheel…I fail to see that as a bad thing.

WannaBeSTi - 05/13/14 - 2:35pm

Hi Troy… How’s my RS doing?

Ajax - 05/13/14 - 4:45pm

You call THAT affordable
?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!

greg - 05/13/14 - 11:02pm

@nunyab
didnt see that. gotta check it out. considering almost everyone else was forced to lower the bracing angle for Shimano11, it makes sense that DT moved up the ladder…

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