May, 2018 saw a significant change in my outlook in the 'tubeless vs tubes' argument which, for road bikes at least, seemed to have rumbled on for a long time. Even now it is only in recent weeks that Continental have produced their first foray into Tubeless tyres with the Continental 5000.
I had been riding Continental 4000 IIs paired with Fulcrum Zero Nites for several seasons of cyclosportives throughout Europe and had no complaints until, that is, I rode a Miche SWR carbon wheelset paired with Ultegra 8000 brakes. Oh my!!
OK, let's be clear. My riding in Europe sees me climbing in the Alps, the Vosges and the Ardenne. Until May this year I found an excellent combination of wheelset and tyres that suited that riding. I race cyclosportives and compete in my age category so I do my best to use the best components and equipment I can afford. The Fulcrum wheelset were reasonable light and unlikely to overheat when braking during alpine descents up to 20 kms long, the tyres performed perfectly with that fast and subtle feel you get from running good quality clincher tyres. So, if I was going to change I couldn't take a step backwards - 2018 was going to be my season and if I changed significant components and equipment, I had to be confident that it would be a positive change.
Moving from a tried and tested aluminium wheelset to a carbon wheelset has risks.
Firstly, heat dissipation under braking is a major risk. If heat from the rims under braking is not dissipated effectively, tyres can overheat with potentially catastrophic results.
Secondly, braking hard into hairpin corners, possibly in the wet, requires an assured braking surface and brake pads that work in all conditions.
Thirdly, some carbon wheelsets may not use the better quality hubs. I've had experience of racing poorer quality hubs which at one ride just about survived seizure and they were only a few weeks old. Cyclosportives in Europe and training in the UK is tough on riders and equipment.
How did Miche SWR and Ultegra R8000 brakes remove those risks?
Miche SWR rims performed brilliantly under braking using a superb surface and resin that just dissipate heat no matter how hard and long you use your brakes. Plus, using tubeless tyres (I use Schwalbe One Pro) removes the risk of inner tubes overheating due to poor heat dissipation in the rims so there is a drastically reduced risk of blowout under hard braking into an alpine hairpin under race conditions.
I paired my Miche SWRs with Ultegra R8000 brakes and Miche brake pads. The extra power afforded by the R8000 brake calipers with this wheelset was stunning! The ability to brake not only equalled my previous setup but far exceeded it - scrubbing speed coming into a corner was of no concern, it just happened, under control and on line.
I raced and trained with this wheelset and brake combination all season. I suspect I may not have achieved the following results in 2018 without this amazing wheelset.
Miche SWR Wheelset
For more information about this fabulous wheelset supplied by Hammer Sport, email email@example.com or call 07801 930443
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