With all the brands of carbon hoops on the market today it is getting harder to decide which ones to buy. If you only go by the marketing hype then you likely will pay too much. And if all you go by is price then you will likely sacrifice quality. So what is the carbon bicycle wheel-buyer to do?
In an effort to bring our readers new products from smaller manufactures we were happy to review the new 50mm carbon wheels from Hermes Sport. Even though Hermes Sport is a relatively unknown company today, we are sure that you will hear this name a lot more in the near future. Why, you ask? The answer is bang for your buck. Hermes Sport is able to bring you a very high quality wheel at a budget price.
All the individual parts that make up a Hermes Sport wheelset are chosen for their performance properties, as well as their ability to keep providing that performance ride after ride with a minimum of maintenance needs. Hermes Sport’s owner, Alex Webster, created his company with the philosophy that “he wanted to create wheels that would satisfy the greatest number of needs, of the greatest number of competitive cyclists, and do so in an inexpensive package”.
Hermes Sport believes that the 50mm deep profile is able to accommodate the greatest number of cyclists. Webster stated, “this aero profile offers a good compromise between the light weight/low aerodynamics of the 25/38mm rim, and the high weight/high aerodynamics of the 65/80mm rims”. He continued, “this is an all purpose solution that can excel in as many riding situations as possible. The 50mm profile is well established as the ideal solution for most racers”.
The rim is laid up a bit more thickly than many other 50mm rims. While this adds a little extra weight, it provides a variety of benefits that far outweigh the cost of the heavier construction. Due to this thicker layup the rim is more durable and is harder to crack. It is harder to rip the spokes out because the wheels have thicker spoke beds. Heat dissipation is improved, thus reducing the chance of the risk of the carbon laminate becoming soft and deforming. This is especially important with the carbon clinchers. A thicker carbon layup also makes for a stiffer wheel, and keeps the wheel true longer. And we all know that a stiffer wheel is a benefit when climbing and sprinting.
The spokes are made by Pillar, who is a major Taiwanese manufacture known for low cost/high performance spokes. The hubs are by Novatec, and are lightweight and very strong, easy to service, and roll with very smooth bearings. The lacing is a robust 20/24 combination, which allows the wheels to have a high 200 pound weight limit.
So what does Bicycle.net think of these wheels after a month of riding them? Well, at first glance they are nice looking and well made. We were surprised by their performance, compared to their price. You are getting a lot of wheel for your hard-earned dollar or euro. They climbed great. They are stiff and roll smoothly. They were spot-on when descending and gave us a real feeling of confidence. They brake as well as any other carbon wheel on the market, and then they handle a heated up brake pad with ease.
When looking for an all-around carbon wheelset we recommend that you add the Hermes Sport wheels to your list.
• Rim: Hermes Sport 50mm deep, aerodynamic carbon fiber rim, tubular and clincher versions
• Front hub: Novatec A291 front hub
• Rear hub: Novatec F292 rear hub
• Spokes: Pillar double-butted aerodynamic spokes, 20 in front, 24 in rear
• Lacing Pattern: Front: Radial, Rear: 2 cross
• Wheelset Weight (tubular): 1530g
• Wheelset Weight (clincher): 1630g
• Rider Weight Limit: 200lbs
• Tubular MSRP: $1049
• Clincher MSRP: $1225