This lovely pair of wheels just dropped into the office from Strada Handbuilt Wheels. A new company (they’ve only been going a couple of years but already have a decent reputation) based down in West Sussex, they set out with the mission to “…source, import, hand build (in the UK) and retail directly via the internet high quality carbon and alloy wheels for sporting cyclists at a competitive price point,” which sounds a decent way to start a company to us.
Once upon a time hand built wheels used to be the only option, but the rise of machine manufactured wheels have come to virtually dominate the mountain bike world. Great for choice and saving money but a shame when it comes to building your own wheels as the number of wheel builders has dropped dramatically.
Which is where Strada come in. They realised there’s a desire for high quality hand built wheels, built right here in the UK, with the wheelbuilder just a phone call away. There’s nothing like the special feeling that a pair of wheels has been built for you, to your specific demands and using the parts you’ve carefully chosen, and that’s just what Strada aim to offer.
To put a set of their hand built wheels through the test, we’ve been sent a pair of the company’s £496 MTB XC tubeless hoops. They feature BOR-FRM XMD 333 rims, a 330g item that was ridden to victory in the Absa Cape Epic and Trans-Germany (there’s even a sticker proudly proclaiming this fact). They’re available in red, black and white, but I think the white will looks the fastest. I’m right, aren’t I?
Anyway, the rims are made from 1.3mm thick extruded 6082 alloy, with an asymmetric profile. The rim joint is sleeved, welded and CNC finished for durability. The low weight of the rim means a rider weight limit on the complete wheelset is necessary, pegged at just 80kg. The rims are tubeless-ready with the supplied rim strip and valves, but can be used with tubes if you prefer.
Strada offer a choice of hubs (Hope Pro II, Chris King) and this sample were built with the entry-level Strada branded hubs. They’re designed to Strada’s own specs and come with ceramic bearings so they should roll nice and fast. They’re light hubs it should be added, just 245g rear and 145g front. For the spokes we have DT Swiss Super Comps, with 32 front and rear.
Complete weight for the pair (including tape and valves) is just 1437g. We’ll be fitting a pair of tyres and getting them on the Project Kinesis as soon as possible.