by Gary Hayes
A couple of years we go, we invested in some new wheels. We did our research and looked for a pair which would be durable on our commute but would hold their own on quicker and longer rides. If we had to do the same now, we would be spoilt for choice. A name that keeps rearing their head especially with domestic based brands is CES Sport. One glance at their range and the words 'stealth' and 'carbon' spring to mind! New kids on the block NorthRoad offer CES wheels with some of their range and brand ambassador Gary Hayes sent his verdict whether the wheels live up to their look...
My good friends at NorthRoad cycles offered me to test ride their first bike some months ago. An opportunity I could not miss. So much so I am now a Brand Ambassador awaiting the delivery of 001. This review is not about the lovely looking carbon bike I test rode. But the wheels that accompany the beautiful, steed. Let’s be honest here. We can spend a fortune on saddles, groupsets and handlebars, but wheels really set a bike apart from others. I accept this does not make an average bike a good bike, but it certainly helps. Certainly can make a bike look magnificent. Following on from my excellent first bike review, I think so anyhow, Joe, the Director of CES Sports made contact to review the wheels. With the promise of a free mug for my time to sip my pre-ride cappuccino from how could I say no?
CES Sport was set up in 2016 by Joe, himself a keen triathlete and cyclist. His aim being to make quality wheels at an affordable price to all levels of rider. ZIPP, Lightweight, HED are all fierce competitors, but with a fierce price tag. Joe found the gap in the market. Everyday cyclists who want top quality carbon wheels at a sensible price. I know myself I would love some high-end carbon wheels. However, the price of many limits my buying options. My wife does remind me. Plus, I do feel somewhat reluctant to purchase wheels similar in price to my bike. Personal opinion I grant you, wheels are what makes the bike move and the ride smooth, so what gives me the looks, the ride and the quality? Let’s see if it is CES.
Now comes the science part. The carbon rims are manufactured using the same mould as many leading bike manufacturers using Toray T700 carbon fibre sheets through a process of resin permeating. Yep, I have no idea if this is a good thing or not either. I am ensured by Joe, and by my own research, this one-piece moulding process ensure a stabilised and strong structure for a better finish. They are built to such precision that the rims have an assured roundness of 0.25mm, with braking surface flatness of 0.15mm. Both figures result in greater control and less drag when riding. The specially developed basalt braking surface offers a high temperature resistance and a better brake force, which is both quieter and more durable than most common carbon fibre woven edges. Taiwanese precision CNC machined hubs, reinforced spokes which are four times stronger than standard spokes and are hand built by a team of skilled technicians.
A previous biked I owned had deep rim, carbon wheels. They looked good, made my bike look really good. Though when I rode them I did not enjoy them to my previous ‘normal’ entry standard wheels. No idea why, I just didn’t. I hoped the amazing looking bike was not spoilt by wheels that add to the overall sexiness, but do not perform. I rode the bike three times, medium-long rides, I was very surprised, perhaps even shocked that I really, really liked these wheels. The ride was very smooth, even over the bumps and potholes of the English roads. Immediately, I noticed the difference to my entry standard wheels. It felt quicker, like every pedal stroke mattered, made me kick on feeling that I was riding faster and stronger. It is hard to explain in narrative form how brilliant these wheels made me feel and ride, I have no idea why but they did. A few side way glimpses in the window made me realise they looked bloody brilliant also. Many people will read this and try to understand. You have to ride them to do so. The market is competitive. But the price set these wheels apart straight away. Quality is not compromised for price. Believe me, I am an honest bike rider who would tell you all, my fellow peloton riders, the truth. Good, bad or ugly.
Aside from the rather excellent picture of me with the bike with CES wheels I need to wrap this up. CES wheels are manufactured in exactly the same place as so many other wheels. Granted, I have not tried all the wheels out there in the cycling market. There are so many to choose from. But if you want affordable wheels that not only make your bike look bloody good, but actually improve the feel and speed of your ride I can highly recommend CES. Customer service is fantastic. Joe is extremely helpful and friendly, plus gives you the advice you need from his years of experience riding, helps you choose on colours you want and the size of the rim that you may need for your biking from 38mm through to 88mm. Along with the option of a full disc rear wheel. Wheelsets start from 575 in price.