Chinese Carbon Clincher OEM Ride Review

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I have been reading a lot of mixed reviews about the Chinese OEM carbon clinchers. Some praised the value and the quality, while others swore to never use them again.

Some of the issues raised were spoke tension issue, de-lamination during hard braking and stiffness issue.

I for one have been owning few Chinese carbon clinchers. The very first one I owned was in the year 2011, then year 2013 and finally in 2017. The one I owned in 2011 and 2013 did not last that long because I was so tempted with branded wheels hence decided to sell them instead. I probably owned them for about 1-2 months max.

From my memory, the issue I had with the 2011 one was spoke tension issue. I remembered one of the spokes would be so wobbly that I decided to stop mid-ride (lucky I was close to home at that time) because I was so concerned about my safety.

I did not have any issue with the 2013 one.

Finally, I tried to purchase again in 2017. This time I purchased through AliExpress from a shop called C-razy carbon Store. The wheelset was 50mm with 27mm width.

I would like to share with you my purchasing experience and the performance of the wheelset.


I purchased the 50mm deep, 27mm width with Powerway R36 carbon hubs.

Store owner’s name was Edwin. As soon as I made my order, he contacted me straight away. We did not have any issue in communication even though English was second language for both of us.

I couldn’t fault the price. It was USD$435 which equates about ~AUD$650. Where in the world could you get branded carbon wheelset at that price?

The wheelset was shipped within 5 days as promised. It took about 2 weeks from the date of purchase to fully arrive in Perth, Western Australia.

When it arrived, wheels have been packed professionally. There were no bits missing. It came with OEM brake pads and skewers.


I quickly put on the wheels and the OEM brake pads and I went out for a quick hill repeats around my house for about 1 hour.

Without skewers, the weight is as follows:
– Front: 760g
– Rear: 900g

This is way more than advertised. On advertisement it was:
– Front: 665g +- 15g
– Rear: 775 +- 15g

Strava ride is as follows:

My first impression was very positive! “This wheelset is good”, I thought. It was stiff and did not wobble at all. On flat it felt quick, and when standing and sprinting, it felt stiff.

Even though it is a fairly heavy wheelset, it did not feel that way during climbing. At no time did I feel sluggish. If anything, it felt solid during climbs.

The day was dry therefore braking performance was superb. I have been owning this wheelset for few months now and have gone through some rainy days. I’ll share later on how the braking performance is during wet season.

Perth was well known for its wind. We get about 20-35km/h and 30-40km/h crosswind most days. During that ride, the wind blew at about 20-25km/h with 30-35km/h gust and the wheel was only slightly affected. I had ridden Zipp 404 and it was affected by wind more.

During descend it was less affected by the crosswind gust. It was on the flat would you feel the slight nudge.

The Powerway R36 hub rolled smoothly. I’m not a mechanic so I can’t quiet tell how easy it is to service. Noise-wise, the Chris King hub is way noisier.

All in all, my first ride impression was very positive.


Since then I have been taking my wheels to a local sportive and long rides in Perth. One of them was the famous 3 Dams. Strava ride is as follows:

As per my initial review, the wheels hold up very well. It felt solid on flat, climbs and descends. If anything, it was my legs that limit the potential. It certainly felt comfortable and I did not have any issues spending 6.5 hours on it.

The day was sunny and dry therefore braking performance was good enough for me. Mind you it’s not like I did a lot of braking anyway during the day. Even on the descends, I only needed to do minimal braking.

Again, this event further increased my confidence in the wheels.

During this time I was putting the wheels on the AX Vial Ultra bike.


Finally, I decided to do something crazy with it. What if I take my Chinese carbon clinchers to the big mountains? How would that hold up? It was a big risk because to be honest, there was a part of me that get scared of the durability and safety of the wheels.

I’ve written a blog post on the ride experience itself therefore I won’t repeat myself here. You can read the article here. This section is purely dedicated for my review on the wheels themselves. During Letape I have changed my bike to Swift Hypervox.

Strava ride is as follows:

So, how did they hold up? They hold up very fine! I finished the 180km Stage 18 of Tour de France 2017 in 10hrs 20mins and the wheels did not have any issues at all.

The brake squealed if you hold it hard for longer than 15 seconds. It still hold up fine though. There was no de-lamination or anything like that. Mind you, there was no requirements whatsoever to brake hard longer than 15 seconds. The only time I would brake hard was when I was heading towards a hairpin during descending. Once the hairpin was behind, you could release the brake. Just to let you know, I was a careful descender and yet these Chinese carbon clinchers worked fine for me.

Regarding the performance of the wheels themselves, as per my initial review, was stiff in both flat and climbing. I was not sure how comfortable these wheels were because my new frameset (Hypervox) was definitely a lot more comfortable than the AX; and it would have overshadowed the comfort level of the wheels. All I can tell you is that my hands were not numb and if my body was battered, it was because of the difficulty level of the course and not because of the wheels.

As far as crosswind performance was concerned, the wind was blowing at about 20-25km/h on that day and they did not affect the wheels at all. Back in Perth however, when the wind reaches 30-40km/h, you can feel a slight nudge from the gust. But again, the nudge is never at the level where it would give you the sense of “danger” (so-to-speak) especially during descend.


So all in all, I can’t fault my AUD$650 carbon clinchers. From now on it would be a very hard sell for me to buy expensive wheelset. OK, to be fair, few years ago the Chinese clinchers could suck. But they’re catching up really fast.

As of writing of this article, I have ordered another 35mm-depth 25mm-width Chinese carbon clincher. I simply can’t fault its value.


Have a great day,


Written by

A web solution expert who has passion in website technologies. Tommy has been in the web industry for more than 10 years. He started his career as a PHP developer and has now specialized in ASP.NET, SharePoint and MS CRM. During his career he has also been in many roles: system tester, business analyst, deployment and QA manager, team and practice leader and IT manager.

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