Cosine 55mm full carbon clincher wheelset - review - Road Cycling UK

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Cosine 55mm full carbon clincher wheelset – review

Wiggle's own-brand carbon clincher wheels are stunning value for money

A deep-section, full carbon clincher wheelset for £600? These 55mm hoops from Wiggle’s in-house wheel brand, Cosine, are stunning value for money.

For many cyclists, a full carbon rim is a seriously desirable upgrade to their bike. The technology has taken huge significant steps forward in recent years – take a look at Mavic’s latest Cosmic and Ksyrium wheels for an example of the very latest tech – but the big problem which remains for the masses is cost.

But Cosine have tackled that here. £600 for a pair of 55mm-deep aero full carbon clinchers represents, on paper, fantastic bang for your buck. But what exactly are you getting for your hard-earned cash?

Cosine is Wiggle’s in-house wheel brand and these 55mm-deep full carbon clincher wheels will set you back £600
  • Specification

  • Price: £600
  • Weight: 1,752g
  • Rim depth: 55mm
  • Rim width: 23.4mm external; 19mm internal
  • Website: Wiggle

In short, you get a full carbon rim built by Taiwanese experts Gigantex. It measures 19mm internally (23.4mm externally), and will safely support 23, 25 and 28mm tyres – basically pretty much the range pro cyclists might use throughout the whole World Tour season. That wide rim provides an ideal platform for wider tyres, ensuring a smooth transition from rim to tyre, improving handling and, potentially, aerodynamics.

That means they’re versatile, and while the 55mm depth of our test wheels naturally means crosswinds can be an issue, it’s nowhere near as bad as you’d imagine (and Cosine also offer carbon wheels in 30mm and 45mm depths).

When it comes to cutting through the air they’re noticeably an improvement for any off-the- shelf road machine. They don’t sport a NACA profile – you’ll spot these on Mavic’s top line full carbon hoops, for example – so the breadth of optimum efficiency isn’t as wide as it might be, but regardless the Cosines are remarkably stable thanks to the 23.4mm external width and, in line with modern trends, a generally rounded profile on the trailing edge.

On the road, they’re great at helping you hold your hard-earned speed. The total weight for the wheelset is 1,752g, plus tyres (we whacked on a set of Continental Grand Prix 4000 IIs to give the hoops maximum chance to shine), so they’re certainly not the lightest on the market, but with 55mm wheels you’re looking for more of an aerodynamic advantage than to drop weight from your bike. Still, with a lot of the weight situated in the aluminium hubs, rotational weight is kept relatively low.

The carbon rim is made by Gigantex and the spokes and nipples come from Sapim

Naturally, they don’t set the world on fire when the terrain goes uphill, but response and acceleration is certainly more than adequate for a set of £600 wheels. Interestingly, Cosine also make a 30mm version with otherwise precisely the same dimensions, weighing in at 190g less. That weight is lost purely from the rim, so if climbing ability is what you’re after, these are likely a better bet (and £100 less, too). Still, if your climbing is limited to shallower gradients and you want to thrive on rolling or flat terrain, the 55mm section will doubtless serve you well.

The hub sports sealed-cartridge bearings, which means servicing isn’t the easiest, and the freehub is fairly noisy, if you like that sort of thing. When spun in your hand it can be felt clicking away a little more than premium brands.

Aluminium hubs add a little extra weight

The freehub body supports Shimano and SRAM 11-speed drivetrains, while a spacer is also supplied for ten-speed compatibility. However, the Ultegra cassette we fitted to it took some persuading, indicating the machining of the splines, or protective coating, could be slightly ‘out’ in terms of thickness.

Joining the dots are Sapim CX Delta alloy spokes, which have an elliptical, bladed profile. They’re solid, with 24 used at the rear (dual-crossed) and 20 (straight-laced) at the front, and match up with the aero intentions of the rim.

 

For use over long rides, they’re also very at home, providing a relatively comfortable and insulating transmission from the road surface. Ok, so they’re not as refined in their feel as more premium offerings, with a little rattle often audible from the required extra long tube valves, but when those wheels cost up to three times as much as the Cosines, the dilemma of diminishing returns begins to rear its head.

Braking performance using the supplied Prince compound pads is impressive in the dry, with good feel and modulation available to the rider. On longer descents, the pads can squeal as heat builds up, but fade is kept to a minimum. There’s no machining at the rim; sand-blasting, laser-cutting or otherwise, but regardless feedback is good, certainly in the dry.

At 23.4mm wide (externally), the Cosine wheels are ideal for use with 25mm or 28mm tyres

The Achilles’ Heel, as with many carbon rims, is in the wet and effectiveness certainly does suffer – enough for me to take noticeable caution as oil, water and grit coated the brake track surface. However, should you get caught in a downpour, the brakes do remain effective enough to get you home, if not push.

Conclusion

As an overall package, these are some seriously impressive hoops for the money. They may not be quite as refined as more expensive wheels, but if you’re considering these alongside something more premium, the phrase ‘diminishing returns’ is always a factor as cost spirals, sometimes to around three times the price of the Cosines. In terms of value-for-money, these wheels are an absolute steal and worth every penny.

Pros

  • Fantastic value
  • Good ride quality
  • Aero performance

Cons

  • All riders might not appreciate the loud freehub
  • Freehub splines not completely flush
  • Reduced braking performance in wet

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