I was certain in cycling you get what you pay for. So much so, I was saving up for a set of carbon fiber Roval wheels ($1,600 to $2,200). I was certain those cheap Chinese wheels were flawed in some way.
It’s been four years I’ve been saving up for those Roval wheels. I spent my slush fund on Christmas two years in a row. I spent half of it on my daughter’s varsity jacket last year. I blew all of it one year on hunting… Whenever I got close to the magic amount, something would come up. I don’t even have a slush fund this year.
We are sitting on enough cash that $400 wouldn’t hurt, so I pulled the trigger after some online research and talking to three local guys who run the vastly less expensive Chinese wheels (one Yoeleo, one Ican, and one Superteam) – they all gave glowing reviews and recommended them highly. Two are in the C Group (18-mph avg.), one is in the A Group (25-mph) and I’m in with the B’s (22-1/2-mph).
I read a review article that gave the nod to Ican as the top of the heap. Their two year warranty, their six pawl hubs, the sealed cartridge bearings in the hubs impressed the author…
I’ve got a little more than 400 miles on them over the last several weeks – some very fast miles – and so far, I’m not kidding, they’re legit.
I’ve put them through everything I could throw at them short of a 55-mph descent, and they beat my alloy wheels hands down. And my alloy wheels are fantastic.
I even went as far as setting my Venge up next to the 5200, upside down, and spinning the wheels to see which stopped first. I was sure my Velocity/Vuelta hybrid wheels would kill the newer Ican wheels. Three for three, the Ican out spun the alloy wheels by more than 20 seconds with about a 10-mph spin. Twenty seconds. Of course, the wheels will react differently with the rubber down and my big butt on the saddle, but still.
So here are the details. I paid $400 for them. They came with rim tape, brake pads, and QR skewers. I also had a pair of brand new 25mm Michelin Pro 4 tires to put on them.
The weight of my bike, even though I went from 23mm tires to 25’s, went from 15.90 to 15.75 pounds. The alloy wheels were 1550 grams so I’m guessing the 1420g advertised weight was right on. They’re light.
The QR skewers that came with the wheels are junk. They’re in the recycling bin already. I’m rolling my old Ultegra QR’s. It’s too bad that the Ican skewers work so poorly, they’re quite light.
New tires are NOT easy to fit on the wheels. They were so hard, a Kool-stop Tire Bead Jack had to be employed.
Other than those tiny pitfalls, my initial experience is entirely pleasurable. Without a doubt, the Ican wheels have vastly out performed the $400 I have into them.
The question that I’ve got left is going to be about longevity. I know friends who have thousands of miles on them without issue. I hope I’m that lucky.
Finally, I’ve seen some comments and reviews mention that the wheels rival $2,000 carbon fiber wheelsets. I can’t go that far because I’ve never ridden anything that expensive. I can say this about my Ican 38’s: I like them. A lot.
The more I ride them, the more I like them. They vastly exceeded my expectations.
Best feature: If you’ve never ridden carbon fiber wheels, it is ridiculous how much cf wheels smooth out the road. Throw 25’s on them and it’s impressive. If you know the difference in feel between an aluminum and a cf frame, that same difference exists for alloy and cf wheels. They’re that good.
So, are the Chinese wheels as good as a set of Zipp’s that’ll set you back $2,300? I highly don’t know, but I’ve never ridden a set of $2,300 Zipp’s to be able to give a proper assessment. I have, however, ridden superior and inferior wheelsets and at only $400, the set of Ican’s I have are in the “superior” class. Initially, they’ve exceeded my expectations by a wide margin.
Find them here: Ican