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Home » Cycling » A First Impression of the Ican Carbon Fiber Clincher Wheels; If Built to Spec, they’re Legit

A First Impression of the Ican Carbon Fiber Clincher Wheels; If Built to Spec, they’re Legit

September 2018
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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

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13 Comments

  1. theandyclark says:

    Thanks. You do really good product reviews. It’s a shame you don’t get samples to review off of.

  2. jwintx14 says:

    Jim, thanks for sharing this, have been curious how you felt about these after putting them on! They sure look cool, too 🙂

    I do wonder, given your saddle time and the number of miles you put in, what you notice about speed with these wheels vs others. Specifically, I’ve been told the deeper-section wheels tend to hold speed better, therefore making the overall ride faster (less effort to maintain speed). Have you found this to be true, or what thoughts do you have on it?

    Finally, how deep are these rims, 40mm?

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks, brother.
      I picked the 38’s over the 50’s. I did this to avoid performance problems in a crosswind. I’ve got friends who ride 80’s and 60’s and they’re all over the place in a crosswind. Weight was also an issue. I’m told the 50’s tend to be more noticeable in their ability to hold speed but I’ve noticed a fairly large boost with the 38’s as well.

      It’s a weird feeling, actually. You can feel the improvement but you don’t want to be a fanboy so you temper the enthusiasm a little bit… On the other hand, between you and me, it’s pretty cool. I went solo off the front to take the intermediate sprint last Tuesday. With the shallow 24mm alloy wheels, I’d never been able to do that… and I’ve tried.

      I am saving all of that for my 1,000 mile review of them… should be about three weeks. Maybe two and some change.

  3. Glad you love them! They look awesome too. As for longevity – as long as you’re not dragging the brakes or braking all that much (and in a big ring town you’re probably not) and you clean any debris from the brake pads regularly, then they should last ages.

    Wet weather braking is a bit of an issue with carbon wheels, but hopefully as they’re on the Venge you shouldn’t get caught in too much rain!

  4. […] A First Impression of the Ican Carbon Fiber Clincher Wheels; If Built to Spec, they’re Le… […]

  5. Archetype says:

    One of my riding buddies purchased a set for $500 last year, he loves them. He had a pair of Reynolds prior and he say’s that the Ican Carbon wheels are as good if not better AND tires are much easier to get on and off. The Reynolds are notorious for being a bitch to get tires on and off.

    I didn’t know of know of the Ican’s before I bought my Chinese Ekay Composites in 2014 for $430. But 4-1/2 years and 11k on, my wheels have been great. When it’s time to replace them though, Ican will be the choice.

  6. Rita Müller says:

    Hi Jim,

    Thank you for your support of ICAN and write about this with thoughtful, unbiased reviews.
    For your question, I will relay this to the appropriate rep.
    I would like to share your blog on ICAN Blog, of course, we will attach your blog link.
    I have searched the entire blog and it seems that without contact information. The following is my contact information.
    rita@icancycling.com
    It would be greatly appreciated if you could contact me.

    Thanks
    Rita
    https://icancycling.com/

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