We first spotted these in a backroom on a Malaysian factory tour, but more details have now come to light.

Due as part of the Dura-Ace 2008 product line-up, the WH-7850-C24-CL uses a patent-pending carbon laminate process: a thin layer of carbon is bonded to 7mm-thick aluminium covering the entire rim, bar the braking surface.

Each spoke hole has additional layers of carbon-fibre. These 24 layers ensure the spokes can be well tensioned despite the exceptionally thin-walled, light rim. A similar ?patch? strengthens the valve hole.

To counter the issue of a lack of lateral rigidity on Dura-Ace wheels, an offset spoke bed has been used.

The reduced dish and even spoke lengths improve lateral test figures by 18 per cent. A projected target weight of 1,388g per pair puts them at the exciting end of the clincher scale, and the new Dura-Ace freehub body will ensure that the final niggle on top-end Shimano wheels is banished: pick-up has been reduced from 22 degrees to only 10.

The bad news? Don?t expect to see them until after the clocks have gone back.