USE's reputation precedes it: its forte in making aftermarket finishing kit, as used by our very own Dr Hutch, and of course housed under the same roof as one of the best known and respected bike light brands Exposure; its reputation precedes it.
Wheels are an obvious next step; but it's USE's first bite at the wheel cherry, and in a world where the market is awash with mainstream aero wheel offerings, it's going to be tough for an unusual suspect to crack.
However, USE should know a think or two about carbon. It's been dabbling in the black stuff for a while with its componentry; although this time taking a departure from a traditional weave lay-up to opt for a unilateral construction.
USE believe this creates a super stiff, lightweight and aerodynamic rim. It also gives it a ‘striped' effect where the fibres lay next to each other, rather than across. Adopting the currently fashion for wider 25mm rims should also assist with aero properties, creating a cleaner tubular-to-rim meeting point.
The rim is also where the Nano bit comes in. USE has given it its own Nano surface finish, which it says fills all the microscopic gaps between the carbon. This allows water and muck to bead off quicker than usual on carbon rims. We've not seen this kind of application on wheels before, but if it, as USE state, reduces drag and the ability for muck and water to stick to them then it could very well be on to something.
All are, predictably, partnered with USE hubs, boasting fully sealed cartridge bearings and a six-pawl 30-point engagement, so USE says they should also pick up pretty swiftly too.
The USE wheel range
From the outset, USE has made it clear that it's aiming firmly at the race market; the sales pitch being ‘strong, light and fast', and of the five road wheels in the line-up only one is a clincher. The 3.0 are at 30mm the lightest, a claimed 1,300g and cheapest (£1,249.99 for the pair).
The 45mm's 4.5 come in both tub and clincher (4.5c) for the same £1,349.99. There is a 170g clincher penalty, 1,605g over 1,457g, but it's not exactly a huge weight to bare with the practicalities that a clincher brings. The rim is a narrower 23.5mm, but that won't stop you rolling on fatter rubber should you choose too.
With 80mm of rim, the 8.0 are, according to USE, it's fastest wheelset. At just 1,626g and £1,559.99 for the pairing they may very well ruffle a few top-end wheel brand feathers.
The disc wheel is a slight variation from the pattern as USE has gone back to the 3k weave carbon lay-up and a 21mm rim, but has still applied the Nano surface finish. The 1,265g disc comes complete with a converter making it both road and track compatible for £999.99
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Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
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