Rocket ship speed, stiff and with impressive handling traits, the Prime BlackEdition x CeramicSpeed is an exceptionally well performing wheelset. There are performance gains over the standard BlackEdition wheelset but this is mainly down to the lighter rim weight. The inclusion of ceramic bearings, whilst certainly increasing the kudos, does also increase the price somewhat over the standard edition. Yes they certainly roll fast and are durable but over the normal BlackEdition wheelset the benefits for many riders could be construed as being relatively marginal.
Super fast rolling
Stiffness under loads
Standard set performs just as well for £300 less
By James Bracey
The Prime RR50 BlackEdition X CeramicSpeed DB 50 wheelset was selected for an Editor's Choice award in 2020. This year's list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team - this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
Prime has steadily been growing traction in the entry to mid-priced wheel market thanks to some highly specced, solid performers with price tags that immediately mark them as being somewhat of a bargain.
Prime’s BlackEdition wheel range started to push the brand towards the premium echelon with wider and lighter rims and up-to-date construction techniques. Now it is pushing it even further upwards with this wheelset, the BlackEdition X CeramicSpeed DB 50.
As you can guess by the name, Prime has collaborated with CeramicSpeed to shoehorn some of the Danish brand’s high-end, fast rolling bearings with the end result being the ‘fastest’ wheels Prime has produced.
But it’s not just the bearings that set this wheelset apart; Prime has worked to pare 50 grams of weight off the 50mm deep carbon rim as well. It still uses the same well-regarded Toray T700 UD carbon fibre as with its other wheelsets but trimmed back the layup to remove excess weight without reducing strength and stiffness. The rim measures 21mm internally on our Vernier callipers and a 28mm outer width, to put it in the sweetspot for use with 25 and 28mm tyre widths.
Prime’s aluminium hubs house the aforementioned CeramicSpeed bearings and are constructed with straight pull spoke flanges front and rear. Quality DT spokes are used and a good touch is the use of stronger DT Comp spokes on the drive side of the rear wheel. Build quality out of the box is excellent with spoke tension being very even across all sides of the wheels. Even after testing true has remained at less than 1mm deviation and spoke tension almost perfectly constant. One thing to note is despite the rear alloy freehub incorporating a steel ‘Anti-bite guard’, there are still noticeable gouge marks from the natural twisting of the cassette.
Prime supply the BlackEdition X CeramicSpeed wheelset with a full set of accessories including tubeless valves (tubeless tape is fitted as standard), replacement axles for quick release, quick release skewers and a quality double wheelbag.
Fitting tyres proved to be reasonably simple with only the Continental GP5000 tyre needing the use of a tyre lever. The hooked rim bead hints at suitability for both tubes and tubeless set up and in fact worked impressively well at seating and sealing a tubeless tyre even without sealant.
The ride experience of the wheels did not disappoint either. In a market saturated with 50mm deep section carbon wheels it can be difficult to stand out but the BlackEditions, in my experience, are up with some of the best. The ability for the wheel to accelerate, one of the sticking points of a deep section wheel, was really impressive. Especially given the wheels are not the lightest we have tested at just over 1.54 kilograms a set. This has to be down to where the weight is distributed and shows off the benefit of a lightened rim.
Again the way the Prime BlackEdition hold speed was superb and noticeably increased my average speed on all manner of terrain over several similar wheels I have tested recently. However the best features of the wheels have to be the stiffness and handling traits. I often find wheels flex when I sprint or climb out of the saddle but I felt nary a whisper of unwanted lateral movement from the Primes. They also handle like a shallow section wheel on technical circuits and direction changes are almost telepathic. In this instance I could see them being quite possibly the perfect crit racing wheel.
It’s hard to identify any real quantifiable benefits of the inclusion of ceramic bearings (and in turn the resulting increase in cost) in a short term test but where they should shine is in longevity. The Prime hubs look to have a fairly good level of sealing with there was very little evidence of contamination when stripped at the end of the test. Ceramic bearings are renowned for being incredibly durable and to this end with a little regular cleaning they could last the entire lifetime of the wheel.
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