In the last 18 months we’ve had a couple of pairs of Cero wheels pass through the Cycling Weekly office, and every time they’ve impressed us with their performance vs price tag, and these latest RC35-D wheels from Cero don’t disappoint
Cero continue to impress with its value for money wheelsets that come packed full of quality and performance led components that’ll work well for the UK roads.
The new Cero RC35-D wheels pack a punch and work well on road as well as off-road, securing a place in the 2018 Editor’s Choice awards.
The Cero RC35-D wheelset is a development of the original RC35 wheel. Cero created a lighter weight disc specific rim laced to its own Alloy Disc hub. The brand say that this wheelset is built for climbing where every gram matters; and they’re not wrong, although I’d go as far to say they are underselling the overall performance of these wheels.
Excited to get some miles in, I swiftly threw on the GP400s IIs in a 28c size with tubes and headed out. I was immediately impressed by the weight when putting them in the bike, especially seeing as I’d opted for a wider and so heavier tyre. The wheelset comes in at a very lightweight 1409g for middle depth carbon. This puts them right up there amongst the very best offerings from other brands at a fraction of the price.
After getting them rubber side down and rolling, the next feature I’d initially overlooked was the rim width. Cero are following the trend of most wheel brands and opting for a wider rim. The RC35s have a 25.2mm width (19mm internal) which gave the Conti tyres a really nice round profile and increased the rubber surface area to play with. This not only inspired confidence to push them hard, but also meant I ran them at a much lower pressure for better compliance and road comfort.
After a good few rides in this configuration, it was apparent that these wheels accelerate up to speed really quickly and feel very responsive to rider input. When putting in big sustained efforts, they maybe don’t hold their speed like a 50mm section wheel, but they do a damn good job, and it’s unlikely you’d really notice unless you’re a pro putting out 5watts per kilo. When out of the saddle climbing is where these wheels are at home, and there was no perceived sacrifice with any loss of power with flex and movement for a wheelset on the lighter end of the scale.
With the Cero RC35-D impressing me so quickly out of the box, it got me thinking what couldn’t they do? With that in mind, I went out and got myself some nice wide 35mm gravel tyres and some tubeless sealant and got to work! Cero send these wheels out tubeless ready, rim tape installed and a quality set of tubeless valves in the box. Nice touch. 20mins later, with tyres mounted and a little split sealant I was ready to go. The fitting was easy and one of the easier tubeless installs I’ve done, and no issues with leakage.
Cero are insistent on using quality spokes for all its wheelsets and these are no exception. The Cero RC35-D comes laced with Sapim’s range topping CX-Ray spokes, 20 front and 24 rear, in a 3-cross formation for a stronger layup and to resist additional torque inputs from disc brakes. I managed to squeeze in a good couple of months gravel and off-road riding on these wheels and they stood up to the challenge with ease.
It was great to ride a wheel that performed really well on the road and also when the tyres hit the dirt. The tubeless set up was a dream and even running super low pressures and occasionally bottoming out on the rim they’re as true and running as good as the day they came out the box. They even survived a local cyclocross race and didn’t break a sweat, unlike me!
I was able to run the Cero RC35-D on multiple bikes thanks to the own brand Cero hubs that come with these wheels. They’re compatible with a number of different axles from 9mm QR all the way to 12 and 15mm bolt thru, and come out the box with everything you need, and Cero make all the spares available to buy directly off its website. I was seriously impressed with the quality of these hubs.
This was most noticeable when switching out the end caps for different thru axle configurations, not only the simplicity of switching the caps but also getting a view of the clean hub internals and the high quality sealed bearings inside. For disc mounting options they’ve got you covered too. As standard they’re designed to mount with centre lock discs, but Cero put adapters in the box if you only have 6 bolt rotors to hand, another really nice touch.
The Cero RC35-D's are one of the best carbon wheelsets under £1000 I’ve tested. Some might argue that there’s lighter, faster wheels out there on the market, but none that even come close with a price tag of £899. They’re tubeless ready out the box and Cero provide a host of spares and adapters. For a solid mix of all-around performance, long term durability and quality, even for those that might want to venture off the tarmac, look no further!