At £1799 including a padded double wheelbag, the price is a little on the high side but certainly not overpriced. Sicasso might not have the kudos of other more recognised names in the carbon wheel game but the quality and performance of the wheels makes them a very competitive choice worthy of consideration.
Smooth and comfortable over rolling terrain
Zero lateral flex
Internal nipples makes maintenance fiddly
Graphics look a little cheap
By James Bracey
Sicasso might not be a name you have heard of but the Australian carbon wheel brand has just started to show its range on these shores. At the forefront of the range are the Sicasso S45C wheels, the company's answer to 'do-it-all' wheels.
The 45mm deep rim sits slap bang in the middle of the very popular 40-50mm rim depth market. This mid depth rim style is very competitive style of wheel with a lot of riders choosing it as a wheel to use in all conditions. It’s seen as not as heavy or as influenced by cross winds as a deeper wheel, whilst being more aerodynamically advantageous than a classic shallow, box section rim.
The in-house designed rim is of the up-to-date blunt-nosed leading edge style and a relatively wide 23mm width; still quite narrow in comparison with something like Enve’s SES 4.5 at 27mm, but at least it minimises clearance issues some frames might have a super wide rim. The internal width of 17mm gives a great tyre profile with both 23mm and the slightly better-suited 25mm tyre. The unidirectional carbon finish looks good although I wasn’t sold on the white graphic package with its large ‘paint splodge’ logo. Fortunately you can choose to customise the graphics for a small additional cost, Sicasso currently offer 22 different colours so hopefully you can match with your bike.
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The Sicasso S45C wheels are specced with own brand CNC machined aluminium hubs, coupled with a interchangeable freehub body – with spares readily available. The hubs come fitted with EZO precision sealed bearings with good weather sealing. If you prefer something a little more ‘bling’ its worth knowing that you can upgrade the hubs to DT Swiss’ top drawer 180 hubset for an additional cost. Sicasso uses Sapim’s top end, straight pull CX-Ray spokes in the standard 20 front, 24 rear configuration. Spoke tension was very even over both wheels and putting the wheels on a jig showed wheel true to be exceptionally good. Sicasso are confident in the strength of their wheels and are happy to put a very high rider weight limit of 120kg for this set, making them worth consideration for larger or more powerful riders.
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The Sicasso S45C wheels hit their manufacturer's scales at 1590g but the set we had actually weighed less at just 1519g. Not featherlight in comparison to some similar wheels but certainly not a hindrance when the road goes up.
Whilst not blessed with lightning quick acceleration like some of the lighter wheels in this category, where the Sicasso S45C wheels excel is in being able to maintain speed on undulating terrain. The old adage of a deep section wheel allowing you to ride at a higher speed for less effort does ring true with these, especially when riding in a bunch riding and on flatter roads. Handling was excellent, with direction changes and out of the saddle efforts resulting in very little flex.
It is worth pointing out that this lack of flex was evident especially when on power climbs, making these wheels very suitable for heavier, more powerful riders. The more substantial design also gave the S45C’s levels of comfort that were appreciated and enabled them to easily maintain a line over rougher road surfaces.
The wheels came supplied with Shimano R55C4 carbon specific brake pads. These pads, combined with the treated braking surface of the rim resulted in fairly powerful and well modulated braking in the dry. Wet weather resulted in a deterioration in performance but not drastically worse than other carbon rimmed wheels.
Over the course of the long term test the front wheel went a little out of true (1.5mm deflection over a small area),which was a little disappointing, although to be expected given the road surfaces on some of my more regular routes. The internal nipple design of the rim and stuck on rim tape made this a little fiddly but at least the nipple is a universal fit, enabling most good bike shops to carry out running repairs quite quickly.
For more details visit the Sicasso website.
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