Blade Car­bon 2G 45-mm

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - IN DEPTH - 2,189 [clincher, Blade hub],

Deep car­bon wheels lend a racy look to any bike. But their high price usu­ally means that their eye-catch­ing rims are mostly re­served for race days. Blade, a new out­fit from Bar­rie, Ont., is one of a new wave of brands bring­ing the price of car­bon wheels down by sourc­ing its hoops from fac­to­ries in Asia, and sell­ing di­rectly to con­sumers.

The 45-mm Blade 2G has a mod­ern rim de­sign with its wide, blunt trail­ing edge. A glossy clear coat over car­bon weave and lo­gos in­di­cates Blade is not just or­der­ing stock wheels from a fac­tory. The 23-mm-wide rim (16-mm in­ter­nal width) matches well to 25c tires. A 25-mm-wide ver­sion (18-mm in­ter­nal) is also avail­able for those who want to go wider. At 1,430 g, the Blade 2Gs are re­spectably light for a wheelset of this depth. The wheels are uci le­gal, which is good even if you don’t par­tic­i­pate in sanc­tioned events as uci ap­proval means Blade’s wheels meet the safety stan­dards re­quired.

Early spring rid­ing of­fered good op­por­tu­ni­ties to test the wheels in blus­tery con­di­tions, which the Blade 2Gs han­dled well. They were pre­dictable, al­low­ing me to lean con­fi­dently into the wind, with­out wor­ry­ing that the wheels would jerk sud­denly. I wouldn’t hes­i­tate to ride the Blade Car­bon 2Gs on all but the windi­est days, when it would be ill ad­vised to run deep wheels re­gard­less of how good the shapes are.

Brak­ing mod­u­la­tion was good, if slightly lack­ing in power. I felt more hand force was re­quired for a given brak­ing power. Since Blade ap­proves the use of any car­bon­spe­cific brake pads, not just their own, I swapped to some Swissstop Black Prince Flash Evo pads, which im­proved things no­tice­ably, but not quite as good as the lat­est wheels with tex­tured brak­ing sur­faces. In the wet, the Blade 2Gs are like any car­bon rims: ex­pect longer stop­ping dis­tance when it’s rain­ing.

On the one hand, the 2Gs per­for­mance is very close to of­fer­ings from es­tab­lished brands. Many of those wheels, how­ever, are nearly twice the price. With wheels, you can go cheap by or­der­ing a set fac­tory-direct from Asia. But you face the prob­lems of ship­ping and cus­toms, not to men­tion run­ning the risk of re­ceiv­ing a sub­par or un­safe prod­uct, and po­ten­tially a war­ranty headache. Blade treads the mid­dle ground by of­fer­ing wheels with solid per­for­mance at com­pet­i­tive prices and af­ter-sales ser­vice. That’s a com­pelling case. ($ blade­car­bon­—an­drecheuk

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