Blade Wheels Test Report
Ride Quality is Everything
Robert Milligan of Barrie, Ont. continues to hone his Blade Wheels business as his company introduces its second-generation carbon wheels. Custom wheels have been Milligan’s strongest selling point, accomplishing a made-to-measure wheelset that leaves nothing to chance. The consumer is able to order a custom carbon weave for the rim at either a 3k, 12k or UD woven, in addition to the width of that rim. The width is a massive decision, as it can greatly affect the performance of a bike, from crosswinds to sprinting. Blade provides a choice between 35mm, 45mm, 55mm, 69mm and 79mm to adequately handle any setting.
The Blade hub, which encompasses Japanese Ezo bearings, is available in standard and disc brake, and in black, silver or white colours. New for 2017 is the ability to choose a Chris King,
White Industry T 11, DT Swiss or Extralite Cyber as well. Even the spoke model, colour and pattern for lacing are your choice. You’re also able to fully customize the colour of the decal on the rims, with 17 different options on offer.
Needless to say, there are an incredible variety of hoops available for both road and track, depending on preferences. Each set of wheels comes with brake pads, skewers and rim tape to help you get ride-ready. Price can range from $1,500 to $2,700, depending on the selections made.
Over this past winter, Pedal Magazine was able to test out a pair of second-generation 35mm wheels with a Blade hub at a weight of 339g, which is comparable to all the rest except the Extralite at 177g. Out of the box, this carbon wheelset has that initial feeling of featherlight. Aesthetically, the wheelset looks sharp, with a white hub, mixedspoke combination and a glossy carbon rim. In my opinion, the look equals and even surpasses some of the big hitters on the market.
Ride quality is everything with a set of wheels. No matter the bike, you can stand on the pedals and it’s the wheels that hold the weight, harness the power and let the bike perform. These wheels have the lightness and carbon strength that provide the initial feeling of speed and power that is pivotal for a high-end set of hoops.
Climbing and sprinting are great tests for a wheelset, and the Blades performed very well, with little to no lateral flex under load. Cornering feels smooth and controlled, with no chatter upon heavy braking into tight turns. Quiet and efficient, the Blade wheels did not possess annoying carbon creak sounds that can fluster even the most hardened racer.
The wheelset also performs nicely on bumpy rural roads, as it has the ability to soak up vibration and maintain the course. These wheels performed admirably in a number of different test scenarios, inspiring confidence and, perhaps, loyalty in the long run. Backed by a two-year manufacturer’s defect warranty, only time will tell when it comes to longevity.
Blade has secured sponsorship with the Canadian Cycling Association to provide both the National track and road teams with Blade wheels for their upcoming year. According to Olympian and National Team member Allison Beveridge, “I haven’t had too much experience on the wheels, but for me when I race, I don’t like to feel like I’m on something different that I have to worry or think about. I just like to feel comfortable and settled on my bike, focusing on the race and letting the characteristics of the equipment provide the advantages, and I found that with Blade Wheels.”
For more information, visit www.bladecarbonwheels.com.
Blade Wheels performed admirably in a number of different test scenarios.