Blade Wheels Test Re­port

Ride Qual­ity is Ev­ery­thing

Pedal Magazine - - Out in Front - BY TIM LE­FEB­VRE

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.

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