Written by Matt DeMeis Thursday, 30 March 2006 00:00
I bought the FSA-RD 400 wheelset last spring because I wanted a set of clinchers that were actually decent to use for training, saving the tubbies for races. This wheelset came in with the best dollar to gram ratio in the bunch (about a handful of salted peanuts heavier than the Ksyrium SLs and a lot cheaper) so I made my purchase. On to the goods!
The wheelset is a semi-aero 28mm section rim with a radial spoked 20-count front and a 24 count half and half in the rear (1/2 radial, 1/2 cross). I’m a huge fan of radial laced wheels for their high tension and stiffness so I was happy about that. First impressions out of the box were very positive. The wheels are darn light for a clincher in this price range and the build quality is awesome. One odd thing that you may have seen is that the spoke nipples on this wheelset (and a bunch of other FSA wheelsets as well) are hidden inside the rim. This requires removal of the tire/tube/rim-strip in order to true them. That’s a pain right? Not really. I’ve ridden and raced mine HARD for a whole season and they are as true as the day they came out of the box. I even beat them up good on a cross bike as well. So I don’t see the hidden nipple feature as a bad thing since you most likely won’t have to true them for at least a whole season. Another awesome feature is the ease of hub maintenance. If your freewheel starts sounding a bit loud after a while you simply take out the skewer and pop off the freewheel body. Wipe off the parts and pour about a tablespoon of 10w40 into the ratcheting mechanism and pop the freewheel back on. Boom. Dead quiet freehub. That just blew me away. Five bikeman heads just for that in my opinion. Now on to the ride quality.
These are some fast wheels. I rode (and still ride) them everywhere, from commuting in to the office, to racing the “Wednesday night worlds” criteriums. They are a bit stiff, so if it’s a comfort cruiser feel you’re after, look elsewhere. The pothole filled streets of RI do feel a bit harsh on them at times, but any wheel would feel bad on that stuff. Racing them is a blast and the stiffness makes for excellent cornering and acceleration. All I can say is that since I bought this wheelset I have sworn off tubulars for the road, and that is a huge step for me. I rode and raced the FSA’s almost exclusively last season and didn’t miss my tubbies on the road one bit. A good set of racing sneakers makes these babies rival any high-end clinchers out there, and you’ll still have money for some slices and a beer after the race.
|FSA RD-400: 700c Wheelset, 20/24, Shimano, Black. Extra lightweight, classic beauty to complement the finest road bicycles. TubolaroTM rims with round cross section is light, aero, and rigid. 7075 aluminum cassette body converts from Shimano to Campagnolo. Elegant, medium height flanges strengthen spoke structure. Fedelini™ stainless spokes...|
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