Craft Racing wheels - carbon spokes 1180g

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allrandomletters
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:46 pm

by allrandomletters

Haven't seen any reviews on these yet, and curious if anyone else has tried them. So far, I've only unboxed and weighed the wheelset, but I will continue to update this thread with ride review and impressions as I get more time with them. The design and specs seemed pretty incredible, so I took a chance and ordered a pair. I paid full price, and have no connection, but thought the wheels looked great for the price. I plan to put them on my Ostro VAM to replace the Roval Rapide CLX II - these wheels just feel a little dead and sluggish. I swapped a pair of Farsport Feder 35's, and they make the ride feel more lively and playful, so I began hunting for a wheelset that would turn the fun up to 11. I considered a few others - Cadex Ultra 50s (can't find in stock, super expensive), Mavic Ultimate (my Farsport Feder are basically the same weight, super expensive), Zipp NSW (not lighter than other current wheelsets I have, expensive). . . then I saw these from the Shanghai bike show video.

Ordered a set of the CS4045 from Panda Podium on June 5th, EMS shipping to the US, delivery on June 22nd - totally acceptable.

Wheels were packaged and wrapped securely, no issues.

As for the wheels themselves - they look incredible. Spokes are very wide carbon aero blade - wider than the Hyper spokes and seem close to the Cadex Ultra carbon spokes. Hubs are very nicely machined, end caps look like they remove easily. I haven't dissassembled fully yet to confirm, but it looks like 6802/6902 bearings, and the design looks very similar to the popular swiss hubs, so I anticipate servicing should be similar. Freehub is a 36 Tooth ratchet. I'll test later if it is interchangable with any of my 350 or 240 freehubs.
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The spokes are laced in a cross pattern, 16f and 20r. There is space between the spokes where they cross, so creaking or noise from rubbing spokes should not be an issue. A QC/QA spoke tension chart is included with the wheelset, and includes test results from balance, roundness and flatness. I'm no wheelbuilder, so I have no idea what it means, but the numbers look very consistent. The spoke drilling in the rim looks like it is angled and slightly offset for each side, to better match the spoke angle.
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Rims are already set up with tubeless tape, and valves are included. The tape has a dark weave pattern and was installed so smoothly, I almost thought it was an undrilled rim bed until I finally found the seam at the end.
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Valves - 12.5 grams and different lengths to match the depth of the staggered rim depth. Valve caps are a nice anodized aluminum, and look slimmer than standard plastic caps.
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Wheelset is right on spec at 1179 grams with tape. 1192g once you add the valves. Finish looks like a light clearcoat with the UD weave visible underneath. I'm not 100% sure, but the logos feel like they might be on top of the clear coat, so it might be possible to remove them if you are concerned with grams or aesthetics.
I personally think they look great, just wished I had the gold decals instead of chrome on my Factor now for a better match. Overall quality looks at least equal with the Rovals, though I think the factory tape install looks better on the CRWs.
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Schedule and weather allowing, I plan to get them installed and ride a couple hundred kms this weekend.

by Weenie


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cannondale7om
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2022 3:22 am

by cannondale7om

Very detailed review! Tom from Panda Podium here, I have been use the CS5060 these days and they feel really really great. We doubted the weight before we got these wheels, but after we weighed all the wheels, the actual weights are quite same as theie official weight.

Can't wait to see you put them on bike and how you feel about them! Cheers :beerchug:
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allrandomletters
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:46 pm

by allrandomletters

Text first, treats at the end :D

Installation - 28mm GP5k S TRs went on without levers, just requiring a normal amount of twisting and hand-wringing to get the last section of tire bead over the top of the rim. Tires inflated easily with my compressor, should likely be easy with any booster pump. 25mL of sealant, and the tires held pressure overnight, with very little loss.

On the bike - Disc rotors and 12 speed D/A cassete all installed without drama. My prior wheelsets all used DTSwiss 180 or 240EXP hubs. The CS4045 wheels mounted right onto the bike without needing any adjustment to either the brake calipers or rear derailer. Dimensional spacing for the rotors and cassette must be identical to DTSwiss with very good tolerance, as I experienced absolutely no brake rub, or gear indexing issues from changing the wheelsets. Wheels spin passes the eye test, looking perfectly straight and smooth. Bearings also feel very smooth. The nipples appear to be connected to the spokes via a taper-lock type interface, so I dont expect any issues with spoke tension or adjustment over time.

Ride Feel - This is where it gets interesting. These wheels are so light and smooth I had to look down to make sure I was actually on the road, and not hovering. These are easily the smoothest, lightest wheels I have ever ridden. On good pavement it felt like I was on a hoverbike, on rougher pavement the CRW wheels seemed to telegraph just a bit less road texture than other wheelsets I've ridden. Like any very good peice of equipment, they seemed to disappear, while rewarding any effort through the pedals with smooth surge directly to the pavement.

Comparisons - Feder 35 (1280 grams) - the CRWs feel tangibly lighter, and more responsive to the little accelerations up punchy climbs, or closing the little gaps back down to the wheel ahead. CRW seem to be stiffer and quieter. I had a noise issue with the front disc brake on the Feder wheelset where the steel spokes would occasionaly resonate under braking. Braking is totally silent with the CRW wheelset (with the same rotor) - the resonance disappeared.
FarSports Gravel 50 (1360 grams) - Equal in comfort. CRWs are again tangibly lighter and more responsive. CRWs seem less affected by crosswinds, very stable through gusts on fast flats and descents. I had 15-20mph swirling winds during my ride Sunday, so I feel like I got a good sample of conditions.
Roval Rapide CLX IIs - CRWs feel much, much more responsive. Maybe it is in my head, but the 350g difference was apparent to me. Quick accelerations feel a bit laborious with the Rapides, but effortless with the CRWs. CRWs seem to hold speed very well, but I need more time to judge this.

Armchair engineering - the lower spoke count on the CRWs probably help contribute to aerodynamics beyond what should be expected for their depth. Wheel lab tests show this advantage with other low spoke count mid-depth profile wheels (rim brake wheels, One-K RD Ultimate, Cadex Ultra 50). CRW seem to really leverage the advantage that carbon spokes offer to build a very efficient wheelset.

Elephant in the room - Price - these are $1600+ for a set. Where do I think these compete? If you are considering LB, Hyper or FS wheels with premium hubs (Carbon-Ti, DT180, etc) or carbon spokes, the price difference is not very much, to upgrade to CRW seems totally reasonable. If you are considering Roval, Zipp, or other mainstream brand, or want something like the first gen Rapide's at 1400g, the CRW 5060s seem like a no brainer. The CRW really seem like next-gen carbon spoke wheels.
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PS. If you do order from Panda Podium, make sure you thoroughly check your box. Tom and team must have included these goodies - I almost didn't even notice until I was collapsing the box to toss in the dumpster. Thank you, Tom!!!
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Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

Wheels seem excellent, and as good value as any. Great that there is another good option out there.

But gold logos??? Perhaps different markets have their unique aesthetic preferences, but wheels with gold logos should only be on bikes with gold logos, and bikes should never have gold logos. Maybe if you won the olympics but even then... And the logos are like a henna tatoo. Just too elaborate and distracting. If they are removable, removing them would be the first thing I'd do.

Sorry but the gold kills it for me. I wonder if the 4045 can be done with something a bit more subtle. Maybe a dark grey, titanium look, etc.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

CustomMetal
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Location: UK

by CustomMetal

Mr.Gib wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2023 6:10 am
Wheels seem excellent, and as good value as any. Great that there is another good option out there.

But gold logos??? Perhaps different markets have their unique aesthetic preferences, but wheels with gold logos should only be on bikes with gold logos, and bikes should never have gold logos. Maybe if you won the olympics but even then... And the logos are like a henna tatoo. Just too elaborate and distracting. If they are removable, removing them would be the first thing I'd do.

Sorry but the gold kills it for me. I wonder if the 4045 can be done with something a bit more subtle. Maybe a dark grey, titanium look, etc.
I firmly disagree. My race bikes are black with gold logos as I grew up in the John Player Special era of motor sport so that is my favourite livery. Pretty timeless
Allegra- Steel Lugs TBC
Alya- Ti Climbing TBC
Bertha- TT 9.8kg
Matilda - Ti/Carbon Race TBC
Perdita- Ti Turbo bike 8kg
Serenity- Ti Gravel 9.5kg/8.9kg
Verity- Ti Aero 8.2kg


All weights with pedals,cages & garmin mount

hannawald
Posts: 1775
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:28 pm
Location: Czech Republic

by hannawald

Look too good to have a courage and try it. Maybe if I have 60 kgs. If big industry guys with proper research budgets are stuck around 1500g (+/- 50g) weight for 50mm deep wheels there must be a reason for that. Roval tried to push it and failed cancelling tubeless compatibility before launch. Next gen was heavier). Extralite is shallower and not so durable. I understand lower volume manufacturing might have smaller overlaps of carbon sheets but this sounds too brave to me. It seems like a tuning part rather than everyday tool. But it is nice somebody is trying to push the industry and I would like to be wrong.

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eucalyptus
Posts: 582
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:51 am
Location: Sweden

by eucalyptus

Any weight limit concerns?
Link to the wheels?

Using only 180 EXP hubs today I rather not downgrade neither weight, performance or quality.
But I must say they look amazing with those wide spokes except for logos are trash.

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eucalyptus
Posts: 582
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:51 am
Location: Sweden

by eucalyptus

hannawald wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2023 8:11 am
Look too good to have a courage and try it. Maybe if I have 60 kgs. If big industry guys with proper research budgets are stuck around 1500g (+/- 50g) weight for 50mm deep wheels there must be a reason for that. Roval tried to push it and failed cancelling tubeless compatibility before launch. Next gen was heavier). Extralite is shallower and not so durable. I understand lower volume manufacturing might have smaller overlaps of carbon sheets but this sounds too brave to me. It seems like a tuning part rather than everyday tool. But it is nice somebody is trying to push the industry and I would like to be wrong.
Depends, we would need to know the weight of each part here, maybe not so crazy in the end.

The super lightweight rims 45-50 mm with a 100kg weight limit is hovering around 400 grams.

If these rims in this wheelset is similar weight then it could all be good. I guess some weight is saved from fewer number carbon spokes. No clue about the hubs, maybe heavy.

cannondale7om
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2022 3:22 am

by cannondale7om

eucalyptus wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2023 9:37 am
Any weight limit concerns?
Link to the wheels?

Using only 180 EXP hubs today I rather not downgrade neither weight, performance or quality.
But I must say they look amazing with those wide spokes except for logos are trash.
The System weight limit is 100kg, here is the link to the wheels: https://www.pandapodium.cc/brand/crw-works/

RDY
Posts: 2587
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:31 pm

by RDY

Shame those (underneath clearcoat) decals are so hideous.

allrandomletters
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:46 pm

by allrandomletters

RE: Weight - Light Bicycle reach similar weights with flyweight options, Farsports with their in house RD230 hubs. The CRW hubs shield the bearings and seem more weatherproof than the FS RD hubs with exposed bearings. I weigh 77kg, and so far have no issues with the wheelset. I'll post back monthly or so to give some long term feedback on whatever I find.

Logos - I agree that a stealth, or minimal logo option here would be awesome. I see Tom's are white - so there may be a way to request something different. The "gold" is more matte than shiny, maybe calling them "bronze" might be more appropriate. You don't really notice them until stopped, and I dont stop often. They could look better if the "CRAFT" is outlined only (without the interior contour lines), like the smaller "Racing Works" letters. I'm not caught up on the logos, because no one is going see them while spinning :beerchug:

Since this is WW afterall - this is the new complete bike weight with the wheels, including the Wahoo, front and rear lights, pedals and bottle cages (same as equipped above).
IMG_4534.jpg

cannondale7om
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2022 3:22 am

by cannondale7om

The white logos on my wheels are actually stickers. I am testing these stickers to see if we can sell them with the wheels in the near future. Personally I prefer the white logos because they are easier to recognize and suits the bike better. :D
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Sanders2177
Posts: 437
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2022 12:50 am

by Sanders2177

cannondale7om wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2023 6:42 am
The white logos on my wheels are actually stickers. I am testing these stickers to see if we can sell them with the wheels in the near future. Personally I prefer the white logos because they are easier to recognize and suits the bike better. :D
cannondale7om as you are in the know, have CRW plans to make anything deeper?
I currently have Hyper D67 which I love but I would look at replacing with CRW's if they had a smiliar size set up but lighter, these would go well with the Overfast through axles I have ordered and this could bring my SL7 closer to the 6kg mark! :D
S Works SL8 54cm 5.94kgs
Winspace SLC M Ultegra R8150 no idea of kgs

allrandomletters
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:46 pm

by allrandomletters

Sanders2177 wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2023 12:33 pm
cannondale7om as you are in the know, have CRW plans to make anything deeper?
I currently have Hyper D67 which I love but I would look at replacing with CRW's if they had a smiliar size set up but lighter, these would go well with the Overfast through axles I have ordered and this could bring my SL7 closer to the 6kg mark! :D
They do make a deeper set - CS5060 - which has a very similar profile to the Roval Rapide, and would be about 225g lighter than the D67. If you go by the 105 rule, the CS5060 has a better profile for 28-30mm tires. If I didnt already have a set of the Rapide, I probably would have ordered these also!

https://www.pandapodium.cc/product/crw- ... -wheelset/

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

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Sanders2177
Posts: 437
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2022 12:50 am

by Sanders2177

allrandomletters wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2023 3:45 pm
Sanders2177 wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2023 12:33 pm
cannondale7om as you are in the know, have CRW plans to make anything deeper?
I currently have Hyper D67 which I love but I would look at replacing with CRW's if they had a smiliar size set up but lighter, these would go well with the Overfast through axles I have ordered and this could bring my SL7 closer to the 6kg mark! :D
They do make a deeper set - CS5060 - which has a very similar profile to the Roval Rapide, and would be about 225g lighter than the D67. If you go by the 105 rule, the CS5060 has a better profile for 28-30mm tires. If I didnt already have a set of the Rapide, I probably would have ordered these also!

https://www.pandapodium.cc/product/crw- ... -wheelset/

I have seen these but I want deeper basically like for like with the hyper say a 60/65 set up. I have heard that something bigger is coming whether it is true or not I don't know but I have a feeling they will release bigger as the market is there

If they can get them at around 1350g my wallet is already lighter and the 6kg SL7 will happen!

I would like to know how heavy the hubs are as I have seen 60mm enve builds with Tactic racing hubs at around 1250g but that's a 3k Wheelset.

I would like the option of purchasing the rims only if possible with 24/24 holes. As could build with Tactic hubs might even get the wheels lighter
S Works SL8 54cm 5.94kgs
Winspace SLC M Ultegra R8150 no idea of kgs

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