Way back in Issue 8, we reviewed the Williams Cycling Cyclo-Cross Tubular wheelset, and found them to be durable enough for even the most aggressive Clydesdale at a low price-point for a cyclocross specific part. Later that season, we gave them the Editor’s Choice Award for the most affordable wheelset.
In the last three years, disc brakes on cyclocross bikes have changed from novelty to commonplace, with many companies like Giant and Cannondale not even offering cantilever frames any longer, and Williams Cycling was quick to supply the increasing demand. For their 2015 model, they have fully updated their wheels, with new spokes, new rims and new hub technology.
The $449 price tag is inexpensive by any measure when keeping race-grade tubular wheelsets in mind. We weighed in the parts out at 799g for the front wheel and 958g for the rear; by no means could these be described as flyweight, but considering the claimed weight of the rims is 400g, the rotational mass of the Cyclo-cross Disc Alloy wheels is impressive considering the price.
If you see a similarity between the cantilever model and the disc for their newest models, pat yourself on the back: the rim profile between the two models is identical, with the disc version only lacking the aluminum brake track of its brother.
As the name suggests, this model is a cyclocross specific wheelset, much like the Velocity Major Toms and the three separate cyclocross models offered by PSIMET. The 23.5mm wide rim of the Williams Cycling model offers good support for wider cyclocross tires (their older models were closer to 20mm wide), and the rim bed profile avoids the deep center channel that many carbon rims have that makes gluing the center of base tape to the rim challenging.
Both the front and rear have 32 stainless-steel, triple butted spokes and brass nipples, and are triple laced. These beefiness of the builds are apparent, and not surprisingly, the Williams Cycling website no longer lists minimum rider weight recommendations.
At the center of each wheel is a Williams Cycling’s Six-Sixty hub they use for their road specific models, which have six pawls and sixty ratchets. The idea there is a quicker engagement, which could be beneficial considering all of the corners in cyclocross that riders want to accelerate from.
The wheels come with quick releases and accommodations for the traditional six bolt ISO rotors rather than the Center-Lock. Proprietary parts are not found on Williams Cycling Cyclo-cross Disc Alloy wheels, and all of these models are fully serviceable with replacements at most local shops.
For more information: williamscycling.com, or check out the Williams Cycling walk-through video that the company uploaded to Vimeo.