The Alex ALX265 tubeless-ready wheels look great on paper with their up-to-date specs and for a great price. They aren't going to set PBs when on the road but they are dependable and ride well.
- Pros: Price, tubeless-ready, wide rim
- Cons: Raised weld
The budget/winter/training wheel market is pretty competitive with most people wanting a 'nice' set for good weather and racing, with a cheaper set for general use, so these offerings from Alex Rims look a good bet with their modern wider rim and tubeless ready specifications. Also in the package are standard rim tapes, a 10-speed hub spacer and a pair of skewers, so fairly comprehensive.
On getting the wheels out of the box they looked good, but on closer inspection I noticed that the weld where the rim meets was a little off-centre, leaving a small ridge. Nevertheless I would hope they pass some kind of test so carried on with tyre fitment, just wary that it would need a bit of wearing in when first ridden.
The wheels came with standard rim tapes fitted which I removed and replaced with Alex Rims tubeless tape, part of a kit you can purchase separately. Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres mounted with very little fuss, not needing tools even, just a bit of effort with thumbs. Inflating with just air first to ensure a seal, they popped on and stayed up nicely so the rims were airtight.
With sealant added, it was time to hit the road... The sealed bearings were nice and smooth with minimal noise from the freewheel. As suspected, on first inspection there was a 'snik snik' from the wheels whenever I braked – I had been careful to mount the wheels so the raised weld and brake block would drop off the ridge rather than catch it in rotation – but it was still obvious and until it flattened off a bit after a couple of rides (damp, gritty lanes helped here), it ate through the brake blocks a bit, though nothing to worry about.
On the flat they rolled along nicely, the tubeless setup helping here with its compliance at lower pressure and less resistance with no tube installed, and when climbing out of the saddle they didn't flex too much, but there was detectable movement especially at the rear.
The weight was noticeable too when getting going and hitting hills; tipping the scales at 1,880g is reasonably heavy even for non-disc budget wheels. When climbing seated, they settled down and got on with the job quietly and reasonably efficiently. You wouldn't want these on a mountain climb, but then again it's not what they are designed for.
After a bit of abuse, the finish has held up well, nothing has broken and the freewheel and bearings still run smoothly.
Modern specification at a good price – a worthy option if you want a workhorse set of wheels
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Alex ALX265 wheelset
Size tested: 700C, 24mm deep, 17mm inner width
Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
General purpose budget training wheels with modern specifications.
AlexRims says, "ALX265 is a workhorse wheelset. Possibly the best value wheelset on the market the ALX265 ticks all of the boxes: wide rim, tubeless ready, cartridge bearing hubs. A real winner!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
AlexRims lists these features:
Proprietary EXA material 24mm deep with 17mm inner width | TRS road tubeless profile with inner bead lock can be used with tubeless tires with the use of the Alex Rims Tubeless Conversion Kit | Machined sidewalls for ultimate strength and braking performance
Stainless spokes with brass nipples | 20 front wheels – radial lacing | 24 rear wheels – 2 cross lacing
F: RADIAL 278MM
RR: 2CROSS 287MM
RL: 2CROSS 285MM
Smooth rolling sealed cartridge
cassette hubs | Low resistance sealed cartridge bearings | Compatible with Shimano/Sram 8/9/10/11 speed cassettes
They look a pretty robust set of wheels. The rims were true out of the box, the only slight imperfection was a raised point at the weld. All spokes were properly tensioned and the bearings super-smooth.
I set up the wheels with Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres and the ride was generally very good, though some of this was down to the rubber in my opinion. Although there wasn't too much flex at the front, the rear did rub on the blocks when under pressure on out-of-the-saddle efforts, but not to an extreme degree – and I do run the brakes close to the rim. For their weight they spin up as expected: not fast, but then not covered in syrup either.
Tough to say – I did put nearly 500 miles or so on them and they have worn well in the dry summer weather, but they are a general budget construction. The bearings can be swapped out, so as long as the freehub holds out they should do well enough if looked after.
They are in the ballpark for this price range, with comparable sets from top end manufacturers being similar or slightly lighter by up to 100g, so not much in it.
The price is very good for a wheelset with these features; the ability to run wider rubber, and tubeless ones at that, is an asset.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The front didn't suffer any issues but the rear went out of true a little after a good few miles on rough roads. This isn't unusual though and an easy fix.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Even the tubeless Pro Ones went on with little issue and no tools (just a strong set of thumbs) so no problem here.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The wheels did come fitted with standard rim tape which I removed to apply tubeless tape, and the skewers were a fairly standard open-cam design, but looked well made.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For training use they are a good choice, able to stand some abuse while not breaking the bank. They are still running smoothly, though they haven't seen much wet weather, and with the tubeless setup they're comfortable too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
The modern setup – wide rim, tubeless ready and sealed cartridge bearings.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Those raised rim welds were an issue for the first few rides until they wore down to a smooth surface, but other than that nothing stands out.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
I tested a very similar set in the Ambrosio i20s a while back, and like for like they are really close, a similar spec and money – with the Alex wheels just pipping them on price and ease of fitting rubber.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The modern features are a big plus over similar budget sets and the quality seems OK. Time will tell on that, but for the money they are a good option for training and winter wheels.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman AirPro Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives