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review

Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C

9
£1,199.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Excellent build quality and stunning performance from a wheelset that can cope with a bit of everything
Solid build quality
Real world aerodynamic benefits
You can go lighter for less, if that's your goal
Weight: 
1,590g

This Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher wheelset doesn't just focus on weight or aerodynamics – it delivers on those, but without sacrificing stiffness and, above all else, durability. These are proper all-rounders, quick on the flat, no slouch on the hills, and should you find yourself off the beaten track they'll take plenty of abuse.

Aerodynamics have long been a crucial element of wheel design, with early models like those from Mavic and others featuring carbon fibre fairings bonded to aluminium rims before becoming full carbon fibre constructions.

> Buy these online here

Tyres were narrow then, so a deep V-section fairing worked well enough, especially if you were time trialling or a triathlete, but with the adoption of disc brakes and the huge tyre clearances they have allowed, things have changed.

Wheel rims are getting wider to accommodate larger tyres, and now the focus has moved to how the tyre and rim work together. This is where Pacenti has gone with the Picco.

2020 Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C - decal.jpg

The 46mm-deep rounded profile rim has been optimised to work with 28mm road tyres, thanks to its 24mm internal width and the fact that it is 29.6mm at its widest external point – which is about a third of the way down the rim for better aerodynamics.

2020 Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C - valve.jpg

Out on the road there are some noticeable aero benefits – for a wheel that isn't massively deep it still flies along once you are travelling along in the low to mid-20s mph, a real sweet spot that you can find on the best wheels and frames, where you just don't feel as though you need to put in much more effort than you were at 17-18mph.

Being a touch shallower than some, the Piccos aren't affected by crosswinds or that turbulent air when you are being overtaking by an HGV or slipstreaming one.

2020 Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C - logo detail 1.jpg

It makes them impressively versatile because not only can you smash it on the flat, they behave well in the bends, allowing you to hang on to your speed as you enter a technical downhill or when hammering it through large roundabouts competing with motor traffic.

The build, which uses 24 Sapim CX-Ray spokes on the front and 24 D-Lights on the rear, is very tight; they feel absolutely nailed on when you really fling the bike into a tight bend, and resist heavy braking forces without fuss, especially on the front, with no flexing or twisting at the hub when you're braking hard into bends.

2020 Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C - logo detail 2.jpg

Each set is completely handbuilt, and that is noticeable. Spoke tension is bang on throughout the entire wheel and they feel completely balanced. Stiffness levels are high, and that has been achieved without creating a harsh feeling, even on rough road surfaces.

Another outcome of the build quality is that they'll take some abuse. Chucking a bit of byway riding into the test saw them take plenty of whacks from small rocks, and one evening when I got caught out with the earlier sunset and an inadequate light saw me smash through a pothole at 30mph. The noise of the impact made me cringe, but the front wheel shrugged it off without so much as a mark. It's no surprise that Pacenti offers a lifetime guarantee and hasn't felt the need to restrict rider weight.

With a claimed weight of 1,590g (we weighed them at 2,310g with tyres), the Piccos also make for a good set of climbing wheels, especially with the high stiffness levels.

The Picco 46mm uses a moulded uni-directional carbon fibre rim and the one thing you'll probably notice first is that it is hookless, as in you don't get the usual little 'hooks' that allow you to run a traditional clincher as well as tubeless-ready/tubeless tyres, by having the bead tuck up against it. Hookless rims have been used in the automotive sector for years, and the design has been steadily gaining traction in the cycling industry.

Our wheels came with a set of Schwalbe Pro One tyres fitted (an extra £64.99 per tyre), and once seated up against the inside of the rim there were no issues with them, even when I whacked that pothole.

2020 Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C - rim detail and tyre.jpg

These rims can only be used with tubeless/tubeless ready tyres that create a snug fit when first installed. If the tyres you are using have a bit of slop going on, there is a risk that they could blow off the rim, so you'll need to use something else.

The Pacenti hubs use TPI bearings and they have run smoothly from the outset, and that hasn't changed since the weather has become more inclement. Heavy rain, standing water and plenty of grit certainly hasn't resulted in any nasty noises or squeaks.

2020 Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C - front hub.jpg

Pawl engagement in the freehub is rapid and it's good to see that Pacenti has included a 'bite guard', a strip of steel on one of the splines which stops the cassette digging into the alloy body under high pedalling loads.

2020 Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C - rear hub 2.jpg

Value

The Piccos will set you back £1,199, which puts them in the same ballpark as the Hunt 48 Limitless Aeros, which cost £1,289. The Pacentis aren't as outright fast as the Hunts, but they aren't that far off, and are maybe a touch easier to live with in windy conditions.

Jack was impressed with the Parcours Strade wheelset for £999; those are a similar weight to the Pacentis, so there is tough competition out there.

> Buyer’s Guide: 32 of the best tubeless wheelsets under £1,000

That said, from the sheer quality and solid feel of the Pacentis you can tell that this really is a top notch wheelset, where no corners have been cut. They aren't going to let you down – definitely a long-term investment for all types of rider and riding styles.

Verdict

Excellent build quality and stunning performance from a wheelset that can cope with a bit of everything

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc Clincher Wheels 700C

Size tested: 700C, 46mm deep

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?

Pacenti says:

With our eyes on the future, these rims are the result of a clean-sheet design that brings our best thinking to the table on what a rim should be.

Optimal 46mm depth 24mm internal width 28mm minimum tyre size

Tubeless ready rim bed

No rider weight limit

Lifetime warranty

24 & 28 hole drilling

 

Picco is wider:

@ 24mm internal width

Fits tyres from 28mm

Optimised tyre stability

High levels of comfort

Superior traction

Deeper rim well for easy tyre fitting

 

Picco is stronger:

Build & ride tested to the extreme

No rider weight limit

Lifetime warranty

Hookless impact resistance

Ultra durable surface finish

Minimised resin content

Reinforced nipple bed

Always handbuilt

 

Picco is faster:

Deep aerodynamic profile

Aerodynamics optimised for 28mm road tyres

Minimised rotational mass

Great cornering feel

Build specification delivers ultimate power transfer

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

Pacenti lists:

TIRE TYPE Hookless Clincher

TIRE SIZE 700c

TUBELESS READY Yes

RIM CONSTRUCTION Molded carbon

MATERIAL UD Carbon Fiber

WEIGHT 1590g +/- 10g

INTERNAL RIM WIDTH 24mm

EXTERNAL RIM WIDTH 29.6mm

RIM HEIGHT 46mm

MAX TIRE PRESSURE Refer to tire pressure guide

FREEHUB BODY Shimano/Sram/Campagnolo

HUB BEARINGS TPI

SPOKES FRONT Sapim CX-Ray

SPOKES REAR Sapim D-Light

SPOKE DRILLING FRONT 24h

SPOKE DRILLING REAR 24h

LACING PATTERN FRONT 2 cross

LACING PATTERN REAR 2 cross

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
6/10

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

The wheels arrived straight and that stayed the same throughout testing.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Removing and refitting the included tyres was a pretty easy experience.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

The included parts like valves and tape all worked absolutely fine.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Excellent degrees of stiffness and aerodynamics mean the Piccos deliver on all types of roads.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

They deliver high levels of performance pretty much everywhere.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

The hookless rim design means you're limited to tubeless or tubeless-ready tyres.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

There are some very good wheels around the same price as the Pacentis, like the Parcours I mention in the review which compete on weight and performance according to Jack's review, and are £999. The Hunt 48 Limitless are another £90 and are a similar kind of wheel, although they focus even more on aerodynamics and speed, so the Pacentis are a touch more versatile.

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

There really is very little to fault here. The build quality is excellent and that comes through not only in their durability but also the performance thanks to excellent levels of stiffness, all at a competitive price.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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