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New Cadex gravel wheels offer “best-in-class stiffness-to-weight ratio”

Giant’s high-performance component brand expands range with lightweight wheels and 40mm tyres for rough roads and gravel

Giant’s high-performance component brand Cadex has revealed a new wheelset and tyres for gravel and all-road riding. There will also be a new composite handlebar for variable riding conditions although this will not arrive in the UK until late 2022.

The key offering in the range is the Cadex AR 35 wheelset that features hookless carbon rims. Cadex claims a wheelset weight of 1,270g and “a best-in-class stiffness-to-weight ratio”. 

2022 Cadex AR 35 Disc wheelset - 1.jpeg

“[The Cadex AR 35 wheelset was] engineered and designed for unmatched climbing speed and acceleration, exceptional efficiency, and greater control on a wide variety of terrain,” says Cadex.

“A precision reinforced carbon lay-up process also makes the Cadex AR 35 Wheel System both strong and super light, allowing the wheel to attain the same impact resistance as carbon cross-country mountain bike wheels while being lighter than leading competitor wheels.”

The Cadex R2-C60 Center Lock hubs use ceramic bearings that are said to be 1.5 times smoother than steel alternatives.

2022 Cadex R2-C60 hub - 1.jpeg

The rear hub features a flattened coil spring and a 60-tooth ratchet freehub system for fast engagement. Cadex already uses ratchet drivers in its existing range. The ratchet teeth glide over one another when you're not pedalling and mesh together quickly when you apply pressure.

“[The front hub design] eliminates play by replacing the standard interface between the end cap, bearing and bushing with an integrated axle running the length of the hub,” says Cadex. “This extends thru-axle support and boosts the lateral stiffness of the entire structure.”

The rims have a 25mm inner width (the outer width is 31mm) that’s designed to create “a rounder, more uniform tyre shape for wider road and gravel tyres, plus increased sidewall support for cornering”. Cadex recommends use with tyres from 28mm up to 45mm.

“A wider and shorter contact patch [between the tyre and the ground] also decreases rolling resistance and improves impact absorption for a smoother ride,” says Cadex. 

Rolling resistance: why you need to choose your tyres carefully if you want to ride faster

“Additionally, high-tensile-strength carbon spokes and Dynamic Balanced Lacing (DBL) boost lateral stiffness to... maximise power transfer.”

Dynamic Balanced Lacing is the term Cadex uses to describe the setting of spokes at a wide bracing angle to increase stiffness for a given tension under pedalling force. The wheels are built up with 21 spokes at the front and 24 at the rear.

Cadex claims that the AR 35 is lighter than the Enve 3.4 AR Disc, Zipp 303 Firecrest, Roval Terra CLX, and Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37V wheelsets while having the same internal width (25mm) as each of them.

Cadex also claims that the AR 35 has higher transmission stiffness (resistance to torsional flex) and lateral stiffness (referring to inflexibility when side load is applied) than either the Zipp 303 Firecrest or the Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37V wheelsets (it doesn’t offer stiffness figures relating to the Roval or Enve wheels mentioned above).

The new Cadex AR and GX tubeless tyres each feature a 170 TPI (threads per inch) casing, Kevlar/carbon composite beads, and what’s called Dual Shield bead-to-bead Kevlar puncture protection. This Dual Shield features heavier puncture protection in the centre courtesy of Cadex's existing Race Shield+ technology and lighter puncture protection in the sidewalls – lighter to maintain suppleness in the tyre – called X-Shield.

2022 Cadex AR tubeless tyre - 1.jpeg

“The AR Tubeless Tyre is a fast, race-ready tyre that’s ideal for pavement and dirt roads where speed and traction are paramount,” says Cadex. 

It features what Cadex calls AR-S dual-compound rubber with diamond-shaped knobs on the centreline and taller trapezoidal outer knobs designed for added traction in corners. It is available in 700x40 and weighs a claimed 425g.

2022 Cadex GX tyre - 1.jpeg

“The GX Tubeless is made for more aggressive terrain including loose gravel and sand, light mud, and rugged dirt roads or trails,” says Cadex.

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It features GX-S dual-compound rubber and a shorter centre tread with chunkier outer knobs. Like the AR Tubeless Tyre, it is available in 700x40 although it is slightly heavier at a claimed 445g.

Cadex says that the new composite handlebar won’t arrive in the UK until late in the year. We’ll give you more details when we have them.


Cadex AR 35 tubeless disc brake front wheel £1,099.99
Cadex AR 35 tubeless disc brake rear wheel £1,399.99
Cadex AR tyre (700x40) £59.99
Cadex GX tyre (700x40) £59.99

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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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