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review

Cosine 45mm Full Carbon Clincher wheelset

8
£600.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Brilliant value for money carbon clinchers – they're fast, stiff and comfortable
Weight: 
1,710g

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We've asked in the past whether an upgrade to carbon fibre wheels is worth it. Well, if these Cosine 45mm carbon clinchers are anything to go by then the answer is a resounding yes, and not just for performance – comfort also receives a boost.

Cosine is the new component wing of online retailer Wiggle. It started off with a range of wheels, two alloy and three carbon fibre, and by the looks of the pricing structure, value for money is the main drive.

> Buy these online here

For example, these 45s in for testing are priced at £600 – not bad for a set of full-carbon clinchers – and that price is the same for both the 30mm and 50mm-deep rim wheelsets. There aren't many on the market that can compete with that. In fact the only set we've tested recently that can match the Cosine is the Club Roost FCR50.

Cosine 45mm Carbon Clincher wheelset - rim.jpg

It's no point being cheap if you can't back it up with some kind of performance, though, and thankfully the Cosines aren't found lacking here.

At 1710g they aren't in the superlight category, but then again not many deep-section carbon wheels are because of the extra material. The acceleration of the Cosines is impressive and certainly belies what you'd expect from wheels of this weight.

The freewheel engagement of the Cosine branded hub is instant and the wheels really whip up to speed. I tested these on a bike that had been running the Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheelset that we reviewed a couple of months back and the extra 130g wasn't noticeable at all.

Cosine 45mm Carbon Clincher wheelset - rear hub.jpg

Comfort is the biggest surprise, though. Going from a relatively shallow alloy rim to a mid-depth carbon one with the same tyres was like letting 20-30psi of pressure out. It's not because they lack stiffness either; under hard acceleration and climbing there is no flex at the rim at all.

The rims are made by Gigantex, a company based in Taiwan which specialises in carbon fibre components and wheels for a lot of the big bike brands. They follow the latest style of wide rims with an internal width of 19mm (23.4mm external), which gives you a more rounded profile if you are using a wider tyre, 25 or 28mm, rather than a 'lightbulb' shape. It's much better for aerodynamics in terms of frontal area as the transition from tyre to rim is much smoother.

Cosine 45mm Carbon Clincher wheelset - rim bed.jpg

Trying out some 23mm tyres saw them stretched out to 25.5mm, with the wider profile increasing grip thanks to a larger surface area.

The shape of the 45mm deep rim is also more bulbous, with a rounded trailing edge that a lot of wheel manufacturers have claimed is more aerodynamic than a more traditional V-shape profile seen on earlier carbon wheels.

Cosine 45mm Carbon Clincher wheelset - nipples.jpg

Whatever the science says, the Cosine wheels are quick and certainly roll well over undulating terrain. You get the odd bit of buffering from crosswinds, which might affect you a bit if you're a light rider, but I've certainly ridden much, much worse.

The hub bodies are 7075 alloy and come with sealed bearings. It's been a mild, wet winter so far in the south-west and these wheels have seen plenty of rain and standing water with no ill effects.

Cosine 45mm Carbon Clincher wheelset - front hub.jpg

The only issue I did find was with the rear freehub body; the coating added to reduce wear and tear on the splines had been laid on a couple of microns too thick, making the fitment of the cassette hard work. After an initial fitting, the cassette body removed the coating from between the splines. It shouldn't be an issue long-term, though, as it's not in a position where the cassette body tends to 'bite'.

The rest of the build is completed with Sapim CX Delta spokes, 20 front and 24 rear, which are secured to the rim with brass nipples.

> Check out our buyer's guide to road bike wheels here

The braking surface has markings on it to make sure the pads sit below the actual lip where the clincher tyre locates – a good idea for long-term use. In terms of braking power, the included pads are very good. They feel like soft rubber and really grab hold of the rim, with a fair amount of modulation, even in the wet. It's one of the best carbon rim/pad compound combinations I've used.

Overall I rate the Cosine wheels very highly indeed. They offer a very quick, comfortable ride and are excellent value for money. The 45mm-deep rims make for a very usable wheelset for the majority of road and weather conditions. A rider weight limit of 90kg might limit their appeal to some, though.

Verdict

Brilliant value for money carbon clinchers – they're fast, stiff and comfortable

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Cosine 45mm Carbon Clincher wheelset

Size tested: n/a

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?

Cosine says, "Designed to provide a blend of aerodynamic performance and agility; perfect for versatile cyclists who tackle everything from undulating sportive courses to long, flat distance rides."

They are very versatile. The rims are easy to ride in strong crosswinds and climb well too.

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

45mm mid profile full carbon clincher rims

Matte UD carbon finish

Low rotational weight for reactive performance

23.4mm external width for increased cornering stability

7075 Alloy hubs with smooth rolling sealed cartridge bearings

Sapim CX Delta® spokes with CN-14G Brass nipples

High Power Carbon specific brake pads included

COSINE custom rim tape

11 speed Shimano®/SRAM® compatible freehub body

Spacer supplied for 10 speed compatibility

Lightweight alloy skewers

Rider weight limit: 90kg

Spokes; Front; 20 Rear; 24

Rim depth: 45mm

Rim width: External; 23.4mm Internal; 19mm

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
7/10

The tolerances on that freehub coating brings the score down a notch, other than that though the build quality is very good.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10

The Cosines are stiff yet surprisingly comfortable compared with an alloy rim.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10

Trueness has remained good, as have the sealed bearings over the test period.

Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10

Pretty good considering the build; they ride quicker than their weight on paper would suggest.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
8/10

Very good value for full-carbon clinchers.

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

Yes, they remained true and tight.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Both 23 and 25mm tyres fitted with ease just using your hands.

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

The rim tape is plenty wide enough for the rim bed. You also get alloy QR skewers which are basic but do the job. The most impressive component, though, was the stock pads, with impressive braking performance.

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

A great all-rounder whether you're gunning it or just out for a long, steady ride.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

The comfort.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

The overly thick coating on the freehub.

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 score

The 45mm Cosine Carbon Clincher wheels are really very good. The performance and stiffness benefits are impressive, but it's the comfort that is most noticeable over that of an alloy rimmed wheel. You can get lighter carbon wheels with a little more refinement but you'll pay a lot more for the privilege.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Mason Definition

I've been riding for: 10-20 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

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment

13 comments

Avatar
Anthony.C | 8 years ago
0 likes

A one year warrantly is a bit rubbish, probably wiser to get handbuilts for a similar price and have some peace of mind that you haven't blown your cash if they break. 

Avatar
mtbtomo | 8 years ago
0 likes

Just read an article in Cycling Weekly about the original Campagnolo Shamals in 1994....1885g for alu aero rims that take tubs.....

Avatar
blinddrew | 8 years ago
0 likes

For a little bit more (£750) you can go to wheelsmith and get a set of 50mm gigantex carbon rims with the pair coming in at about 1450g. Best of both in my opinion.

Avatar
Nixster | 8 years ago
2 likes

Hubs look like Bitex? Reasonable reputation if so.

Those getting excited above need to consider what the wheels are being used for.

If you're time trialling or regularly pulling 20mph plus then a deep section wheel may well be for you . In the real world a deeper section will give lower drag at yaw angles less than 20 degrees - see the Aeroweenies website for more data.

If you're looking at more general applications then the 32mm alloy clinchers look to be an good all round compromise to me, although some may prefer a wider section like say a Pacenti SL23 build.  But those are shallower and £100+ more expensive than the Cosine wheels.

The 30mm carbon version doesn't look like a good buy in comparison to the alloy version though. 

Avatar
aslongasicycle | 8 years ago
9 likes

Hi Stuart, could you comment on the hub quality?

Sorry for not belittling anyone with my comments. Will try harder next time.

Avatar
Stu Kerton replied to aslongasicycle | 8 years ago
0 likes

aslongasicycle wrote:

Hi Stuart, could you comment on the hub quality?

Sorry for not belittling anyone with my comments. Will try harder next time.

The hubs are nothing flash to look at but are certainly solid performers. The wheels have been on the winter bike for about six or seven weeks and 90% of the rides have been in the wet and on mud and grit covered lanes, the hubs haven't suffered at all. No play, no creaking and as far as I can tell, no water ingress.

They roll smooth and the freehub pick up is precise and sharp.  Basically if it was my £600 the hub quality would be exactly as I'd expected.   

Hope that helps.

Avatar
bobbinogs | 8 years ago
0 likes

^^ Common sense on a wheel discussion, it won't catch on!

 

A trawl through most club's Strava records will show that the vast majority of riders average ~16mph on flattish rides, less than that for hilly.

Avatar
dottgl | 8 years ago
1 like

how can £600 1700g carbon wheels be better than £280  1500g aluminium ones? 

 

 

Avatar
mcvittees73 replied to dottgl | 8 years ago
2 likes
dottgl wrote:

how can £600 1700g carbon wheels be better than £280  1500g aluminium ones? 

 

Looks. smiley

Seriously though, you wont find a 45mm aluminium rimmed wheel that weighs 1500g for £280 or £600 for that matter.  On the flat the 45mm rim will give you a measurable boost to your sustained speed.  Once you reach 20mph, the effort to maintain it is far less than with a box aluminium rim.

Also, the damping effect of the rims to enhance comfort shouldn't be ignored either.   When I switched from a carbon rim back to my aluminium Ksyrium, the harshness of the aluminium made it feel like I was riding round with flat.  Very weird.

Avatar
n8udd replied to mcvittees73 | 8 years ago
0 likes
mcvittees73 wrote:
dottgl wrote:

how can £600 1700g carbon wheels be better than £280  1500g aluminium ones? 

 

Looks. smiley

Seriously though, you wont find a 45mm aluminium rimmed wheel that weighs 1500g for £280 or £600 for that matter.  On the flat the 45mm rim will give you a measurable boost to your sustained speed.  Once you reach 20mph, the effort to maintain it is far less than with a box aluminium rim.

Also, the damping effect of the rims to enhance comfort shouldn't be ignored either.   When I switched from a carbon rim back to my aluminium Ksyrium, the harshness of the aluminium made it feel like I was riding round with flat.  Very weird.

I think you will. The other new wheel from Cosine is the COSINE 32mm Alloy Clincher which has a reported weight of 1485g and retails on Wiggle for £250.

I can't wait to see the review of these wheels, these carbon ones are a bit meh in comparisson.

I'd rather a lighter wheel, that makes climbs more enjoyable than the comfort provided from Carbon rims any day of the week.

Avatar
mcvittees73 replied to n8udd | 8 years ago
2 likes
n8udd wrote:

...Cosine is the COSINE 32mm Alloy Clincher...

Key point in bold.

freebsd_frank wrote:

You're imagining things.

Ah yes, of course I am.  I'm an idiot.  My mistake.sad

Avatar
freebsd_frank replied to mcvittees73 | 8 years ago
0 likes
mcvittees73 wrote:

On the flat the 45mm rim will give you a measurable boost to your sustained
speed.

No it wont. Even the very optimistic figures of the manufacturers of the
very best deep-section CF rims say that on a 40k time trial you *may* get up
to a 40 sec advantage. Since most of us don't time trial (let alone in
optimal conditions) and aren't Brad Wiggins either, the gains to our
"sustained speed" we're likely to see, if any, are not going to be
measurable.

Quote:

Once you reach 20mph, the effort to maintain it is far less than
with a box aluminium rim.

Nonsense. At 20mph the difference is negligible. Since most riders average
speed is a good deal less than that on a ride, you'd be much better off with
a lighter low section rim: both financially and in performance terms.

Quote:

Also, the damping effect of the rims to enhance comfort shouldn't be ignored either.

I'll ignore it thanks because it doesn't exist. Through what mechanism do
you propose this "damping effect" occurs? And why is it greater than a lower
profile alloy rim?

Quote:

When I switched from a carbon rim back to my aluminium Ksyrium, the
harshness of the aluminium made it feel like I was riding round with flat.
Very weird.

You're imagining things.

 

Avatar
flobble | 8 years ago
0 likes

Oh dear...

 

"It's much better for aerodynamics in terms of frontal area as the transition from tyre to rim is much smoother."

No, that's wrong.

 

"It's much better for aerodynamics in terms of frontal area..."

Wider rim = more frontal area = worse aerodynamics

 

"It's much better for aerodynamics ... as the transition from tyre to rim is much smoother"

Yes.

 

"Trying out some 23mm tyres saw them stretched out to 25.5mm, with the wider profile increasing grip thanks to a larger surface area."

No. It's more complicated than that.

Contact patch area is the basically the same regardless of tyre width, and is instead related to tyre pressure. So, if you run the tyres at a lower pressure, then the surface area will be larger.

But larger contact patch area doesn't necessarily mean better grip. What it can mean is reduced wear rates because the load is distributed more widely, enabling the use of a softer rubber compound, which then provides better grip.

 

"The shape of the 45mm deep rim is also more bulbous, with a rounded trailing edge that a lot of wheel manufacturers have claimed is more aerodynamic than a more traditional V-shape profile seen on earlier carbon wheels."

That depends - when the "apparent wind" is from straight ahead, there's very little difference between V and U shaped rims.  When it's from an angle, eg crosswind, then the U shape is better, if designed well.

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