Affordable Quality Carbon Wheels, is there such a thing?
Steve Hardy from Ridge Components got in touch with us a few weeks ago about their new 27.5 Carbon wheel set. After more than a year testing and playing around with different sizes and spoke setups they now have a wheel-set they’re happy with. Currently they sell the wheels and hubs through Cyclefix Ltd in Newcastle upon Tyne but are busy establishing partnerships to sell the wheel sets throughout the UK. At the moment Cyclefix Ltd build all the wheels – Which means they are all hand built and checked in the UK before shipping.
The wheels can be custom built with Hope and Chris King hubs as well as their own branded hub; we chose the Ridge hub purely to see what the quality of the product as a whole was like.
On arrival the first thing was to grab the rear wheel and give it a good whirl (as you do) to see how she sounded: Smooth and sweet was the answer. The 6 offset pawls feel confidence inspiringly nice and tight with a good, solid and quick hookup.
The wheel set we have on test are the Ridge Pro carbon rims with Ridge pro hubs laced together with Aero spokes. The whole feel and look is of a quality product, and Ridge have clearly spent some time getting this correct.
Tyre fitting was a little trickier on the 35mm wide rim than a standard thinner width rim. With a little thought and making sure the tyre bead was up out of the centre as much as possible they popped onto the bead easy enough with a healthy crack.
A bit about the company
Stephen himself gave us some background on the company “Ridge Components started at the end of 2014 after many failed alloy rims, we needed a solution to this as we were starting racing the UK national enduro series in 2015 and found our riding style was becoming too much for smaller alloy rims we were using. We searched for a solution but really wanted carbon wheels – but looking at the high costs this was a major issue trying to set up and race 2 full bikes throughout the year. We looked into the Ebay sellers but felt the major issue was warranty and piece of mind. We have been running a building business for over 10 years and we’re used to importing stone marble tiles from Turkey so we’re confident with dealing with other countries. We spent many long nights emailing, contacting companies for size, information, test reports, images, videos, to try and break down the huge amount of suppliers you could select from. We pushed for a more comprehensive warranty on the rims and most companies would not entertain this so we obviously thought they do not stand by there products”
The company spent a lot of time searching the UK for suppliers but this was unsuccessful, Stephen continues
“We spent more late nights emailing and contacting our chosen supplier and agreed a deal that we could offer buyers an unlimited crash replacement scheme, your first year is an unconditional replacement rim service providing it has met all the requirements, generally providing you have not abused it or built it incorrectly it’s covered for a replacement. Our replacement service excludes nipples, spokes, hubs, postage and wheel build labour but we will replace the rim FOC. As we believe there is no other company offering this service, our crash replacement is there for 2 years as a back up as well as including the normal manufactures warranty for 2 years”
The supplied wheels were going to be fitted to the Orange Alpine 160 but seeing as there have been so many changes to that bike, I thought it a bit unfair so they were fitted to the longterm Nukeproof Mega.
I knew how the standard Sram Roam wheels flexed so it will be a good test to replace them with these. I’ve heard plenty of folk ranting about carbon wheels being soft and easy to break, well, just because you have a nice 35mm wide rim it doesn’t mean you can run super low pressures: There has to be limit on how low can you go! So I’ll be bearing this in mind when out testing.
So bottom line what do they cost
Ridge Comp 27.5 AM/DH series which come with our 2 year crash replacement scheme and manufactures warranty only for £599.00 per set with Ridge hubs and bladed Pillar PSR Aero 1423 spokes, hubs red, black, blue, Ti grey.
Ridge Pro 27.5 AM/DH series with 1 year FOC rim replacement, 2 years crash replacement and manufactures warranty, Pillar PSR Aero spokes and Ridge hubs £750.00 per set. hubs red, black, blue, Ti grey.
Ridge Pro 27.5 AM/DH series with 1 year FOC rim replacement, 2 years crash replacement and manufactures warranty, Pillar PSR Aero spokes with Hope Pro 4 hubs in a choice of colours £899.00
Ridge Pro 27.5 DH series asymmetric, 1 year FOC rim replacement, 2 years crash replacement and manufactures warranty, Pillar spokes, Hope Pro 4 huns in a choice of colours.
Ridge Pro AM 29er series starting at £750.00
Ridge hub sets front and rear £135.00 Red, Blue, Black, Ti Grey.
All prices include UK delivery
After a couple of rides I must say I’m blown away by how the bike feels , but that’s a bit unfair comparing them to a fairly cheap wheel set in the Sram Roam. The first time I rode the Mega I thought it was a pretty stable bike – it feels like it’s on rails now and so smooth.
Over the next month or so the wheels will be shown pretty much most of the Tweed Valley and with a few more tweaks to the bike setup we’ll get back to you with the low down on how this affordable yet quality carbon wheel set performs. In the mean time do check the company out via their website and social media outlets.