CADEX, a premium brand of components from Giant, is only a couple of years old but its wheel systems are already turning heads. That’s because the brand is on a mission to create uncompromising design, focusing on delivering highperformance products for only the highest end of the market, not on hitting price points. CADEX’s mid-depth wheelset, the 42 Disc, impresses on paper because of its sub-1,400-gram weight (1,380 grams on our scale). But there’s a whole lot more to this 42mm-deep wheel than the feathery weight.
At this point in wheel design, aerodynamic breakthroughs are hard to come by and all the top brands are within a watt or two of one another—essentially the margin of error of wind tunnels, according to Jeff Schneider, head of product and marketing at CADEX. So, to differentiate its wheels, CADEX has focused elsewhere and has found benefits from designing every component as a system (not to say the brand hasn’t put plenty of focus on being right up there in aerodynamics; these wheels keep pace with the fastest hoops in this depth).
Two overlooked factors in wheel design—spokes and lacing pattern—contribute to some of the 42 Disc’s hallmark qualities: quick acceleration and tight, precise handling on descents. High-tensile-strength-carbon aero spokes contribute to a high lateral stiffness for acceleration, while a Dynamic Balanced Lacing pattern places spokes at a wider bracing angle, leading to its otherworldly prowess on descents—you will set new personal bests on the downhills with these. The use of carbon spokes also helps these wheels keep weight down. CADEX’s control over the wheel system extends to the hubs too. The brand machines them for minimal friction and rolling resistance, contributing to the overall fast ride.
At the rims, CADEX has gone for a hookless design, which it says is stronger than a hooked one, because it allows for use of continuous carbon for greater control of the lay-up. CADEX can place high-tensile carbon in the exact places it wants, enhancing stiffness while contributing to that low overall weight. The brand’s lay-up and resin use are so precise that it has foregone painting rims, a common measure employed by other brands to hide resin blobs and other imperfections. That lack of paint is yet another reason why these wheels hit a low weight benchmark. Measuring 19mm wide internally, the rims are a bit narrower than many other brands arriving at bike shop floors, but still plenty wide to support 25mm-plus tires.
By focusing on the wheel as a system, examining every component and construction method, CADEX has hit on a wheelset that performs squarely at the top end of the wheel market, one that has noticeably excellent handling on technical roads.
$3,360; 1,380g as weighed; cadex-cycling.com
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