For a number of years I have lusted over a set of carbon fibre wheels, firstly for the BlackstoneTek BST’s back as long ago as 2011 although I never did buy them, mainly as what looked like an excellent finance deal from HPS of 0% finance and buy now pay in 10 months time actually translated into about 30% APR and about £700 on top of the price of the wheels. More recently in 2014 I actually got to the point of placing an order for a set of Dymag CA5 carbon wheels, however this never happened as when a friends pair arrived there was problems with the finish, most notably the clearcoat lacquer had cracked and was falling off, before he even got them out of the packaging…… order cancelled 🙁 disappointment set in.
RotoBox RBX2 Carbon Fibre Wheels
Rotobox have redesigned their wheels to feature less spokes whilst retaining rigidity and further centralising the mass of the wheels around the hub, they claim to be the lightest and strongest wheels on the market, with the lowest moment of inertia.
Whilst researching this article I noticed competitors using old data pertaining to the previous model of RotoBox wheels the RBX 0FA/ORA which have long been superseded by the current model RBX2.
When you open the Aluminium case that all their wheels come delivered in, you can instantly see these wheels have been lovingly crafted and are not some mass produced item, you can tell that the way the carbon has been laid in the mould has been done with care and attention before they have been vacuum bagged and roasted in the autoclave, there isn’t a poorly laid part to the wheels, externally or where the tyre would normally hide any imperfections.
The RRP price of the RotoBox start at €2460 Euro that’s £1880 or $2675 excluding any VAT or local taxes to you, meaning RotoBox are not only the strongest but the cheapest wheels available. RotoBox Carbon fibre wheels are the most customisable wheels available, you can add Ceramic Bearings, select Matt finish (rather than Glossy) choose your sticker and valve stem colour (free of charge), anodised hub centres, sprocket carrier, sprockets, custom graphics on the wheels so you can make your wheels as individual as your bike is to you.
Blackstonetek BST Black Diamond Carbon Fibre Wheels
BST Carbon Wheels have been around for a long time, and their design hasn’t changed much in the past few years, they have recently announced a price drop but the official website says pricing is “from $3200” although the UK dealer is selling them at a remarkably similar price to the Rotobox at £1905 plus VAT.
BST and HPS claim that their wheels are the Strongest and Lightest wheels, well lets see about the weight later in the review then.
WIth BST you have the option of Glossy or Matt finish and the option of ceramic bearings.
As mentioned earlier I didn’t have to buy these BST wheels as the R6 I am looking to buy comes with a set, I cannot really comment on the exterior finish of the wheels as they are obviously second hand, although the carbon looks laid down ok, with no obvious manufacturing defects, however I was really taken aback at the inside of the wheels. I know the inside of the wheel is normally hidden by the tyres however for me there is a significant different in quality of the carbon there, they just don’t look properly finished or the same kind of care has gone into them that has with the RotoBox.
I for one would not be happy buying a product that is more expensive than the competitors with a poorer finish, even if it isn’t seen after the tyres have been fitted. Also you have to think if the Carbon has been laid down so haphazzard there, what about in other areas you cannot see like the spokes ? I wouldn’t call into question that the carbon is weak in any way because of the way the carbon looks, after all I have never heard of a pair of undamaged carbon wheels giving way on anyone, it’s just my personal preference if I was spending over £2000 on a pair of wheels I would want the best looking available.
Now onto the claim of the Lightest wheels, BST on their website claim their wheels are 2.54kg Front and 2.98kg rear a total of 5.52kg interesting as on our scales they weigh 2.76kg front and 3.68kg rear making a total of 6.44kg
No one could fault a buyer opting for the BST wheels, they have been around a long time, and if you like the thin spokes design then they may well be the wheel for you.
But remember you cannot see the wheels when you are riding the bike, and after all Carbon wheels are about reducing unsprung weight and getting the lowest moment of inertia, which in independent testing Rotobox claim to be the forerunner.
I am glad that I purchased a pair (and now distribute) RotoBox Carbon Wheels, the quality for me is better that the other offerings available from Dymag and BST, they are lighter, they are just as strong (they all have the JASO T203-85 for JWL dotE Certification), there are videos of both Rotobox and BST taking a crushing weight that would buckle alloy or Magnesium wheels but these carbon offerings sustain no ill effects.
If I do purchase the R6 will I be offloading the BST’s ? mmmmmmm….. pretty tough question, there is nothing wrong with them, but as these wheels still command a high resale value then probably yes I would sell them and buy myself a pair of RotoBox to replace them, purely as a prefer the look over the BST as well as the benefits of the reduced weight and inertia.