Adds a dose of zip and accuracy into your ride
Is the reasonably priced Sixth Element SE34.28RACE carbon wheelset a dream come true… or a nightmare in waiting?
Thankfully the Sixth Element SE34.28RACE are more the former than the latter.
Their name might not be snappy but it is informative, 34.28 referring to the respective external and internal rim measurements. The rims are sourced from the Far East and use a unidirectional carbon weave for a smart, understated look. A nice touch is that the decals are actually part of the rim rather than just stuck on so they keep those smart looks for longer. Standard decal colours are green, stealth black or white but you can also special order any colour you fancy for an extra £99.
The wheels came tubeless ready with Stan’s rim tape and valves in place, requiring just tyres, a dash of sealant and a blast of air to seal first time. The hookless rim design steadfastly refused to burp air even when tyre pressures were run at silly low levels but also didn’t put up too much of a fight when it came to swap tyres around.
A 28mm internal diameter might seem a little middle of the road in the ever expanding rim width arms race but it provides a good profile for the kind of 2.4-2.5in tyres likely to be fitted. The spoke holes are drilled asymmetrically allowing the 32 Sapim D Light spokes to be equally tensioned on both sides of the wheel, they stayed tight and true throughout testing.
Hope Pro 4 hubs proved to be as typically solid as you’d expect but if Barnoldswick’s finest aren’t your thing Sixth Element can lace in offerings from DT Swiss or Chris King.
At 1971g those looking to lose weight by putting their bike on a high carbon diet might be put off but reliability has clearly been prioritised over gram counting, a two year no-quibble guarantee is testament to this.
A good portion of the weight can be accounted for by the Hope hubs and the wheels don’t feel lardy when rolling. Instead there’s the sense of zip and urgency that comes with a stiff and taut carbon wheel – thankfully without the overly harsh and crashy feel that can accompany some carbon rims.
Despite my best attempts (and writing off a reinforced casing tyre in the process) the rims shrugged off whatever I could throw at them – a few minor scuffs being the only damage I could inflict.
Review by Sim Mainey
If you’re looking to save weight with black magic these aren’t the wheels for you. However, if you’re after a set of sensibly wide wheels that will add a dose of zip and accuracy into your ride, and take a beating in the process, then there’s much to recommend these.