Yoeleo SAT C50 carbon wheels long term review. Specs: 23mm width, Long term 6000km review,William is from Australia
I bought my latest Giant endurance bike about 8 months ago and have been riding on the stock Giant PR2 disc wheels. I’ve never been totally happy with these wheels, especially when it came to fixing flats on the road and finally decided that it was time for a change. I was actually horrified when I weighed the wheels, complete with cassette, tires, tubes, skewers and stock 160mm rotors and came up north of 7.30lbs! Since buying the bike I had suffered a number of pinch flats and swapped out the stock tires with Michelin Pro 4, however I felt that the bike was slow to accelerate and climb when compared to my older Specialized with lightweight aluminum wheels.
Initially I started looking for lightweight aluminum wheels, but decent wheels were costly and similar in price to cheaper carbon wheels. While the weight difference between expensive aluminum wheels and cheap carbon wheels were minor, carbon could be molded in to more Aero designs and this began to appeal to me.
I started to research carbon wheelsets and kept coming back to some of the more reasonably priced Chinese manufacturers. One in particular interested me, not the cheapest, but they had a well-designed website and some interesting technology, including SAT (Special Assembly Technology) which is a building technique that produces a wheel with no spoke holes on the rim! No need for rim tape and less chance of a pinch flat. Genius. Also it promised additional strength and rigidity, not a bad thing with all of the lousy roads where I ride.
Unfortunately I knew no-one who had purchased these wheels locally. I sent some emails out to Leo and received answers and finally decided to buy a set of the 38mm wheels which are 25mm wide and have a U profile. Leo actually custom built my wheels by replacing the stock hubs with Novatec hubs so that I could use my 6 bolt disc system and laced front and back with 20 aero spokes to keep weight to a minimum (I weigh 160lbs).
I confess that I was a little apprehensive after placing the order, however the wheels arrived extremely well packed and suffered no damage traveling all the way from China through USA customs and on to me. I removed the wheels and my first thought was wow! Initially I chose the glossy, ghost finish, however these were not in stock and rather than wait, I chose what was in stock, blue matt wheels. I was pleasantly surprised, the build quality was superb. I now realized why I needed to wait for my color options, instead of using decals (stickers) on the rims, the branding is actually ‘built’ in to the wheel! Not a problem for me, but good to know for all riders who might want to remove decals from their rims. The first thing I did was weigh the wheels. Yeoleo states a weight of 1625gms for this wheelset and according to my scales the supplied wheels were slightly under 1600gms. Good start. While 1596gms is not especially light for carbon wheels, it was still 445gms lighter than the stock wheelset. I checked both wheels and they were perfectly true, no issues with either hub. I built the wheels up using 160mm Ashima rotors and continental tubes and Grand Prix 4000S ll tires (my preferred setup) and with lightweight titanium skewers I dropped a total of just under 1000gms or just over 2lbs in weight from my stock wheelset. I’m not a weight weenie, but 1000gms less rotational weight should make climbing a little easier!
I wanted to wait before posting my review as I had a couple of century rides this summer and as I have now completed 2 and have around 600miles on these wheels I thought this would be a good time to post my review.
So where to start? Well the wheels are still perfectly true, no issues with hubs, spokes or rims, even after 100 plus miles along terrible Buffalo roads (Can-Am Century Ride). The 38mm deep and 25mm wide rim allows me to ride with 25mm or 28mm tires comfortably and the U section has been fairly good in allowing me to ignore strong crosswinds. I found the wheels extremely responsive, stiff and easy to accelerate. Even though the wheels were stiffer than the PR2’s they never felt uncomfortable and to be honest I appreciated the extra stiffness when out of the saddle accelerating. Breaking was not an issue as these are disc version wheels so I had no reason to be concerned about carbon rim breaking. As far as performance is concerned my Map My Ride statistics show that I am faster since swapping out my wheels, my last century I averaged 15.5mph. And while this is not all that impressive for professional riders it is still around 0.8mps faster than the last century I rode on my PR2 wheels. Perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not.
I think that these wheels sit in a perfect sweet spot, a good weight for climbing and endurance, not too aero for riders concerned with side winds (I ride usually in Las Vegas where there are strong winds year round and open roads), reasonably priced and they perform well.
Yoeleo builds many different wheelsets and complete frames and although I was initially skeptical, after 600miles of road riding I have no problem recommending Yoeleo. I will buy again from Leo. His wheels are extremely well built, look terrific, ride exceptionally well, can be custom built to order (if you ask nicely), are stiff so accelerate well, come with a U profile so not adversely affected by cross winds (well 38mm anyhow), built with SAT, so no rim tape needed and much, much cheaper than the big brands.
If I were to pin-point the single most often asked question that people have about my bikes, it would be questions about the wheels? What wheels are those? Do you like them? How much were they? Usually, when I respond that they are Yoeleo carbon clinchers from China, the immediate reaction is shock. “Oh no, Chinese Carbon! Won’t they explode?” “OH! How could you ride those dangerous wheels?”
Admittedly, this reaction is not totally off-base. If you spend 5 minutes online and google “chinese carbon bike wheels”, you’ll find no shortage of horror stories about people that had wheels fail on them and when I was initially shopping for carbon wheels, it was these stories that gave me cause to really investigate and be aware of what I was purchasing. It is this reason, combined with the fact that I’ve just taken delivery of some new wheels from Yoeleo that I’ve decided to do a full review and accounting of my experience and hopefully I can dispel some rumors.
Decision to Buy
I first heard about Yoeleo in May of 2014. I was researching carbon wheels and scouring chinese carbon review threads on RoadBikeReview.com. I saw Yoeleo mentioned over and over again from posters that had legitimate profiles and all of them were happy with the wheels. In late May, I was at the Tour of Somerville in Somerville, NJ and I met someone that was there cheering on his girlfriend in the women’s pro race. I noticed that he had some non-branded carbon wheels on his bike and when I asked him about them, he said they were Yoeleo’s and he had just come home from a trip to Italy where they had performed perfectly. The biggest question at the time for most Chinese rims was the brake track and with this guy’s account of his trip from Italy, it seemed that the Yoeleo’s were ok. Additionally, this wasn’t a huge concern of mine because I was buying disc brake carbon wheels for a disc brake road bike. I was also somewhat comforted by the fact that Yoeleo was very transparent about all of the parts they were using. Some of the no-name Chinese carbon wheels had unspecified hubs and spokes, but Yoeleo was very clear about the brand of spokes and hubs. It was clear what you were paying for and replacement parts could be easily sourced as opposed to most of the Chinese carbon wheels you find on Ebay and Alibaba that often leave that stuff as somewhat of a mystery. I also liked the fact that they had their own website and were establishing themselves on Facebook and other social media outlets. They seemed interested in actually establishing themselves as a brand, not just some company that could sell a few wheels on eBay and then disappear.
My First Three Wheelsets
When I took delivery of the wheels in June of 2014, my concerns disappeared. I was very impressed with the quality. After I had put a few hundred miles on them, some of my friends decided to take the jump and order rim brake wheels. They too were impressed. Ultimately, I put 4000+ miles on those wheels. They were hard miles on NJ roads with quite a few pot-holes, bumps, etc. I did not take it easy on them. They never went out of true and I had no issues with them. None of my friends with rim brake models had issues either (I think it was 3 or 4 of my direct riding buddies that ordered them). Below is a picture of my Tricross with that first set of wheels. I sold that bike in February of 2015 with the wheels and the current owner is still using them and they’re going strong.
In October of 2014, I bought my Venge frame and proceeded to build that up. I bought a set of 50x25mm SAT Superlight wheels from Yoeleo this time. As soon as I opened the box, I was impressed. They were light, and when I put them on a scale, they were within 3 grams of what Yoeleo said they would weigh. Yoeleo’s SAT technology means that there are no spoke holes drilled in the rim bed. This has a number of advantages. The biggest advantage is that the carbon is preserved and there are no holes drilled in it, which strengthens the wheel. It also means that you don’t have to use rim tape because there are no nipples or drill hole edges to damage the tube or cause punctures. The solid rim bed also allows for increased tire pressures and inflation capacity. I ordered them with the Yoeleo SL-Pro hubs which include ceramic bearings. These things just spin and spin and spin.
Below are some pics of my 50mm rims with no tires mounted. You can see the SAT technology with no spoke holes drilled in the rim bed.
Yoeleo uses a basalt brake track and I grabbed a photo of what that looks like, as well as the 3k carbon weave and matte finish.
In March of 2015, I bought my Allez and ordered a set of 60x25mm SAT Superlight wheels. I put the 60’s on the Venge and moved the 50’s to the Allez. The 60’s were built to the exact same spec as the 50’s and performed just as well. They are slightly heavier, which isn’t the best on some of the climbs I do, but there’s definitely a little bit of an advantage on the flats and on descents. Over the past year and a bit, I’ve put over 4000 miles on both sets of wheels, again without issue.
As a testament to their strength and build quality, in Oct. 2015, I was involved in a tangle with a friend of mine. His rear quick release ended up getting hooked with right side if my front fork on the Venge at nearly 30 mph. Somehow we managed to stay upright and not crash, but the spokes on the right side of my front wheel took a lot of damage as they smashed against his left side chain stay and the bikes continued to roll to a stop. Of the 10 spokes on the right side of the front wheel, 5 were completely broken in half and the other 5 were badly bent. I brought the wheel to my shop and my mechanic was impressed. None of the spokes had pulled out of the carbon or damaged the carbon hoop. The spokes themselves had broken first. There were a few spoke holes on the hub that he thought might have stretched and tweaked a bit and he wasn’t positive that new spokes would reseat properly so I ordered a new hub from Yoeleo. I had it in less than a week. It actually took the shop longer to get the spokes than it did for me to get the hub. This aspect of my experience in dealing with Yoeleo is of particular interest to me because one of the areas that people often cite as a downfall of buying Chinese carbon wheels or frames is a lack of customer support. When my mechanic saw the new hub, he was further impressed. He could see several areas where they had modified and improved their design and he was impressed that a so-called “non-name brand” wheel company would be investing the time and money to refine their design and make it better. As he re-built the wheel, he was even more impressed with just how much stress they had gone through without failing. He said he’s seen wheels from many name brand companies that hadn’t fared as well during similar crashes or accidents. I continue to ride both sets of 50 and 60mm wheels without issue.
The biggest issue I have had, is that at slow speeds, there is a slight amount of brake pulse that comes back through the levers. Its not excessive and its never caused me to crash or caused me any issues, but I can feel it, particularly at slow speeds as I’m coming to a final stop at a stoplight, maybe under 10 mph. At high speeds, I don’t seem to feel it at all. It also seems to be more noticeable if the bike is dirty. My mechanic said that its most likely some build up of brake pad material in the brake track and not related to the wheels. He suggested that I clean the wheels more often and I’ve noticed that when the bike is freshly cleaned the problem is almost all gone. My mechanic also said that this is a problem with many carbon wheels at almost all price points.
The New Wheel Set
So all of that was to establish my experience over the last 2 years with Yoeleo wheels and set up my review of my newest set of a wheels, Yoeleo SAT C88 carbon clinchers. This season, I’ve been doing my state’s TT Cup, a season long series of Time Trial races and I’ve been racing in the Non-TT class. The rules of the class are pretty simple: No TT bikes, standard road bikes only, No clip on bars, No disc wheels, No Tri-spoke wheels. The goal of the class is to provide an easy entry point into time trials without having to invest in all of the expensive aero equipment normally needed to be competitive in standard time trial races. I’ve been using my Venge with the 60mm wheels and have seen some success, consistently finishing in 2nd or 3rd in most of the races and I’m currently sitting in 2nd place for the overall cup. One of the few areas where I can improve the aerodynamics of my set up would be a set of deeper wheels and so I decided to make the jump up to the Yoeleo C88’s.
When the wheels arrived, I took quite a few pictures of the packaging to give an indication of how they pack the wheels for their journey half way around the world. Below, is the box as it arrived to me. I immediately noticed that they have improved their shipping box since I last ordered a set of wheels more than a year ago. The previous boxes were adequate and the new box is even more sturdy, with thicker cardboard and a built in handle which should make it easier for handling during the shipping process.
Above, you can see the accessories that come with every set of Yoeleo wheels. They include (2) sets of brake pads, a spacer to convert the 11 speed hub down to 10 speed, valve extenders, a set of quick release skewers and an extra spoke of the length required for the wheels. The valve extenders are the simple tube style, but I’ve had good luck using them by applying a liberal amount of teflon tape to the threads of the valve before screwing the extensions into place.
With the tires, tubes and a new rear cassette mounted on to the Yoeleo 88’s, I took them out for a 40 mile test ride. These things are fast! I’ll be using them strictly for time trial races, so I mounted an 11-23 rear cassette for a nice, tight transition between gears. It should allow me to fine tune my cadence and power output during races and I won’t feel forced to decide between a gear that’s slightly too easy or slightly too hard. On my first ride, I did a couple of 4-5 mile time trial like efforts and while I wasn’t going at 100%, I was still seeing speeds that were equivalent to my race speeds and that was without the aid of a skin suit or aero helmet. In terms of the weight, I can definitely feel the extra weight when I’m trying to accelerate from a stop, but once they get up to speed, they want to just keep moving. I didn’t feel like I was being blown around any more than usual, but it wasn’t especially windy, so it probably wasn’t a true test in that regard. One thing that I did notice was that the bike didn’t want to handle as well as usual. It was more difficult to initiate turn-in and I felt almost like I was trying to fight a little bit of gyroscope action. When these things get going in a straight line, they want to keep going in a straight line.
I’ve used them in 2 separate time trial events now, one 7.5 miles in length and one 15.5 miles in length and I’m seeing a bump of about 1 mph for the same level of effort. The 7.5 mile TT had some cross winds and I could definitely feel the bike wanting to move. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t control, but I weigh 165 pounds. If you’re lighter, cross-winds might play a more significant role.
Below are some detail shots of the 88’s.
In conclusion, I’m completely satisfied with the Yoeleo wheels that I’ve purchased and have no concerns with their durability and quality. I’ve put thousands of miles on both the 50mm and 60mm wheels in all sorts of weather and road conditions. New Jersey can get a fair bit of snow in the winter and its not uncommon to find potholes and poor road conditions in the early spring as snow thaws and re-freezes at night. These wheels have taken their fair share of hits and have remained true and strong. I’ve used the 50mm wheels in the Tour of the Battenkill Race, which is known for having quite a bit of gravel and dirt roads that can be rough on equipment. I also rode the 50mm wheels when I was out in Colorado and they had no problem dealing with the long descents.
*Disclosure* After purchasing the first 3 sets of Yoeleo’s and promoting them on various social media outlets, Yoeleo offered me an athlete sponsorship and sent me the 88’s in this article to use in my time trial events. They have not dictated or censored any of my review or comments.
Name: William Wisse Country: New Jersey, 08753 United States Item: Yoeleo C88 Blue Carbon Wheels / Yoeleo T38 Blue carbon wheels / Yoeleo 88 Blue Carbon Frame Reviews:
T38's First Race
With my 5th set of Yoeleo wheels I went with the straight pull blue set with the baked in logo. Prepped and mounted them with a new set of tubular tires. Planned on racing them in a big weekend crit. I like racing the 38's in all but the most climbing intense races. Being sort of a light weight I can accelerate the 38's quicker then the 50's and I don't get blown around as much. During the race hit a nice sized pot hole and the wheels didn't flinch at all. Too bad the other guy in front of me didn't have the same wheels because he had to pull out a flew laps later with a flat. These wheels cornered like a champ and took all the force I could put into them in the final sprint. Dished perfectly as well, but I have come to expect that with all my Yoeleo wheels.
Yoeleo 88 Blue Carbon Frameset
I built up the Yoeleo 88 frame with new Shimano components and raced it this past weekend to a hard earned 4th place.
Everyone I showed the bike to, and the few I let test ride it were impressed by the feel and the bike handling in general.
It is a true race ready bike.
The bike tracks into high speed corners right were I point it and there was no flex from the bottom bracket or rear stays during any accelerations and sprints.