here’s how the conversation went
Me– hey guys, do you have any tubular track rims?
Me– *thinking/mental tantrum* I want tubulars!!!!! I only ride tubs on the track.
Me-I’ll try out the G4’s and see how they go.
And that’s how I chanced upon the best feeling wheels I’v ever ridden.
For a few years Iv been drooling over photos Zac from Skunkworks has been posting. The curve wheels looked the biz and made any bike look dressed to the nines. Only problem was, they didn’t really do track and they stopped making tubulars. This was great for my wallet, I didn’t need more wheels.
Then, in the summer, I got to go on a belgie ride with the curve guys. I mentioned I was planning on racing the red hook crit, and was looking for tubs. They said they might be able to help.
Fast forward to June, that’s when the do you have tubulars conversation happened. It was a few weeks out from ITS Melbourne and a month from Red Hook. When I was offered clinchers I was a bit disappointed. The only acceptable tyre on the track is tubulars. But, because I wanted schmick new hoops for the Red Hook, I said I would test them out.
This is what I thought.
Ya, super HOT! Like absolutely drool, they look amazing on my bike I look fully pro.
Besides looking good, they ride so well. My G4 rims are laced into a DT Swiss high flange track hub. I raced them at ITS against Steph Morton. They had a happy whistle when they got up over 60km/h. It added to my joy when hitting the apex. Off the track, I was able to drop the PSI right down to 70psi and commute. At the low pressure this is where these wheels really shine. They roll so easily, I can’t tell they are low pressure. It also has the added bonus of extra grip while cornering and it almost eliminates the bumps and potholes of Sydney’s streets.
The G4’s are in a class of their own. Normally I need several wheel sets for track. But with these I can commute, swap the gear ratio, then race. The versatility of these wheels to offer the comfort for the road then to rival the performance of my race wheels, it just astounds me. I can’t believe they are not tubular. The extra wide 25mm rim profile, coupled with 23mm vittoria tyres gives the illusion of a tub, with the ease of puncture repair found in clinchers. I find it rather re-assuring I can fix a puncture on my race wheels. It takes away the stress of having 2 wheel sets on race day and the risk of only having one set if it’s not possible to bring 2 (or if i already punctutred).
The real test-Red Hook Criterium London–
After ITS I flew out to the UK to race the London red hook with my Friend Ash Duban. After some false starts with my bike arriving late and her bike being damaged, we finally got some sleep.
At the race, there was a carnival atmosphere. Because Ash is a bit of a superstar (a bit it an understatement, she is the fastest RAD-est chick I know!!!) I got to bask in her stardom while trying to hold onto her wheel in qualifiers. I thought I knew how to corner. But following Ash around the red hook was a whole different level.
It was fast, it was technical, and after throwing myself into the deep end, I had complete confidence in my wheels and tyres. I had only really ridden them a handful of times; they felt like old friends. Reliable, predictable, instantly familiar.
Once off the circuit, I had a stream of people coming up to me asking the same thing; what wheels are those? They’re tubs, right? They look sweet/amazing/clean/fast/f**king bad a$$/you get the drift.
It wasn’t just me who couldn’t believe they weren’t tubular. The looks fooled even seasoned mechanics and racers, and the feel fooled a picky trackie(me).
Long(ish) term review- I love them! They are the perfect wheel to ride/race on outdoor velodromes and the road. They feel like tubulars(they feel so much like tubulars), but have the security of clinchers. The wide profile means I can drop the pressure(70-80psi) to make the ride softer (I survived a Hurstville 100 lapper!) without making it feel slow or sluggish. They have also eliminated the need for me to carry spare wheels to RAW. I can ride to the track on the G4’s, add a bit of air (100psi) and then jump onto the track and race.
From the road, to racing track, to smashing the red hook. I’m converted, maybe you don’t need tubulars for the track.
P.S. I’m currently off the bike and the wheels are lonely. If you want to give the wheels a spin, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can hook you up