By the end of 2014, I had ridden just about 3,400 miles on the Ekay wheels and to date, 3,500.
Back in October of 2013, when I was piecing the R-002 Supersport together, I took a chance on Ekay Composites carbon road wheels. I had done a fair amount of research on various bike forums and cycling websites and then crossed checked with the countless ebay sites that sell Asian carbon frames and wheels. That’s when I finally figured out that there were only a handful of actual manufactures but a ton of resellers. Once I boiled it down, I decided on the Ekay’s and well, I have not been disappointed since.
They arrived at my door in NJ from Xiamen City, China for the total price of $443.00 usd. No, that’s not a typo folks. Less than $445 bucks. Now, Originally, they were listed at $459.00 usd. I politely negotiated and my offer was accepted. Their customer service was prompt, very courteous and friendly. It was a very easy and pleasant transaction, which may surprise many a roadie…lol.
To date, I have put on approximately 3,200 miles on the wheelset, with not one single issue or problem. The Ekay rims have proven to be good all-around, all weather wheels. So far I have gone through one set of oem cork pads within about 3 months (ditch them, as they are fairly useless in real world conditions) then decided to make the switch to a Swissstop(R)/Reynolds(F) combo after about 700 miles. The carbon specific rim pads have nearly 2,500 miles on them with plenty of pad life left.
The red 291sb Novatec hubs are laced to the 38mm, matte, 3k weave carbon clincher rims with red, aero bladed, ss spokes. The wheel/hub/spoke package has provided good rolling consistency all year long. The set without skewers/tubes and tires weigh in at 1,486 grams. Not super light, but respectable to say to the least.
To ease a bit of my worrying and appease my curiosity, I brought the pair into my local shop after about 1,800 miles, just to have them checked. I normally do a spoke tension check every week and they were all tight as drum, but I wanted to double check the trueness. Somewhat surprisingly, the wheels were good and ‘true’ despite the many lumps and big bumps during their 3,200 mile season.
With the varying terrain of my local and regional roads, the Ekay’s have proved to be good all-around wheels. Acceleration and ‘spin up’ feels quick and responsive, with little to no lag in speed and the stiff carbon rims provide solid climbing capability.
Scrubbing off the speed and getting on the binders on descents is okay, as is the case with most carbon wheels, the braking is not as crisp-assured as it is with aluminum wheels. But with the Swissstop/Reynolds combo, stopping is reliable, though not stellar and braking is at least consistent. Not surprisingly, stopping power is a bit less reliable in the wet conditions. Though once you get used to the braking characteristics of carbon wheels, it’s not really an issue at all.
There is definitely an identifiable feel of ‘lightness’ to carbon wheels in general and the Ekay’s are no different. They are also noticeably stiffer and give that ‘planted’ feel when cornering at moderate to high speeds and I certainly do my fair share of high speed descending!
On the negative side though, in very windy conditions the 38mm deep rims do catch a fair amount of air and can move the bike around- especially the front. There is also a noticeable feeling of drag on the wheels both from gusty head and crosswinds. Anyone who tells you there is no issue at all with strong head and especially strong crosswinds with anything other than a standard 20mm deep rim, is just selling you a load of bullshit…
Overall, I am very pleased with the Ekay carbon wheels. So far, for the money and performance they are a winner. Although I cannot speak to their long-term durability and-or performance, I suspect they will pass the test. For overall reliability, performance and Benefit-to Cost Ratio, I rate the Ekay Composites 4 stars.
- Material: Toray 700 full carbon fiber
- Rim size: 700c x 38mm
- Rim width: 23mm
- Spokes: Pillar Alloy 20-F / 24-R
- Hubs: Novatec 291sb
- Weight: 1486g (pair)