FRM Venus Cross Wheels Review

FRM Venus Cross Wheels Review

 

FRM Venus Cross Wheels Review

 

Rob Allen

 

FRM Venus Cross Wheels Review

 

We’ve had the opportunity over recent months to put some proper miles on the FRM Venus Cross wheels we previewed recently

 
FRM Venus Cross Wheels
 
They took us a while to get set up, as we had to swap the freehub body to one that accepted 11 speed cassettes. The great news was that FRM included the 11 speed body and the bearing tools with the wheelset, together with a set of instructions that allowed this modestly talented, amateur mechanic to perform the surgery with no problems.
 
FRM Venus Cross Wheels
 
It also gave us a great opportunity to inspect the quality of workmanship, which left us impressed, if not surprised given our previous experiences with FRM Urano 29er wheels. FRM are rightly proud that the hubs and rims are made in Italy and are connected by high quality Sapim laser spokes. A light, hand built, durable, European made tubular cyclocross wheel for €869 seems like good value to us – a good choice for the privateer cross racer.

 
FRM Venus Cross Wheels

FRM Venus Cross Wheels

 
We found that the generously wide rims needed a significant amount of sanding to rid them of their smooth covering and allow a good bond with the tyre.
 

FRM Venus Cross Wheels
 

We fitted our test set of Challenge Chicane tubulars, using 3 layers of continental tubular glue on each surface. One tip would be to make sure you allow plenty of time for the tyres to stretch before gluing as they really are a tight fit on these rims.
 
The Challenge Chicanes were inflated to 60 psi (which, to be fair is beyond the stated range, so do so at your own risk!) and left them for 48 hours, rather than our usual 24, topping the air up once.
 
Finally, given that FRM provide for a variety of quick release options, we plumped for 9/10mm versions given the superior grip and stiffness they provide – you will need to order some in as the wheels don’t ship with skewers included.
 
FRM Venus Cross Wheels
 

As we mentioned before, these are a properly light set of cross wheels, weighing 1385g without skewers on the CycleTechReview scales. That lack of mass is immediately apparent when setting out and in races that benefit was readily apparent when accelerating out of corners, as happens several times a lap on most courses…
 
The wide rim is a much better fit for cyclocross tubulars than the traditional road tubular rims that are often used for cross. The extra surface for gluing gave us confidence that the tubs wouldn’t roll off, and enabled us to run them at lower pressures than other wheels.
 
FRM Venus Cross Wheels
 

We got down to 20 psi with an 80kg rider before the tyre started to fold. In our mind, this is the main performance advantage of wide rims, and is particularly beneficial for relatively less skilled riders looking for cornering confidence.
 
FRM Venus Cross Wheels
 
Lateral stiffness feels excellent as well, with vertical compliance not notably better or worse than our regular wheels.
 
They stayed perfectly true through the test period despite covering some demanding terrain and the hubs were as smooth after 700km as they were out of the box.
 

FRM Venus Cross Wheels

We couldn’t find any noticeable performance difference to the carbon tubular wheels we normally run, and given that aerodynamics are arguably a low priority at the lower speeds in a cross race, the combination of light weight, stiffness and relatively low cost seems like a winner to us. That said, we’d be intrigued to try the carbon version of the Venus Cross that FRM also make to see how they compare.
 
We are thoroughly impressed with this latest offering from FRM, which is tailor made for cyclocross and look forward to seeing what they come up with next.
 
FRM Venus Cross Wheels
 
FRM Venus Cross Wheels
 
www.frmbike.biz

 

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