Besides OVAL Concepts rich portfolio of carbon wheels for both on and off-road application there are some reasonably priced aluminum wheels to be had too. What excited my interest in these wheels were their competitive weight of 1500 grams, claimed. My scale displayed 11 grams less.
To achieve this weight isn’t a big deal as the 723 Disc is only 23mm deep and 19mm internally, which is fairly narrow by today’s standard. I have tested them with multiple tyre widths ranging from 25mm up to 40mmm. The sweet spot settled in between 28-33 mm tire width.
The targeted test grounds for the OVAL 723 Disc wheels have been cyclocross and competitive gravel races over the course of this past winter. Kitted out with 160mm Shimano center lock rotors and Quick Release Axles.
I’m satisfied with the manner they spin up and keep momentum nicely. Despite high brake rotor and cassette forces, they didn’t feel sluggish nor did they twist tangibly. I chalk it up to the rather high hub flange, equipped with 28 spokes.
On long and gnarly off-road gravel descent littered with sharp rocks and accompanying ruts, there was some winding to be felt which necessitated a minimal counter steering. However, those phenomena occurred only on arduous occasions which these wheels aren’t designed for.
Tubeless ready tyres didn’t cause any hassle and headache. A high volume floor pump does it greatly. Non-tubeless ready tyres required more laborious work. But after some patience and persistence we managed to get them sealed with floor pumps equipped with booster function. A compressor wasn’t needed.
How did they fare on the cyclocross race course? For their low-key appearance, used material [aluminum] and non-flashy appearance, more than fair. To get them up to the speed, out of corner acceleration, power climbing was on par with its carbon competitors. They sunk in occasionally on deep sand tracks, where a high flange equivalent would be more suitable. For road use with tyre widths between 23-28mm, modest off-road application they’re an impeccable choice, they are good to go for cyclocross and the above-mentioned gravel races and adventurous bike packing tours as well.
Speaking of which, they did even better on gravel roads and not-so gnarly rock littered paths. 3 gravel and 2 cyclocross races in the books, plus a week-long bike-packing trip, and the OVAL 723 Disc wheels still don’t require any truing. I believe if these wheels are used on tarmac and, at times patchy roads only, they are a long-runner and all they need is a minimal yearly bearing maintenance.
Some of my fellow racers have commented that these wheels are out of place on a top-notch carbon bike. And it is, in fact true that the OVAL 723 Disc wheels are mostly found on bikes with a price range of 1000-2000 Euros. On top of that, they are shallow, hence less effective at high speeds, let alone the subdued and restrained appearance.
That said given their reasonable weight, easy handling and versatility not least due to Convertible Thru Axle / Quick Release Axle compatibility, I didn’t have any issue or preconception to use them off the beaten path. They aren’t as sturdy, responsive and durable as highly regarded carbon wheels. But then again, their price is incomparable. The Enduro cartridge bearings should last well with only minimum maintenance.
Now, the OVAL 723 Disc wheels need to prove their long-term durability. The wheels are slated for some bike packing endeavours in the Alps and South Tuscany. My team and yours truly is looking forward to seeing how they endure a taxing and long season full of gravel races and bike packing on remote places with almost non-existent repair assistance.
Compare prices and buy wheels from:
|Cyclestore||Evans Cycles||Hargroves Cycles||Merlin Cycles|
|AW Cycles||Biketart||Cycle Surgery|
|Leisure Lakes Bikes||Rutland Cycling|