Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
A couple of weeks ago, we received an interesting request from a new company to us. It was from Rita Müller, the COO of ICAN Cycling. ICAN is located in Shenzhen, China. They sell carbon bicycles, frames, components and wheels. Rita asked if we’d like to test and review their new superlight tubeless-ready carbon Aero 40 clincher wheelset (rim brake model – they also make a disc model).
We’re well aware of the Chinese carbon cycling products available at budget prices on eBay.com and other online sources. Only anecdotally, though. We haven’t personally purchased or ridden anything from these online sellers since you usually can’t even tell what you’re buying. So, at first, we weren’t certain how to respond to ICAN’s request.
But, then in a follow-up email, Rita wrote,
“ICAN Cycling have spent time perfecting our aero range of products. It has taken time as we have had to test products, set up international warehouses, and made sure that our pricing is affordable and our quality is high. We feel that everyone should be able to benefit from the progress made in modern aero designs.”
“We want to change the way the market looks at Chinese product and let them see that we can lead the way as well as the bigger brands. That is why we have secured UCI certification for our products. It is our mark that we want to rise above the brands that only want to live through eBay or Ali Express.”
Those comments were exactly the kind of things we hoped to hear. UCI approval means ICAN had to submit their wheels and pass testing by the governing body of pro cycling. Plus, unlike those Chinese carbon sellers on eBay, ICAN has a professional website showing a full range of products with all the technical details.
Chatting with ICAN
To try out their online customer service, I used their chat feature – intentionally doing so when it was the middle of the night in China. Chat features can be really bad in my experience. Often you never get a reply or if you do, they can’t answer your question – especially with technical queries.
While it did take until working hours in China to receive a reply from the ICAN chatter, they did answer my question (I asked how much the rim alone weighs? Answer: 408 grams). I then asked whether they used thread locker on the spokes, to which they almost immediately replied “no.”
Quality Carbon and Components
The final details that convinced us to accept their wheels for review were the quality of the construction and their affordable prices. ICAN’s Aero 40 tubeless-ready carbon clincher rims are made of Toray T700 and 800 carbon, some the most revered carbon available.
The 40mm tall rims have a modern 25mm exterior width at the braking surfaces and swell to 27mm at the widest point, which helps cheat the wind. And, they’re built with some of the top spokes available Sapim’s CX-Rays, while ICAN uses their own R01 hubs.
The pair sells for $640 – very impressive for an aero carbon clincher tubeless-ready wheelset. And, they’re not exaggerating when they call their hoops super light. The pair weighs just 1,314 grams.
Plus, carbon-compatible brake pads, quick releases and rim strips are included. To service riders around the globe, ICAN has warehouses in California, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and Japan. The wheels have a 2-year free warranty.
The wheelset they sent us was shipped from China. What follows is a 10 minute video of the unboxing and first look. The specifications for the wheels are below.
It’s not easy to build high-quality carbon aero road wheels. I’m looking forward to more carefully inspecting the wheels for things such as even spoke tension, spoke wind-up, ease of tubeless and standard tire installation – and of course how they perform and withstand the punishing pavement we have here in Northern California.
In a future Tech Talk, I’ll let you know how it goes, so please stay tuned.
ICAN CYCLING AERO 40 WHEELSET SPECIFICATIONS
PRICE: $640 (pair)
RIM MATERIAL: Toray T700/800 Carbon with heat-resistant 3K Twill braking surfaces
TYPE: Tubeless-ready, rim-brake, carbon clinchers
*Internal : 18.35mm
*External at braking surfaces: 25mm
*External at widest point: 27mm
*Rim only: 408 grams (+/- 15g)
*Pair: 1,314 grams (+/- 20g)
*Front: 568 grams (+/- 10g)
*Rear: 746 grams (+/- 10g)
Sapim CX-Ray with aluminum nipples
*Front: 18 spokes
*Rear: 24 spokes
ICAN Cycling R01 straight-pull
RIDER WEIGHT LIMIT: 220 Pounds / 100 Kg
2-year free warranty
Carbon-compatible brake pads, quick releases and rim strips are included
Ride total: 9,282