Cycling MOFOS Wheelset Review

July 21, 2016
Cycling MOFOS Wheelset Review

Cycling MOFOS customizable wheelsets are made for the budget conscious racer who doesn't want to sacrifice on performance. The 60mm carbon clinchers we tested were created to 'smash a crit' or 'tear apart a TT', read on to see how they performed.

Who’s it for: Those looking for the advantages of a carbon wheelset without the hefty price tag.

What we like: Price. Ability to customize. Comparable performance to other carbon wheelsets.

What we don’t: Lack of testing results for aerodynamics, stiffness etc...


Before the ride

MoFo Cycling Wheelset BikeExchange Rim tape 1

Straight off the bat it's important to know that Cycling MOFOS is not a traditional wheel company like Zipp, Shimano or Mavic, rather they researched manufacturers around the world with the aim of sourcing 'the best wheels and components for their money'. Martin and Tony began Cycling MOFOS after many years of riding, racing and working in the bicycle industry. Putting their extensive product and cycling knowledge to good use they 'identified top carbon wheel manufacturers and began a comprehensive process of due diligence'. The pair evaluated materials, products, processes and began testing the products. The end result was a collaboration with select manufacturers to bring a variety of wheelsets (and a growing range of other products) to the public at an affordable price. In the simplest terms, these wheels could be classified as 'generic', however the fact that they're backed by real cyclists at incredibly respectable pricing sets them apart from nameless online options.

Cycling MOFOS allows almost complete customization of their wheelsets providing an extensive range to choose from. The shallowest wheelset available is 38mm, there are two mid-depth options of 50mm and 60mm, and the 88mm wheelset is the deepest. All of these choices are available in two rim widths, a standard 23mm or the wider 25mm, and all come with your choice of spoke, hub, freebody and decals. The wheelsets are currently only available as a carbon clincher. Each wheelset has 20 spokes on the front wheel and 24 on the rear.

The price does varying according to the type of wheelset chosen and the features selected. The cheapest wheelset is the 38mm deep, 23mm rim width carbon clincher with the basic Novatec hub and Pillar 1423 spokes at AU$1,238.85 or US$940. Choosing the same wheelset with upgraded DT Swiss 240S hubs and Sapim CX-Ray spokes pushes the price to AU$2,023.01 or US$1,535.00. A similar story is told across the range with this advanced hub and spoke package costing up to 50% more. The most expensive wheelset starting from scratch is the 88mm deep, 25mm wide carbon clincher that begins at $1,055.00 USD and rising to $1,650.00 USD with the equivalent upgrades.

The wheelsets are made from a combination of TORAYCA T700, T800 and T1000 series prepreg carbon. A complete run down of the build process is available on their website which is interesting reading and reassuring at the same time. The layering process is performed by hand (as with all carbon creations), then an air bladder is inflated to press the lay-up against the outside mould. Cycling MOFOS tell us there are a total of eight quality control test that all the wheelsets go through including roundness, flatness, weight, spoke assessment and visual inspection.

MoFo Cycling Wheelset BikeExchange Freebody hub

Hub options

  • Novatec Sealed Bearing (red or black)

  • Powerway (red / black)

  • DT Swiss 240 S (straight pull or J-bend spokes)

Spoke options

  • Pillar 1423 aero spoke (red / black)

  • Sapim CX-Delta (red / black)

  • Sapim CX-Ray (red / black)

FreeHub body

  • Shimano 8/9/10 or 11 speed

  • Campagnolo 8/9/10 or 11 speed

Logo colours

Decals don't come off so be sure to think about the look of your bike. There is a wide variety of colours to choose from including subtle black and outline, as well as the ability to customise the decals. The possible options include red, green, blue, yellow, pink, black, subtle outline or your own fully custom design.


What you get

MoFo Cycling Wheelset Accessories BikeExchange

When you order a set of Cycling MOFOS wheels you get;

  • Wheels

  • Skewers

  • Rim tape

  • Brake pads

  • Valve extenders

Getting the wheels ready for use is simple. The rim tape installs easily and all that is left to do is swap over, or install a new cassette and put your tires/tubes on. Brake pads are provided but unlike some other manufacturers that specify a specific brake pad to suit the brake track compound, any carbon brake pad can be used with Cycling MOFO wheelsets.


Warranty

Cycling MOFOS offer a four year manufacturer warranty against defects in material and workmanship as well as a two year crash replacement program which "provides for the original owner to purchase at 50% of current retail price the same product (or comparably available product) as originally purchased." There is a pretty extensive list of items the warranty doesn't cover including accidents, crashes, neglect, jumping, trick riding, ramp riding, incorrect installation, use of brake pads not designed for carbon wheels, riding with excessive loads, lack of technical skill, competence, or experience of the user and any incidental or consequential damages.So make sure you're confident with the installation process and don't plan for anything extravagant whilst on board.


What we thought

MoFo Cycling Wheelset BikeExchange brake track

For this review I had the 23mm wide, 60mm deep carbon clincher, with Novatec Sealed Bearings, Sapim CX-Ray spokes, Shimano freehub body and red decals. The claimed weight with my configuration was 1,556 grams.

The claimed weight proved to be a little off according to our scales. Minus skewers, tubes and tyres, the front wheel came in at 740g, and the back 930g for a total of 1670g. While heavier than claimed, this is still comparable to a set of Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers at 1,690g and Irwin 58 at 1,773g, but heavier than the ENVE SES 4.5 at 1,448g.

The 23mm rim width wheelset was fitted with a set of 25mm Continential GP4000's which expanded to 26.98mm on the wheel at 90psi, compared to the same tyre on a Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher which grew to 27.22mm. The wheel shape resembles the modern day U, narrowing slightly to 22.24mm at the spoke. The U shape suggests good aerodynamic performance which is almost impossible to decipher unless you're in a wind tunnel or similar controlled environment, but they carried speed well and felt like they gave a little back once the speed exceeded 35kph. The wheelsets have a smooth finish unlike the dimpled surface of Zipp, and make a nice hum at speed with a loud freewheel which was music to my ears. For me, the louder the better but for others, this might become a distraction.

The ride was comfortable with no obvious flex under load, and believe me I tried. Many times I put in short and hard sprint efforts and never heard the brake rub that can occur from spongy wheels. At 60mm deep they carried speed as well as you would expect for such a deep wheelset, but they catch just as much wind as you would expect too. The extra depth is very noticeable in strong crosswinds, taking quite a bit of work to keep the bike straight, but this is no different other rim depths beyond 50mm.

Out of the saddle the wheels felt nibble, and noticeably agile. This was further confirmed when pushing hard into a corner by providing a stable platform and responding straight away when it was time to drive hard out the other side.

Braking was as well as could be expected from a carbon braking surface, which is it say it's not great. I'd say it's on par with other carbon rims, but you'll likely be disappointed if coming from a wheel with an alloy braking surface. There was a small amount of pulsing which takes a little longer to stop and makes smooth modulation hard, but they were quiet with no high pitched squealing.

During the test I used two sets of skewers. The initial set of titanium skewers proved to be difficult to close and I had some issues locking them in place. When tension was present at about halfway closed, the skewer would snap into place and lose tension. Consequently MOFOS sent out their newly resourced skewer with a much better closing mechanism. The newer design has a long lever that felt like butter when closing, it's one of the best feeling 'external cam' skewers I've used.

MoFo Cycling Wheelset BikeExchange with tyres

It's impossible to assess the durability of a wheelset in our short month-long testing period, so that would be my only query, otherwise I would have no hesitation getting a setting of these. From a performance point of view there aren't any glaring reductions to other carbon wheelsets and the customization available provides a feel good aspect you don't often get when buying off the shelf. Add to that the significantly reduced cost (even with upgrades is likely to be $1,000 - $2,000 cheaper than other RRP of big-name carbon wheelsets, a set of Zipp 404's retailing for $3,299 for example), and the case for a set of MOFOS is compelling.

It's good to see Cycling MOFOS not hide any part of their production or limit the information available to prospective buyers. It's all on the website clear to see and they are responsive to enquiries with quick turn around times.

The major criticism of Cycling MOFOS is the lack of testing results on the website. Other proven brands have formed a reputation over time with extensive testing both in the lab and on the road, and that reputation and product development is largely why you pay the extra money for their products. The time and resources other brands put into their product provides confidence to the consumer when making the purchase.

There are currently no figures detailing what impact changes to the spoke, depth or width would make in terms of watts saved, drag or comfort. The same goes for the aerodynamic performance of the wheelsets. Aside from implied performance benefits due to depth and shape, there's no data about drag and performance at various yaw angles in the wind tunnel. The consistent measure seems to be weight and price, aside from the 'spoke options' page which does go into detail about spoke width, weight, strength and length. It would be great to see this aspect developed more to complete the picture.

Cycling MOFOS ships worldwide for free and you can expect delivery within 7-14 days, which is pretty impressive when you consider each wheelset is built to order. For those looking for tubulars, tubeless or disc brake ready wheels, they are on their way, as are MTB options.

For more check out Cycling MOFOS


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