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Edco ProSport Albis review

Edco ProSport Albis
6 Apr 2016

Swiss craftsmanship and a few innovative features make these wheels a true competitor to the big-name brands.

The Swiss are well known for their exacting standards, especially in Jura where there is a long tradition of precision watchmaking, toolmaking and machine building. Carbon wheel brand Edco has its factory in Couvet, in the heart of the region, and my initial impression of its mid-range ProSport Albis wheels was that they exude quality. But craftsmanship is not the only story here. Edco has also brought some fresh ideas to its wheels.

One potentially useful feature is a freehub body that is compatible with all brand’s cassettes. It makes a lot of sense for shops, who don’t have to choose between Shimano or Campy when ordering, but it’s also handy for you, should you ever change your groupset allegiance.

Sum of the parts

The creation of Edco’s wheels is a three-pronged attack. The carbon rims are made in Taiwan, the hubs in its Swiss factory and the final finishing process, which includes every wheel being handbuilt by one of Edco’s two master wheelbuilders, in Holland. The rims arrive in Holland un-drilled, as Edco has developed its own machine to cut the spoke holes from the inside of the rim, rather than the more common method of drilling holes from the outside.

Should a spoke fail with the first two years, Edco will rebuild the entire wheel from scratch for you

This, Edco tells us, allows for greater precision over how the spoke holes are cut, so for every build configuration the spoke hole count and spoke angle is precisely calculated and the hole cut accordingly. Edco says this eliminates any unnecessary lateral stresses on the spoke nipple, a common cause of breakage. As a result, Edco guarantees all of its wheels against any spoke breakages for two years. Should a spoke fail, it will rebuild the entire wheel from scratch for you, which is a service that I’m not aware any other big brand offers. 

EDCO rim

You can put the most expensive bearings in a set of wheels, but that won’t guarantee reliability or longevity if the manufacturing tolerances of the hubshells and axles are not spot on. Equally, you can add extra seals to hub designs to try and give poor quality bearings a fighting chance, but all you end up with is undesirable frictional drag. Neither is applicable to these wheels. Edco’s hubs are some of smoothest rolling and (so far) most durable I’ve tested. 

I’ve put the ProSport Albis through months of riding in some rotten conditions, so I’ve had to clean them countless times. The BB30 bottom bracket on the bike I used practically disintegrated under the same treatment, yet when I dropped these wheels out of the bike and spun them between my fingers there was not even the slightest hint of any water or grit ingress. They’re still as impressively smooth and low in friction as the day they arrived. It’s plain that these wheels are built to last.

Wet, wet, wet

The prevalence of rain this winter has also given me plenty of opportunities to assess braking performance in all conditions. Edco claims to have paid special attention to the resins used in the brake track to better manage heat build-up and improve wet-weather braking. It also provides its own brake pads to optimise performance. It’s a similar story to many carbon wheel manufacturers, but Edco has a point of difference in its construction process that I’ve never heard of before. Mark Turner, the company’s UK sales manager, tells me Edco builds the braking surfaces on its clincher rims minutely toed-in – leaning towards each other – so that when a tyre is fitted and inflated, the outward pressure brings the rim surfaces into completely parallel and straight alignment. It’s hard to know if this actually improves the braking performance, but I was suitably impressed by the way the wheels came to a stop – in the dry, at least.

EDCO hub

The feel at the lever is consistent, with no unsettling feedback. Throw some water into the mix, however, and there is noticeably less initial bite and braking power. To be fair, this is the case with most carbon wheels, and I don’t think there are others at this price doing a much better job. Indeed, I’ve ridden pricier wheels that don’t work as well in the wet as the ProSport Albis. And Edco’s supplied pads did provide the best performance, having tried several alternative pads during the test period.

Complete package

As well as rain, the other element a set of deep section wheels has to deal with is wind. At 50mm deep, the ProSport Albis aren’t particularly practical for riding on a gusty day, but I found them to be fairly manageable. Crosswinds have a noticeable impact, but it seems to come as more of a progressive push, rather than feeling like someone just kicked your wheel, so at least the handling remains predictable. 

All told, the ProSport Albis wheels felt solid and fast with it. And the fact that they come supplied with a set of Continental GP4000S II tyres in the price, as well as QR skewers, brake pads and padded wheel bags, makes this wheelset a small victory for your wallet.

Edco Pro Sport Albis
Weight 1,562g
Depth 50mm F&R
Width External: 25.5mm
Spoke count 20F, 24R
Price £1,400 (inc. GP4000S II tyres)

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