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Cadex: Back to the forefront

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24 Jun 2021
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Having revolutionised bike design, Cadex returns with some of the world’s most advanced carbon wheels

Some of the very first commercially produced carbon frames bore the name Cadex. A specialist products lab within the Giant Bicycle corporation, during the ‘80s and ‘90s its experimentation and expertise with carbon fibre laid the groundwork for every modern performance bike. In doing so, Cadex precipitated perhaps the most radical change in bicycle production of the 20th century.

With its expertise previously subsumed by its parent company, today the Cadex name is once again to be seen attached to the best in cycling technology. However, this time its attention has been turned to the key remaining area of the bike with the potential to drastically redefine its performance.

To this end, Cadex has developed an extensive range of carbon fibre wheels, each using the latest hookless technology for the greatest strength and lowest rotating mass. Bringing to bear the resources available to a company that’s part of the world’s largest cycling manufacturer, besides championing hookless designs, the independent team at Cadex has introduced several other radical arrangements across the entire wheel system. 

Perfect balance

Key among these is a change to the most fundamental element of any wheel – the way in which it’s tensioned. Currently, most wheels are perfectly balanced when sitting motionless. However, as you apply pedalling force, this necessarily upsets their equilibrium.

'It’s why nine times out of 10, on a conventional wheel, it’s a drive-side trailing spoke that breaks first because they’re the ones placed under load as you pedal,' explains spokesperson David Ward.

To combat this, Cadex’s wheels use Dynamic Balanced Lacing (DBL). This ensures spokes are set for optimal tension when under dynamic pedalling loads rather than when static. Taking into consideration the effects of braking on the wheel, the result is greater overall strength and stiffness when accelerating, and better response when cornering.


Carbon throughout

For a company that made its name creating innovative carbon-fibre products, it’s no surprise that Cadex takes a meticulous attitude to the production of its composite rims. While many other firms weave a homogenous structure to create theirs, the manufacture of Cadex’s rims has more in common with the production of a carbon bicycle frame.

Built a swatch at a time, this allows reinforcement where it’s needed while cutting weight from areas subject to lower loads. Just like on a high-end frame, this also allows the characteristics of the rim to be tuned for the exact combination of stiffness and vibration dampening required. 

However, Cadex’s carbon expertise isn’t confined to its rims. Used across the range, its radical Aero Carbon spokes provide massively increased strength while maintaining the wheels’ aerodynamic qualities across its entire diameter.

'The use of carbon has allowed us to create a far lighter spoke without compromising on strength,' explains Ward. 'At the same time, its use also allows a truncated aerofoil shape that generates a minimum of turbulence.'

With most wheels now settled around a fairly standardised profile, it’s another way in which Cadex aims to outperform its rivals when it comes to stability and efficiency. 

Changing profiles

Offered in 42mm and 65mm depths, at the core of each Cadex wheel is a uniform hookless rim profile. Providing incredible impact resistance, every rim’s broad 21mm internal width also imparts a seamless transition between tyre and wheel.

This not only makes for a rim that’s stronger and easier to set up than a hook-type alternative, but it simultaneously also boosts the volume of any tyre fitted.


Allowing smaller and lighter tyres to take on the same volume as larger and heavier alternatives, this trait is noticeable in the gently radiused profile of the combined tyre and rim. The result: a better contact patch for grip and comfort, plus the lowest possible rolling resistance, weight and aerodynamic loss.

Cadex wheels offer a true tubeless system, designed to snap into place so readily that many users will be able to set them up using a conventional track pump. Unlike many competitors, the optional addition of sealant is necessary only for instantaneous sealing of small punctures, instead of being relied upon to create an airtight seal between imperfectly matched components.

Seamlessly matched

Designing both as a system, Cadex has also created a matching range of high-performance tyres to sit alongside its wheels. Based around an unyielding carbon-kevlar bead for guaranteed security, these are complemented by an online pressure calculator initially developed for Cadex’s elite athletes.


At the same time, Cadex has worked extensively with third-party tyre makers like Schwalbe and Continental to create an ever-growing approved tyre list. All tyres have been collaboratively checked by both sides to ensure the most exacting of tolerances.

'Any tyres on our approved list have gone through a rigorous testing protocol that includes inflating each model to one and a half times its maximum recommended pressure, so users can be confident of a perfectly secure fit,' explains Ward.

Performance for all

Ensuring the Cadex name is once again associated with the foremost in performance, its wheels have been proven at the elite levels by riders including Greg Van Avermaet while he was a member of CCC Team.

However, despite class-leading specifications across each model, they remain accessibly priced, ensuring Cadex is again helping both professionals and amateurs benefit from the forefront of carbon technology.

Learn more about the Cadex range