Right, I guess inserting where they're made in the title would be a little politically incorrect but essentially the link below would give you the exact product that inspired the question :- Cheap Carbon Rims

The target is to use those for a cyclocross-commuter steel bike that I am building. The typical use of such a rig would be for home-work-home commute on cycle tracks with a muddy stretch of offroad along the way (short cut smirk).

I am about 180 pounds (give or take) and have had history of taco-ing alloy rims before (MTB) - so the question would be : would you trust such a product for the above use?

  • If a rim "tacos" it's because it was not built correctly or you over-stressed it. The rim itself contributes very little lateral stiffness -- from the standpoint of "taco" it's most important characteristic is how strong the spoke holes are. Tacoing occurs when the spokes stretch or pull through the rim. May 6, 2014 at 12:02
  • All non-weight weenie-ing wheels of even low-moderate quality should be able to easily take a 180 lb rider (even carrying 50 or so extra pounds, a moderate quality wheel should not have any problems) - sounds like bad wheel building.
    – Batman
    May 6, 2014 at 14:51
  • totally agree on the quality of the wheel build, just a little perplexed that it was a pair of stock wheels that came with the bike when I purchased it (not expecting it to handle like a DH but didnt think it would convert itself into a piece of modern art either). just threw it in there for the comparative purpose of the amount of abuse I could throw out on a wheel on an MTB.
    – deeviate
    May 7, 2014 at 2:44

2 Answers 2


Short answer: No.

Long Answer: I would not use carbon rims for commuting for several reasons:

  1. They make the bike look more shiny than you want, attracting all kinds of unwanted attention.
  2. I ride my commuter bike in any weather without too much maintenance. Should the carbon rim fail at some point, I at least won't notice a hairline crack until the wheel breaks. Carbon wheels will mostly break catastrophically, and that's not what I'd want while wedged between an SUV and a 40-ton lorry.
  3. If you're using rim brakes (which the OP doesn't), pure carbon rims do not have the same braking performance as alloy ones, especially when wet.
  4. With a seller on eBay, you probably don't have anyone to go to if the wheel is faulty from the start, e.g. arrives broken/bent or some such. Basically, you don't get any warranty.

So, I'd rather spend a more for custom-built wheels with alloy rims if you want maximum stability.

  • cheers for the thoughts mate. really appreciate it!
    – deeviate
    May 6, 2014 at 6:29
  • There is the issue of a the lack of accountability from seller/manufacturer to you or more importantly the person selling wont have the insurance to cover you in the event of something going horrible wrong.
    – user95786
    May 6, 2014 at 8:01
  • 1
    @user95786 Things like wheels etc are sold "at your own risk" everywhere in the world, except maybe the US, where manufacturers probably spend more money to make their "it's your own fault"-clauses watertight than on the actual development and building of products. I updated the answer anyway with the warranty issues.
    – arne
    May 6, 2014 at 8:06
  • 1
    #3 is irrelevant - the wheel is a disc wheel. But I agree with the general sentiment - buy a good wheel for a commuter which doesn't attract attention, not some random thing on ebay. As for "why not experiment?", you'll find out if the rim fails catastrophicaly and you're missing some of your teeth.
    – Batman
    May 6, 2014 at 14:53
  • 2
    Consider that without warranty, seller creds, liabilty, lots of shiny marketing etc, the cost of running the business is significantly reduced. The idea "cheap is crap and expensive is quality" is a hangover form my Grandfathers era. Nowdays "Expenisve==trendy brand, cheap=unknown or last years brand" has to be considered, expecially since cycling became the new golf for the cashed up mid life crisis crowd. (Not saying cheap will not be crap, just saying it might not be - but whith a carbon wheel, I personally would not risk it).
    – mattnz
    May 6, 2014 at 21:22

A commuter bike should be as cheap and durable as possible. Carbon rims will not provide any advantage for a commuting ride. Carbon rims are really only useful for racing but the marketing machines have convinced us of their necessity and superior "feel". Unlike aluminum, one cannot be certain of the quality of an off-brand, discount carbon wheelset. You would be better off with a used alu wheelset, whose quality and condition can easily be assessed.

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