Guide to Full Carbon Clincher Wheels for Rim Brakes

This article delves into the essence of full carbon clincher wheels, addressing their construction, benefits, and the considerations necessary for a safe and enjoyable ride in the mountains. We'll explore the significance of selecting appropriate brake pads, and the influence of riding style on wheel performance. Additionally, we offer practical advice on maintenance, proper braking techniques, and adhering to rider weight limits to ensure both rider safety and the longevity of the wheels. 


Carbon wheels are popular among road cyclists due to their low weight, aerodynamic performance, and of course their looks. This provides advantages for both climbing mountains and riding on flat roads. Carbon is a strong, stiff and lightweight material making the wheels accelerate real fast and provide better uphill performance than aluminum wheels with similar specifications.

In addition to the advantages there are also disadvantages to using carbon wheels. They are generally more expensive than aluminum wheels and can be more sensitive to damage due to incorrect use. Of course this is no less when using wheels with aluminum rims. Heat buildup can occur in a carbon rim during braking which can lead to overheating of the rim, causing it to deform and become unusable. This can be a problem, especially during long descents in the mountains where high-speed braking is required.


Since the introduction of the full carbon clincher rim, almost 20 years ago, it has undergone considerable technical development. Especially in the early stages many practical problems mostly resulting from improper use. But the wheel manufacturers R&D departments have not stood still improving the used material and construction of the full carbon clincher rim.

In first full carbon rims the braking surface was made of quite heat-resistant basalt material. The current generations of rim brake full carbon clinchers have a 3K braking surface that dissipates heat from the brake surface faster. An additional advantage of 3K material is better braking performance improving the overall performance of the wheels.


Road bikes with disc brakes had a massive rise in popularity since their introduction. Because of that bikes with rim brakes (and thus the wheels) seem to be fading into the background. Does this mean the time for rim brakes is up? Absolutely not! There are still so many beautiful bikes with rim brakes and they also deserve beautiful carbon wheels, no matter what terrain you ride on. Often the question arises whether you can safely ride in the mountains with full carbon wheels for rim brakes. In short: yes you certainly can! However there are some essential points to consider that you don't have with disc brakes.

The rim brake does precisely what it says: it brakes on the rim. In contrast, the disc brake has the braking disc mounted on the hub so it does not contact the rim. With carbon wheels this means that there is no friction from braking on the rim so heat buildup and wear are not an issue. Although this is an advantage in (long) descents and bad weather, it does not mean that full carbon wheels for rim brakes are discouraged.


Do you have a bike with rim brakes and would like to upgrade it with a beautiful set of carbon wheels? If you search the internet for user experiences you will undoubtedly come across stories that won't make you happy. Very annoying for those who have had a bad experience, but fortunately it isn't that black-and-white as it may seem.


The first consideration when using full carbon clincher wheels for rim brakes during descents in the mountains is heat buildup. During long and steep descents, braking force especially with prolonged braking can lead to a massive heat buildup in the rim, due to friction between the brake pads and the rim. This heat can damage the carbon rim's structure and even lead to overheating, deformation, and thus damage to the rim possibly causing dangerous situations.

It is therefore important to control speed and brake usage during descents to reduce the heat buildup. It is therefore crucial to adjust the brake pads correctly and ensure sufficient cooling of the rim, by regularly releasing the brakes. The use of specific brake pads designed for carbon rims is mandatory as they help reduce heat buildup among other benefits.


The type and quality of brake pads are important factors in safely using full carbon clincher wheels for rim brakes. The quality and type of brake pads affect the friction and thus the heating of the rim. Wrong type and poor quality brake pads can damage the rim and reduce braking performance, increasing the risk of unsafe situations.

It is therefore essential to use brake pads specifically designed for carbon rims. These brake pads have a special compound that differs from brake pads for aluminum rims. They wear out slightly faster but they offer much better performance which results in less heat buildup and more braking force and limit the wear on the rim. It is necessary to use the only carbon brake pads, check them regularly and replace them on time.


Whether we like it or not, on average not all riders are at a professional level. This brings different riding styles, technique and direct use of the bike and materials.

In this context we want to say that wheels with full carbon clincher rims are safe in the mountains but not for everyone. Whether you let the bike roll smoothly or keep the brakes continuously squeezed has a considerable influence on the use and cooling of your rims.


Following we list some essential recommendations for you, to provide you with the right advice to ensure your safety extend the life of your carbon wheels, and make you feeling more confident on the bike.


It is essential to use the correct braking technique when riding with full carbon clincher wheels for rim brakes, especially in hills and mountains. Excessive braking, especially extended squeezing of the brakes can lead to overheating and damage to the rims. During long descents it is essential to brake briefly and firmly and then release the brakes to cool the rim and maintain speed control. Use the brakes correctly and ensure that you do not apply too little force causing you to brake more often and longer.

Braking hard is also not recommended; the wheels should not block causing you to skid. Using the correct braking technique keeps your bike and speed perfectly under control, reduces the risk of damage and accidents and prolong the life of your full carbon clincher wheels.


Our wheels have been designed and tested according to ISO standards which is set at 125kg system weight.

To ensure that you can ride the wheels safely check the rider's weight, including the bike and any luggage, to make sure it falls within the specified weight limit.


As mentioned earlier and emphasised before, using specific brake pads for full carbon clincher rims is one of the most critical aspects. Using the wrong or poor quality brake pads reduce braking performance, can damage the rim and increases the risk of accidents. It is therefore crucial to always use high-quality brake pads specifically designed for use with carbon rims.

We recommend the Dubied Carbon pads which comes standard with our new wheels for rim brakes. Don't forget to inspect the brake pads regularly and replace them on time to ensure safety while riding.


Inspection and maintenance of full carbon clincher wheels for rim brakes is essential to ensure they remain safe. It's important to regularly check the wheels for cracks, damage, and other signs of excessive wear. Also clean the rims briefly after each ride to remove dirt and brake dust from the braking surface that could reduce braking performance.

It is recommended to have your wheels checked by a professional bike mechanic to ensure they continue to function properly and are safe. By maintaining your wheels well you can extend their lifespan and ensure you can ride safely in the hills and mountains.




The main advantage of rim brakes over disc brakes is that they are lighter. With all the parts, pads, components and rotor, a disc brake is usually a few hundred grams heavier than a comparable rim brake. Of course, there are super light disc brake systems, but they will cost you a lot of money.


The pads on a disc brake are much smaller and tighter fitting than those on rim brakes, which is ideal for keeping water and grit out, but also much harder to maintain. If the disc brake rotor becomes bent or slightly misaligned, many riders experience a rubbing or squealing noise from their brakes. Needless to say, rim brakes do not have this problem.


Some manufacturers have stated that the rim brake version of a given bike is more aerodynamic than the disc brake model, but it's not as simple as saying that rim brakes are always more aerodynamic. Further studies, especially in the wind tunnel, show that disc brakes do not necessarily lead to an increase in drag. It depends on how the brakes are integrated into the system, but the general statement that disc brakes have a negative impact on aerodynamics is not accurate.


The end of the rim brake means that the road bike profile that many of us learned to ride on may be gone forever. The elegant quick-release also has its days numbered, as the thru-axle is a much safer way to mount a disc wheel. Elegant, lightweight 23mm or even 25mm tires are on their way out because the disc allows for faster, softer 28mm (and larger) tires. Most manufacturers have stopped developing new rim brake wheels. 


Rim brakes still work very well. For a road bike that doesn't see a lot of dirt and mud, high-quality, well-maintained rim brakes do a great job of controlling speed on downhills and stopping the bike quickly. Rim brakes are always more affordable than disc brakes, are easier to adjust, and you'll be able to see when the pads are worn.

The design and operation of modern rim brakes are better than ever, and they are not necessarily less aerodynamic than disc brakes.  



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