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Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset review

25 Apr 2022

Carbon all-rounders that prove you get what you pay for

Cyclist Rating: 
Reactive • Stable • Easy to set up • Wide internal rim diameter • Stiff and lightweight
Expensive • Limited tyre choices

The Cadex 35 Disc tubeless wheelset is a mid-depth carbon road wheelset with wide, hookless rims designed for tubeless tyres only.

It’s been said before, but wheel upgrades are, for my money, the most important addition you can ever make to a bike. We can argue til we're blue in the face about just how much rotational mass matters, but lighter, stiffer carbon wheels look and feel fantastic and are a worthwhile step up from the standard aluminium wheels most entry-level and mid-range road bikes are equipped with when they leave the factory.

Yes, many sub-£1,000 wheelset upgrades are available, and yes, you could equip your bike with a deep-section set-up for optimum speed, but for everyday performance riding, and therefore the maximum benefit, your best bet is always going to be an option like the Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset.

Yes, it also costs £2,499.98 before you’ve even thought about tyres, but for an upgrade that you can easily feel the benefits of, every day of the year, consider the ‘pounds per ride’ equation and it all starts to make sense…

Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset: Design and specs

The hookless rims of the Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset have a 22.4mm internal (26mm outer) diameter, to better support high-volume tyres, plus a 36mm depth to offer a compromise between aerodynamic efficiency and outright responsiveness on the flats, climbs and descents, no matter how windy it is out there.

The hookless design is also claimed to give a better transition between the tyre and sidewall of the rim, to mitigate aero losses. The wheels roll on Cadex ceramic bearings with R1-C30 ratchet hubs, for a claimed reduction in rolling resistance compared to cheaper, and more common, steel bearings.

High-tensile aero-profile carbon spokes are laced to provide optimum power transmission, as well as being claimed to minimise lateral flex when you put the power down.

Cadex have gone to great lengths to compare the performance with that of its competitors, claiming a more than 40% higher stiffness to weight ratio than wheelsets such as the Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubeless.

Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset: Fitting tyres

Fitting tubeless tyres has been known to bring me to the brink of insanity, but the ease with which my Cadex 25mm Classic tubeless tyres were seated on the hookless rims of the Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset was astonishing.

Not only did the tyres required little in the way of brute force to ease on to the rims, but also a short sharp shock of compressed air from a Giant Control Tank (Buy now from Giant: £49.99) seated them perfectly first time.

Syringing with sealant from a Milkit Compact Tubeless Injector Kit (Buy now from Sigma Sports: £39) was effected with next to no mess, and the tyres simply hand-inflated to 85psi (30psi short of their maximum inflation), with a focus on maximum riding comfort.

It’s worth noting here that the approved tyre choices are limited, but a list can be found on Cadex's website. We're pleased to see that a number of third party tyres have been added to it, as initially only Cadex's own rubber was approved.

Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset: Performance

Testing performance carbon wheels like the Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset in early winter as I did serves to either highlight their shortcomings or prove their worth.

In this case, it was the latter. On rolling roads in strong winds, the front wheel can often be taken away from you when passing gaps in hedges accommodating gates, but there was none of that here. The 36mm rims are slap-bang in the stability hotspot for me.

Stiffness was demonstrated on lengthier climbs, when friendly rides with mates called for injections of pace on local segments. The speed with which the Cadex wheels (or specifically, the hubs) transfer power to the ground saw unexpected scalps taken.

And on well surfaced roads home, group rides were blitzed with the pace of a summer chaingang, for seemingly less effort.

Although rapid descents on sinuous B-roads are not my idea of fun in December, the confidence and directness of handling offered by these stiff and stable wheels was borderline awe-inspiring.

Without scientific analysis to back up the performance-enhancing claims here I'm talking about feel, but on the strength of that the Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset is simply responsive, stiff, stable – quicker – everywhere.

Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset: Verdict

Clichéd though it may sound, sometimes you really do get what you pay for. For year-round use in every conceivable weather condition (within reason; nobody’s going for a road ride in deep snow), the Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset is a boon to performance.

If they’re out of your price range, you’ll find more affordable options in the form of a Hunt 30 Carbon or Scribe Aero Wide+ 32 wheelset, but if you’re eyeing a way to elevate your rides to new heights, and can afford to take the plunge, the Cadex 36 Disc tubeless wheelset won’t disappoint.

Products reviewed by Cyclist are independently selected and tested by our editorial team. Cyclist may earn an affiliate commission if you make a purchase through a retailer link. Read our reviews policy.


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