Let’s face it; buying a set of mid-depth V-shaped wheels is not an easy decision to make. There are an incredible number of options to choose from, using very similar wheel shapes, and all at very similar price points (from $1,000 to $2000). When purchasing this type of wheel you should first determine which differentiators are most important to you. For some, it may just come down to price—the least expensive wins. And for others, the decision will be based on absolute aerodynamic performance. However, we feel that many of our readers will simply look for the best quality product for their dollar. If this sounds familiar, look no further than the Hawk Racing 50mm clinchers.
In our first article we highlighted the build quality of the wheelset, and that quality continued to stand out through the entirety of our review. For example, take a moment to look at the skewers. For many manufacturers this element is merely an afterthought. This is simply not the case when it comes to this wheelset. You can tell guys over at Hawk took the time to use a skewer they were proud to put their name on. The choice of Sapim CX-Ray spokes is another indicator of quality. You’ll find plenty of wheels within this price range that are not using these types of components.
When you purchase a set of Hawks you can rest easy knowing that your wheelset is hand built in the great state of Florida (in our case by Matt). More than that, the company’s owner absolutely stands behind their products. Go to any of the 2575 races that Hawk is sponsoring and Sven will be present at the Hawk Racing tent to personally show you the products. That’s something you don’t normally see. Here at AG we absolutely love to see this level of care and responsibility for a product.
While we obviously can’t say enough about Hawk’s quality, over the last month we discovered yet another reason to favor this wheelset—the hubs. Hawk Racing knows how to build products that spin. In our Hawk Racing Bottom Bracket Review we detailed just how buttery smooth their bottom brackets are. This feeling extended to the hubs on our clinchers as well. Their effortless spin and ride provided an experience we didn’t feel was possible. From a purely objective point of view, we were convinced the hubs suffered no friction loss—they just want to spin forever.
The hubs are made from 7075 Aluminum and are manufactured in Japan using Folmer (as in Sven Folmer) Technology bearings. These ABEC 3 bearings are rated up to 30,000 RPM (or just over Mach 3, so good luck trying to spin them that fast). But the technical aspects do not really explain just how great these feel on the road. Every time we have ridden a set of Hawk wheels, we are quickly reminded just how much we love these hubs.
In a crowded marketplace where differentiators matter, the Hawk Clinchers shine. Sure, they have their flaws. They may not be the most aero product out there. And while on par with its competitors, the braking performance is nothing special. However, the exceptional quality of the overall product paired with the abilities of the hubs truly makes this wheelset stand out amongst its competitors. With a listed price of $1,590 and a weight of 1,560 grams this is a wheelset that won’t leave with you buyer’s remorse.