Those of you at this morning's (April 13) ride may have noticed a couple of us sporting new wheels. The club's race team is being offered a change to test ride a number of different wheels from Kahrbuhn. As I understand it, Kahrbuhn has sourced generic (meaning un-branded) rims, hubs, spokes, etc. from a number of OEM manufacturers to assemble very inexpensive wheel sets for riders who cannot - or don't want to - afford name-brand carbon wheels.
All members of the club will be shortly offered a chance to purchase wheels from Kahrbuhn. Prior to that, Kahrbuhm has graciously loaned us a couple of wheel sets so that we can provided feedback to them - and to BCC members - about the wheels.
This morning I was riding the "Tubularz Klimber Classic". As the name suggests, these are relatively low-profile tubular wheels meant to provide a (slight) aerodynamic advantage while keeping weight down. My reference point is my Shimano C50 tubular wheels, which are also carbon tubulars but have a deeper rim section - this results in improved aerodynamics, but increases the rim (and overall wheel) weight.
Right off the bat I will say the wheels were much better than I expected. The wheels retail for $599 (versus ~$2,500+ for Shimano C50s and other high-end wheel sets), so I was expecting them to be relatively heavy, pretty flexy, with a fair bit of play and/or friction in the hub bearings. However, the weight of the wheels was actually very good - without skewers, but with tires glued on, the wheel set was around 1500g, meaning the wheels alone would be in the 1100g range. Despite the low weight (and low cost), the wheels were not especially flexy and responded well when suddenly accelerating.
My major complaint is with the hubs - quite frankly they are not as good as the Shimano Dura-Ace hubs on my C50s, nor are they in the same league as the DT Swiss hubs that often feature in other high-end wheel sets. It's not that the hubs are particularly bad, it's just that they are "only" okay. I am very used to riding on wheels with excellent hubs, and the difference between those and the Kahrbuhm wheels was noticeable.
However, to be fair, one cannot reasonably expect the hubs on a $599 wheel set to be equal to those on a $2,500 wheel set. Given the price point, the hubs on the Kahrbuhns are certainly "acceptable", and the overall value of the wheels is excellent.