Initially released in 2019, the HYPER from Chinese wheel manufacturer Winspace didn’t follow a conventional launch strategy. Sure there were glossy photos, a slick video and all the marketing superlatives you’d expect from a modern cycling product; the reality is that the Winspace HYPER burst on the scene thanks to real-world user experience, independent testing, word of mouth on forums and user reviews on social media. Now available in Australia direct from a local distributor, we’ve finally had the chance to throw a set on and see what all the fuss is about. Read on for a rundown of the specifications, our riding impressions, and why these might just be the best value road bike upgrade on offer.
Who’s it for?: Enthusiast to dedicated level road riders looking for a quality wheelset that balances aerodynamics, stiffness, and low weight with a price tag that’s hard to beat.
What’s it cost?: RRP $1,699 (Pricing correct at time of publishing)
What we liked: Build quality, ride quality and measured weight comparable to hoops costing quite literally twice as much.
What we didn’t: Rim dimensions are on the narrow side by modern standards and may be deemed too stiff for some if not set up correctly.
Related Reading: Road Bike Wheels: What to Know
Well Built and Well Specified
The Winspace HYPER wheelset features a specification list unlike most of its big-name competitors. Including a filament wound carbon rim, carbon spokes, ceramic bearings and a robust hub design. The filament wound butterfly weave rim is the wheelset's focal point, providing a striking aesthetic and claimed benefits to boot. Winspace says that weaving the carbon fibres in this fashion provides reinforcement at the spoke holes and evenly distributes the tension from the spokes around the entirety of the rim.
The second key point of difference is the use of carbon spokes. Said to make the wheels “lighter, stronger and more aerodynamic”, the spokes themselves play into the intrinsic stiffness and high tensile strength of carbon fibre. There’s merit to these claims too, with independent testing confirming the lateral stiffness of the entire wheel and peak load of the wheel outstrip most of its competitors. The spokes feature metal inserts at each end, while the central carbon section features UD (unidirectional) layup.
At the heart of the wheelset is an aluminium hub of Winspace’s design. The hubs themselves feature hybrid ceramic bearings, a six-pawl ratchet design at the rear and 17mm aluminium axles at both ends, adding to the stiffness of the wheelset. The wheelset uses large 6903 and 6803 sealed bearings from S&S that are relatively straightforward to service via direct replacement, although best left to a professional if you lack the tools required for replacement.
Each wheel in the range features the same 19mm internal and 26mm external rim width; the only difference across the range, aside from the rim brake track, is the rim depth. The wheels feature a tubeless-ready hooked rim bead and can suit tyres ranging from 23-45mm wide. Out of the box, our 50mm deep wheelset tipped the scales at 1,457g with rim tape fitted. The Winspace HYPER wheel line-up consists of both rim and disc brake options in 38mm, 50mm, and 65mm and are priced at AU$1,699. A 2-year warranty backs all wheels, and Winspace AU offers fast and free shipping Australia-Wide.
With over ten years of manufacturing and wheel-building experience, it’s safe to say that the HYPER isn’t Chinese brand Winspace’s first rodeo. Off the back of the success of HYPER, the brand has upped its marketing efforts considerably, which permeates throughout the unboxing experience. The box the wheels are shipped in is sturdy and well-made, while the packing materials in the box do an excellent job of protecting the wheels and mitigating the risk of damage during transportation. Also included are two small boxes containing four replacement spokes, valve extenders and tubeless valves.
A few things quickly become apparent when removing the hoops from the box, first is the aesthetic. While the butterfly weave won’t suit all tastes, it’s undoubtedly a point of difference. I’m still on the fence about the looks of the weave personally, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The second was the weight of the wheels or lack thereof. The claimed weights carry through to the final product and are an excellent match to their intended usage. Finally, the build quality of the wheelset is excellent. Our test set arrived true, with even and consistent spoke tension across each of the 21 spokes front and rear. The only initial gripe was that the rear hub appeared to be a little light-on in the grease department when inspecting the pawls and ratchet system. While this is easily rectified by dabbing a little hub-specific grease on the pawls, it’s worth examining.
Over the test period, to maximise both compliance and performance, I’d opted to run the wheels tubeless. The wheels came with tubeless rim tape fitted and tubeless valves, so all that’s needed from a consumer point of view is a decent set of tyres, some sealant and you’re golden. In terms of fitting the tyres, this was arguably the most straightforward tubeless set-up I’ve completed in recent years. The 25mm Schwalbe Pro One TLE tyres rolled onto the hoops without the need for tyre levers, and a standard floor pump could easily accommodate the tyre bead on the rim; we’re off to a good start.
If you’d read over the specifications and build of the wheels above, there’s one word that repeats through each section, stiffness. The rims, hubs, and spokes all impact and are tuned to add to the stiffness of the wheelset. The double edge to that sword is that some users had reported a chattery or twitchy ride quality. When I quizzed Winspace AU about this, they stated that the common elements for riders experiencing this were incorrect tyre pressures (too high) or rubber that was firm and not as supple as its competition.
To test this, I back-to-back tested the hoops with tubes and a set of heavier, thicker and harder wearing Pirelli Cintuarto winter tyres, and the difference in ride feel was noticeable. That’s not to say that the ride quality of the wheels is sub-par, anything but; however, an increased amount of road buzz and a somewhat harsher ride quality over coarse chipseal tarmac was evident. While this wasn’t a deal-breaker, those who aren’t used to stiffer wheels or are seeking more comfort should look to invest in a tubeless set-up. After all, these hoops shine with a supple tyre, inflated to modern tyre pressures, and shine they do.
With the HYPER, you get a wheelset that offers a sublime ride quality typically reserved for racing focussed wheels costing literally twice as much. Hunker down in the drops on the flat, and the wheels urge you on, sailing seemingly effortlessly across the tarmac. Point the wheels upwards, and the low weight combined with the torsional rigidity or side-to-side stiffness of the wheelset makes translating the power from your cranks to the road a breeze. So much so that the punchy climbs and small bergs I’d usually avoid on a local loop became challenges I’d actively seek out on a ride. The reactive nature of the hoops made hopping out of the saddle and dancing on the pedals a rewarding experience and felt like they were a great compliment to my all-around race focussed bike. What goes up must come down, and with the HYPER, my experience was that the faster you go, the more stable they got. I hit some pretty decent speeds over the test period and never experienced so much as a shudder to knock the confidence.
Winspace says that with its 26mm external width, the HYPER is aerodynamically optimised for 25c tyres. While I didn’t have a wind tunnel handy while testing the wheels, I can attest that this is one fast set of wheels across just about all conditions. The 25c rubber used for the bulk of the review period inflated to 26.5mm when mounted at 80PSI and made for a smooth rim-to-tyre transition. I’ll leave the drag figures to the aerodynamicists, but I can tell you that in the real world, there was very little that I exposed these wheels to that unsettled their balance. Headwinds, crosswinds, tailwinds, high speeds, the hoops were gun-barrel straight, with only the slightest of turbulence noticed when wind speeds approached and exceeded 30kph.
The internal and external rim widths are getting a little narrow by modern standards, with most of its competitors offering 21mm internal and 28mm external measurements. From personal experience, the wider internal and external rim widths mean that the wheels are optimised for a wider tyre, allowing for lower tyre pressures that make for an even more comfortable ride. Winspace looks to have addressed this with the second iteration of the HYPER announced in July 2022. The second iteration sticks to the same proven hub, and carbon spoke design, with uprated rim dimensions, lower weights, and a slightly higher price point of $1,999 across the product line-up. Winspace AU says we should expect the new hoops to be available alongside the original HYPER in August.
Whether cycling-related or not, the best products are those that you fit and never give a second thought to. They just work and let you get on with enjoying the ride for what it is. This is precisely the experience I had with the Winspace HYPER. Once fitted and analysed for the purpose of this review, they simply existed in harmony with the rest of my bike, all while providing a worthwhile upgrade in performance. Simply put, the ride quality, build quality, and real-world performance are on-par, if not exceeding, what the big brands offer. Priced at $1,699, they’re smack bang in the middle of the saturated market of “affordable” carbon wheelsets. The main difference is that these hoops have the genuine performance to elevate them above their competitors. So if you’re looking to elevate your ride to the next level or just want a set of wheels that offer some serious bang for your buck, the Winspace HYPER should be high on your consideration list.
Thanks to Winspace AU for providing the product for this test.