Home > bicycling, Mechanical, Review > Wheel Review–Soul s4.0

Wheel Review–Soul s4.0

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I have started to really love wheels, which was odd. Back in the day I didn’t care so much but like everything else there is so many more options these days.

Most bikes, like 95% it seems, come with suckee wheels. My Tarmac came with Mavic CXP 22 rims with no name hubs. I just skipped the wheels totally on my Cervelo P2. The Diamondback Podium winter bike I just picked up came with wheels so low that I turned them into winter wheels with cross tires and I will abuse them until they die.

For the tarmac I picked up Easton EA90 Aeros and they were a revelation. Transformed the bike and I was surprised. I mean really, can you tell the difference with wheels? Turned out to be true. While the Easton’s were great I wanted a wheelset for my Cervelo so I didn’t have to switch my “good” wheels back and forth. Again remember I am cheap, so wanted something similar but wondered if I can pay a lot less for something as good?

Hello China (well Taiwan in this case). Thanks to the internet you can do a lot more research and I found a wheel company that I really liked from a graphic point of view and seemed to be getting a lot of good feedback in the various forums out there (gotta love the forums!).

The company I settled on was Soul.

It was shots like below that I liked.

And there was lots of Hot bikes with Soul Wheels.

As always spends hours and hours on the site but in the end decided what I wanted and went to the buying process.

The Buying Process

Soul offers up a set of aluminum and carbon wheels. I will one day own a set of carbon wheels but not just yet. But they have them.

They have a nice web set that is updated unlike other off shore outfits. Look at it here http://2013.bikesoul.com/

BTW Soul wheels are UCI certified http://2013.bikesoul.com/uci-approval/

1st off Soul wheels I think aren’t necessary any different from lots of other wheels out there, but when buying on the cheap like this knowing who you are buying form is best. Sean (I don’t know if anybody knows his last name) will be you main contact. You send him an email with your request and he sends you a paypal invoice.

I wanted something a bit more visually arresting so ordered the Soul s4.0 wheels. Including taxes and shipping was a few cents under $600 USD.

The invoice is paid to somebody named Wendy Chan and invoice is from SWEOBIKE, so this is where the trust has to happen. But you get an email pretty quickly after that and waiting process begins. This was a year ago so may have changed but looks like it still starts with an email. Sean is in Singapore but the wheels were coming from Taiwan.

Just as I was getting worried I reached out to Sean. He actually didn’t know the status per say but said it would ship soon if it hadn’t already. The next day the wheels arrived!

Others have pointed this out but love the message on the box!

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The wheels are pretty wheels. Light and as stated visually arresting to my eyes. I liked them from the day I got them.

Front Wheel

The Front wheel has an aerodynamic look, not sure if it provides the benefit but looks the part. I don’t get excited about how the spokes are done up but as you can see it’s a fairly simple pattern. I haven’t had a single problem in the 1st year of riding, maybe 1000km+?

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A good wheel deserves a good tire and I have liked the Michelin Pro3 Service Course and will use the new Pro4’s when I upgrade.  Hub is small but gives a clean look.

The graphics are stickers and can be removed. I like them so no problem there.

The Rear Wheel

The rear wheel is where I have the most problems with, they tend to get out of round and I have only broken spokes on the rear with other wheels. I had some problems getting the cassette on but I think that was my fault. Info was posted here. So far no problems at all with these wheels and I have travelled a bit internationally with them too.

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The hub is pretty robust and there is some info on the Soul site about them.

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Nice and stiff and spins up great and just really love it.

Other Stuff

I also ordered the rim caps and the titanium skewers. I wouldn’t do this again.

The rim caps I could not get to work, they never stayed in. I reached out to Sean and within a day he replied that I needed to pull the cap ends apart a bit, and he was right then they fitted but just didn’t seem like a great fit and I was worried. For some that may be fine.

I decided to use rim tape but may try these again.

The optional titanium skewers however I didn’t like at all. First off they are small and didn’t look to be all that robust. May be fine but I didn’t like the look. Not sure if the regular ones are different?

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Secondly they didn’t really fit and were hard to adjust and hurt my fingers. And lastly found that they looked like about 400 other skewers like it out there. Would have save me about $50.

I went out and picked up some Salsa skewers..which are AWESOME!

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Salsa Skewers work so well and look sweet on the wheels too!

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May pick up more in the future.

How does it look on the bikes

Here are a few shots.

Here are the wheels on my Tarmac while I was in Ireland. Lots of climbing that day and felt good.

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But I ended up mostly putting the Eastons back on the Tarmac and used the Souls mostly on my Cervelo where it seemed to merge with the P2’s graphics.

We did 15KM TT…at over 40kph

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And here is my P2 right after we did a 40km TT at 1hr 2 Min.

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So these wheels can be fast as well as stylish. I hope to go faster in 2013.

The Ride

So once you start buying wheels you can tell the difference. These wheels are miles ahead of base wheels that came with my Tarmac or most other bikes, even expensive ones, but rides about the same as the Easton EA90s. I would give the EA90s a bit of an advantage but they are $300 more expensive. The Easton’s seem to spin up faster and give a bit more feel but they are also on different tires (Victtorias) so maybe that is it? Don’t have the patience to change the tires out to see!

I was a bit underwhelmed by my Diamondback Podium ride with the wheels it came with, so I slapped the Souls on it and wow…what I difference! The ride wasn’t as harsh and the bike felt so much better!! So makes most bikes better!

Conclusion

I love these wheels and would buy another set if needed!! Enough said.

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Categories: bicycling, Mechanical, Review

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