I'm stoked to be repping for Mercury Wheels. Not just a great value, Mercury Wheels are great all around wheels. I've now been on a few pairs as we've cycled the demos through a few shops and under some racers. The latest set I've been able to sample is the M3C's, Mercury's most popular carbon wheelset. They're full carbon 38 mm clinchers hand built in the USA with White Industry hubs and Sapim CX-Ray spokes. They tip the scales at a svelte 1380 grams and retail for around $2199.
Having ridden the 58 mm version of this wheel for the last 2 seasons, I was interested to find out if I could tell the difference between the 2. The shallower M3C's are definitely less aero, but the lighter weight is also very noticeable. I was also pleasantly surprised that even with my 180 lb sprinter heft, I can't feel one bit of flex. They ride just as solid as my 58's did. With a few sprints on the 38's I can accelerate faster and short power climbs are a non-issue. Like I said, there's an aero difference when I'm on the front but not so much so that one can't make a great solo effort on these.
How do these compare to other brands? I've ridden the Enve 45 clinchers and can honestly say there's no reason to spend the extra coin on the Enve's. Enve's are quality wheels and they have a great team running the shop and both are stiff, light, semi aero and fast, but Mercury's comes in about $400 less. (We'll discuss the new wider profile hoops in another post) That's some real savings there.
The M3C's are a great all around wheel set. While the depth may be lacking some aero qualities, they make up for it by being light and stiff. This would be a great all around wheelset for anybody, especially crit racers and sprinters, but also for climbers. They's be great in windy conditions or a perfect 'cross wheelset. For TT's and triathlons, a deeper wheel would be beneficial but for lighter ladies this wheelset makes a lot of sense for just about any type of road cycling. There's a set of M3C's right now at The Bike Shoppe in Ogden just waiting for your inspection!
Every great wheel needs a nice set of tires to go with it. For the last year, Bontrager's R4 has been my race day rubber. Let me say, these tires are FAST! Coming in at 160 grams, they're some of the lightest clinchers you can buy. A 220 tpi casing makes for low rolling resistance and they feature a very cool aero wing that Trek claims is worth 9 seconds per 10km. I can't vouch for the aero-ness, but these have been my favorite tires so far. I've had Conti GP4000's and ridden the Michelins and the R4's are noticeably faster. They can be a bit harsh on rough roads and the light weight means you won't get a lot of mileage out of them but if you have a race day set of clincher wheelset, the R4's are worth a look. Get them for about $70 per at The Bike Shoppe with your new Mercury M3C's!!