I'm a very large rider (clydesdale) who races crits, road races, TTs, and trains on club rides, centuries, and everything in-between. A few years back, I started with carbon 88mm tubular rims, moved to 50mm tubulars, and now have adopted some clincher versions. I'm currently using 50mm, 25mm wide clincher rims bought through eBay from this guy
. They're mounted with Michelin Pro3Race, 23mm tires. (I can't recommend the wider, 25mm rims enough--flats seem to have become a thing of the past, even after hitting potholes!) My clincher wheels are permanently on my bike now, and I only race on my tubulars. I love the tubulars, but buying a whole new tire or having a flat one fixed was getting very expensive.
The rims cost me right around $300 for the set, including shipping. I have had absolutely no problems with them. I purchased Novatec hubs
separately ($120 or so) from bDop and had my most awesome local wheelbuilder
build them up with Wheelsmith spokes (32/28 14g spokes). I have in excess of 6,000 miles on them and they're doing awesome.
Hardest part? Finding brake pads that don't squeal like I'm torturing a herd of cats! I currently use Zipp's cork Tangente pads
. They do a great job and they last a long time, making their $50 purchase price easier to digest. They provide no stopping power in the wet, but everywhere else, they're pretty comparable to regular aluminum rim/brakes. I have tried all other brake pads that I could find and they all squealed. Lately, I've been testing bDop's carbon pads
, which worked fine, but they didn't last very long at all and wore through very quickly (bDop is an excellent source for many bike parts, BTW!).
I have found that these no-name, generic carbon clinchers are only good for flat roads or straight hills where braking is not needed. I made the mistake, early on and prior to my current rims, of using my carbon clinchers to go down a very
steep descent with switchbacks. I had no choice, at my height & weight, but to "ride the brakes" so I wouldn't go flying off the cliff-face I was on. The heat eventually built up & caused the carbon layers to delaminate, resulting in a blowout and ruined rims. speedcarbon11's rims were a replacement. Since then, I'm much more safe as I don't use them on "climbing" rides.