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Soul C4.0 Review Thread

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Soul C4.0 Review Thread

Old 07-30-09, 09:05 PM
  #1  
halfspeed
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Soul C4.0 Review Thread

The Soul S4.0 have gotten a lot of discussion here, but there's little on the C4.0 carbon clinchers. I've just received a pair so I'll use this space to record my impressions as I spend some time with them. I bought these for training and racing.

First off, if you lack patience, go ahead and hit your browser's back button. These are not for you. I first ordered my set on Jun 16 and they arrived yesterday. The wheels are built to order and you may have to wait for parts to arrive and then wait your turn for the wheel build. In my case, it took some time for the Campy freehubs to show up.

Secondly, as you may have noticed in other Soul threads, they've got some issues with out-of-date information on the website. On the C4.0's page, it says they ship with valve extenders, cork pads, holders, and wheel bags. This is no longer true as, according to Sean, the wheels no longer need special pads and wheel bags cost extra in shipping that people would rather not pay. Expect the website to be updated soon.

Regarding the wheels themselves, I did a very quick technical evaluation before testing them out. They were round and within one mm of lateral true. I'm a bit pickier with wheels I build, but few prebuilt wheels come as laterally true as I like. The tension looked reasonably even. If I have time I'll measure it all the way around, then weigh them and report back this weekend.

I took them on a one hour recovery ride this evening. That, of course, isn't the best way to really learn how they'll perform, but I can say there is nothing horribly wrong. I'll know more as I race, hit some group rides, do some intervals and LTHR tests. Watch this space over the coming weeks.

I've never ridden carbon wheels, but I've heard complaints about poor braking and squealing on carbon brake tracks. Soul claims normal pads can be used, but I didn't try this out and went with Swiss Stop yellow pads. I did some hard braking from speeds of 25 and 35 miles per hour and experienced no squeal and had plenty of power. It'll be interesting to see how they perform wet.

Oh, and here's the obligatory garage door photo:
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Last edited by halfspeed; 07-30-09 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:28 PM
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keep it coming, thanks!
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Old 07-31-09, 12:49 PM
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I'm curious to hear what is the actual weight of the wheels, sans rim tape/skewers etc.
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Old 07-31-09, 12:57 PM
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I didn't see it on their website, but can you get these with a powertap?
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Old 07-31-09, 02:15 PM
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I was thinking about these wheels, but the lack of info pushed me towards 7850 24mms for slightly cheaper. Cool to see someone actually reviewing the C4.0. Keep it coming.
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Old 07-31-09, 02:52 PM
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Did you toe the pads in to avoid squealing, or are you running them so they contact the rims evenly? Would you mind posting some close up pictures of the wheels too?
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Old 07-31-09, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by brian416 View Post
Did you toe the pads in to avoid squealing, or are you running them so they contact the rims evenly? Would you mind posting some close up pictures of the wheels too?
I did nothing more than install the pads and adjust the height. There may be some slight toe from the previous installation.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:03 PM
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are the decals removable?
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Old 08-01-09, 09:46 PM
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I haven't attempted to remove the decals, but it looks like it should be easy.

I've gotten a few rides in and there's been no spoke ping. I've put them back on the truing stand and they are still true. So it looks like they do take the time to make sure the wheels have no spoke wind-up.

Some more details. According to my cheap shipping scale, the front wheel is 634g and the rear is 788g for a total of 1422g. They're speced at 615 and 775 respectively. So assuming my scale is accurate, they're about 32g over specified weight. That's plenty close enough for me.

What concerns me a bit, however, is the spoke tension. According to my Park TM-1 tension meter, the front wheel spokes are tensioned to about 59Kgf. The rear DS are about 95Kgf and NDS are low enough that they don't make the conversion table. It all seems a bit low to me. We'll see how they hold up.

I have been able to get some noise out of the brakes. If I brake lightly at low speed, I can get a bit of a squeal out of them, but I almost have to try to make it happen.
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Old 08-01-09, 09:57 PM
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I have to say they are some pretty nice looking hoops!
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Old 08-07-09, 10:03 AM
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I exchanged emails with Sean about the spoke tension and he says that all of their wheels are tensioned to 80Kgf on the front and 120 on the rear DS and he suspects my tensiometer is reading low. I remain skeptical since the other wheels in my stable don't read low, but the test will be how well they hold up.

I've also started getting a loud clanking noise from the rear wheel. My first thought was sticky pawls, but I found that I could get a similar noise by squeezing the rear DS spokes together. There's some stiction where they cross and when they release they make this noise.

After another set of emails with Sean, however, he thinks the pawls are a much more likely explanation. The Soul Prodigy hubs use a six (!) pawl system for faster engagement. He suggested a bit of oil on the pawls to see if that helps. If not, half of them can be removed. I've lubed the pawls and will report when I have another chance to ride. Pictures of the innards of the rear hub are below.


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Old 08-07-09, 10:19 AM
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Thanks for the report.
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Old 08-07-09, 12:01 PM
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Thanks for the detailed report keep it going.

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Old 08-07-09, 04:00 PM
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Lubing the pawls stopped the noise completely.

Today's ride was some hill repeats in a light drizzle. "Damp" braking was quite good. Maybe a bit slower than alu rims when the rims were at their most wet, but not at all disconcerting. Maybe in a full-on downpour or splashing through puddles will be different.
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Old 08-07-09, 04:07 PM
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By the way, the freehub is pretty noisy. This isn't surprising considering they use so many pawls. I've used noisy Campy hubs long enough that it doesn't bother me.
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Old 08-12-09, 02:49 PM
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Anyone more news on these wheels?
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Old 08-12-09, 02:57 PM
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Great thread. I'm actually learning something!
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Old 08-12-09, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kwrides View Post
great thread. I'm actually learning something!
+1
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Old 08-12-09, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
The Soul S4.0 have gotten a lot of discussion here, but there's little on the C4.0 carbon clinchers. I've just received a pair so I'll use this space to record my impressions as I spend some time with them. I bought these for training and racing.

First off, if you lack patience, go ahead and hit your browser's back button. These are not for you. I first ordered my set on Jun 16 and they arrived yesterday. The wheels are built to order and you may have to wait for parts to arrive and then wait your turn for the wheel build. In my case, it took some time for the Campy freehubs to show up.

Secondly, as you may have noticed in other Soul threads, they've got some issues with out-of-date information on the website. On the C4.0's page, it says they ship with valve extenders, cork pads, holders, and wheel bags. This is no longer true as, according to Sean, the wheels no longer need special pads and wheel bags cost extra in shipping that people would rather not pay. Expect the website to be updated soon.

Regarding the wheels themselves, I did a very quick technical evaluation before testing them out. They were round and within one mm of lateral true. I'm a bit pickier with wheels I build, but few prebuilt wheels come as laterally true as I like. The tension looked reasonably even. If I have time I'll measure it all the way around, then weigh them and report back this weekend.

I took them on a one hour recovery ride this evening. That, of course, isn't the best way to really learn how they'll perform, but I can say there is nothing horribly wrong. I'll know more as I race, hit some group rides, do some intervals and LTHR tests. Watch this space over the coming weeks.

I've never ridden carbon wheels, but I've heard complaints about poor braking and squealing on carbon brake tracks. Soul claims normal pads can be used, but I didn't try this out and went with Swiss Stop yellow pads. I did some hard braking from speeds of 25 and 35 miles per hour and experienced no squeal and had plenty of power. It'll be interesting to see how they perform wet.

Oh, and here's the obligatory garage door photo:
You actually re-test your HR zones?
Why?

Are you new to this sport and coming from an unfit background? LTHR shouldn't change much...
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Old 08-12-09, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
You actually re-test your HR zones?
Why?

Are you new to this sport and coming from an unfit background? LTHR shouldn't change much...
Try the PM function. I don't want to see this excellent thread go OT.
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Old 08-12-09, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
You actually re-test your HR zones?
Why?

Are you new to this sport and coming from an unfit background? LTHR shouldn't change much...
LTHR changes with training. VO2max doesn't (much).
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Old 08-12-09, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wirelessness View Post
Anyone more news on these wheels?
No news is good news.
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Old 08-12-09, 07:23 PM
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Thanks for the thread. I want some of these soooo bad. Maybe an off season gift for myself this year.
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Old 08-15-09, 03:23 PM
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Anymore feedback on these wheels? Are they durable enough for everyday riding? I'm trying to decide between the C4.0 and or the S4.0 which I know are more durable but I like the weight of the C4.0 especially if you add a Powertap....
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Old 08-15-09, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by wirelessness View Post
Anymore feedback on these wheels? Are they durable enough for everyday riding? I'm trying to decide between the C4.0 and or the S4.0 which I know are more durable but I like the weight of the C4.0 especially if you add a Powertap....
I received an email back from Sean at Soul and he said that the C4.0 shouldn't be used as dailies. Take it how you may...
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