I have ridden a few good wheels since 2009 such as MF, LW among others and one thing for sure is that these wheels make a major difference to the performance and quality of the ride of your bike. When Paul announced that Gokiso would be available at Bikes n Bites, I was intrigued to find out more about these wheels as I had never heard of them before in the Western bike literature and websites which is something I go to everyday. There was not much I could find about the wheels but what I realised about the wheels is that its hubs are state of the art Japanese engineering. In a nutshell, unlike any other hubs, the Gokiso hubs are engineered to separate the axle from the wheel itself which allows the hub to keep straight and spin without friction. In short, rolling resistance is lacking. This then beg the question of how would that translate riding in the real world.
Whatever I could find from the web about the wheels and hubs were declarations by riders like “ these hubs offer the lightest, more precise action I’ve experienced in a wheel “, “ the difference is like the age of a good whisky, what you get for your money is a quality that can’t be found anywhere else “, “ gearing always felt marginally easier “, “ never decelerated as quickly “, “ rollup is superb, pedaling on flats it feels as though you are cheating “. With such claims and the drive to attain any performance enhancement in any way possible, how could I resist. So I got a Gokiso Climber Version 38 mm front and back carbon clincher rims with Veloflex 25 mm tires.
There is nothing spectacular about the looks of the wheels but they are certainly of high quality and feels solid. The wheels are not one of the lightest and I could notice the significant increase in weight after swapping wheels. I was fearful that this was going to be an expensive mistake but after taking the wheels for several rides over 2 months covering 200 over km, I have no impetus to return back to my old wheels. These wheels are amazing and I couldn’t disagree less with the reviews from other riders. Despite the weight, they roll so easily and it is easy to accelerate during a sprint. I have taken it for a few sprints and I could reach top speeds of 47 kph consistently which was something I was never able to achieve on my older wheels. Mind you, I am not the strongest rider in my group and often ride at the back but after using these wheels, I am more confident to remain in the main group and on a few occasions pulled the group in the front.
Another amazing thing was it was so easy to keep up with groups during climbs to MF and SBV. I thought I would have trouble with wheels that were heavier than my older wheels but in fact I was going up more effortlessly and faster ! The wheels were also much stiffer when transmitting power and I felt that they were the best during fast rides and sprints. It is no wonder that the Japanese prefer to race on Gokiso wheels as they are stiff, powerful and fast. However, despite the stiffness, the fact that I was using 25 mm tires may have help made the ride very comfortable. Finally, one more thing I notice was that when you were approaching traffic lights and freewheeling, the wheels spin for a much longer time and I often had to apply the brakes to slow down significantly for a stop. In summary, Gokiso wheels are the closest thing to an electric motor in my opinion and I have not looked back. They improve your performance and makes the ride more enjoyable. If you are someone who wants the best that technology can offer, I recommend these wheels to go. I hope that they will get more air time on line and in the Western bike literature as they are a game changer in the bike industry.