The CADEX Ultra 50 disc is highly impressive, not only in the looks but the performance. Yes, it’s technically billed as a road wheelset, but it can easily take on rough roads.
All photos: Jordan Villella
Rounding out the CADEX wheel line, the CADEX 50 Ultra Disc is right in the middle, an all-arounder to mix with the CADEX 36, 42, and 65 wheelsets. While the 50mm depth might turn away some weight weenies; the 1382g weight might get their attention.
If you missed the whole story, check out our CADEX 50 Ultra/Aero Tubeless Tire piece, detailing everything new and fancy!
First Impressions Review: Setup and dial in
We’re no strangers to CADEX wheels and tires. From our experience, they set up quickly, and bead sits easily without a compressor or tubeless tricks — the CADEX 50 Ultras give a similar experience. In spite of the warning printed on the side of the tire regarding to use of tire levers, I did require assistance from tire levers to get them on the rim. The wheels actually included tire levers, so I used those–but use at your own risk.
The CADEX Aero Tubeless Tires are lighter than expected (262g), especially from the past CADEX tires we’ve ridden. The compound is soft to the touch, and the carcass is supple and pliable, almost like a cotton tire.
The shape appears normal when out of the packaging, but when mounted, they take on a unique egg/ovalized shape. This egg shape diminishes when you mount the bike and conforms to make the tire/rim surface shape tighter; more aerodynamic. The effect on the handling performance of the tire isn’t noticeable at all.
The 25mm tire plumps to an full 26.5-27mm on the CADEX 50 Ultra rim, just enough cushion to hit potholes confidently. If the tire doesn’t inspire confidence, the 4mm hookless bead width will! For pressure, I went light, around 65-68psi for my first rides, which seemed to fit well with my riding style and terrain.
CADEX Ultra 50 — Weights and measurements
The CADEX Aero Tires were slightly lighter than the claimed 290g weight at 267g each.
The CADEX 50 Ultra wheelset weighed in slightly more than claimed. The set came in at 1382g but included the rim tape and valves.
The rim dimensions are interesting; one would expect the internal width (22.33mm) to be more, considering the 30mm external width. On the other hand, the hookless bead is beefy and confidence-inspiring at 4mm.
The rounded wide bead gives the tire generous support in the corners and can take its share of knocks from rough roads and cobbles.
First ride review: On the road and gravel
Our first rides on the CADEX 50 Ultra wheelset were on the bumpy roads surrounding Pittsburgh and then the Snowshoe West Virginia mountains. The very different riding conditions yielded many positive riding experiences. The CADEX 50 Ultra has sensations of a much lighter wheel spinning up the climbs but a deeper wheel on the rollers — like an extra gear.
The wheels expertly carry speed, especially noted on twisting descents. I felt like I wasn’t losing time in corners but gaining; the stiff sensation of the wheel preserves momentum.
As for the tires, after I mounted them and hit the road, I didn’t think much of them after — in a good way. I didn’t baby the bike or look for tire-friendly routes, I rode them like any other tire, and the performance has been outstanding. As for the speed and aero-gains, I can only say they are very comfortable and feel like the CADEX Classics blend tire, one of my favorites this season. In the corners, the Aero Tubeless is a perfect counterpart to the robust 50 Ultra rims, rounding out the rigid ride and allowing the rider to feel the road.
After some enjoyable rides on the tarmac, I decided to mount my fresh CADEX Classic 32mm tires for some gravel action. Measuring the rim, I was more confident that the 50 Ultras could handle a few bumps, and I’m glad I did.
The 32mm CADEX Classics tire plumped up to a voluminous 33mm and at 45 psi rides like a dream over chunky gravel. A 50mm deep wheelset with ceramic bearings and wider road-style tires felt like a rocket ship. I’m used to a nice pop of acceleration on my race wheels, but the CADEX 50 Ultras have a little extra. The wheels soaked up a lot of chatter on the gravel, but I felt the best on the wide-open fire road. The wheels held speed and helped my tired legs reach beyond.
The wheels have been great thus far; the price, on the other hand, is slightly more than attainable for most. At $3,500.00 for the pair, the Ultra-premium CADEX 50 is one heck of a pricy upgrade.
Lasting first impressions
My first weeks on the CADEX 50 Ultras were enough to want more time on the wheels in varying conditions. The price is premium, but so is the performance; stay tuned for a long-term review as we put the 50 Ultras through the paces and some cyclocross racing.
For more information, check out: Cadex-cycling.com.