Long-time Bicycling Australia journo Peter Maniaty never says no to reviewing new cycling gear. He was particularly quick to take up an offer to ride these new carbon hoops from Sydney-based Bossi Bicycles.
They may be ‘Bossi’ by name. But don’t be fooled. Out on the road these impressive disc-optimised carbon wheels are the exact opposite.
Lightweight, versatile and wonderfully compliant, they do what they’re told and are amongst the most well-behaved wheels I’ve ridden.
There are several good reasons for this. But the most obvious is the noticeably wide rim measuring in at 22mm (internal) and 29mm (external). Delivering excellent tyre sidewall support, enhanced aerodynamics and truly outstanding stability and handling, they’re an ideal companion for running 28mm+ tyres at lower pressures on road, gravel or dirt – or any combination of the three. (In case you’re wondering, you can also run 25mm tyres as I did for this review.
…When the road tilts upwards, their lightweight construction (1,429g for the set) and outstanding balance means they ascend very well…
While a reasonably snug fit, once seated the added rim girth means they ride more like 27mm.)
Available with white or black/stealth decals, Bossi RD1’s are as easy on the eye as they are on the road. I found them smooth, balanced and enjoyable from the very first kilometre.
They’re stiff enough to provide a confident ride, but not so much as to compromise comfort. Matched with the whisper quiet DT Swiss 240 hubs (DT Swiss 350 is also an option if you want to bring the price down a little) it’s almost like you’re floating on air as you glide along the road, especially during the blissful early morning calm.
Up close, it’s clear these wheels have been made – the rims are moulded in Asia before being hand-laced with SAPIM CX-Ray spokes by Bossi Bicycles co-owner James Bossi in his Sydney studio – to exactingly high standards.
As evidenced from the sample cross-section provided for this review, the rims boast an ultra-uniform monocoque construction featuring high-grade Toray T700/T800 carbon fibre. Entirely void free, the inside surface of these rims is almost as smooth as the outside, showing a level of detail you rarely find from the higher volume, mainstream manufacturers. As James Bossi explained, the reason for this is the bladder from every rim is painstakingly removed by hand through the spoke holes, rather than simply being cut and patched.
Providing further confidence is the 3-year manufacturer warranty on the rims, together with Bossi’s personal mission to get your new wheel set-up just right. Having watched him up close tinkering with my own bike, it’s clear James is not a man to do things by halves.
Now, it’s about this part of every review when I have to stop and think who these wheels are best suited to. The answer is tricky, because beyond their obvious quality, their greatest strength is surely their versatility, something evidenced by the fact that, in addition to being specified on Bossi’s high-end titanium road bikes – the reason Bossi originally got into carbon wheels in the first place – they’re also being piloted with great success on the national cyclocross circuit in 2019 by Team InSeight. Two very different extremes, in other words.
While not hard-nosed road racing wheels, you could absolutely race on them and have a blast. Personally, but not surprisingly, I found the only real trade-off for the fabulous compliance is acceleration. These wheels certainly aren’t slow, but others are definitely slicker off the mark. Rather the RD1’s sit somewhere in that very happy mid-range which, frankly, is perfect for 95% of riders – myself very much included.
Bossi may not be the best-known wheels on the market … but if they keep putting out wheels like these, that may soon change.
I would also add that once they spin up they hold their speed nicely, especially when the aero benefits kick in above 30-35kph, making wheel-sucking an absolute dream.
When the road tilts upwards, their lightweight construction (1,429g for the set) and outstanding balance means they also ascend very well. I found the smoothness of the ride, way above average, really helped in finding a good rhythm. The shallower 30mm version of these rims may well climb even better, so if you consider yourself more of a mountain goat maybe enquire about those as well.
So, who are these wheels suited to? Well, if you’re looking for a set of ultra-stiff, ultra-direct, tarmac-munching racing wheels to monster your local crits, you might want something a little snappier off the mark. But if you’re after a gloriously versatile set of high-quality carbon wheels that can take everything from short and sharp racing to all-day cruising and fondos, on the bitumen or the dirt, these are worth very serious consideration. Bossi may not be the best-known wheels on the market. But if they keep putting out wheels like these, that may soon change.
More info at www.bossibicycles.com
Model: Bossi RD1 Disc
Rim: 40mm, tubeless ready clincher
(also available in 30mm and 50mm)
Rim Construction: Toray T700/800 Carbon Fibre
Rim Width: 22mm (int), 29mm (ext)
Decals: White or Black/Stealth
Brake Type: Disc
Front Hub: 12x100mm DT Swiss 240 straight pull (centrelock)
Rear Hub: 12x142mm DT Swiss 240 straight pull (centrelock)
Spokes: SAPIM CX-Ray, 24F/24R, spares provided
Weight (set): 1,429g
Rider Weight: 120kg max
Tyre Pressure: 120 PSI max
Tyre Size: 25C-50C
Warranty: 3 years