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You can own wheels like Cipo, Pippo and Zabel

Carbon Sports offers custom painted wheels for a 10 percent upcharge

By Matt Pacocha

Cipollini's wheels

Cipollini’s wheels

Photo: courtesy Carbon Sports

You’re saying there’s a chance? Well, when there was, Mario was ready to turn some heads. Carbon Sports, the manufacturer of Lightweight wheels, was commissioned to build Rock Racing’s Mario Cipollini something special for Milan-San Remo, but when Cipo and Rock Racing didn’t get an invite, then parted ways, this special wheelset became obsolete — to Cipollini anyway.

“I personally liked the design very much and decided to keep the wheels for myself,” said Carbon Sports founder, Stefan Behrens. “I now ride them on my white Isaac Impulse. As I am currently training in Italy, you can imagine that a lot of people stand around my bike and discuss while we stop for a cappuccino.”

For Cipollini’s custom wheels, Carbon Sports started with a set of its 20-spoke Generation Three wheels for Cipollini, which were then painted by a personal friend of Carbon Sports who has experience airbrushing everything from cars to canvas. The Generation Three wheels, which were introduced at Eurobike last year, boast 30 percent greater stiffness than the previous model via new all-carbon spokes. Cipo’s set with 20-spokes front and rear weighs a claimed 1090-grams pre-paint. The paint adds roughly 36 grams to the set.

Behrens also pointed out that even Cipollini pays for his lightweights. The custom painted model is valued just under $5000.

Filippo Pozzato's wheels

Filippo Pozzato’s wheels

Photo: courtesy Carbon Sports

The only two racers in the world who don’t pay are Milram’s veteran Erik Zabel and Liquigas’ Filippo Pozzato. They also have special wheels, but Berhens said that the two don’t want to race their special wheels for fear of something happening to them.

“They rather race their “normal” LW and make sure that their painted ones are safe at home,” he said.

Erik Zabel’s wheels are saved for special occasions — not races

Photo: courtesy Carbon Sports

The even bigger news is that you can be just like Cipo. He pays for his custom wheels and, now, so can you. Really. Carbon Sports just opened its custom program to consumers and if you choose a custom design, like Cipo, you’ll be asked to pay about 10 percent more for a set. All of its wheels are included in the program, from the Standard to the Ventoux and Disc. The custom paint program is ready now and has a six-week wait.

The suggested retail of the Standard set, regardless of spoking, is $4495. The paint program adds 10 percent to the price and Carbon Sports also offers a no-questions-asked 4-year replacement program for an additional 10 percent. These up charges are standard across the board, at 10 percent of the suggested original retail prices.

This past fall Carbon Sports opened a North American branch, which is run by David Bell. This is an effort to make North America a priority for service and the availability of Lightweight wheels, says Bell.

Are you fast enough to pull off a custom set of Lightweights like Zabel, Cipo and Filippo?

We thought so.

For more info try www.carbonsports.com.

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