Reviewed: Vittoria Qurano 46 tubular road wheels
Graphene-enhanced wheels are light and tough, not to mention mechanic-friendly with a tool-free rear hub and external spoke nipples.
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The real test of whether a product has stood up to rigorous beating and deserves a shining review happens in the garage before a ride, the moment you reach for a product instinctively because it has become your go-to. That has been the case with Vittoria’s Qurano 46 tubular road wheels. They have somehow found their way onto just about every test bike that’s rolled through the Velo tech room in the last few months.
The Quranos are Graphene-enhanced, full-carbon race wheels with a 46mm rim depth in the rear and 42mm up front. Graphene is a generally new addition to the world of carbon rims, and Vittoria has jumped on it for its numerous supposed benefits, including temperature regulation during braking, increased strength around spoke holes, improved lateral stiffness, and potential for weight reduction. The Graphene is part of the rim’s carbon fiber layup, and while none of the potential benefits were lab tested by Velo, it was clear Vittoria had made a very good wheel.
That clarity came out on the tarmac, particularly on the winding descents outside of Golden, Colorado. While they’re not the stiffest race wheels on the market — nor does Vittoria advertise them as such — they are very light, at an advertised 1,298 grams for the pair. Carving into corners was a blast; they felt like skis with razor-sharp edges in tight switchbacks and long, sweeping curves on high-speed descents.
They shined in sprints too. They’re quite stiff, even if that’s not their main selling point, and they help create a very lively feel when the pedals mash down, even when they were mated with a generally flexy frame. This could be due in part to the straight-pull spokes with a 2-cross rear drive side lacing and a radial lacing up front, though the deep rims probably have something to do with it too. A wide, 23mm rim width provides plenty of stability and takes advantage of the tire’s traction capabilities. Stand up and punch the gas — these wheels are right there with you, yielding nothing under your toughest efforts.
Braking was also better than expected, though there was some fade when conditions were wet. That said, they were better than average for carbon rims, and descending in a light rain wasn’t an exercise in squeezing and hoping for the best, as is often the case with carbon rims. They sing a little bit when braking over long distances, and once or twice a vibration buzzed through the bike from the rear brake, but overall braking was impressive. Can the better braking be chalked up to the Graphene construction? Perhaps, though it could also be attributed to a good brake pad/brake track combo.
Mechanics will likely appreciate the external spoke nipples mated to the aero spokes for easy truing — no obscure proprietary spoke wrench necessary — and tool-free Vittoria Ultimate hubs. Of course, the front hub bearing covers come apart with two 5mm hex wrenches, so perhaps tool-free isn’t quite the right word. The rear hub is serviceable without tools, though.
The only real issue with the Quranos was the front hub, which developed lateral play early on in testing and remained throughout. While barely noticeable at high speeds, the play was noticeable at low speeds and didn’t do much for peace of mind over the long haul. The play did not increase over time, but it didn’t go away after torquing the hub cones either.
The bottom line
Light, strong, and fast, the Qurano 46 wheels are worth a look for racers in search of hoops for the climbs and descents. Easily serviceable and generally reliable, they could use a bit of attention in the hub bearings, but otherwise, they’re a worthy addition to an all-rounder race bike.
In the box
— 46mm rear wheel
— 42mm front wheel
— Vittoria skewers
— Wheel bags
— Multi-tool with tool pouch
— Brake pads
— Valve extenders
Advertised weight: 1,298 grams