Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

From Cycle EXIF’s technical editor, Richard Gearing. Corima is one of those brands that, in some form or other, have seemingly always been around on the bike scene – particularly in road and track. I have long been a fan of the aesthetics of their wheels and the carbon weave they proudly exhibit.

With road disc’s emergence, Corima has carried this renowned carbon weave aesthetic across to bring a road disc wheel range to market. Local distributors, FE Sports, sent us a pair of the WS47 Disc wheels to see what we thought.

Getting around to riding a set of Corima wheels is an experience which I have come close to but which has unfortunately always eluded me in the past. This made pulling this WS47 set out of their boxes all the more exciting. The finish of the rims is impeccable with the gloss carbon surface putting some frame finishes to shame.

With the rim tape being pre-installed, a set of tires were mounted quickly and easily. Corima is wise and kind enough to offer a small clear adhesive disc to go over the valve once the tire and tube are in place, which helped with a reassurance that there would be no valve rattle despite the lengthy valve stems that rims of this depth require.

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

At 47mm deep (hence the ‘WS47’ moniker) the rims on these are deeper than I would normally choose myself. They are of a wide profile, as most carbon wheels are these days, at 26mm externally. However, whilst the shape is rounded – again, as most are now — this rounded profile appeared less blunt than many, which made me curious as to how well the rims would handle crosswinds.

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

Whilst the WS47s aren’t anywhere near as crazy looking as Corima’s MCC S+ range of wheels, they do come with their own unique take on spoke lacing. Front wheels in the Corima range have historically used their ‘R2’ system where pairs of spokes enter the rim very close together with larger gaps between pairs (as opposed to individual spokes entering the rim at equally spaced intervals).

However, for the disc brake version of their front wheel Corima have chosen to mirror the pattern of the rear wheel, using 12 spokes on the non-drive to cope with the disc brake forces and 8 spokes on the drive side.

The rear wheel reverses this, maintaining the same 20 spoke setup they use in their non-disc wheels where the 12 spokes are on the drive side to focus on handling the drivetrain force, with 8 spokes on the non-drive side managing the disc brake forces. As for the disc brake rotor interface, Corima uses centrelock in line with the majority of the disc brake road scene.

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

The Sapim spokes Corima use for the WS47 are silver, meaning they pair perfectly with the chrome-plated aluminum hubs that the wheels use. The hubs are machined in-house in France and the wheels are then hand-assembled.

For some this silver pairing may be off-putting, particularly in a sea of black and carbon, as tends to dominate in the road scene – but there’s no denying that it creates a striking finish; and, for some, it could be a really nice way to top off a more classically styled steel or titanium bike, or to bring a classic twist to a carbon bike, whilst running entirely modern wheels.

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

Weight-wise, 47mm clincher rims are never going to build into a stupidly light wheelset. At 1665g, they’re not horrendously overweight; but, at the same depth, they are bettered by the DT Swiss ERC1400 to the tune of 127g – a wheelset which is slightly wider and cheaper, albeit noticeably less unique. Whilst price is being mentioned, the WS47 retail for AU$3199 at the time of writing.

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

On the move, the exciting looks of the unique Corima design are matched by the performance of the wheels. They seem to help make a bike feel really solid and planted; and give an extra element of directness but without adding any discomfort. Something about that spoke pattern and rim design really seems to work in that regard.

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

As is often the case when switching to deep aero rims, fanging along on the flat seems to come with a built-in childish giggle and devilish laugh which are interchangeable at will. Whether the burst of speed is real or perceived, you can’t help but feel like the wheels are willing you on; and even those who are otherwise alien to the drops of their bars find themselves craning their aching backs to get even more aero and go even faster. Perhaps the only disappointment of the WS47s when this alter ego takes hold is that they are uncharacteristically quiet from the saddle – although I suspect that’s a factor of their build quality and therefore shouldn’t be viewed as a negative, even if ‘that noise’ is part of the fun of deep wheels…

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

It’s easy to make excuses about riding ‘heavy’ aero wheels when the road tips up, but I’d be lying if I said I could genuinely feel any resistance from using these wheels on lumpier routes – their extra bulk was barely noticeable; and, if anything, their smooth ride feel probably helped iron out some of the more bumpy climbs. Besides which “what goes up must come down”; and then the direct handling of the wheels came into its own in helping to control the bike when descending.

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

And what of the effect of that less blunt rim profile mentioned earlier? I’ll confess I am sensitive to crosswinds as I regularly ride alongside fast-moving traffic on coastal roads in Sydney’s north, meaning crosswinds make me nervous about being blown into the traffic. For the most part the wheels felt fine, despite their less rounded profile – although sudden gusts did catch me off-guard on occasion.

This was not enough to make me fear using the wheels, though, so it shouldn’t be a reason to disregard them as an option (Corima’s aero data is available on their website for those who are interested in researching this further).

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

It is also worth noting, as can be seen from the pictures, that we were sent Pirelli’s new P-Zero rubber with these wheels. Whilst these were not put into service for the whole review period, they were used for a number of rides of decent length.

At 25c, they are narrower than I tend to ride these days; but, by comparison to other 25c tyres I have run in recent times, they felt like a great option. Being grippy and light, I never had reason to fear their performance characteristics, but they also feel like a tyre that will stand up to a bit of road debris. If it weren’t for my penchant for gum wall tyres, I wouldn’t write them off as an option if this width is your go-to.

Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review

The only thing that has yet to be mentioned is the graphics – which is perhaps odd, given how loud they are! On the right bike, the shouty white graphics can look quite good, though; and the Corima website does show that different colour graphics are available. FE Sports support this in Australia via a third party, but you may need to check with your distributor or local store to see if that is an option where you are.

The WS47 disc wheelsets are available in both clincher and tubular formats, and Corima also offers their 32mm rim depth in a disc wheel too. As a tubular fan, it is pleasing to see a disc wheel option readily available so I applaud Corima for offering this. For those who run tubeless, it is worth noting that the clincher version is not tubeless compatible.

Solid, reliable and good-looking French engineering – a comment regarding a sense of je ne sais quoi is hard to resist, but it certainly fits the bill.

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Je ne sais quoi: Corima 47WS Disc Wheel Review