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Made in France, Corima wheels are somewhat of a rarity stateside. But thanks to striking designs and carbon expertise gained from designing and manufacturing in-house, you may start to see more of these French hoops on your local group ride.
You won’t find anything “budget” from Corima; the brand doesn’t seem inclined to water down its tech just to reach a certain price point. With that in mind, we wanted to see what this brand’s wheels could do at the point of entry, so we got our hands on a set of the WS 32mm disc, the most affordable offering at $2,000.
At first glance, you will certainly notice this wheelset’s eye-catching spoke pattern and raw 3K carbon weave rim. Lacking any clearcoat, the final product looks exactly how it did coming out of the mold. But some of the most significant, patented factors that separate Corima from its competitors are hidden—well, unless you take a hacksaw to your brand new hoops. Rather than having a hollow core inside the rim, Corima fills this cavity with aerospace foam to absorb road vibration. Another patented rim innovation is a carbon fiber bar, called a Torsion Bar, that runs from one side of the rim to the other. Corima says this bar reduces wheel flex and leads to enhanced power transfer.
One downside to these rims is that they cannot be run tubeless, so you’ll be missing out on the myriad benefits of road tubeless, like lower tire pressures and puncture protection. But with these rims measuring 16mm wide internally and 26mm wide externally, Corima recommends running wider 25mm-30mm tires, which should add some comfort to your ride.
Despite occupying the lower end of the Corima wheel lineup, the WS 32mm gets essentially the same rim as every other spoked Corima wheel at that given depth. (There are also 47mm and 58mm versions of Corima wheels.) The very same design and patented tech it puts into the rims of its $4,000 wheelsets, it puts into its $2,000 wheelsets.
While the rims stay the same throughout most of Corima’s range, the hubs do not. As a member of Corima’s S line, the WS 32mm wheelset features bladed alloy spokes and hubs, which are also made and developed in France by Corima. The rear hub features a 30-tooth freewheel ratchet, a titanium/aluminum spindle and strong 6000-series bearings. As you advance through the Corima line, the alloy hubs become carbon in the S+ line. Then the spokes follow suit, becoming carbon in the next-tier MCC line, which costs about twice as much as the WS 32mm. All Corima hubs can accommodate cassette bodies for Shimano/SRAM, Campagnolo or XDR cassettes.
With its 32mm-deep rim profile and alloy spokes and hubs, our set weighed in at 1,610 grams with rim tape (900 grams rear/ 710 grams front), which is less than the 1,650 grams Corima quoted us. That’s certainly never a bad thing, though the 900 grams for the rear was 10 grams more than the claimed 890 grams. There are certainly wheels at this depth that are lighter, but if everything were about weight, Corima could make up more than a few grams by leaving out the foam and tearing out the Torsion Bar. Luckily, the harbinger of a good wheelset is not weight alone.
The silver hub/spoke version of this wheelset we tested has been discontinued, but it’s available instead with black hubs and spokes.
Instilling the confidence necessary to bomb through a sinuous descent amid shifting winds, the Corima WS 32mm wheels simply stay planted through the kinds of high speed corners where you have to hang out a knee. And jumping right up to speed, they also respond nicely to power input. We’re not sure how much the Torsion Bar inside the rim has to do with it, but there’s no lack of a pleasant ride feel.
These wheels handle rough tarmac admirably, perhaps thanks in part to the foam inside the rim. But we think high volume tubeless tires at lower pressures could do even more to relieve road vibrations, so that’s a feature we wish were present.
If you want to stand out from the pack, these wheels will certainly accomplish that; they look unlike any of the other carbon wheels on the local group ride. And they offer a stiff, responsive ride while doing it.
$2,000; 1,610g; corima.com