The current feature build has just about broken the Facebooks. More than any other, this one proves the calculus of shallow carbon clincher "climbing" wheels to be particularly fallible. It's REALLY light, made from proven components, and put together with skill and care by us. So why do we put 160 pound rider weight limit guidance on them?
The first thing we've got to say, and I know this will sound weird but it's true, is that we'd rather sell fewer and have everyone psyched than sell more and have people who are unhappy. If we slapped a 205 pound weight limit on these guys, we'd sell more - no doubt. We'd sell more to what we feel is the appropriate audience of lighter people, and we'd sell a bunch more to people above our current guidance. But we don't think these would satisfy our aims for most, say, 190 pound riders. Why?
We have a basic set of parameters for any wheels we sell. More or less, they should last me three to four years of my "these are my only wheels" usage, performing their intended job wonderfully, and needing little to no maintenance beyond regular stuff like bearings needing grease and that stuff. Note that "performing their intended job wonderfully" is quite a bit higher of a bar than "not giving any trouble." When you corner, you should say "holy shit these things corner like WUT?!" They should feel responsive and fast and not feel at all mushy when you hammer and things like that. My typical yearly mileage is like 4000 road miles, a lot of it flat riding at the coast, a lot of hilly trips to Vermont, and typically one week long destination riding trip. There's racing and training and group rides and alone rides. So, simply, as a 160 pound person, these are about the minimum gun I would expect to satisfy our parameters for myself.
Obviously there are caveats to this. If you live in the Alps, we simply don't recommend carbon clinchers (or tubulars) as your only wheels. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, your brake tracks will struggle to last that long because rain and grit and hills and pads that actually stop you in those conditions. And you might simply live in a place where you can ride 1000 miles a month, in which case 3 to 4 years is a bit of a pipe dream. Stuff like that.
There are wheels out there with similar spoke count that have a much higher weight guidance on them. HED puts a 225 pound limit on their 18/24 laced Ardennes builds. Are they that much different? No, not really. We're a bit conservative, and we think a 225 pound rider is asking for trouble with an 18/24 set of wheels (the many "I've never had any trouble with them" comments on forums notwithstanding). HED rims are a bit heavier than Pacentis, and that buys you a bit of extra stiffness and durability, so our guidance would be a bit different with HED rims. And then you have Kinlin XR31T rims, which we'd somewhat conservatively put a 200 or so pound rider guidance on with a similar build. But that rim is significantly deeper and heavier than the rims in the feature build, which creates a whole different dynamic. It would also weigh about 110g more than the feature build.
So why do I keep saying "guidance" instead of "weight limit"? Because weight limit implies certain doom if you exceed it, while guidance expresses the more nuanced reality of how rider weight affects things. If you have a different set of parameters than we do, vaya con dios. If you weigh 180 pounds and love riding light wheels, all good. Just realize that the durability and stiffness might not be what we'd be looking for for ourselves. If you want to have a special 'secret weapon' set of wheels for a romantic trip to the big hills this summer, our guidance means less to you than someone who's looking to settle down with them.
And seriously, in any case, a 24/28 version of these barely cracks 1400g.