We've done a pretty unique thing in attaching a terms and conditions page to our carbon clinchers sales process. Before your order goes through, you have to click that you're read and understood the conditions. In a lot of ways, this might seem like an anti-sales tactic, or that we don't "stand behind" our product. Well, it may be an anti-sales tactic to some degree, but it's got nothing to do with a lack of confidence in our product.
People love carbon clinchers. Good ones have the light, stiff, snappy feel that people love, without the pain in the butt factor of tubulars. Aerodynamic advantages of various depths aside, a wheel like the RFSC38 is just going to spoil you for a lot of other wheels. I've done about 98% of my last 10,000 or 12,000 or so miles of road riding on 38 clinchers, in all kinds of conditions and on all kinds of terrain - including a lot of riding that we'd explicitly tell you not to do with carbon clinchers. Having the most first hand experience on our wheels and being able to calibrate their limits is important to us. So if I do all of this stuff on the wheels, why are we so cautious when it comes to recommending what you should and shouldn't do on our wheels?
We have a ton of confidence in our wheels and the parts that go into them. We spent a lot of time sourcing them, have absolute confidence in our suppliers, and are now sitting on a couple of years of really solid history. Because we assemble those parts into wheels ourselves, we get a good hard look at everything as it's coming together. Anything strange going on with any component would almost certainly make itself known during the build process, and the building/destressing/QA process itself is probably more stressful an experience than most (or at least a whole lot of) wheels will ever see in the real world.
But we can't replicate every experience that people can have on wheels. I might have 10,000 miles on my wheels, but the global mileage on our wheels is orders of magnitude beyond that. I can do down an 8% grade, switchbacked hill that's 4 miles long 10 times and only reach a maximum rim heat recording of 185* (which is BALLS hot, but nowhere near hot enough to melt a rim - we use Thermax heat recording strips, which are cheap and accurate and fit nicely in the tire bed of a rim), but I can't replicate every situation that's out there. If I did it on an 85* day, with no traffic on the road, and I weigh 165 pounds and use my braking technique, then that's not an excellent predictor for a guy who weighs 20 pounds more than I do who's stuck behind a truck that's going wicked slowly, and he likes to pump his tires up to a rock hard 135, and it's 100* out. I think we try as hard as anyone to make people aware of good techniques and practices, but that guy's probably not got it ingrained in his head that he'd be better off pulling over and waiting 5' for the truck to go away, and bumping his tire psi down to 110 (115 if he must have a very firm ride).
The simple fact is that no wheel, carbon or aluminum or any other material, is "x" proof. "X" happens, and by being honest about where "x" is more likely to happen and encouraging people to avoid situations where the consequences of "x" can be unwelcome, we believe we're doing the right thing. I've seen rims which are advertised to be "x" proof fail under "x" when "x" = brake heat. Still, the wheels are advertised as being "x" proof and the situation that I saw with my own eyes has somehow "never tested positive." To us, that way of operating just isn't right. Smashing a root at mach speed in a cross race could break the brake track, and when that happens the rim is ruined and it's an expensive pain in the butt. Sure, we could say "our rims are cross proof!" and maybe sell a lot more wheels by making that claim, and then quietly replacing rims for people who broke them, but that's not the way we want to go. For the record, many cross races have actually been won on our carbon clinchers, and none have broken in use in cross races, but that's neither here nor there. We won't sell you carbon clinchers under the false pretenses that they are great cross wheels. Carbon tubulars are GREAT cross wheels.
Honesty may sometimes be an anti-sales tactic and it may sometimes read as us not being secure in what we're selling. We know we sell great stuff because we use it ALL THE TIME. We just prefer to be honest and make you aware of whatever might happen, instead of relying on fine print BS to bail us out after claims that no one should ever have made wind up leading to a bad outcome.