Optimized in every aspect, this wheel is designed to offer every rider a gold lined riding experience.
Swiss Side is the brain child of Formula One engineer, Jean-Paul Ballard, currently engaged with the Sauber F1 team. While manufacturing is outsourced to Taiwan, the wheels are designed by Ballard and his engineering partners in Switzerland, hence the brand name.
We’re testing the Franc, a mid-priced aluminium clincher that places it in a competitive section of the market occupied by, among others, Hope’s excellent Mono RS. The Franc tipped the scales at 1560g for the pair, without skewers. Let’s take a closer look at the constituent parts.
The Franc’s rim is fashioned from heat-treated 6066 aluminium, with a joint welded for strength, rather than pinned, and with a brake track CNC machined to provide a consistent surface.
The profile is a conventional pyramid shape, 19mm wide and 27mm deep, and so distinct from some of the wider rims that we have been seeing recently. Its dimensions place it as a mid-height all-rounder, we’d say at this early stage.
The rim is a mid-height all rounder, some 27mm deep and 19mm wide. Rims with stress-reliving eyelets, notably Mavic’s bullet proof Open Pro, while becoming rarer, tend to make an appearance in winter, but are absent here, perhaps in a quest for weight saving.
The hubs are CNC machined from an aluminium billet. The front hub is a low profile affair, slotted for 18 straight pull spokes laced in a radial pattern, and which revolves on two Japanese cartridge bearings.
Out back, we find a hub with differing flange sizes, with the driveside enlarged, presumably to withstand the greater load. It’s laced with 24 straight-pull spokes, laced in a 2:1 pattern, crossed on the driveside and radial on the non-driveside. The rear hub is a four bearing affair and has Swiss Side’s own four-pawl freehub ratchet. The freehub body is aluminium.
The spokes are Sapim’s stainless steel, bladed CX Wing spars: a substantial 4mm wide, painted white for the most part in our sample set, with a couple of red spokes per wheel. They’re of the straight-pull variety, so sans j-bend, and hopefully more resistance to flex and failure.
To complement the aforementioned enlarged driveside flange on the rear hub, Swiss Side have deployed shorter spokes, in what we imagine is another bid to defeat flex in such a heavily-loaded section of the wheel.
Size: 700c x 19mm x 27mm
Colour: Black with white and red spokes
Website: Swiss Side