Flit Wheels stated this about their Letica wheelset:
The FLIT Letica wheelset is built from the ground up to provide a high performance lightweight pair of wheels. Great for everyday riding but engineered for fast-pace group rides/races, this wheelset outperforms wheels in its class. With its outstanding light weight at 1315g, the FLIT Letica climbs like a rocket and nimbly accelerates to win the field sprint. Not only is weight a focus for these wheels, durability is also a priority. This is addressed by a plethora of spokes, specifically 20 in the front and 28 laced 2x/2x in the rear. Spoke tension is also evened by using thicker spokes on the drive side. Like all FLIT wheels, this wheelset is proudly hand built in the U.S.A.
- Rim: Flit Aluminum Clincher
- Rim Depth: 22mm
- Spoke Count: 20Front/28Rear
- Hubs: Flit SL hubs
- Hub Spacing: 100mm Front/130mm Rear
- Front: Wheelsmith XL14
- Rear: Wheelsmith XL14(non-drive side) Wheelsmith DB14(drive side)
- Sapim CX-Ray Option available
- Lacing: Radial Front and 2x/2x Rear
- Nipples: Flit External Alloy Nipples
- Weight: 1315 grams
This review are for the Flit Leticas with the Sapim CX-Ray spoke upgrade. Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo Compatibility
MSRP – $538 (as of 5/30/2009)
Flit is a company owned by Brent Delrosario. Brent is a Michigan native, and also a racer with the Wolverine Sports Club. His business, according to an interview with Tim Finkelstein was started in order to provide light, and quality track wheels to friends, young racers and (employee) track starlet whom is only named Maia at a lower price than what is out on the market. Brent declares that
Flit Wheels are not intended as a main project, nor for him to become the next Donald Trump…
Some of us have noticed this with the inability to contact the company, but what can you say when this operation is not the primary means of income in a person’s life, no?
The Flit Leticas are LIGHT. Decals are subtle, and not tacky/lame. (like many claim about another budget wheel company ) They came out of the box very true. These wheels with their low spoke count and 22mm rim depth seem to be a nice pair of trainer or race wheels for that windy day, or times you will not cry if something happens to them.
Stats, Observations, and Impression
The Letica rims are light. They are at decent depth of 22mm… Not aero, but then again not Roubaix box rims either. They appear to be pin-joined together, and glued; along with nicely machined braking surfaces. The spoke holes drilled in the rim are very smooth and appear to be painted over. Not that this matters to Velox users .
The hubs just might be the aesthetically weakest link of the wheels. They look generic. Some may say they look like an older version of American Classic’s hubs.
Of course aesthetics and performance are not always highly correlated. If you are expecting CNC machined rims with every gram shaved off, or aerodynamics considered on every surface, you may be missing out. Pictures below will explain. The rear hub has several rubber seals to cover the modular axle and freewheel… something I have not seen before. The dish on the hub is also very svelte, and includes a thick axle spacer on the non-cassette side. I don’t know if this is a normal thing, but I honestly prefer a wider dished rim and hub combo.
Sapim CX-Ray Spokes. Everyone seems to love them, and they were listed as lighter and stronger than the original spokes that were provided with the wheels. I couldn’t resist. The nipples are four-sided, and honestly, I couldn’t make out the appearance of them inside the rim. I’ll get back on this.
And we all know that we are concerned about weight. I just went to my university and used their most accurate scale (.0001g +/-) and just for the sake of laziness, I rounded to the closest gram. 1287g for the wheelset. Really now? How can this be true? Flitwheels.com states 1310g without the Sapim CX-Ray upgrade. With the spoke upgrade only knocking off a reported ten grams, this makes the wheelset 13g underweight. that’s 0.5oz. Wow.
For more pictures, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lalahsg…ed/2009/05/30/
Did a quick email interview with Brent. This is what he had to say:
Me: What is your turn around for shipping once you receive a payment?
Brent: At the moment we have a build time of 1-2 weeks.
Me: Do your wheels come with skewers?
Brent: Yes, all our wheels come with skewers. If you watch your grams, they are 108g for the pair.
Me: How much does a pair of letica’s weigh after a Sapim CX-Ray conversion?
Brent: Sapim Cx-rays will save about 10g on a letica wheelset.
Me: What kind of Brake pads have you seen successfully used with your Aluminum rims? – A lot of us are running Stock Force or Ultegra…
Brent: Any standard brake pads for aluminum rims will work correctly. Any sram or shimano pads for Al rims will be suitable.
Me: Rim Width on the Cone-A & Letica… 19mm?
Brent: rim depth for the cone-a is 27mm deep and 22mm deep for the leticas. As for as widths, both sets are 19mm wide.
Me: What kind of ratcheting system is in your cassette hub in the Cone-A & Letica?
Brent: All new FLIT rear hubs have a 6 prawl racheting cassette free hub.
Me: The wheels look great! I’m really glad I got a pair of them from you guys. Buddies on the team are excited to see them once classes starts back up in August. I’ve done a first impression review of them on roadbikereview.com, and would like to grab your professional, and rider impression of these wheels in order for me to have something to go on when I do a ride report for these. Tell me what you think of the initial review: Did I get anything wrong? What is a good way to describe the spoke nipple piece that is inside the rim? What kind of tool does it use?
Brent: Good stuff. I cant believe you found that interview on that guys blog. funny stuff. you even found the team I race for.
Rear Dish. Our rear dish is pretty common in the road market. with 10sp and now 11sp, rear road wheels have some extreme dishing. what makes a good wheel is even dish yielding in even tension(at least in our professional opinion). If you compare the NDS side and DS, the NDS has more of an angle. any more angle(spoke head further out), and tension would be really low. lower NDS tension is already a concern in the road wheel market. This brings up why there are so many different rear wheel lacing patterns and preferences. many use a 3x DS and Radial NDS. A common pattern, but having low tension radial lacing, can be a concern(at least we think so). This brings us to Zipp. Zipp now uses a radial DS and a crossed NDS. best of both worlds, but now power has to tranfer across the hub to the NDS. With our 2x/2x, you have power transfer on DS and NDS, and you have the pull spokes helping the non-pull spokes to keep tension during power transfer.
as a note, on our base model we have thicker DS spokes and thinner NDS spokes to help even tension out.
…I think I might of rambled a bit, but you get the idea.
Me: What kind of use and weight limits would you typically suggest (in terms of telling others for a review)?
Brent: As far as weight. We do weigh all the wheels that leave here. Leticas with cx-ray, I have seen 1295-1310g. Unfortunately I have never seen 1287g. We try our best to be honest with our weights. we do not inflate(really deflate) our weights for marketing.
for the spoke nipple. We have our own nipples that have an extended head. many have seen heads pop off Al nipples. We have these nipples to strengthen the heads, but still the light weight of Al nipples. A standard internal nipple wrench will work for turning the nipples from the rear. Of course, our nipples all work with traditional spoke wrenches. I have attached a picture of our nipples to help describe them. We recommend a rider weight for the leticas of 180 lbs or less. We have had 210 lb cat2 race this in a technical crit with out any problems. Our main goal with our clinchers rims is to provide high end race wheels, at an affordable price. quality of hand build wheels, at market retail price.
I spent over a year with these wheels before performing an actual review of quality assessment. I have put over 2500 miles on them, and they are holding out well with only two small issues.
These wheels spin up fast. I have two other wheelsets I have compared them to, both heavier, but very reliable. Flit beats them in ease of getting up to speed, and weight. I’d have to say flit beats many wheels I have seen in looks department too. This could be debatable.
Lightness comes with a problem. I’m 135 lbs, bike is sub 16 depending on accessories and during sprints or uphill climbs, I can flex the rear wheel. Spokes are properly tensioned on both sides, wheel is true, but 28 Sapim CX-Rays does not hold up as expected to (laugh with me now) my extreme power outputs. When going up the legendary Buckhannon Mountain, I open up the ratchet quick release of my brakes to prevent my wheek from knicking the brake. I have noticed it particularly on the non-drive side, but then again I am not empirically observing this phenomena.
I did have one of my hub bearing cartridges fail on me. The protective cage on it popped off and bearing went bye-bye ending in my freewheel capabilities failing. For rest of the ride home that day, I had to keep pedaling or my chain would go slack and catch on my wheel. Contacted Brent, got a bearing let him know the details so they could log it on their uh-oh list and everything was perfect. I call it a fluke, really.
$538 gets you a lot with these wheels. Customer Service has improved within the past year tremendously. These would make a fantastic crit or climbing wheel, but I’m sure if you went the custom route, you could get something with a little bit of your wallet, but double the quality.
Out of my three wheelsets, I use these 70% of the time if that explains how much I trust and rely on them.
Links of interest for these wheels: