Dirt Rag Magazine

New: Stans NoTubes releases value alloy wheelsets


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Stans NoTubes is launching a new series of wheelsets called S1, designed to offer a more cost-conscious offering in its lineup that already includes carbon and high-end alloy rims. All S1 wheelsets will retail for $455.

The focus of the S1 series is strength and durability. The deeper profile and thicker walls of the new S1 rims result in a 50-70 gram weight increase over Stan’s MK3 (fancy alloy) rims, but offer greater impact strength for an even wider range of use.

S1 series wheelsets will be available in six different rim models, with internal widths ranging from 23mm to 38mm. Combined with Stan’s low-profile, high-volume Bead Socket Technology rim design, these widths let the new S1 range accommodate tires from 2-3.5 inches.

All S1 wheelsets will be built with 32 spokes front and rear, Sapim’s proven Race spokes and Secure Lock brass nipples, and Stan’s faster-engaging Neo hubs. Hubs will be available to fit most axle systems, including Boost. All models will be available in 27.5 and 29-inch rim sizes. Select models will also be available in 26-inch.

The new S1 series includes reinforced versions of the classic Crest, Arch, and Flow–names already familiar to fans of Stan’s tubeless rims. In addition to the new Crest S1, Arch S1, and Flow S1, three entirely new, wider wheelsets will be available. The Sentry S1, Baron S1, and Major S1 offer Stan’s patented Bead Socket Technology, bringing tubeless performance to the largest mountain and Plus tires.

Look for them to be available in spring 2017.

 

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Review: WTB Ci24 carbon rim


WTB rims WI hubs-1

Tester: Eric McKeegan
Price: $550 (each)

Carbon rims are becoming more and more commonplace on high-end bikes. They aren’t cheap, and these WTBs are no different, although they are on the more affordable side of the bell curve in regard to carbon rim prices. Aluminum WTB rims have proven themselves over the years; carbon from a company with a good track record seems like a great idea.

WTB sticks to the basics with these rims, with the only options being wheel size, either 29 or 27.5, both with 32 spoke holes. Weights are (claimed) 390 grams in 27.5 and 430 grams in 29. Inner width is 24 mm.

What is less obvious are things like molded spoke holes (not drilled after laying up the fiber) that are angled to follow the spoke direction and WTB’s TCS tubeless rim profiles. I had zero issues setting these up tubeless with Continental and Schwalbe tires, even with a floor pump.

WTB rims WI hubs-4

The Ci24s exhibited all the things carbon wheels should: light weight, stiffness, strength and understated bling. They are slightly more harsh feeling than low-profile alloy rims, but less so than some carbon rims I’ve ridden.

The inner width is starting to sound narrow these days, but I prefer the shape of most 2.3-2.4 inch tires on rims around this wide. More square, but still some roundness. It isn’t surprising as most of these tires are designed for rims this wide.

Carbon rims are an investment, and the Ci24 is worthy of your hard-earned cash. Developed over two years on the brutal enduro racing circuit, WTB (and I) think these things can stand up to whatever kind of riding you care to dish out.

More info: WTB rims

We also tested the White Industries XMR hubs featured on these complete wheels. Read the review

 

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Review: White Industries XMR hubs


WTB rims WI hubs-3

Tester: Eric McKeegan
Prices: Rear — Silver $332, Black $337, Colors $352; Front — Silver $169, Black $174, Colors $189

Nice rims need nice hubs. White Industries has some nice, new hubs in these XMRs. Designed to handle any standard out there for road, mountain and cyclocross bikes, including options for Boost spacing and the rarely seen 12 mm front thru-axle.

The cassette body is titanium in SRAM XD, Shimano or Campy patterns, with either 24 or 48 point engagement options. I tested the Shimano 48 point option.

WTB rims WI hubs-2

These are good looking hubs, and are claimed to be the lightest six-bolt hubs White Industries has ever manufactured. The fit and finish are top-notch, and the bearings spin incredibly smoothly. The cassette body was very quiet for a high-engagement hub, which is a huge plus in my book. Compared to other U.S. manufacturers these hubs are competitive in terms of price and performance.

Color options are silver, black, blue, gold, red, pink and purple; plenty of options to match or clash with the rest of the bits on your bike. There are few high-end Boost hub options on the market right now, so take a look here if you need some Boost bling for a new Boost bike.

WTB rims WI hubs-4

White Industries also makes CLD hubs which are almost identical, save for center lock disc mounts replacing the ISO six-bolt standard.

More info: White Industries hubs

We also tested the WTB carbon rims pictured here on the complete wheels. Read the review.

 

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The Wheel Size Explainer


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

tires wheelsize-1

Intro

A time comes for most of us to buy new bikes. The fact is, mountain bikes keep getting better, and newer ones perform better than the old ones in every possible way, save for keeping your credit card balance in check. But new bikes also keep getting more complicated, with genres and subgenres and wheel sizes and single-ring drivetrains and all the rest. We could go down a very, very deep rabbit hole trying to suss out all that stuff, so let’s stick, for the most part, to wheel size and tire width.

As a whole, when it comes to wheels and tires, the bike industry has been historically slow to move. Over a decade ago the resistance to 29 inch wheels took on an almost religious fervor, with some companies going as far as declaring “no 29ers, ever.” Obviously, we all know who lost in the great 29 vs. 26 conflict.

26 inch wheels?!?

26 inch wheels?!?

Companies that held out against 29ers (and to a lesser extent, fat bikes) soon realized this was a strategic mistake, and the pain could be felt via lost sales and leftover inventory. It now seems we’ve swung the other way, with new wheel size ideas being adopted much more quickly.

Some riders grumble that this is all just a money grab on the part of bike makers, forcing obsolescence on older models and equipment as new wheel sizes (and hub spacing, and bottom bracket standards, etc.) take over large parts of the market. But this is nothing new. Technology marches forward, and strangely enough, it doesn’t physically change the bike you are riding, just the perception of its flaws.

My first bike was a Giant Iguana, equipped with Suntour’s last-gasping-breath of a drivetrain, marginally effective Dia-Compe cantilever brakes, and tires with a durometer of weathered oak. If it hadn’t been stolen off a porch years ago, I could still walk into any bike shop and get parts to keep that thing running. Makes it hard to complain about obsolescence when you can easily keep decades-old machinery running with a minimum of fuss.

And let’s not forget, riders always vote for new technology with their wallets. And right now, we all seem to be voting for more options.


Here’s where we stand with tire sizes these days

While there are only three main shared rim diameters (ISO size) among adult bikes, the vast differences in rim and tire widths are what really set all these apart.

The three ISO diameters are:

  • 559 ISO – the original 26 inch wheel size
  • 584 ISO – 27.5 or 650b
  • 622 ISO – 29 or 700c

For simplicity, when referring to “wheel size” it will be one of these below:

Wheel Size Explainer-normal

Standard Tires (about 1.95-2.5 inch width)

  • 26 inch (559 ISO) – the original knobby tire, now mostly relegated to kids’ bikes and dirt jumpers
  • 27.5 inch (584 ISO) – also known as 650B, the “slightly bigger than 26 inch” wheel size
  • 29 inch (622 ISO) – same rim size as most modern road bikes

Pluses: shorter sidewalls squirm less under hard cornering; rolls quickly; huge selection of bikes and components

Minuses: unpredictable traction in soft conditions; less ability to absorb trail chatter; same old-same old

Wheel Size Explainer-fatties

Fat Bike Tires (3.8-5 inch width)

  • 26 x 4 (559 ISO) – the first fat bikes
  • 26 x 5 (559 ISO) – wider fat bike tires
  • 27.5 x 4 (584 ISO) – new fat size, currently Trek-only

Pluses: traction for days; flotation for days; squishy tires absorb trail irregularities

Minuses: all that rubber is heavy; self-steer issues on off-camber trails; hard to balance tire pressure to prevent both squirm and bounce; wide pedal stance can bother some riders; squirmy in high-load situations; limited to mostly rigid bikes or hardtails; the faster you go, the weirder it gets

Wheel Size Explainer-midfat

Plus Tires (2.8-3 inch width)

  • 26plus (559 ISO) – quite rare, but rumored to become more prevalent
  • 27plus (584 ISO) – most common plus size
  • 29plus (622 ISO) – the biggest of the big

Pluses: not much heavier than sturdy 2.3 inch wide tires; traction in unpredictable terrain; less squirm and bounce than fat bike tires; can fit in some frames and forks not specifically designed for plus tires

Minuses: hard cornering loads can still cause squirm unless heavy tires and wide rims are used; can be unpredictable on off-camber and high traction terrain; slim (but expanding) selection of tires and rims; sidewalls can be susceptible to cuts


Choosing

There are lots of other things besides tire size that should be considered (geometry, suspension travel, etc.); but it is tires, and tire pressure, that transfer all our braking, steering and acceleration to the trail. So, let’s break mountain biking down into a few categories and make some recommendations:

Wheel Size Explainer bikes-2

Expedition/Bikepacking/Exploring

OUR PICKS: PLUS, FAT TIRES

For long rides on unknown terrain, it is hard to go wrong with bigger tires. While fat bike tires might be too much for areas without large amounts of sand or snow, a lot of exploratory types would rather have more than enough tire than too little. The plus tires are a good all-around choice that should balance grip, fl oat and weight quite well. For covering large amounts of unpredictable terrain quickly, there is really nothing like a 29plus bike.

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Sand/Snow

OUR PICK: FAT TIRES

The best bet for deep sand and snow is floatation, and the widest tires are the way to go here.

Wheel Size Explainer bikes-1

Cross-Country Racing/Fitness Riding

OUR PICK: STANDARD TIRES

When it comes down to who has the strongest legs and biggest lungs, fast is the way to go. And unlike gravity racing, cross country is won on the climbs, and that calls for fast-rolling, lightweight tires.

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Gravity Riding/Enduro Racing

OUR PICK: STANDARD TIRES

It is relatively easy to go fast in a straight line, but cornering speed is what separates the truly fast guys from everyone else. Cornering hard means extreme loads on tires, and those loads can cause all kinds of fl ex in the tall sidewalls of fat and plus tires. But even as I type this, we are seeing more and more fast riders loving on the plus tires in certain situations.

Marin Attack Trail-2

Trail Riding

OUR PICK: A LA CARTE, MOTHERTRUCKERS

There are really no right answers about what bike to ride on dirt for fun. While some areas can be quite homogeneous, on any given day in most locations you can find people riding dirt on just about anything with knobby (and sometimes not-so-knobby) tires.

Experiment, test ride some bikes, swap bikes with your buddies, enjoy yourself, and don’t get too hung up on what you “should” be riding. That said, if you are looking for a do-it-all trail hardtail, there are a lot of compelling reasons to look at the new crop of 27plus bikes.

The upside to all these choices?

They can break down into similar wheel diameters, making it easier to fit multiple wheel sizes into the same frame. With bikes like Salsa’s Pony Rustler/Horsethief, Advocate’s Hayduke (read our Hayduke review) and the new Santa Cruz Hightower being designed to utilize 29 inch and 27plus tires, we expect this idea to spread to the rest of the industry.

With 2017 product [already being] released, expect to see this dual-wheel-size-compatible idea to spread to 27.5 inch/26plus bikes as well. This should simplify things for manufacturers, shops and consumers. There are going to be some growing pains here, and we’ll probably need to wade through some foolishness to get to the wheel size wisdom we are all seeking.

We’ve been through similar things before, and we’ll go through this again.


This was originally published in Issue #190. Want more? Subscribe to Dirt Rag today and don’t miss any of our tech features. Probably best to keep stuff like this in your shop, or bathroom, anyway. 

 

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Review: Atomik Onyx Wheelset


For our recent Canfield EPO build, we went with carbon Atomik 29 AM/Enduro Mod-Hook rims laced up to Antifreeze Green Onyx hubs using Sapim Race spokes and Sapim Polyax nipples. The wheelset was beautifully handcrafted and customized by Hubsessed Cycle Works out of Ogden, Utah.

DR188 wheels-3

Not only do these wheels look incredible, the rims are solid and the hubs are standout performers. The Atomik Mod-Hook rims withstood everything I could put them through. That’s a good thing, because we’ve been hearing about some failures with its hookless rims.

Dusty Ott, owner of Hubsessed, assured us the Mid-Hooks would hold up – as they have. Each Mid-Hook weighs in at 420 grams, has an internal width of 24 mm, and features 32 directionally drilled spoke holes which help alleviate stress on the rim.

DR188 wheels-4

The star of the show is definitely the Onyx hub. Onyx uses a Sprag clutch which provides virtually instant engagement, almost non-existent drag and silent operation. Sprag clutches aren’t some new technology though; they have been in car and truck automatic transmissions, helicopters and motorcycles for years.

The clutch is made up of steel wedges, or Sprags, which are arranged to allow free movement of the freehub in the forward direction, but prohibit movement in the opposite direction. This is known as backstopping – and it works wonderfully. There’s nothing like feeling your hub lock and engage right when you need it – truly confidence inspiring.

Canfield EPO-1

Shelling out $1,800 is in line with today’s carbon wheelset prices, but I think you also get a nice bonus with the Onyx hubs. Hubsessed did a great job with these, and if you are in the market for a well-built wheelset I recommend you look them up.

Price: $1,800
More info: hubsessedcycleworks.com

 

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Editor’s Choice 2015: Our favorite components


Dirt_Rag_Editors_Choice_2015_WEBThis is Dirt Rag’s second year doing an official “Editor’s Choice.” With editorial staff of all shapes and sizes, spread out all over the country, we can’t just pick one product per category and call it the best.

Also notice our timing. While we could do this in the early spring, how much ride time do you think those early season awards are based on, if any at all? Waiting until the end of the year allows us to consider all the products we’ve used.

And finally, notice not all these products have been reviewed (some we’ve shelled out our own money for), nor are they all from our advertisers. We’re doing our best to be honest with our selections here, and each one is deserving of its award on its own merits. While you can buy us a beer, you can’t buy our editors.

Continue reading for products from Shimano, 9Point8, VP, Industry Nine and SRAM.


Shimano Di2 XTR

MIKE CUSHIONBURY
Editor-in-Chief

Di2 groupset

Electronic shifting? I can hear the purists and singlespeeders scoffing, pointing and cursing my name, but the unequivocal fact is this drivetrain works with absolute perfection. It’s been a few years since I’ve had a double chainring on a personal bike, yet with top-notch shifting from the auto Syncro Shift I barely notice it’s not a single—it’s that smooth, with no front shifter to fiddle with.

With almost a year of abuse, through the tail end of winter, a wet spring and a dusty summer I have never adjusted, tweaked or fiddled with it once. That’s the biggest takeaway: truly maintenance-free performance without frayed cables, corroded housing, water freezing the line or worrying about funky routing hampering shifting. Battery life is also longer than claimed, so I hardly think about that either.

Shimano Di2 XTR isn’t in everyone’s wheelhouse and it’s not meant to be, but the concept and performance is groundbreaking. Because of that it gets my choice and is certainly here to stay.

More info: bike.shimano.com
Price: Varies, but serious $$$. If you have to ask…


9Point8 Fall Line dropper post

ERIC MCKEEGAN
Tech EditorEd Choice components-2Other than good tires, a dropper post is the best upgrade you can make to your bike. The Fall Line is the best dropper I’ve used in 2015, and as long as it remains reliable it’ll be the best I’ve ever used.

The Fall Line is cutting-edge because its design is the first mechanically locking dropper with infinite adjustment. It also has a sweet remote that can be run horizontally or vertically on either side of the bar. And two offset choices: 0 mm or 25 mm along with internal routing with tool-free cable removal for packing or sharing the post between various bikes. And it never, ever needs to be bled.

All that, plus it’s made in Canada and costs less than most high-end droppers on the market. I hope 9point8 sells a million of these things.

More info: 9point8.ca
Price: $375


VP VX Adventure Race pedals

ADAM NEWMAN
Contributing EditorEd Choice components-1Aside from some early misadventures, I’ve ridden Time clipless pedals for what seems like an eternity. Sure, SPDs are great and they’ve been around forever, but once you commit to a pedal system and pick up a few pairs, it sure is hard to switch.

I signed on to review these SPD-cleat-compatible trail pedals from VP and switched over some cleats. With both the stock VP cleats and some old Shimano ones they have a positive engagement and a crisp, quality feeling when unclipping. I’ve moved them from bike to bike for the most part of the year, and they’ve never loosened, squeaked or complained one bit. The large platform is just the ticket for a secure feeling underfoot, as more of your shoe is in contact with the pedal.

I may not be ready to toss all my Time pedals in the recycling bin, but the VP VX Adventure Race pedals are good enough to find a permanent spot on one of my bikes and a pair of SPD cleats on my favorite shoes.

More info: vp-usa.com
Price: $130


Industry Nine Pillar Carbon Trail 29

MATT KASPRZYK
Former Art DirectorINine wheelsStrength, weight and price. That’s the trifecta, and it’s been said that you can only have two of the three. So with a $2,850 base price it should be no surprise which two are finishing first and second.

While the hubs and spokes are machined by I9 in North Carolina, the carbon rims are made by Reynolds Cycling, of Utah. Rim profiles and layups are designed to maximize lateral stiffness but maintain controlled vertical deflection. The 32 spoke holes are angled to minimize stress and promote long-term durability. The hookless bead walls allow for a slightly increased internal rim width. At 24 mm they aren’t super wide, but the bead walls are formed using a continuous fiber wrap around the top of the wall, which increases strength and impact resistance. Without a bead hook, it’s counterintuitive how secure and burp-free the tire is. Setup was easy, and I’ve had no issues.

This wheelset is ’spensive, but I9 hubs are my favorite. They’re precisely machined with a 120-point, three-degree engagement. They’re compatible with everything, and there are several colors for a custom look, but which will cost you an additional upcharge. I even like the freehub sound. There’s no need for a bell on the crowded weekend trails.

Price: $2,850
More info: industrynine.net


SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain

JUSTIN STEINER
General Manager and Photographer

SRAM GX group

SRAM has earned significant market share and popularity with its single-ring drivetrains for good reason. These drivetrains offer enough gearing range for most situations, greatly simplify bike setup and perform incredibly well.

Last year, Dirt Rag Editor-in-Chief Mike Cushionbury awarded SRAM’s X01 drivetrain his Editor’s Choice honors because it offered similar performance to the flagship XX1 group at a reduced cost. With GX1, SRAM has again significantly cut the price of entry to 1×11 ownership.

Sure, the GX 1×11 group gains a little weight, but it retains all of the performance benefits from its pricier siblings. Shifting might be ever so slightly less crisp than XX1 or X01, but I wouldn’t bet on being able to discern a difference if blindfolded. If I were building a bike or planning to buy a new one, I’d be targeting GX 1×11 for certain. This is the pinnacle of the current performance-to-value ratio right now.

Price: $564
More info: sram.com


If you missed our Editor’s Choice bike picks, check them out here. And make sure to subscribe to the print edition so you don’t miss all of our reviews and gear picks throughout the year.

 

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Inside Line: Industry Nine expands 2016 off-road range


Asheville, NC – Industry Nine, a cycling components manufacturer in the heart of Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, has announced new rim options for mountain and fat bikes, and a new plus-size rim option.

BR975_PRFat Bike

Two new tubeless fat bike rim options join the well-received BigRig 825 Carbon. The new BigRig 975 Carbon and the alloy BigRig 845 are built on Industry Nine’s proven Torch FatBike System hub and spoke chassis. The BR975C features Hed Cycling’s innovative BFD rim. At 1890g, the 100mm outer width/97.5mm inner width carbon hoop defies convention and allows riders to explore the limits of low-weight yet dependable tubeless fat bike riding. Available now.

One of the most requested Industry Nine wheelsets last season was an alloy fat bike wheelset and, for 2016, a BigRig845 tubeless alloy fat bike wheelset joins the lineup. The BR845 has a 90mm outer width/84.5mm inner width at a weight of 2530g for the pair.

Both rim choices are available on all-season ready Torch FatBike System hub and spoke chassis with options for every fat bike axle configuration presently in the wild. Coming November 2015.

BC450_PRBackCountry450

The BackCountry450 has a 49mm outer width/45mm inner width rim and provides support for 2.8” to 3.5” tires. Build options include Torch Mountain, Torch Boost and Torch FatBike system chassis, allowing the BackCountry450 to be the solution for multiple bike builds and applications. Coming December 2015.

Weights:
27.5″ MTB/Boost, 1950g
29” MTB/Boost, 2050g
27.5″ FatBike, 2015g
29″ Fatbike, 2115g

Trail245

TR245_customThe Trail rim has been Industry Nine’s best-selling model in the Torch lineup. Trail245 delivers a wider 24.5mm internal width, 1mm wider bead seat per side, and a 0.5mm shorter bead wall from the original Trail for improved tire performance and increased “burp” resistance at low pressures.

Industry Nine has also created a thicker bead wall and tapered downwall construction that puts more material in the “impact” zone where it’s needed most. Trail 245 comes in 27.5” and 29″ versions using 32 hole or 24 hole Torch Mountain System Chassis. Available now.

Weights:
27.5” 24h, 1480g; 32h, 570g
29” 24h, 1560g; 32h, 1660g

Boost Options For Mountain; Front Conversion Endcaps

Industry Nine accommodates Rock Shox 31mm TorqueCap-equipped Boost forks. Current Boost Specific Front hub configuration options include 31mm TorqueCaps and 15×110. Non-Boost Torch Mountain 32h Front hubs and Non-Boost Torch Classic Flanged hubs are adaptable to Boost 110 using our Non-Drive Side conversion endcap.

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Inside Line: Stan’s NoTubes debuts new Bravo carbon wheels


Carbon fiber has come to dominate the high end mountain bike market when it comes to frames and components, and more and more brands are using it in wheels as well. Stan’s NoTubes first molded its Bead Socket Technology design in carbon last year with the cross-country and race oriented Valor wheels, which we were impressed with in our testing. Now the same technologies are being adapted for trail and all-mountain use with the new Bravo model.

notubes-brave-wheels-8

With an inner width of 26.6 mm the Bravo rims aren’t as wide as many competitors, but NoTubes points out that bigger isn’t always better. It claims that its sidewall shape offers many of the benefits of the wider rims, specifically increasing the tire’s overall volume, without exposing the sidewalls or deforming them in ways they were never intended to.

notubes-brave-wheels-9

Stiffer isn’t always better either, said NoTubes’ Michael Bush. While the concept of “laterally stiff/vertically compliant” has long been a cliche, NoTubes is proud that its carbon wheels offer competitive lateral stiffness while still allowing for up to 10 mm of vertical compliance. This deflection improves ride quality and increases speed, Bush said. The Athertons have been racing the Bravo rim design with a different “team-only” carbon layup this season with good success.

The Bravo rims will be available in complete wheels, built in New York, in July, in 26-inch, 27.5 and 29-inch sizes. The two price points are $1,575 and $1,900 depending on the hub spec.

 

Neo hubs

Also new this year is an all-new hub design that will phase out the 3.30 hubs the brand has used for years. As axle widths and dimensions have expanded and freehub bodies have changed, NoTubes realized it was time for a clean-slate design overhaul.

notubes-brave-wheels-27

While the 3.30 hub shells are forged, the new Neo hubs are CNC machined from bar stock for tighter tolerance control and more adaptability—in case someone dares create a 153.5 mm “standard” in a year or two! The front hubs will be available in 100 mm or 110 mm, while the rears will be available in 135/142 as well as Boost and even 157 mm downhill versions. No 170 mm or 190 mm fat bike hubs yet, but it wouldn’t be difficult to do, Bush said. While the end caps are still interchangeable between thru-axles and quick release skewers, the interface has changed for better retention, so they’re not as likely to fall off on their own.

notubes-brave-wheels-24

Also new are much larger bearings (6902 replacing the 6802) and a new four or six-pawl freehub body design. The standard Neo hubs use a 4-pawl driver with a 36-tooth ratchet ring for 10 degrees of engagement, while the high-end Neo Ultimate version has a 6-pawl driver for 5 degrees of engagement. All the pawls engage simultaneously for strength and durability, and the two freehub bodies are interchangeable, so you can switch from four to six when if you were to swap to a SRAM xD driver, for example.

notubes-brave-wheels-14

The Neo Ultimate also sheds weight with a more heavily machined axle, shell and other pieces, and is available in a matte finish to better match the carbon rims. The freehub body is also silver to differentiate the models.

Both the Neo and Neo Ultimate will eventually replace the 3.30 hubs in all NoTubes wheels later this year.

Correction

The internal width of the Bravo rims is 26.6 mm. An earlier version of this post had an incorrect measurement.

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Easton hopes to steal the show with new Heist wheels


Easton’s Haven and Havoc wheels have been solid performers for years but with customers asking for ever-wider options the brand went back to the drawing board to create an all-new platform for aggressive trail and all-mountain riding.

easton-heist-wheels-4

The new Heist wheels will be available in both 27.5 and 29-inch, and in three widths: 24 mm, 27 mm or 30 mm, allowing riders to choose exactly which size works best for their bike and riding style. They’re also tubeless-ready with the tape and valves installed at the factory.

easton-heist-wheels-2

They come laced three-cross with butted spokes and brass nipples to Easton’s own X5 hubs that can be configured to thru axle or quick release with the provided end caps. Don’t worry, not every brand has moved on to Boost spacing already! It has a three-pawl design with 21 points of engagement. Since they’re designed to be ridden hard, Easton also includes five extra spokes in the box as well.

Easton’s claimed weight for the various models is anywhere from 1,650 grams to 1,880 grams and an MSRP of $700. There are also some colored decal sets sold separately so you can get that custom look.

Also available are the Arc rims, which are the same as those found on the Heist wheels but sold separately so you can get exactly the setup you’re looking for.

We’ll be riding the Heist wheels soon for a long-term review, but in the meantime watch how Wade Simmons snagged a pair for himself:

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Velocity USA’s Wheel Department now offering American-made wheels


A few years ago Velocity moved all its rim production from Australia to the United States and became Velocity USA, building rims in its Jacksonville, Florida, factory and lacing them by hand in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Now it’s paired with North Carolina’s Industry Nine components to offer an American-made wheelset from its in-house Wheel Department.

blunt-ss-i9

The build option is a pairing of Velocity‘s Blunt SS rims that measure 26.6 mm of internal width and 425 grams for a 29-inch version. They are the next evolution of the popular Blunt line of rims, and have a shorter, stronger sidewall for increased durability with tubeless tires. The rims are laced to Industry Nine’s Torch classic hubs with adaptable axle caps and 120 point, 3-degree engagement. Like all Industry Nine components they are made in Asheville, North Carolina. The 32 spokes per wheel are DT Swiss Competition double-butted, with Sapim alloy spoke nipples. Wheel weights are 790g/915g front and rear in 29-inch and 745g/870g in 27.5.

The wheels are built when orders are placed, and customers can choose from Velocity’s black, white, blue, silver and soon, red rims. The hubs are black, but customers can special order any of Industry Nine’s hub colors with a two-week turnaround.

The wheelsets are available now from the Wheel Department for $1,050 or through your local bike shop.

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Crankbrothers redesigns Cobalt, Iodine wheels


crankbros2014

Crank Brothers’ iconic pedal design quickly became a hit, but its wheelset lineup has taken a little longer to spin up to speed. For 2014 the unique twin-paired spoke design remains but the rims have changed dramatically for the new, third-generation design. Still available in Cobalt (XC) and Iodine (all-mountain) versions, they will be hitting the trail at new price points too.

Read the full story

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