Carbon MTB Wheels

Carbon MTB Wheels

Increasingly, high-end wheelsets are built around carbon fiber rims. Compared to aluminum, carbon rims can be as stiff or stiffer, at a lower weight. That's not to say you should completely write-off aluminum rims.

Though somewhat narrow at 25mm internally, Knight Composites' Trail wheelset strikes a good balance of lateral stiffness with just enough vertical compliance to keep them from being jarring. Changing directions and twisting the bike around corners with these happens with a quickness usually reserved for more rigid-feeling wheels.

Comparing the ENVE to the cheap Chinese versions, which were bought online and included a warranty should there be any problems, (which was honoured when one had a surface finish problem) the question starts to evolve. The performance of the Chinese rims was for the price not that far behind the ENVE AM rims and was completely comparable to the SRAM and DT Swiss versions we used at various points. Which brings us to the point, If a rider has money and wants the best then the ENVE AM rim is a really good option, they are hand made in the USA and have high quality warranty support. However if as a rider you are considering one of the other brand options out there, for the price the performance increase is not really worth it.

Carbon Mtb Wheels 29

Rim width has increased for both road and carbon mountain bike wheels. The critical dimension to keep in mind is the internal width. This distance determines the shape of your tires. For a given tire, a wider rim will increase tire volume and give the tire a flatter, squared-off profile. A narrower rim will decrease tire volume and give the tire a rounder profile.

The next set of rims we have seen that caught our eye were DT Swiss EXC 1550, these were being used fairly well by a competent rider, and after a long winter with no problems the rear suddenly broke when the rider hit some large trail rocks when going fairly fast. The rim failure was sudden and dramatic, however the tyre remained inflated and seated on the rim. Unfortunately we don’t have copy-write free pictures of the failure, but the rear was no longer ridable.

Carbon Mtb Wheelset

If you're not concerned with ultimate weight savings or ultimate stiffness, but are looking to upgrade to a higher performance wheelset with an affordable price, then there are many quality aluminum wheelsets to choose from.

Whether or not a normal rider should buy carbon rimed wheels is another interesting question. Over the last year we can honestly say that carbon rims do improve bike performance and are stiffer, not necessarily lighter, but if as a rider you are not racing and like to have high performance parts anyway then it is a worth while consideration. If though as a rider you have limited funds and need something that is good and works well, almost up to carbon rim standards, then a wheel set like Mavic Crossmax SX or Fulcrum Redzone XLR will not leave you disappointed.

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The TR33 is NOBL’s Jack-of-all-trades wheelset. The carbon rims have an internal width of 27mm. NOBL’s carbon rims feature hookless profiles to increase durability and external nipples for easy truing. They come with tubeless tape pre-installed and have bead lips on the sides of the drop channel to make tubeless inflation easy.

Carbon Mtb Wheels Enve

This alloy wheelset is available in 27.5 and 29 inch versions and features the proven DT Swiss Star Ratchet freehub. It's an upgrade for overweight plus bike wheelsets that feels accurate and responsive on singletrack.

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If you're buying a high-end mountain bike these days, nearly all of them will feature the Boost axle spacing. There are notable exceptions, however, such as the 'Super Boost' spacing found on the Pivot Switchblade, or the many very wide thru-axle standards used on fat bikes.

When placing an order online for the Chinese rims it is possible to specify the weight according to the intended use. The factory lay up the rim set for the customer as requested. It seems in our experience it is possible to trust the product. We are led and convinced that non ENVE branded rims are not worth it currently, based on performance alone. The ENVE are expensive, partly because they are made in the USA and partly because they are a top level product with proven race pedigree that has a high price point, however they do have a noticeable higher performance that changes how it is possible to ride.

A while back we got to test some SRAM rise carbon wheels in various forms and most notably concurrently on a 26″ wheeled bike and a 29″ wheeled bike. These were not all mountain versions but more leaning towards Cross Country/All Mountain, however they again showed the characteristics of being stiff, fast rolling and performance enhancing when riding, especially the 29er versions. After all the riding we did, we found that the ENVE AM set felt better as they were stiffer and faster rolling in feeling on the bike, we noted that spoke tensions were higher on the ENVE AM rims, and we would like to investigate further how this affects wheel performance, along with rim profile. We would be interested to try the more comparable AM versions from SRAM which have just been released and see how they compare next to the ENVE AM versions.