by Ben Haworth
December 7, 2009
Dr Jon reports on some mad hoops.
Edge All Mountain rims
Price: £676 each
Tested: Three months
Light, strong, cheap: pick two. Bontrager’s mantra has been part of the mountain bike lexicon for many years and rightly so. A light, strong, carbon, all mountain clincher rim? Well, it’s not going to be cheap is it?
Edge rims have been making class-leading road rims for some time and recently they released two types of carbon fibre mountain bike rim, both of which are available in 26in and 29in diameters. The all-mountain rim is 30mm wide, the XC is 25mm. At 400g and 450g for the 26in and 29in all mountain version (about 60g heavier than the XC), there are few rims that can get close to the weight. The real story, however, is the stiffness and strength. Instead of drilling the spoke holes, the rims have molded hemispherical seats for the Pillar internal nipples. This avoids fraying risk and makes high spoke tensions possible with little risk of damaging the rim around the nipple. High tension increases a wheel’s overall strength. Added to that the incredible stiffness immediately apparent from the 32mm depth of the rim and on paper you have a top performer. Although building with light or even aero spokes is deemed reasonable, I chose trusty DT comps. The resulting 29in wheels with robust disc-ready hubs weigh 1800g.
It is one thing to be told by a manufacturer that a very expensive bit of kit is up to being dragged through rock gardens and landed to flat from drops. It is another thing entirely to hear the crack and scrape of trail debris. Nevertheless, after several hundred miles of riding from the highlands of Scotland, through the East Coast USA and into high alpine Colorado, the rims are a little scuffed but otherwise perfectly true and undamaged. It is confidence-inspiring that flat tyres leading to hard impacts have not marked the rim at all. They are noticeably fast in pick-up. The stiffness when ‘jamming into gnarl’ is welcome and the large tyre footprint afforded by the 30mm width allows fearless low pressures.
There is one downside apart from cost – they are not tubeless ready. This is a serious consideration for many. However, Stan’s has a rim strip for those who are keen.
Overall: If you want one of the lightest, stiffest and seemingly most durable mountain bike rims on the market this is it. Just be prepared to pay for the pleasure.
Dr Jon Meredith