Last week Mark was shown a new set of wheels from the Bontrager Wheelworks that will soon be available in your LBS.
Premier Users can see our 30 second interview with Bontrager Wheelworks guy, Michael Browne
The new wheels have a number of new features for this year, most of them in the hub itself. The first key feature is the Rapid Drive freewheel, which now comes with more than twice the usual number of teeth for a freewheel. This results in a much faster engagement when you stutter on the pedals and need to put the power down – techy climbs for example. Whereas a standard 24 tooth hub can lead to around 15 degrees of movement on the pedals before the pawls engage the new Bontrager Wheels will engage in a maximum of just 6 degrees of crank rotation. With 54 teeth the freewheel not so much clicks as buzzes.
The hub also has one less bearing – down to just three. Instead of the usual four regular bearings there’s now two regular outer bearings and just one inner, but much bigger bearing. The result is claimed to be greater load bearing for less weight.
The axles are removable so you won’t need to shell out for a new hub if you change from 15 to 20mm (or 12 at the back or even QR).
Offset rims have been Bontrager’s thing for quite some years now but they’ve now added reinforcing material around the spoke holes and while we are mentioning spokes the hubs have a spoke flange arrangement where each pair of holes is stacked vertically. This apparently leads to much less stress on the spoke heads and results in a much stronger wheel. Back to the rims, which are also now wider with a 22mm internal width. The benefit is a less curved tyre sidewall and is hence more rigid and less likely to roll over in the corners – a benefit especially useful if you like to run big tyres.
The Rhythm Elite wheels in 26″ weigh in at 1685g for the pair with the 29r versions coming in at 1815g. Both sizes RRP at $999 (No UK prices as yet but you can bet they will be end up being pretty close to parity with the $)
The Rhythm Comp is a ‘budget’ version that weigh in at 1855g for the pair and 1935g for the 29r set. They are priced at $599. The Comps don’t come with the Rapid Drive freewheel or the reinforced spoke nodes on the rims.