Italian-made composite wheels- now lighter and stronger
“Such a beauty you will never see in another booth!”
While we’ve covered Alchemist’s carbon fibre rims and unique hubs before, Interbike presented this writer the first opportunity to see them in the flesh – and to experience first-hand the company’s characteristically Italian exuberance.
In Las Vegas the company was showing a new cross-country oriented Clincher RR. With a 26/30mm width, the 24-spoke 29er wheels feature Alchemist’s trademark Ridge Reinforcement. Rather than a consistent cross section, the Alchemist rims’ walls actually vary, with reinforcing webs running from the nipple to the bead hook. Still a hooked design, Alchemist’s is unique in that the bead hook is delivered largely as-moulded, with no material removed to create the bead-hugging undercut.
Though it can’t be seen here, the holes are offset to equalize spoke tension and the carbon fibre itself swims in a sea of impact-resistant resin. The result is a rim that will withstand 380Kgf at the spoke – which we are assured is a lot – and is more than able to withstand the insults of off-road riding.
The house-made hubs themselves are quite clever, with the braking force from each brake bolt being transmitted directly to the disc-side spoke flange. The freehub is the company’s own design and all common axle standards are accommodated. The hub shells’ centre sections are actually moulded carbon fibre (as opposed to being cut from a tube), allowing a smooth transition between the staggered flange sizes.
All told, the new Clincher RR 29er wheelset weighs 1,245g and retails for an eye-watering €3,110 (£2,425) per set. Not inexpensive – but not exactly unexpected given their no-compromises construction and Italian manufacture.