At least before being hidden behind a 50t cassette, Alto Cycling’s trademark mega-flange hubs certainly draw the eye. Conceived by a Florida engineer, the massive drive-side flange and unequal spoke lacing help to bring spoke tension and bracing angles into balance, yielding a structure more at peace with itself than a more conventional setup.
While inner peace is a laudable goal in itself, the US-made hub also makes for a wheel that handles torsional forces (from pedalang and disc brakes) a claimed 25% better than typical wheels in the same weight class, is 16% stiffer laterally, and should be more durable in the long run. The hubs themselves are built to remarkably tight tolerances, with bearing seats and axles machined within .00005mm to keep the hub from deforming bearings. The result can be felt, with among the smoothest-spinning bearings this cyclist has felt in a long, long time.
While the company’s disc hubs have been available for some time on the road, the carbon mountain rims are new. As with Alto’s road offerings, the mountain rims are built around an expanded foam mandrel -making layup cleaner and more consistent- before the entire assembly is inserted into the usual mould and cured under pressure. The foam is subsequently melted out and re-molded for use on the next 7-9 rims.
The rim design is being finalised so weights have not yet been published- but should be competitive with high-end wheels in the cross-county segment. Pricing will likewise be in the neighbourhood $2,300 (£1,900)- not out of line for a premium wheel built around American hubs.