Carbon rims. Anybody using them for their MTB?

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  • Carbon rims. Anybody using them for their MTB?
  • Roter Stern
    Member

    I am thinking about ugrading my MTB race bike with carbon rims. I know that they are hideously expensive at the moment and I was just wondering if anyone is using carbon rims on their bike and what they think of them. Does the ride feel radically different/better than alu rims and though the cost can never be completely justified do people think the rims are ‘worth’ it?

    Secondly as I don’t really want to give up using my CK hubs I would rather be looking for 32 hole carbon rims rather than wheelsets. Anyone know where to look?

    paddy0091
    Member

    I used some once, that weren’t actually mine..gulp.

    They were Harry Rowland branded, used them for once lap of a race. Someone crashed into the back of me, breaking part of the rim in the process.

    Didn’t really ride much different to anything I’ve used before, although I imagine that the deep section Ritchey/Reynolds/ENVE etc will be significantly different, especially when used with tubs.

    Roter Stern
    Member

    Yeah I have seen those ENVE ones already (gulp). Anyone know of any others? Or has anybody ridden a pair for longer than one lap without breaking them?

    paddy0091
    Member

    Nb. I must say the damaged caused would have damaged any XC wheel, don’t want to be bad mouthing any brand 🙂

    Easton have a few wheelsets, not sure if they can be had rim only.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    Did that company that Singular Sam was doing a ‘group buy’ with do 26″ mountain bike rims – or were they just tubular?

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Did that company that Singular Sam was doing a ‘group buy’ with do 26″ mountain bike rims – or were they just tubular

    They were alu tubs.

    I just don’t really see the point in clinchers (tubs marginally more sensible as they’re lighter), the only ones I’d consider are the Roval SL Carbons, good price (for carbon), and nice and light.

    The Innolites are very impressive weight wise, but a friend saw someone (world cup XC racer) mistime a bunny hop and shatter the rim, which I’m not too keen on.

    Otherwise what’s the point!? ZTR Podium MMX rims are lighter than all bar the Innolites (significantly so than the Enves) and about 1/8 the price! I’m happy for them not to last more than a couple of years, I’d be devastated if I trashed a carbon rim!

    I’ve had 2 sets of Bontrager XXX Lite Carbon wheels with bikes, both of which I’ve sold brand new and replaced with alu wheelsets 1/4 the price and 250g lighter!

    dirtyrider
    Member

    ive got edge/enve rims, can i tell the difference between them every other rim ive had? nope

    front cost me £400 complete with a Tune hub and DT Aerolites
    rear rim cost me £150 shipped from the states

    there was a pair with DT Swiss 240s hubs last week sold for £580 shipped from the states,

    the resale value seems poor, always cheap sets from the states resellers (pro closet, gear rush store) for sub the cost of 1x UK retail rim

    cynic-al
    Member

    Yup, pointless.

    These wheels were raced on all season by quite a few pros/elite racers and were fine, tubs only though. They also make some very nice CX wheels.Revolver-racing

    geetee1972
    Member

    I’m in the informed position of being able to comment from extended experience of using a set of carbon rimmed wheels.

    I own a set of Easton Haven Carbons and have had them for a little over eight months.

    You need to split the evaluation process down to two basic questions:

    First – is there an inherent difference in the way a carbon rimmed wheel ‘feels’?

    Second – what is the weight advantage offered and what benefit does that confer on the way the bike rides?

    First question first – do they feel different?

    My experience is yes they do. To what degree they feel different depends on how sensitive you are, whether you’re just coming to them having never ridden them before, how you ride etc.

    Almost everyone who has tried my bike comments on the ‘feel’ of the wheels; these comments tend to focus on how stiff they are in turns but how compliant they are over rough ground. The stiffness is also noticeable in terms of steering accuracy and tracking; the bike feels a little more composed and has more ‘integrity’. It’s the same kind of feeling going from a very light, relatively flexy frame, to a bullet stiff carbon frame. There is a subtle but to a lot of people, very noticeable difference in ‘feel’.

    Not everyone who has tried my bike says they can feel a difference but not everyone is the same so hey ho. Everyone’s experience is right as far as they experience it.

    Second question – how much lighter are they and what benefit does this have?

    The Easton wheels are 1450g and have the no questions asked 2 year guarantee (which I can vouch for being honourable – more on that in a moment). At my weight – 107kg at the moment – and riding style I couldn’t possibly get away with a wheel set within even 300g of that weight. The lightest I could go to would be a Crossmax SX. So these wheels save me not far off 1lb in rotating weight.

    That is a huge difference and extremely noticeable, especially on a bike that weighs 31lbs without the carbon wheels. It makes a very big difference in the acceleration, turning and the overall feel of the bike. And I love it.

    So the performance advantage is mostly in the fact that you can have a set of wheels that are extremely light but also incredibly stiff. The weight is a bigger factor than the stiffness I think, but having owned a very light but extremely flexible wheelset (an original set of Rovals that weighed about 1550g) the combination of light and stiff is what’s most appealing.

    Here’s the rub though; if you’re going to go the Edge AM/XC rim route, you’re not going to get a wheel that is much lighter than say a Crossmax SX or ST equivalent. The Edge rim is 410g (give or take 10g I think), so a complete wheelset, with 32 spokes, is still going to only 150g lighter than say an equivalent build Stans Flow rim. It will be a lot stiffer though and have far greater longevity.

    Importantly, the reason the wheel can be built so stiff is because you can run much higher spoke tension than normal, without any risk of cracking the rim. That stiffness is key so you need someone who knows what they’re doing with the wheel build and has experience of working with the Edge rims. Perhaps North West Mountainbikes would be the place to go?

    I came very close to opting for the Edge wheels on account of I already had a pair of Hadley hubs to build them on.

    The reason I went with the Eastons in the end is because of the warranty they offered and because I couldn’t get the Edge rims for 2 months.

    Now the warranty; I have used this twice. I took the wheels on my AM bike to Verbier in August. I was not riding the DH tracks, but the tracks were very rocky and with my weight and not being too slow over rough ground, the rear wheel didn’t last more than three hours before I blew out two spokes. Once one spoke has gone, the high tension means the others are taking a massive load and they won’t last long.

    It was very disappointing and I am still not convinced that the rear is really up to the job but I need to get to somewhere really rocky again before I can test that theory – the Peak District is on the cards for March.

    The wheel was completely rebuilt under the warranty and the bearings have also been replaced twice now. There is a known problem with the hub design that is being worked on by Easton and there will be a retro fittable update available soon.

    So if I had the decision over again would I still buy them?

    That’s a tough one because the light weight really is incredible and really does bring the bike alive. Having had them now for a while, I can no longer ‘feel’ the carbon effect. They just feel like a normal set of wheels. However, I imagine that going back to regular allow rimmed wheels would highlight again the difference.

    I am disappointed that I don’t have a wheelset I feel I can rely on 100%. Making the choice again I would most likely go for the Edge/Hadley/CK hub option as that gives greater peace of mind and I know that no matter where I am, I could get a spoke replaced easily; also I know that the rear wheel would be up to the job.

    So I hope that helps. Long post but maybe will give you some insight from someone who actually does own a set!

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Importantly, the reason the wheel can be built so stiff is because you can run much higher spoke tension than normal, without any risk of cracking the rim. That stiffness is key so you need someone who knows what they’re doing with the wheel build and has experience of working with the Edge rims.

    Higher spoke tension does not equal a stiffer wheel though.

    As this is for a race set of wheels the weight is more pertinent (I assume) and unless you go tubs, carbon doesn’t really make sense IMO.

    Edit: those Revolver ones look good, but you can still build lighter clinchers for half the price, or just build on alu tub rims.

    dirtyrider
    Member

    do you not think at 107kg you would have been better off with 32 spoked Enve rims rather than 24 spoked Eastons?

    geetee1972
    Member

    Higher spoke tension does not equal a stiffer wheel though.

    Huh, I didn’t know that. I thought it did. Apologies for being misleading. What property does spoke tension confer on a wheel then? I guess it must add something.

    As this is for a race set of wheels the weight is more pertinent (I assume) and unless you go tubs, carbon doesn’t really make sense IMO.

    I think this is a key point as it highlights the fact that what you want to use the wheels for determines the benefit of the carbon rim.

    If you’re racing XC on them, then it’s likely that you’re light enough to be able to run those Podium MMXs you referenced.

    For bigger guys or those of us riding mixed terrain, carbon may make sense. I think it will be a while before there is enough manufacturing experience to make XC race carbon rims light enough to offer an advantage over alloy.

    geetee1972
    Member

    do you not think at 107kg you would have been better off with 32 spoked Enve rims rather than 24 spoked Eastons?

    Yes absolutely. But hindsight is a wonderful thing!

    I’m going to head up to the peak and try to crucify them again down something like the drop into Roych Clough. If they don’t make it I will be asking for a refund!

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    the cost can never be completely justified do people think the rims are ‘worth’ it?

    The cost can’t really be justified at all IMHO. Just bling.

    these comments tend to focus on how stiff they are in turns but how compliant they are over rough ground

    Laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant? 😆

    the reason the wheel can be built so stiff is because you can run much higher spoke tension than normal

    Have you been reading the STW carbon wheel review? Or maybe you wrote it? 😆

    geetee1972
    Member

    So you own a set do you aracer?

    I don’t read the magazine and I don’t have a premier account so no I haven’t read the review in STW.

    Sam
    Member

    In my reasonably extended experience of a few different carbon wheelsets, mostly Reynolds both tubs and clinchers, I notice an enormous difference to ride feel. When I go back to riding something like a Stan’s Crest after having been on the carbon for a bit they feel very squirelly and indirect. The stiffness benefit is noticeable both in steering precision and in power transfer.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, for racing I’d rather have a relatively cheap steel frame with fancy carbon wheels than a carbon, Ti whatever frame and ‘standard’ wheels.

    adrianmurray
    Member

    Thanks for the informative post geetee1972, that’s what makes forums a great resource.

    cynic-al
    Member

    If carbon rims genuinely build into stiffer wheels (seems unlikely for low spoke counts), there’s no way they make a significant difference to acceleration. They may flex laterally less, which will be felt then pedalling hard (esp out of the saddle), which of course will make you feel your £00s were well spent.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    njee20 – Member

    Otherwise what’s the point!? ZTR Podium MMX rims are lighter than all bar the Innolites (significantly so than the Enves) and about 1/8 the price!

    Sure, you can get plenty of alu rims that are under the 395g of the Enve AM rims. Can you put them on a world cup racer’s downhill bike and have them last a season?

    <disclaimer- Santa Cruz Syndicate are not neccesarily telling the truth, it could be the rims go in the bin after every race, they claim though that they lasted the year>

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