SRAM Launches Rise Wheelsets - Carbon Fiber 60 and Aluminum 40

Oct 12, 2011 at 0:09
Oct 12, 2011
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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SRAM invited a small cadre of journalists to the South of France to ride its new 'Rise' trail/XC wheels and test some cross-country shock tunes for 2012. The news that SRAM was entering the crowded wheel market was suspected, but the Chicago-based parts maker kept the two-year project under a tight lid so when that moment arrived, it could launch the wheel program along with clear details about the origins, engineering and purpose of each product. Two wheel platforms are nearing production: the Rise 40 aluminum wheels will hit the stores in 26 inch and 29 inch sizes around November 2011, with the carbon-fiber-rim Rise 60 wheelsets in both 29 and 26-inch diameters will land around February 2012.

60 side and spec
Rise 60 wheels: SRAM’s first shot at a carbon wheelset is pretty sweet. The Rise 60 can be configured by the customer for a number of axle option without tools, and weighs an impressively light 1330 grams a pair.

40 side and spec
Rise 40, the aluminum alternative: A bit more than half the cost and nearly the same strength as the Rise 60, Rise 40 wheels share the Sapim CX Ray spokes, lacing pattern, and axle options of the Rise 60, but use a slightly less complicated hub design and a welded aluminum rim.

The launch was tailored to showcase the wheels where they are intended to live – out on the trail, for high-octane back-country shredding. The plan was to meet in Nice, France, get on a SRAM Rise-equipped Rocky Mountain Element, and ride off-road 40 or so kilometers a day from hotel to hotel until we reached the massive Roc d'Azur mountain bike festival in nearby Frejus. The weather was warm and breezy and the riding there is rocky, often steep and technical, and punctuated by rolling dirt roads. In short; the French Riviera is a great place to test wheels in early October – and the point-to-point riding format was sweet.

RC down the rocks of the Azur Coastal Mtns

Blazing the last few meters of a rocky singletrack on the way to Frejus. The terrain in the steep coastal hills changes quickly from polished dolomite to sharp metamorphic stone. Rocks were the theme and the Rise wheels handled them without complaint.


SRAM Rise Wheels - The Short Version

If you want the short version: we had a great time riding with the SRAM wheel team. The new hoops will be a step up from most of their competition and should run shoulder to shoulder with the best in the XC/trailbike class. Weights for the aluminum-rim Rise 40 will run 1710 to 1840 grams in 26 and 29 inch respectively and the numbers for the carbon fiber Rise 60 models are 1330 and 1420 grams in the same order. Front axles from Quick release to 15QR will be served and the rear hub can handle quick release, or 10-millimeter and 142/12 millimeter through-axles. Yes, the hubs have interchangeable parts to configure all possible combinations, and the end caps can replaced without tools. Prices range from $550 US a set for the Rise 40, to $2000 US for the Carbon Rise 60 wheelset. Colors are SRAM red and white with either natural carbon or black-anodized finishes.

Why SRAM Wheels?

SRAM is a components supplier to the world’s bicycle makers, so it makes sense to extend its range to wheels. Considering that it already manufactures everything that surrounds the wheel; brakes, suspension forks, cassettes and through-axle quick releases, the fact that SRAM has ignored wheels up to this point is the more pertinent question.

A number of years ago SRAM acquired Zipp, THE wheel builder within the ethereal ranks of ProTour and multi-sport road racing. Zipp’s experience with carbon rim design and wheel engineering is unparalleled, so SRAM’s off-road hoops began their development curve where most of its present competitors ended. Carbon manufacturing and the final assembly of SRAM’s Rise 60 wheels takes place in the USA at Zipp’s Indianapolis factory, so there can be no question that the 60 is the real deal. SRAM is a global manufacturer, so its hubs are produced in a SRAM-owned Taiwan factory and shipped to the Zipp factory for assembly. SRAM announced that its aluminum-rim Rise 40 wheels will be built and assembled in Taiwan so they can directly service OEM bike makers with Taiwanese and Chinese factories.

Rim highlights: (Clockwise) The carbon fiber Rise 60 wheel didn’t show a hint of strain after back to back 35-mile trail rides in the rocky coastal hills near the French Riviera. Lunch break on the beach. Woven carbon bridge of the Rise 60 rim and conventional drilled spoke holes of the Rise 60 carbon rim. The aluminum Rise 40 rim profile (left) is slightly flatter in profile than the 26-millimeter-deep carbon fiber Rise 60 rim.

Rise Wheel Technology

The Rise wheel team is based at SRAM’s Colorado Springs facility that the RockShox crew calls home. The two-year project began with a theoretical list of must-haves, and a bunch of relatively blank computer screens. SRAM said it began its journey into wheel building with six critical waypoints: low weight, minimum inertia, better freehub engagement, superior lateral stiffness, a degree of vertical compliance, and low rolling drag. The relatively blank screen part refers to the fact that SRAM’s intention to market its wheels to OEM customers in Europe required the team to adhere to strict ETRTO (European Technical Rim and Tire Organization) standards which dictate the profile, inner-width, height and bead retention design of the rim, and also confines various rim widths to existing tire sizes. For instance; the 19-millimeter inner diameter of the Rise 60 and 40 rims allows the use of tires from 1.9 to 2.4 inches. Choosing a narrower, 17-millimeter rim profile would eliminate the possibility for an OEM customer to spec 2.35-inch or larger tires.

Staying within convention: SRAM chose conventional building methods for the Rise project to ensure that its 40 and 60 wheels could be serviced by both individuals and bike shop mechanics worldwide. Spokes are Sapim CX Ray aero-profile with aluminum nipples. Front and rear wheels are laced two-cross with 24-spokes and the hub flange design allows the use of straight-pull spokes. Spoke tension is quite high, which means that Rise wheels feel responsive – and that they will need to be checked for tension when spoke-replacement time arrives.

RC action
Enjoying the warm sun and Mediterranean breeze aboard a full XX Rocky Mountain Element rolling on carbon wheels. The SRAM crew made life pretty easy for those who attended the Rise launch.


Rim design elements: Rise 60 rims are a trail-rider’s dream at 26-millimeters deep and about 28-millimeters wide. SRAM did not divulge the weight of its carbon rim, saying that its wheel was designed as an integrated unit. SRAM did admit that its rim was not the lightest in the field, because it wanted to build in more lateral stiffness and impact protection. To this end, SRAM uses a special high-impact-resistant composite material for the rim. Most of the Rise 60 rim is constructed from unidirectional fibers, while the inner well is made from bi-directional woven material. It should be noted that the deeper profile of SRAM’s 26-millimeter rim does not allow much valve stem to protrude from the rim. Riders discovered that some pumps would not seal well enough for trail-side inflation. The design, profile and construction of the 26 and 29-inch rims are nearly identical.

Not quite tubeless: Rise rims are drilled, so mounting a tubeless tire directly is not possible. SRAM is working on a rubber rim strip that will convert both 60 and 40 wheels, but that is up the road, perhaps as far as February 2012. Our test wheels were outfitted with Stan’s rubber rim-strip conversions, which put in a great showing when an Irishman popped off a loose valve stem and was happy to discover that he could seat the bead and re-inflate the tire with a tiny hand pump.

The Rise 60 hub (right) features tool-less endcap and axle configuration and a lighter weight straight-pull hub shell. The 40 series hub is slightly heavier and features a quick-lace, straight-pull hub flange design. SRAM has no plans for a splined brake rotor interface, so six bolt rotor flanges are what you get. Both share SRAM's 6.7-degree ratchet and aluminum freehub body.

About Rise Hubs

SRAM's wheel team built its hubs to last. There are five bearings in the rear hub: two to support the main hub body and three under the freehub body. The ratchet driver uses three special pawls, each with three teeth. The additional teeth allow SRAM designers to use a greater number of smaller teeth in the engagement ring (54) without sacrificing durability. Why? Because the Rise ratchet engages every 6.7 degrees – and short engagement means that you won't be blowing through the pedal stroke in low-speed, technical situations. While the Rise freehub has a short engagement, it doesn't drag profusely nor sound like the hub is going to catch fire when you are coasting. Part of this smoothness is because the ratchet pawls use flat leaf springs, the rest is due to the smaller teeth.

endcap pics
SRAM says its 31-millimeter quick release endcap adds a claimed, 15-percent stiffness to a suspension fork in torsion compared to the standard one on the right. The 31-millimeter RockShox-specific endcap is also compatible with the slightly smaller diameter Specialized hub interface.

SRAM wanted a laterally stiff wheel, so the hub is tied together with a large diameter tubular axle on both front and rear hubs. Endcaps, held firmly by rubber O-rings, slip over the ends of the axle to either make it smaller for quick release applications, or to guide a 10 or 15-millimeter axle through while achieving proper spacing. The aforementioned straight-pull hub flanges add durability to the wheel by eliminating the stress concentration at the turn of an old-school J-Bend spoke. Some say that a straight-pull spoke can be tensioned higher than a J-bend type as well - and there is a noticeable degree of tension in Rise wheels.

Pawl and leaf spring ratchet
A cut-away of the Rise hub shows the triple-engagement tooth profile of the ratchet pawls. Leaf springs put even pressure on the pawls, which have a very short throw due to the tiny teeth of the engagement ring.

On the subject of lateral stiffness, SRAM's monster, 31-millimeter endcaps for the front wheel are almost comical. reportedly, the larger-than-Specialized-hub endcaps give a 15-percent increase in lateral stiffness over your typical quick release endcap. All 2011 and forward quick-release, RockShox forks accept the big guys, so those of you through-axle non-believers who need quick release axles on your trailbikes (or 29er owners stuck with QR front wheels) take note.

(Clockwise)Pull the endcap off the Rise 60 rear hub and the freehub mech slips off the beefy aluminum axle. Note the three-tooth pawls and large-sized sealed bearings. The Rise 60 front hub sporting SRAM's 31-millimeter quick release endcap. A cut-away of the Rise 60 front hub showing its large diameter axle and conventional endcap configuration. An array of SRAM endcaps in various quick release and through-axle options.

RC riding
Dropping into one of many beautiful watersheds in Southern France. Should you get a chance to ride near Provence, be sure to get a guide so you don't miss the secret trails.

Pinkbike's Take on SRAM's Rise Wheels

Good work for SRAM's wheel team. The Rise 60 and 40 are wide enough to interest aggressive trail riders and light enough to make them worthy for XC, marathon and even Enduro racing. The ease of maintenance, and adaptability are huge pluses, but we believe, however that the beauty of SRAM's new hoops is for fast-paced, technical back-country riding. Their energetic feel under power and rigid directional stability make cornering and bashing down tough terrain much easier. They look good too, which is a huge plus for bike makers, who live and die on first impressions. Look forward to seeing Rise wheels on future SRAM equipped bikes - and that would be a very good thing.


Check out SRAM's website for more info.
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105 Comments

  • + 63
 aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh what happening with this interest in 29" wheels. just discovered how much of giant and specialized mid travel/mid price line up is only 29ers. its mental. my local bike shop has been told to hold an open/test day just for Giant and spesh 29ers, by the distributers. To push the idea on as "Britain is too slow on the uptake compared to USA and Eurpoe"...its because we dont want it!!! its a flawed design,...christ the biggest wheel/rim company (Mavic) in the world isnt offering 29" mtb rims or full wheelsets...which says alot to me.

the way i look at it is this. what ever you can do to reduce weight and increase strength in a 29" wheel can be done with a smaller wheel and said smaller wheel will still be lighter (coz its smaller) and stronger (coz its smaller)..everytime. unfortunately everyone round here is going mad for fast smooth trailcentre trails with no slow technical windy rooty steeps bits etc....so of course a bigger wheel is going to be more efficient in that instance, but for what i call mountainbiking in tight dark slippy forests a big wheel is not the way forward .
yes it rolls over bumps easier...which can only be a good thing..but seeing as we have suspension and arms this is pretty much taken care of. whats not met by 29" wheels is the ability to accelarate quickly (fine if its long and smooth..a total pain if its tight and technical all the time) and its much harder exponentially to manouvre bigger diameter wheels. again if its a fast flowing manmade trail big deal ! who cares? , but in realworld mountainbiking in proper tight dark slippy forests it is a big deal and you are left with a slow responding bike with weak wheels that are gonna hit trees all the time.

and of coure they are ugly as sin..

.ah fuk it...lest all ride on of these..bigger wheels is better of course!!!!!!! - www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYt6IqaHk_Q
  • + 6
 Well said man, well said! tup
  • + 8
 Theoretically the bigger wheel allows for smoother rolling over roots, rocks and other obstacles even at a slower speed. I think it's catching on so quickly here in North America because of popularity not so much functionality. And as we all know North American's are so known for always wanting the latest, greatest so that could be what's driving sales of 29" bikes here. I ride a 26" and there's nothing that I have hit with these wheels I could do better with 29" wheels plus the added weight isn't worth the switch.
  • + 6
 shame my typing went all bad as i neared the climax of my rant. LOL
  • + 6
 BC rippin' 29ers like they were freeride bikes: transitionbikes.com/Bikes_Bandit29.cfm

l totally poo poo'd 29ers when they first came out. Just for shitsNgiggles, l finally broke down and bought a Surly single speed... couldn't stand it... bought a Soma ... didn't like that either but when l bought Redline Mono-9, l was diggin' it. l used to be hard core single speed, it was the only thing l rode but, l wasn't diggin' it on the 29er. l even dabbled with a couple home-made 69ers (front wheel 29er, rear wheel 26"). Trying to single speed my first 29ers was a mistake... Having the 9spd gear and a slightly different, racey, geometry on the Redline, l started seeing right away how well 29ers do for XC riding. Me, l'll never buy another 26" wheel'd XC bike. It's like going back to canti brakes after using disc brakes for years and years. l guess sometimes, it might be the area where you ride --- around here (east coast -- northern VA). there's plenty of rocks, roots and things that go bump in the night. 29ers are great around here. l go to lots of XC races and watch a lot of those long endurance races like the SM100 --- 29ers are always up in the lead pack.. it's very noticeable how many lead riders are sportin' 29ers.
  • + 6
 forkbrayker...Mavic does offer a 29" wheel set. Maybe you should check their web page before assuming they do not. In fact, they have been making the 29er rim/wheel set for awhile now. I believe they were one of the 1st wheel manufacturers to make them.
  • + 3
 svard75 - your statement only proves to me that you haven't ridden a 29er. I will admit. For awhile there I was skeptical on the whole 29" wheel debate. All that skepticism has faded in just after 1 ride on my 29er. The 26" wheel is still great, but it depends on the terrain in which you ride.
  • + 5
 Now I can see why Europe is so slow to embrace the 29” wheel by that first comment alone, lol. Cheers.
  • + 7
 I know people that ride with no suspension and no shifters (gasp), but they do roll on 29” wheels and love the crap out of it. I know people that ride off-road with road bike wheels (gasp), it’s a hybrid bike called a cyclocross. There are even people that still ride bikes similar to bikes built in the 40’s, there called fixed-gear. To each his own and the 29er wheel is just a good option for the masses, so all you haters, don’t loose your mind or dignity over this stupid option. JUST RIDE
  • + 1
 ^^^^ LOL (but with you not against you) that pretty much sums it up, well said.

its a bike its goes off road end of..........as long as its not got one of those silly wee engines.

and for lostinsolitarythought... my bad. i did just assume, but thats only because a bike mag i read recently said mavic did not offer a 29" option, so i just took that as verbatim. sorry mavic!
  • + 3
 I don't think the popularity of 29ers has anything to do with it being better, maybe most who go that route do think its better, sure its better in some situations, and lacks in just as many others, I think its just something different is all. People are wanting something new to ride and if you have ever ridden one they are definitely a unique experience.
  • + 3
 You can throw around as many theatricals as you want, but I can tell you have never ACTUALLY ridden one. And when stating your opinion, that's what matters. If it was a seriously flawed design as you claim... it would have died on the design table long ago, don't you think? And if not there... it would have died in the market place. And it hasn't, so go spend some SERIOUS seat time on when, then report back.

In the mean time, they need to change the part of the article where it says, "a bit over half the cost," to, "a bit over a quarter of the cost."

Other than that, great write up.
  • + 4
 fair point ninja man. i have never ridden one and therefore my hypothesis on whether they are good or not is pretty much worth jackshit. However.....I honestly believe the market place is pushing this new idea to sell more bikes. mtbs nowadays are so well built that you should geniunely expect 10 years of good use out of a bike if you properly maintain and look after it (not counting consumables like mechs, chains, and seats etc). so companies need to reinvent themselves to provide turnaround.

the only proof i have of that is the fact my local bike shop is being forced to do a demo day for only 29" bikes by 2 of the biggest companies in the game. the same 2 companies who are reducing the availabity of their 26" bikes in the uk so they can "push the format forward in the uk due to our slow uptake compared to europe and america", this smacks massively of "we need a new idea to sell more bikes" and i personally hate that. it needs to be driven by consumer choice not narrowing the market down so we have no choice!!.

the main problem of course is the different ways in which we all ride and the different terrain we all have. me personally, I ride like a demented bull with no finesse, in very techy, rooty, twisty, slow and manky conditions.... which bike suits me better an overgrown cyclocross bike with flatbars or a hardcore 26" mtb., doesnt take a genius to make the right assumption. now skinny bob down the road who only rides on firetrack roads and manmade trailcentres like glentress..well, my bike would be massively inefficent for him, so a beefed up cyclocross bike with flat bars would be perfect.

until i see a DH world champ on a 29er i will never have one ....well until all my pals have one and i am stuck on the hill with a puncture and nobody can help me with a spare tube!!!!
  • + 8
 Oh man, the never ending argument... 29" wheels may not be for everyone or every application due to some geometry challenges, but a 29" wheeled bike riders differently enough that it does have some advantages, there is zero doubt in my mind about that. The great thing is that we have options to pick from. Just like there are a million different bikes to choose from that have slightly different geo or travel, some of them suiting or style or terrain better than others, 29'ers do the same.

I used to talk shit, I'll admit it, but then i tried one and have been blown away. It rides so differently, helping me in some places over a 26" wheeled bike and maybe being slightly worse in others, but I'm loving it. Hate all you want but these things are here to stay. Where is it proven that 26" are better anyways? The 26" wheel size is what we ended up at by default due to how mountain bikes began life.. just because that is what we've been using for twenty years doesn't mean that they are the right tool for the job.
  • + 1
 Well I just saw a A3 printout of a photo taken by a phone camera, and i felt a strong urge to throw my 5yr old DSLR straight to the garbage. As a long time 29er sceptic, I am dying to try one - something tells me it's going to be a similar feeling...
  • + 1
 For the best of both worlds do a 650B DH wheel. Bigger wheel with the stiffness of a 26er. That makes sense to me.
  • + 1
 mikelevy said it perfectly. you can chirp all you want, but when you ride them in the conditions they're meant for, they're fantastic. And as you were saying Giant and Specialized (and Norco, and Rocky, and Scott...) bumped up their low/mid-range 29er lineup, I think it's great. I find those the perfect bike to sell to somebody who is going to be commuting as much as they are riding trails every odd weekend, but don't need a race-ready hardtail. The big wheels not only roll over stuff better, they roll faster too. So just because you think it doesn't work for you, doesn't mean there aren't others where this is the ideal setup for them.
  • + 1
 "I honestly believe the market place is pushing this new idea to sell more bikes." No way! I could never imagine bike companies trying to sell more bikes to increase profit. The nerve of them!

Seriously... EVERY industry is all about pushing new products and making more money. That's the entire point of being in business. If you don't want to deal with it, then don't hand them your money, SIMPLE! There is no lack of new 26" bikes on the market regardless. And if you feel "new and improved" is bullshit used just to sell more bikes, then just stick with a 1992 stump jumper and be done with it. It should perform just as well as anything new, right?
  • + 2
 its a difficult one ninja man, forums all round the world are debating about whether the 29er is good or bad.. i know i prefer more gears (although i ride 9x1 on my xc bike and did a few years 1x1) i know i like more front end travel (160mm on xc bike) i know i like bigger tyres 2.65 for a few years but down to 2.35 again for xc for speed..... i cant say i rate rear suspension that much on xc bike, and hell i raced DH on a HT for several years and beat alot of people..... hydraulic brakes...yes please!!!!!...... yes its all development...things have to get better for any industry to survive and not stagnate. the problem and the big problem with 29ers is the fact the bike looks ugly and different....jeez its got bigger wheels its kinda like (phlegmy cough!!!) a road bike.

because it looks different... it just feels wrong to me. kinda like watching porn with a midget in it...its the same...but its totally not!!

and so i will just remain stuck in the past for the foreseeable future on this one until its only me.... sniff sniff!!
  • + 1
 some people like the rolling better. When I'm old and get get my bike up over stuff anymore I'll buy a 29er. Till then I'n stick with what whips.
  • + 1
 i remember when the big wheel craze came and went before....if i remember it was around 1992-93-94???? 700 x 32 panaracer smoke tires were the only decent tire and the bikes were, as they are now, IMO, ugly as heck !!! They may make sense for some XC duties and the leg shaver crowd (no offense) but bring that big tire bike and all of it's hip trendiness to plattekill or Highland or the shore and let's see it " roll over the bumps easier".........pushing a content or a fad on a country for whatever reason is just foolish, but as we all now.......things must be marketed....i have nothing to do with tubeless tire systems....yes they are lighter, but more trouble.... I sold and installed many mavic electric shift road grouppos at my shop back then...trick....but all trouble.....never had that on my bikes either .....so ...pushing a fad ???? You guys are lucky your fellow countrymen are "slow to uptake" to the 29er thing......my country is all over it.......the good thing that i see.....i ride hard and very DH oriented, technical type XC when i pedal.....so the trails i like are not cluttered with 29 ers !! I am a master wheel builder and no one is going to try and tell me that bigger diameter wheels are stronger....NOPE !! It is geometry ....you have a circle, held up by straight lines that form triangles.......i don't want to sound like clown know it all....but i put that out there to perhaps open someones eyes about how to look at a "wheel" ......taller center of gravity is not good where and what i like to ride either..... And a huge plus one on Mavic not having any......yet.......new stuff is good, sometimes new stuff and progression in design is not ! Anyone moto.X, Enduro or trials motorcycle ride and have to spend 3 grand for a top end on your new yzf, crf, kxf, sxf, etc.....when your old two stroked would have cost 600 dollars ??
  • + 1
 29'rs aren't completely bad, they certainly have their place... problem is the powers that bee seem to think that we riders NEED their new ideas crammed forceably down our throats. I can tell you that in the world of the tight, steep and technical 26's STILL and most likely always WILL rule the roost. I've had a TON of fun riding a few friends 29'rs but when it comes time to go down fast through tight tech terrain they fall VERY VERY VERY far behind. 26's are just far better in tight stuff. That said, if they could solve lots of the assosciated issues with 29'rs like the steering etc. then I can say that from a Physics standpoint it's a valid idea. I look at it this way, my truck was a GREAT on 31's, but it's even BETTER on 33's Wink Stil, 26's will always be a viable rim size cause tin alot of situations they just work better. 29'r guys seem to quite often need to justify their "latest and greatest" tech by slamming on 26'ds when in reality they can really only ride singletrack and open terrain with any advantage. They like to be what I call "koolaid drinkers" I work with a bunch of Docs in the ER who all bought 29'rs when their buddys did and are quite snobbish about their purchases...even when they're pulling up the BACK of the pack with all of us neanderthal 26" riders on our "big heavy bikes"...
  • + 2
 Are 29's just hype??? Absolutely NOT. Are they the be all and end all of mountain biking in a way that means we should abandon the 26" wheel. DEFINATELY NOT. Beyond their drawbacks they also hav MAJOR limitations when it comes to choices in things like tires and forks etc. I'd love to carry more speed in chundery sections, but certainly NOT at the cost of handling wich is a big bit of my dislike of 29's... I don't see rides in terms of distance covered (I'm not some spandex clad road dork) I see them in terms of fun had and to me whipping a bike around thorough technical terrain is what I have fun doing. 29'rs don't do that as well so I'll prefer 26's untill that changes. Now that i think about it, I'm wondering what 650B's would be like... maybe the perfect in between??? I really want to give them a shot.
  • + 1
 Wow, some very passionate people here. Like The-Medic says, time and place for everything. You need 8" of travel on a DH bike, but on an XC bike it would make no sense. 29rs are great on XC bikes but on DH bikes they make no sense. No one is saying 29rs are replacing 26rs. Merely a good alternative choice to have.

When 29rs came out, I thought they were dumb. Ugly as can be, a new pain in the ass alternative, and what difference would 3" make really? Last year I wanted to find an inexpensive beater bike I could use for riding around town, riding bike paths, riding the local XC trails, etc. I wanted no suspension, no gears, just a stupid simple, cheap, maintenance free bike. My shop had an SE Stout 29r on clearance for $350 brand new. I decided just to buy it. BOY, do I ever take back what I thought when I first heard of 29rs. Long story short, YOU JUST HAVE TO RIDE ONE. Until then, you really don't know what you are missing.
  • + 3
 Whenever I see the 26” - 29” wheel argument, I never see any commits about the main reason I didn’t adopt to 29” wheels. The reason why I decided not to go 29” is because manualing is extremely difficult because of the longer chain stays and a bb that is lower than the wheel axles. I consider the manual to be a fundamental skill in mountain biking, not to mention it makes it way funner. Since it is hard to loft the front end, it is also makes it much more difficult to bunny hop the bike. When these two handling fundamentals are inhibited it makes riding less fun, more dangerous, and allows the rider less control when it gets technical. Ya, the 29 rolls better than the 26, but with 26 you don’t need this rolling advantage because you can simply loft and hop over obstacles.
  • + 4
 like i said when you can;t get it up anymore buy a 29er and just roll over.
  • + 1
 Yeah I said something about that farther down the page, but that whole "In not ON" thing that everyone always talks about when reviewing 29's is something that really makes manualing or even just getting the front end up like on a 26 awkward to kinda difficult at first... it's kind of unnerving coming from a bike where I'm always manualing and wheelie'n around to get on 29'r and feel like the thing is practicaly GLUED to the ground by comparison. Like T2T says though: not over but THROUGH aye Wink not for me yet, but I can see the wisdom in that line of thinking. At that rate I should be on a mountain bike for ANOTHER 20+ years... I like that.
  • + 1
 XC WC and overall champion for 2011 was dominated on a 29er. for AM, FR, DH, i'll stick with 26ers though.
  • + 1
 geniune question on the back of that statement, mountainguitar, anyone please correct me if i have the following wrong as i geniunely dont know.

i'm perplexed as to how in (normally super strict) UCI sanctioned MTB racing we can flirt with different wheel sizes...what was the deal with the 24" rear wheel... i think we were allowed to use it in DH but the tyre had be 3" to make the overall diameter 26"...but even then i suppose we werent technically alllowed a smaller wheel in that case.

is 24" allowed in 4x racing ?? and so it seems that 29" is acceptable in xc racing.

what about road racing is suggesting a different wheel size for the roadies like sticking your hand in a hornets nest.

have a look at this link. dunno how accurate it is but it makes for interesting reading especially for the anti 29" brigade (thought the last point was probably the most important for us mtbers who move bikes about in the back of their car)

www.ehow.com/list_5942775_advantages-small-wheels-bicycle.html
  • + 1
 That would actualy be interesting to have a 24" xc/ trail bike... Xc bmx. Efficieny, speed and performance is not all there is to mtb, yet such thoughts have no place in racing.
[Reply]
  • + 8
 465 euros for the X-9 hubs?!?

Anyone who buys those Rise 40s over a set of Hope (Or Mavic, Shimano, DT, Fulcrum...) wheels is officially a moron...
  • + 1
 hehe I agree. But at the same time rim manufacturers rarely sell rims used for their complete wheelsets on aftermarket. Otherwise it would be just graphics hungry pimps buying completes...
  • + 1
 465 euros for the (aluminium) wheelset i think, which isn't too bad.
  • + 1
 I think it's more of a "complete wheelset party" vs "custom wheelset party"
  • + 1
 my point was that he claimed 465 for hubs only, but that was for the wheelset.
  • + 1
 I meant that paying 465 Euro for a wheelset based on the X9 hubs was stupid. I thought the rest of the comment made that clear.

Anyway, my point stands, anyone who pays that much for a set of x9 hubs with xm719 clone rims is a moron. 350 Euro(ish) gets you Pro 2 Evos and Stans Flows or Crests. Better wheels, less money, tough choice.
  • + 1
 These rims have not much to do with xm719s... they seem also better than ZTRs, though fr 465€ you might expect getting a full on UST rim...
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  • + 10
 So how long until they start making frames?
  • + 7
 Exactly what I was thinking! It's now possible to build a complete SRAM bike! They should name one of their frames MARS LOL :L
  • + 2
 I got a feeling they are probably in the process of developing a frame , it seems the next logical thing to me.
  • + 1
 the only components they don't make are ones made of rubber - grips, tires and tubes.
  • + 1
 I doubt they plan on making frames, but as for anything else...
  • + 1
 Nukeproof did it... Nothing stoping SRAm from doing it, that's for dam sure. I like the MARS Idea too, that would be funny, and kinda cool.
  • + 1
 Does their auto shifting e-bike count?
[Reply]
  • + 8
 Would love to see a trailbike version with a 20x110 front hub and 10x135 bolt on rear hub.
  • + 3
 Feels like 15mm is not here to stay for good, it's here to take over... Shimano also released their new XT wheels with no 20mm option - sux. Hope is the only answer...
  • + 0
 These are XC/Trail wheels so 20mm is probably overkill. I doubt they would be tough enough to take abuse that usually comes with 20mm axle forks. Their weight says a lot about their intended use, I think.
  • + 4
 Sram was biggin up it's maxle lite recently saying it was lighter and stiffer than shimano's QR15. Having used both on the same bike I prefer 20mm bolt thru... Hope it is!
  • + 3
 I'm a 20mm fan, but why the heck would you need a 20mm axle on a XC/Trail wheel? Except of that, if they would made it with a 20mm axle some weight weenie idiot would put it on an AM or FR bike and brake it in no time. And that would not be a good image for SRAM.

15mm is awesome, and it should take over the 9mm QR crap... but don't worry it wont take over the 20mm.
  • + 3
 Lehel-NS, there is no way 15mm will take over 9mm QR, while 99% of sold mountain bikes are equipped with it. And I don't mean Wallmart stuff, I mean over 500€ bikes.

There are people riding XC/trails really aggro, usualy fit DH riders or skilled XCers. They are rare ( Big Grin ) but they are there, and they know how kick the sht out of the trail, and they usualy prefer stiff yet light stuff. If we get bikes like Trek Slash, a DH geo in XC/AM bike, then we need Dh stiffness in XC wheels and forks as well, no matter if it is a good or bad idea
  • + 2
 Also disappointed in the lack of 20mm option.
  • + 1
 qr needs to be banned completely from mountain bikes + we need a bigger axle up front for future usd forks.
  • + 1
 ^^ foes already use 30mm axles on the Curnutts , and you would be surprised how light they actually are , Think it's 8 point something pound including front hub and direct mount stem
  • + 2
 Don't worry baca262, there will be new "standards" coming fo-sho! and fi you want QRs to be banned from MTB, please go to some random online shop or bike manufacturer website and look how many bikes have QRs, and how many have thru axles...
  • + 1
 Lehel-NS I use a 20mm fork on my XC/trail bike. I always have. A lot of people do, and a lot of companies still stock 20mm forks on their long travel XC/AM bikes (Trek Slash, Specialized Enduro). Odds are that if SRAM released a carbon wheelset with a 20x110 front hub, the rim would be redesigned to be a bit burlier. Hopefully it would be in the 1500-1600g bracket.
  • + 1
 @bigburd yeah, but those are hardly standard, maverick uses 24mm ones on their usd forks. 30mm would be plenty and i bet my ass it can be made as light as 20mm (perhaps even lighter . look at today's aluminum bikes - super wide tubing, super light frames). 15mm just doesn't make any sense, 20mm was just fine and can be made as light, again, perhaps even lighter.

@waki i know i know it's just ridiculous that mtbikes use a standard made for roadies somewhere back in the 50ies. well, hopefully, in some 10 years, they'll be only on the lowest end bikes...
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Hmm....

Very low spoke count, not tubeless ready, expensive, heavy, pretty narrow internal rim width...

I can't see these selling well for those who have a brain. Maybe only sell well to those who buy with their (partially sighted) eyes. In fairness PB wrote a good article to big up these wheels... whether or not they deserve it. Seems like a stepping stone product to bigger and better in the future.

Buy some Stans hand builts and spend the extra on some trips away! Sorry SRAM
  • + 1
 I caught that too - 19mm wide? Seems so throwback.
  • + 1
 for xc/trails 24 spokes seem fine to me. My carbon Rovals are 28 spoke, they are stiff as hell. My last pair of Deemax's were 28 spokes. But I agree the rim width is too narrow for the "trail" designation. the carbon set is pretty light, I'd sure be interested in seeing a pair...
[Reply]
  • + 7
 When the DH wheel coming out?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 They must be high as hell at sram pushing these wheels on us. First off 2g's for a carbon wheelset that is heavier than most aluminum sets????? Then another 3 pawl hub, yawn!! Maybe if they presented an interesting new design for these new hubs but i could buy a 3 pawl any day on the street corner.
  • + 1
 1330g (with a 28mm wide rim) is heavier than most aluminum wheelsets???
  • + 2
 Not sure where i got that 28mm from (it's actually 19) but still... 1330 is quite light, and definitely lighter than most alu wheelsets.
  • + 1
 But the price you pay for these SRAM 1330g wheels is extortionate! You can build a very solid sub 1300g wheelset for the price of even their heavy, cheaper offering!
  • + 1
 I'm sorry, but am I the only one that thinks 1330g is very light? I'm all ears to hear about these cheap light wheelsets you're talking about. Can you give me an example of a sub 1300g wheelset for that price? Easton EC90's are slightly lighter, but no cheaper. Haven Carbons and Mavic Crossmax SLRs are over 100g heavier. Stans ZTR Olympic on DT 240's are about 80g heavier. And none of these are cheap wheelsets.
  • + 0
 1330g is pretty light just not for the vast amount of money these SRAM wheels cost- that is the point here. Also, regardless of how PB reckon they feel on a quick test trip they are very low spoke count wheels with a small 19mm ID- so perhaps not the most robust.

AC hubs are a good starting point but even Hope hubs and Alpine rims can be built to within a few g's. The £500 mark is distinctly less than 1800 Euros. The weights and prices below are from Clee and JRA so may vary a few g's either way but it gives a rough idea.

SRAM, 1330g (claimed), 1800 EURO

American Classic/ Stans Alpine/ Revs, 1291g, £510
American Classic/ Stans Alpine/ CX-Ray, 1340g, £520
American Classic/ Stans Crest/ CX Ray, 1350g, £560
American Classic/ Stans Podium/ Revs, 1240g, £580
American Classic/ Stans Podium/ CX Ray, 1250g, £590

ZTR hubs/ Stans Podium/ Revs, 1297g, £430

Hope Pro II/ Stans Podium/ CX Ray, 1350g, £510
  • + 1
 Beardless,please forgive me,I gave U neg props by mistake...
  • + 0
 i used to build original nuke proof small flange carbon fiber hubs, Hugi titanium spokes alloy nips and matrix ceramic or sun rims and have them come in well under 1200 grams....and that was 14-15 years ago........ Great if you were a jockey sized roadie on a mt bike, but if you got anywhere near aggro....spoke heads would pop..... They were fast and comfy ....and I had quite good luck with the few sets that i built for myself and i weighed 175 lbs..... Things really haven't changed all that much as far as materials relative to weights and strengths in a longtime !
  • + 1
 Weights may not have changed much over the years but I think strength and durability have. Lets be honest- 1200g is pretty darn light for a road wheel! I know a lot of people who ride and race a lot on Podium's and are very happy with them- even a long time down the road. That is pretty increbidle given the weight and cost of them and isn't something that was truely acheivable a few years ago...
  • + 0
 I read a review of the Podiums in Bike magazine describing them as "race-day only" wheels. Meaning they are extremely light, but not as stiff or durable as a general purpose rim. I'm guessing that some of these expensive carbon rims which are about the same weight are much stiffer and stronger than that, perhaps.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 For riding enjoyment i think 26 vs. 29 is purely a matter of personal preference. I myself have a niner rip9 that I love... it actually my only MTB at the moment. Handles pretty much anything I can handle on the colorado front range, which is full of steep, rocky, rooty, loose trails.

My opinion is that having a really nice wheelset and high end tires on a 29" is pivot for performance and enjoyment. The high moment of inertia on low/mid end 29" wheels/tires can really make a 29er feel like a slug... but get some nice wheels, run tubeless and the bike is really nimble and snappy. And of course just screams downhill. I think 29er require more skill and power (helps to be heavier/stronger) to ride well, relative to 26'ers... but 29er provide more speed upside if you can really push the bike hard. I am not a very skilled rider at all, really... but still, that's my two cents.

I know of guys who DH on burly Niner WFO (150mm rear travel, durado fork) builds and say they are faster on their WFO than they are on their 8" travel 26" DH rigs. But everyone's taste and skill level is different. Frankly, I'd probably wipeout and kill myself trying to ride DH trails hard on a WFO.
  • + 1
 Any idea what type of DH tires these guys are using on those rigs ??
  • + 2
 Layton, that reminds me of when guys here started running thier Nomads with DC's and Totems on the longer DH courses and the early Super D races at Postcanyon. I can see a niner being fun with some better wheels and tires, but the thing I keep coming back to really NOT liking about them for a play bike is the manualing and the flaickability of it all. I'm a big enough guy at 5'11 195+ and can usualy muscle any bike around, but on those tight twisty bermed trails I just don't feel like the 29's (although as you said, good wheels mean alot and admittedly stock on stock bikes -already hated the long stems when I got on them so...) can be snapped from corner to corner. I just like to act like a kid on a bike and jump around off and on EVERYTHING and 29's just have a far more "keep me on the ground to I can dig and track" kind of feeling to me aye. I would like to give a WFO a try though, it looks to me to be one of the few 29" bikes out there (Transitions 29'r looks simillar and as fun too) that would suit my style mroe then the typical offering and what I've ridden.
  • + 1
 I don't know what wheels the guys were using... but my guess is they built up custom wheels off I9 hubs, some burly spokes and stans flow rims. As far as I know, you can't get a" 29er DH ready" tire so your stuck with using a good AM tire and thus using a AM rim for DH is only half the problem or not a problem at all, depending upon how you look at it.

Lots of 29er riders around here are using the specialized purgatory 29er's which come in 2.2 and 2.4" widths... I have heard numerous rave reviews from riders I have met so I am making the switch over to the 2.2" but don't have much time on it yet.

Medic, I'm with you... I'm 6'1" and 190, lift weights, and I can't huck and flick my rip9 around either without being a little out of control... too much bike for me to handle right now to do that sorta thing without putting myself in the emergency room (came close once or twice already trying). But for speeding through flat and down sections, a 29er is almost too fast (lies... there is no such thing as 'too fast'). I gain and maintain speed so well, through rock gardens, rooty sections, variable chudder... makes single track really fun.
  • + 1
 I REALLY want to try a WFO, I was looking at them after this article and you mentioning them and they just LOOK like fun aye... There's a vid on Intenses site that shows a Factory Rider of theirs on one of their prototype "2951" DH rigs and it just looks FUN when it comes time to fly through an open rough section. It seems to Dead sailor a bit more then a typical rider on a standard 951, but the guy carries so much speed he bardly has to work for the significant air time he gets. Like I said, I'm not sold on 29'rs as EVER replacing 26's but they certainly have their place and there's nothing WRONG with riding one, just different bikes for sifferent uses. hell you wouldn't ride a 26" XC rig in a bike park setting so why try to make a 29" Trail bike compete with a DH sled... even a 26" Am bike isn't going to keep up with the DH bike so it's kind of unfair to rate 29" Trail bikies along side DH bikes then isn't it aye Wink did that make ANY sence???
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The only people who can say anything about 29ers are those who tested it! And test it i mean, having a Bike and riding it like a new experience. You need to learn how to power a 29er and it's not the same as a 26. So please don't talk about something that you never tested, that's not smart and nice.
  • + 1
 Very true.....i have tried and tested....just to see what the hype was about....it is not something that suits my riding style....i like a burly machine that can have the life thrashed out of it on a ride and asks for more the next day........ 29ers.....i would be in the truing stand in the morning.... But to each his own.....every tool has it's spot in the toolbox eh !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Regardless of all my banter....these look very nice...the carbons are very trick looking, i can't see the price for myself with what I do to bikes, but they are beauties....something about carbon fiber gets me twitchy......except on frames...... :o)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 As a mechanic, I never liked to sram wheels. Hated them as a matter of fact. The hubs are garbage, and they snap spokes like crazy for some reason. You truly get what you pay for in this instance (The low end wheelsets that is). They look nice, but the performance is lack luster. It's a good thing Sram is so good with the warranty department, I had to make several calls regarding their hubs falling apart. Not to mention, straight gauge spokes are a pain in the ass to find vs. your classic j bend, which they have still be using for years without a problem. Stick to building yourself up a nice King, I9, Hope, or Hadley wheelset with a solid rim and dt spokes. Can't beat them for reliability and long lasting performance.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 SRAM doesnt need to make frames, they can just take over the OEM field and make their coin off being suppliers to these other companies, I'd say making frames would be rather detrimental to sram.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Yes, the hubs have interchangeable parts to configure all possible combinations, and the end caps can replaced without tools."

Cool. 20mm is still an option.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Why would they NOT offer the front wheel with 20mm adapters? That's stupid, it would have taken them very little effort to make them 20mm compatible. Well done SRAM.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 make some high end low price full suspension frames, $5000+ is nutz! i love the sport, but i guess i have to stick with my hardtail for a while...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Halfway through, I thought I started reading a Frommer's Guide to the South of France, what with the photos of the crew, um, testing wheelsets.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 you know..... There is a huge difference between 1800 euros, and 2000 dollars! Damn, I could build a beautiful bike for that money.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Wheres the DH wheelsets SRAM
[Reply]
  • + 3
 why no 20mm ?
  • + 2
 probably because they are XC wheels
[Reply]
  • + 3
 DT FR2350> SRAM
  • + 1
 And FR2050 >> SRAM!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 did i over read the warranty or was it not said
  • + 1
 Not said....
[Reply]
  • + 1
 2 grand and you need a tubeless rim strip?
not
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Dem rims be hella flo$$in
[Reply]
  • + 1
 nice! now go back to the scratch and make it affordable Razz
[Reply]
  • + 1
 WTF almost 2000 Euros for the wheelset???????????
BUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 1
 wheres the 20mm front hub option?
[Reply]
  • + 0
 i think they are beautiful.
  • + 7
 i think you're beautiful
  • + 4
 I think I'm beautiful
  • + 3
 You are all dead sexy !!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I HAVE NO CLOOOOOO
[Reply]
  • + 0
 SRAMS world domination gets closer
[Reply]
  • - 1
 The smaller the wheel the further you have to travel. That's a fractal fact!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 hell yeah SRAM!
[Reply]

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