Rolf Prima's Alsea Plus Wheelset
Rolf Prima's Alsea range of wheels gets a new addition in the form of the Alsea Plus wheelset that, as you probably guessed, has been designed specifically for plus-sized rubber. The carbon fiber rim sports a 40mm internal width, so there won't be any issues running 2.8'' and 3.0'' wide tires, but the 1,630-gram weight for the 27.5'' wheelset is still lighter than many skinnier options out there.
You're probably wondering why they've gone with a twenty-four paired spoke layout, which is something Rolf Prima has been doing since 1997, and that's a question that I'll let the company answer: ''Bringing the spokes to the rim in pairs neutralizes the left and right outward pulling forces allowing us to build true wheels on lighter rims with fewer spokes. Fewer spokes and lighter rims help create increased aerodynamics and faster performing wheels.'' I suspect that the design calls for relatively high spoke tension as well.
A set of XST hubs, made by White Industries, are at the center, with a drool-worthy titanium freehub body available in both Shimano and SRAM XD variations. The price? $2,399 USD.
Vittoria's Martello and Gato Tires
We showed you Vittoria's 2.5'' wide Martello downhill and enduro tire from Sea Otter, and now the Italian company is bringing the same aggressive tread pattern to a lighter duty 2.35'' wide version (shown above left). The Martello, which means 'hammer' in Italian, is intended to be used as an all-conditions tire rather than a soft-terrain or mud special, and they claim that its square moto-block tread pattern is designed with stability and durability in mind. The tire's large, square lugs look like they'd offer plenty of support to keep from folding over on hard-packed ground, but the three sipes on each one should allow the contact area of the lug to flex and conform to whatever is under it. Vittoria says that the progressive sipe width (note how each lug sports three differently sized sipes) "provides tactile grip at the knob surface, without sacrificing speed or grip."
The new 27.5'' x 2.35'' size tire employs the company's TNT-AM casing with the added protection of their APF (anti-pinch flat) insert located just above the bead - this is said to protect the tire and rim against impacts while adding stiffness to the sidewall - as well as their 4C four compound rubber with Graphene added into the mix that is claimed to help improve rolling speed, grip, and decrease the likelihood that knobs will fold and tear. The 2.35'' Martello probably won't be available until spring of next year.
The other new tire is the Gato. The Gato (shown above right) is a cross-country tire designed with wet conditions in mind, but not necessarily full-out mud. Picture those rainy days when it's still great to get out on the trails, but not so muddy that things turn into a messy slog fest. A prominent center ridge is used for high rolling speeds, but the Gato also employs similar siped knobs found on the Martello to up traction when crossing over wet roots and rocks. The Gato will be available in a single 2.2'' width for both 27.5'' and 29'' wheel sizes.
Rotor's Raptor Cranks
Want to try something a bit more exotic than the usual SRAM or Shimano crankarms? Rotor's new Raptor cranks certainly fit the bill. The aluminum arms feature some heavy reliefs machined into them, and Rotor includes rubber protectors (seven colors are available) over the ends of the arms and, somewhat strangely, up on the arms themselves. At least you won't get any rub marks from your feet on them. There are a plethora of axle lengths available for pretty much any shell size and discipline, and a threaded preload adjuster is used to fine tune bearing tension. The Raptors are available in 165, 170, and 175mm lengths.