Alto's New Carbon Wheels - Interbike 2018

Sep 18, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Alto CMX275


Alto, previously known as Alto Velo, has loads of experience in the skinny tire world, but you're looking at one of their first mountain bike wheelsets, the CMX275. Also available in a 29'' diameter (CMX29, of course), the CMX series sports wide carbon rims, Alto's US-made hubs at the center, and Sapim spokes. Everything is connected and built by hand from start to finish, too. Depending on the configuration, expect to pay between $2,200 and $2,400 USD.

Alto uses a carbon rim with a 36.4mm internal width, tall-ish 30mm height, and a pretty reasonable for the size 465-gram weight. There are sixteen different color options for the decals, too, so you can go stealth or splash. The nipple holes are drilled right through the rim bed, so you'll have to use tubeless tape, but they're drilled on an angle for better alignment, and there's a washer under all of the nipple heads. If you want one on its own, it'll cost you $624 to $654 USD depending on the spec.

You'll find Sapim spokes used for all of Alto's wheels, and their high-end CX-Rays for the CMX275, along with locking aluminum nipples to some add reliability.
Alto CMX275

Intended use: trail / all-mountain
Diameter: 27.5''
Inner width: 36.4mm
Rim material: carbon fiber
Nipples: alloy locking
Nipple washers included
Weight: 1,590-grams
Price: $2,220 - $2,400 USD
More info: www.altocycling.com


Alto CMX275
Alto CMX275
See that scooped out bit next to the spoke hole? That space gives Alto the clearance they need to bend the spoke and clear the tall flange during the lacing process.

Alto CMX275
Because cutaway.


The carbon rims are sourced from Asia, but it's Alto's US-made hubs at the center of all their wheels. That's hard to miss given the hugely asymmetrical flanges that Alto refers to as their R-Symmetric design. The idea is with that is to improve spoke tension, bracing angle, and lateral stiffness, and it's far from a new one. They also have a clever ''bearing closure system" that prevents the fancy NSK bearings (or your ceramic bearings if you paid an extra $356) from ever be over-loaded and wrecked. If you want one of their rear hubs on its own, it'll cost you $462 USD, so these are some fancy items.


63 Comments

  • 57 0
 It is absolute nonsense price. Carbon rims from asia for that price? Can imagine that margine.
  • 16 7
 heres a little secret. rims straight from asia cost $10 a rim in bulk of 400 or more purchase. Note: I have no idea if these are the same ones as those
  • 6 5
 No kidding, and for those living state-side, be prepared to pay an additional 10% starting next week on most bike parts coming from China.
  • 26 0
 even the dude's face screams "WE'RE RIPPING YOU OFF"
  • 4 1
 @ibishreddin: source? Wouldn't be surprised though.
  • 8 0
 @dirtnapped: If you can read Chinese browse the untranslated sections of Alibaba. The good are "as is where is". There's also freight and clearance
  • 6 10
flag JohanG (Sep 18, 2018 at 21:40) (Below Threshold)
 @ibishreddin: total bs
  • 5 2
 @leelau: Raw materials are more than $10/rim. Totally ridiculous.
  • 3 0
 @ibishreddin: Source? I'm pretty sure it's about $30/rim, as someone who has interacted with a lot of suppliers and export company agents

Apart from my conversations with them, you can deduce it from simply looking at sales:

Cheapest profitable/persistent/successful Aliexpress supplier for pair of 29er rims: $170/pair = $85/rim
Cost of shipping/pair (EMS): $60/pair = $30/rim
Aliexpress fees (10%): $8.5
Profit margins (20%): $17
Up-front costs: $30

This is about right, those suppliers that offer warranty have to knock the price up a bit, and those that put any effort into R&D also have to knock it up a bit.
  • 2 5
 @JohanG: Raw materials are NOT more than $10/rim. It's about $3-10 per frame and about $1-2 per rim. Yes, carbon fiber is that cheap! For instance, look at what surplus Boeing carbon costs.
  • 4 4
 @ibishreddin: What? High quality carbon rims cost $65-$90 to manufacture on the low end per rim. The manufacturer then sells them for $120-$150 to the wheel brand if they buy at high volume. Lower volume costs more. Add in a quality hub price being roughly $50/set, labor to build and spokes/nipples/packaging/shipping/duties etc... your manufacturing cost for a high end carbon wheelset is now $750ish. The manufacturer makes a margin as does distribution and the dealer. if each makes 30 points, which is pretty standard, you have a retail of $1650 on the low end.

To be clear I think Alta is grossly over priced on this but your absurd quote of $10 per rim is idiotic. At $2400 its insane especially since a company like Reynolds is selling quality MTB wheels for almost $1000 less. Reynolds does own its own factory and wheel building so that helps but still a $1000 premium is asinine
  • 1 0
 @Swangarten: You are thinking too much in retail costs. But even if they cost as much as $750 to build the mark up is insulting.
  • 4 0
 @JohanG: www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Carbon-Fiber-bicycle-rims-700c-road_60763493663.html?spm=a2700.7735675.2017115.10.co6FP6&s=p

This is the English language site for 50 piece orders for road rims. I'll find the link for the chinese language site that's on WeChat and send it over. That $10per rim is not far off. Again that pricing does not include brokerage, freight etc so I assume @ibishreddin is quoting not the all-in costs
  • 6 2
 I'd be happy to clarify some misconceptions here in the comments, or answer any specific questions that you guys may have. Alto hubs, rim molds, and resins are all manufactured in Sarasota, Florida, and are all proprietary to us. We ship our molds to the Topkey facility in Taiwan to be filament wound, but of course we control the schedule and process. Nothing that we produce can be made by anyone but us, and we hold design patents on many of our individual parts. We do feel as though our safety and performance testing show quite a big difference between our products and many of our competitors, and our price points are indicative of the labor costs involved to produce a product to these standards. Please check out our website for more details, or reach out to us through our contact page and we'll get back to you straight away! Cheers, Bobby
  • 1 0
 @BobbySweeting: excellent to hear.
  • 34 1
 We are one on I9 cx ray spokes goes for 2000cnd made in Canada lifetime no question asked warranty
  • 29 0
 Envy: "No one could rip off consumers more than us."
Alto: "Hold my beer."
  • 26 0
 like 4 posts from interbike and we're already scraping the barrel... must be pretty sad over there
  • 8 0
 i remember going to the mall book store as a kid to go to the magazine section the month after interbike just to sift through all the photos from all the different mags. times are wayyyyyy different now haaa.
  • 6 0
 e-bike city...
  • 21 0
 Isn't the stupid expensive wheel market over-saturated already...
  • 2 1
 it's like selling mattresses, you don't need to sell many to make a profit.
  • 14 1
 Why spotlight the wheels if the rims are just a catalog item? Just say it's a hub ad and be done with it
  • 8 0
 we-are-one-composites.odoo.com/page/home

1200-1500 USD for HAND LAID HAND MADE HAND LACED WHEELS FROM CANADA EH!!! Quit the BS Chinese and Enve rims of the world. Total BS margins......

Lifetime no questions asked warranty.

I've owned Nexties... decent pricing but can't touch WR1s quality and performance.

Enves are the first to market cinderella story, price is pathetic...
  • 9 0
 $2400 is a bargain when considering you get to choose the color of stickers on your rims!
  • 3 0
 That's like an additional 10watt power for every sticker on your bike!
  • 3 0
 If I see one more hands together picture of a mountain biking component or whatever, I'm going to puke. You aren't growing coffee, or rice, or other organic crop thing, it isn't rich soil. Moss isn't interesting either, but apparently it was suitable for the latest issue of Bike magazine.
  • 5 0
 What a funny thing to get mad about
  • 2 0
 @speed10: agreed. What sets me off is the whole granola one with the earth image that some companies try to portray mountain biking. Comes off as insulting marketing or something to me and really gets my goat! :o
  • 3 0
 Seems like DT Swiss has taken the opposite approach with their new straight pull wheel and hub offerings. The spoke flange is tiny and the spokes are long. Does it really make all that much of a difference?
  • 1 0
 Bigger flanges just make the hub heavier. Nice extra chuck of aluminum. What spoke count/spokes you use will have much more of an effect on the strength of the wheel than flange size. See Specialized Roval Star wheels from back in 2011.
  • 1 0
 The most unreliable wheel I know is a 2014 e13 TRS wheel... I've wondered for a while if those high flanges are actually counter productive for impact stability (the forces are transferred at more of an angle to the spoke), but maybe that wheel has other design problems.
  • 1 0
 I’ve often wondered why high flange hubs run the flanges paralleled (note the H shape of the cut away) instead of angling the flanges towards the rim (more like a ti fighter).
  • 1 0
 @speed10: because the point of the flange is to increase the spoke bracing angle.
  • 1 0
 @speed10: Easier to turn on a lathe...
  • 1 0
 @SJP: really? Can you help me understand how that is beneficial?

I assumed it causes more stress on the spoke-hub interface.
  • 1 0
 The shitest wheels I ever did buy! Got my money back mind....lasted 5 days in a wet Morzine @jzPV:
  • 2 0
 @PB-J: original spokes are like spaghetti... but even with CX-Rays it's not particularly reliable...
  • 5 1
 I can't imagine the amount of buyer's remorse paying full price for that. I paid $550 for a $1200 msrp wheelset and still wondered where the value was. They're just wheels.
  • 4 0
 Engagement angle and/or points of engagement missing from these expensive whiz bang hubs.
I'm sure its fine, here's my credit card.
  • 2 0
 I'd be happy to clarify some misconceptions here in the comments, or answer any specific questions that you guys may have. Alto hubs, rim molds, and resins are all manufactured in Sarasota, Florida, and are all proprietary to us. We ship our molds to the Topkey facility in Taiwan to be filament wound, but of course we control the schedule and process. Nothing that we produce can be made by anyone but us, and we hold design patents on many of our individual parts. We do feel as though our safety and performance testing show quite a big difference between our products and many of our competitors, and our price points are indicative of the labor costs involved to produce a product to these standards. Please check out our website for more details, or reach out to us through our contact page and we'll get back to you straight away! Cheers, Bobby
  • 3 0
 Alto is selling an MTB wheelset for the price of a car wheelset. Corporate needs to re group and evaluate pricing. Best of luck!
  • 4 0
 Costs more than I paid for my entire bike
  • 2 0
 i cant express just how much i dont care about carbon wheels anymore. hub is interesting though, but looks like a boat anchor.
  • 4 1
 Hey pinkbike, anything from Turner bikes there??
  • 3 0
 Aluminum nipples are reliable?
  • 2 0
 Any word on a rim brake model and how it stands up to other major brands in testing?
  • 1 0
 Is that supposed to be some Jerry proof hub flange for all the chuckle heads who can't seem to avoid shifting into their spokes?
  • 2 0
 Don't get the massive DS flange. Braking forces must be greater than pedalling forces?
  • 1 0
 don't care about carbon (or better CFRP), if alloy rims continue to win Worlds (Loic)... and still on those "narrow" 25mm EX471
  • 1 0
 I stopped reading as soon as I saw the price. Who are these wheels for I'm just curious? 95% will never even look at something like this.
  • 3 1
 The spoke reliefs look like they are for 3X lacing but pic is of 2X?
  • 1 0
 The extra little cut away I think allows you to insert the "innie" spokes in first, at an angle, and not get blocked by the tall flange forcing you to bend up the spoke before you even start building.
  • 2 1
 Good eye. The spokes from the NDS flange are exiting at a much different angle than that relief cut.
  • 1 0
 @JohanG: Because they are not there for the spoke to sit in once laced. they are there for building convenience only. Those cutaways will be on the side of the spoke head, not the spoke elbow.
  • 1 0
 @JohanG: @rpl3000 - see pic here:

cdn-cyclingtips.pressidium.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Alto_hub-5.jpg

You see - as said, they are not reliefs for the spokes to sit in. their purpose is ease of building only.
  • 1 0
 @FLATLlNE: excellent observation. I can see now why they are needed. You would have the terribly bent those spokes because the other flange is so huge. If you have built a wheel before then you know the issue.
  • 1 0
 @FLATLlNE: Interesting. good pic. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 Lots of salesman talk but no actual numbers except the price. I'm totally unconvinced.
  • 1 0
 Perhaps the brand is called Alto bc you need to trade in your nuts to afford these wheels?
  • 1 0
 Hahahahahahahahaha......laughable!
  • 1 0
 how does that freehub work?
  • 1 0
 What the world needs...another2400$ wheelset..great :/

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