Atomik Carbon Announces Ultralight Wheelsets with UHMWPE Spokes from Berd

Oct 28, 2019
by Atomik Carbon  
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PRESS RELEASE: Atomik Carbon

Atomik Carbon is partnering with Berd Spokes to introduce our all-new Ultimate Berd Wheelsets. The new mountain and gravel wheelsets are built with patented Berd spokes for light weight and superior ride quality.

Atomik Carbon Ultimate Wheelsets are ultra lightweight, starting at just over 1,200 grams per pair. And by combining the compliant ride offered by Berd Spokes with the characteristics of Atomik Carbon rims, they offer the ultimate ride quality. Berd spokes, typically available only in white, are available on the Ultimate Wheelsets in a limited edition Stealth Black. Custom colors exclusive to us will also be available, including red, blue, orange and olive green.




Known as “the world’s lightest spokes,” Berd patented spokes are made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, or UHMWPE—the same material found in bulletproof body armor. Not only does this advanced polymer have superior damping properties to minimize impact and vibration, it has 12 times the strength-to-weight ratio of the steel used in traditional spokes and a superior fatigue life.




bigquotesWe were blown away with the ride quality, especially on a hardtails and fully rigid gravel bikes. We didn’t think there was a way to drastically improve the already impressive damping of our carbon rims, especially models featuring our HDP Foamcore. And steel spokes have always been such a given, that we didn’t consider the potential for other spoke materials and how they could improve weight, performance and ride quality—until now.Atomik Carbon co-owner founder Wayne Lee of initial test rides on Berd spokes

Despite the compliant ride, these wheelsets are every bit as stiff and precise as wheels built with traditional steel spokes. And starting at only $1,699 per complete wheelset*, they offer premium performance at an exceptional value; Berd spokes alone normally retail for $600 per wheelset.


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Like all of our wheelsets, the Ultimate Wheelsets are handbuilt. But unlike builds using traditional spokes, Berd builds are labor intensive, with most hubs requiring a chamfering and polishing process, and three tensioning sessions, including a “rest” period of 24 hours during which the Berd’s UHMWPE material naturally relaxes by up to 50 percent before being re-tensioned. They then relax by up to 25 percent before reaching their maximum length during a third and final tensioning.

bigquotesIn every test, Berd spokes had a higher breaking limit than every spoke we tested. The strength to weight ratio is truly impressive.Wayne Lee


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COMPLETE WHEELSET WEIGHTS*

Mountain
• 29” XC33 w/I9 Boost Hydra Hubs, 28 Holes: 1,410 grams
• 29” AM35 w/I9 Boost Hydra Hubs, 32 Holes: 1,610 grams
• 27.5” AM35 w/I9 Boost Hydra, 32 Holes: 1,530 grams

Gravel
• 700C XC26 w/I9 Road Torch Center Lock Hubs, 28 Holes: 1,220 grams
• 700C XC33 w/I9 Road Torch Center Lock Hubs, 28 Hole: 1,290 grams
• 650B XC33 w/I9 Torch Center Lock Hubs, 28 holes: 1,260

*Custom hub/rim configurations available. Visit AtomikCarbon.com or your local bike shop for complete pricing, weights and build options.

Ultimate Wheelsets are available now as complete builds or rim-only options through local bike shops and via our consumer direct program at AtomikCarbon.com.


87 Comments

  • 46 2
 Pretty cool. Spoke material / technology is one that hasn't really changed in a long time.
  • 40 1
 New spoke material & technology has been tried and implemented quite a bit, but basic steel spokes are just too cheap and effective in comparison.

Crank brothers used 2 piece alloy & steel spokes that threaded into each other, i9 uses machined aluminum straight spokes, Spinergy uses PBO fiber spokes (similar to Berd), solid carbon spokes have been messed with for years, Mavic has experimented with all sorts of bladed straight pull configurations.

I’m sure there’s many more examples, but you get the idea.
  • 3 2
 @ninjatarian:
Ironically, spikes still end up being quite expensive.
  • 6 3
 I've tighten my spokes three times and they're still too tight
  • 20 2
 @pinnityafairy: try loosen them three times
  • 10 0
 And article comes with a bar graph. These guys must be legit.
  • 1 0
 @PocoBoho: it's science.
  • 32 0
 A-well-a berd berd berd, berd is the word.
  • 31 2
 Ermahgerd berd spokes!
  • 47 2
 berd sperks
  • 7 0
 Fu***g rad Wayne. You have worked so hard for a decade on hoops now its great to see some nice airplay.
Respect.
  • 6 0
 Ride Atomik’s and love them!!! Best rims I’ve ever owned. Can’t wait to check these new wheels out in person at upcoming Alafia Fat Tire Festival. Smile
  • 5 1
 There are Newmen wheels and hub combo with Pi Rope spokes much lighter than these.
r2-bike.com/PI-ROPE-Laufradsatz-29-RL-Squirrel-X22-Carbon-Gen1

Alternatively, less weight than these, alu rims but much less money you can get these:
r2-bike.com/PI-ROPE-Laufradsatz-29-RL-One-A30-Aluminium-Gen2

Sturdy, aluminium rims, great hubs.

If you're feeling especially extravagant and think your wheels should weigh under 1000gr, get these Big Grin
r2-bike.com/PI-ROPE-Laufradsatz-29-RL-SUB1-Carbon-Gen1
  • 6 0
 It's pretty easy to gets some Chinese XC narrow light duty wheels, add in one of the many Ultralight hubs available, have them laced by Berd, and you'll get a sub 1000 g 29er wheelset. However, most here don't ride that that so it's pretty irrelevant. Certainly no point in building uber light wheels like that and putting real tires and inserts in them!
  • 3 0
 @SunsPSD: I'm on a 29er with 36 mm (internal) rims and 2.6" tires with Berd spokes. About 1300g for the wheelset (without tires, obviously). They're pretty great.
  • 2 0
 @SunsPSD: pi rope wheels are based on newmen rims and hubs. So they aren't light duty
  • 4 0
 I bought some CarbonFan rims built to my specs (I.e. 33mm ID front 28H AM layup, 29mm ID rear 32H DH layup) and some Project 321 hubs and sent them to Berd to be laced.

They are sick and very tough wheels. They ride amazing and weigh 1460g. Total price was around $1700 which is reasonable for what I got.

The cost for Berds was only slightly more than name brand bladed spokes so it was a no brainer to me.
  • 5 0
 That’s so awesome such a simple thing (the spoke) making such a massive change to a way a bike rides. Would love to try this
  • 5 2
 This looks pretty interesting. I would wonder how truly finicky they are after months/years of use with regards to truing and tensioning. Oh and Pinkbike likes $500 wheelsets with lifetime warranties; so probably will be lots of comments to ignore here.
  • 3 0
 Dyneema, Spectra and other such materials are starting to be used as sailboat standing rigging with great success, but the rigging stretches continually over the years being one of the downsides - not sure if this would be an issue on a wheel though.
  • 1 0
 @ashlemon: IIRC it's also sensitive to UV exposure, which is one of the limiting factors on the life of the rigging on sailboats. I doubt that'd be a big issue on bikes since they aren't outside all the time, but I would wonder over the course of several years if it doesn't weaken some.
  • 3 0
 @shinook: The materials are so strong that even if you lose 50% of the rated strength you are still well within the loads that the rigging would experience. There are boats going on a decade with Dyneema rigs now. Recommended life of stainless rigging is 18 years.
  • 1 0
 @shinook: The Berd spokes have a coating that protects the dyneema from UV exposure
  • 2 0
 These are obviously more than $500, but Atomik does have a lifetime warranty: atomikcarbon.com/warranty
  • 1 0
 @ashlemon: Don't think the Dyneema or Spectra stretch much at all 1-2% thats why they use it for sailboats plus its much lighter than steel wire/rope.
I have kite board lines that are 8yrs old and after a tiny bit of stretch after the first week they have not changed at all.
  • 1 0
 @ashlemon: it is a big problem for a wheelset. You need continuous pulling forces otherwise the spokes get damaged really easy. But it should be a problem if you retighten your wheel every year
  • 8 5
 I'm actually running Berd spokes on a set of ENVE M730 wheels and loving them!! Super compliant and unreal wheel dampening!! They float and conform to rocks, roots any gnar!!! They dont take a few rides to get use to them, definitely different feel
  • 81 2
 Do you have any openings for new patients? I need a root canal
  • 15 5
 The placebo is strong here. Do you think your wheels are bending and flexing over rocks etc? The spokes tension to the same numbers as any steel spoke. A spoke wheel derives it’s strength from the spokes resisting being stretched (hence the pull strength tables above).

If you want a wheel that bends and flexes just loosen all your spoke tensions, it’ll feel pretty bad I suspect. Berd spokes create a different resonance in the wheel, but they don’t create weak flexy wheels.
  • 9 7
 ”Unreal wheel dampening”, yes off course...
  • 7 4
 @EarIysport: so you have Berd spokes on your wheels? Just stating my observations.. I rode all summer long on M730 with CX rays spokes after switching to Berd spokes on the same trails the bike seems float over the gnar much better! They hold the line better and give you a feel like no other! They dont ping you off your line like the M730 with CX rays... not saying the wheels flex but absorb and conform
  • 19 2
 @racerfacer: I do have openings! Get in line I do need a new SB150 with a Shout
  • 5 1
 @sourdiesel: Yes the better tracking and reduction in trail chatter is noticeable to me as well.
  • 3 1
 @SunsPSD: that's what I'm saying! I'm impressed to say the least
  • 6 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 28, 2019 at 11:32) (Below Threshold)
 @sourdiesel: i thought SB150 has too much travel... your friends will laugh at you. “What are you, an EWS racer now?” Aha ha haha, aha hah hah ha ha, oh ha ha!


Still laughing



Hah ha aha aha, haha, hah ha!


Comes with SB100 and Fox 36 the weekend after...

Oh, yes, that makes so much sense. So much feedback, so capable...
  • 12 0
 @WAKIdesigns: haters gonna hate. Next
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Much feedback. Such capable????
  • 5 6
 @DirtbagMatt: If I ever see you riding overbiked son...
  • 1 2
 Might I suggest a step away from the worlds stiffest block of carbon wheels and for a trifle buy some aluminium rims; Voila, compliance.
  • 5 0
 I don't think that absolute spoke strength is a very useful metric considering that spokes already pull through rims.
  • 3 1
 Stiffness would be a better metric, but it is STRANGELY ABSENT.
  • 4 0
 I think they focus on strength because if I didn’t all the comments would be “ermagerd strings for spokes!?! They’ll snap in no time”

As it stands, they are lighter and stronger than steel spokes. And if tensioned properly then they should be just as stiff.
  • 1 1
 @sdurant12: Go look at a stress-strain graph. Tension doesn't affect stiffness at the stresses the spoke is under.
  • 1 0
 @sdurant12: "And if tensioned properly then they should be just as stiff." Please provide evidence.
  • 3 0
 "with most hubs requiring a chamfering and polishing process,"

What are the odds this is a "hub warranty voiding process"? I feel like hub manufacturers aren't going to love people taking drill bits to their products.
  • 6 0
 All they do is knock off the sharp edge of the J bend spoke holes where it might rub the Berd spoke. It's so minor you can't tell and you can reinstall normal spokes in the future, no problem.
  • 4 0
 When shit gets real and judgment day cometh, I'm just stoked to know that the spokes on my wheels will literally be bullet proof.
  • 2 1
 Well at least they'll have better UV degradation than Vectran spokes. You'll be tightening these forever though.

Dyneema creeps under static load, Sk87 is better than stock, |DM20 fibre variants have the lowest creep of any commerciual dyneema fibre. It's still a damn site more than stainless steel though.

Suprised more brands don't use dyneema/carbon in those impact risk places on the bike though, that's an applicatrion waiting to hapen.
  • 3 0
 There are many types of Dyneema. DM20, the type used here, dramatically reduces creep.
  • 4 0
 Atomik rims are excellent. Had a set on my foxy and they were bullet proof. Too bad the frame was not.
  • 2 0
 You’d think a straight pull might be better, but maybe the spokes twist too much when tensioning?

I like the idea of these spokes, but I’d prefer a higher quality hub, DT Swiss or similar.
  • 1 0
 Straight pull would be better but many hubs aren't available in straight pull and the difference was really nothing. Berd includes a tool to hold the spoke so it doesn't rotate and you spin the nipple, just like a normal spoke.
  • 1 0
 @SunsPSD: Do you mean that the non-nipple end of the spoke just rests in a hole and is designed to not rotate through friction alone?
  • 1 0
 @Explodo: No Sir.

I mean just like a standard spoke the Berd doesn't rotate when you are truing your wheel. You utilize an included tool to hold the Berd near the nipple so that it does not rotate, and then you use a nipple tool to turn the nipple. Just like truing a wheel with bladed spokes.
  • 2 0
 awesome, from reliable and recyclable steel spokes to non-recyclable and untrustable carbon spokes that are going to be waste in some year to the eternity.
  • 4 1
 I’ll have normal spokes with $600 off the price
  • 2 0
 That WOULD be a great price!
  • 1 0
 Ouch huge marketing fail. Potential job opening ??
  • 1 0
 Why pay extra for this build with fancy spokes when you can build steel spoked wheels lighter for less? Atomik's rims aren't light. I'd put Berd spokes on something else.
  • 1 0
 This is pretty sweet but, Price per gram is pretty high for weight savings, hopefully the price comes down a big amount. I would spend the money somewhere else personally.
  • 2 0
 Rotating weight is worth 2-4x the same weight elsewhere. Plus there is a ride quality advantage.
  • 2 0
 Beard spokes? Grow, trim, profit.
  • 2 0
 UHMWPE UHMWPE, UHMWPE dee doo, I've got another puzzle for you
  • 2 0
 Puts a whole new light on the idea of lacing your wheels.
  • 2 0
 What a pile of god damn bull shit.
  • 1 0
 Those graphs are far to perfectly symmetrical to be factual.
  • 1 0
 They are factual; they just aren't all the relevant graphs consumers need to make an informed decision.
  • 1 0
 Life is more than this.
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