You may well remember Berd's very different take on the mountain bike wheel, that we reviewed in 2020
. The XC33 wheels had an impressive weight and offered a compliant ride. No surprise, really, considering the spokes were made of what appeared to be string.
Now, before you think it, using a flexible, string-like material is not about the ease of sourcing replacement spokes or letting your kitchen scissors do the talking in your wheel builds, but rather it comes down to compliance and weight. In fact, Berd claim that using ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene spokes means that they can make them lighter, more comfortable and more durable. It's also worth noting that despite the space-age looks, the hub and rim are compatible with normal spokes.
Berd Hawk30 Details
• Intended use: trail / enduro
• Carbon rims, 28 polyethylene spokes
• Industry Nine Hydra hubs
• Internal rim width: 30mm
• Claimed weight: 1394 grams
• Made in North America
• Price: $2,195 USD
Following their XC wheels, Berd added a burlier Hawk27 model and now releases an even wider rim with impressive weight claims. The Hawk30 wheels have a 30 mm internal rim width and, much like its predecessor, is built in conjunction with We Are One Composites. Berd is keen to stress, however, that these are Berd rims designed by them and using their own molds, and not just a rebadge of another brand's model. The rims also use a 3.75mm rim lip to hopefully prevent both pinch flats and rim damage.
The rims are 18mm deep, which certainly makes them one of the shallower options available. A shallower rim will let the wheel compress more and, when coupled with the unique spoke design, could potentially yield gains in terms of comfort and grip. Even if it comes at the cost of stiffness for some riders.
Berd offers a lifetime crash replacement service and says that if the rim does need to be replaced, it will be free of charge. The rim itself has a claimed weight of just 393 grams. The rims have a recommended tire width of 2.4 to 2.7" and will be available in Boost and Superboost, although only in 29". They're Centerlock only.
Berd provided some data for their claims, although without knowing the model of the competitor's rims it's not as useful as it could be.
When the wheelset is built with Industry Nine Hydra hubs, they have a claimed weight of 1,394 grams. For a wheelset that can supposedly handle the rigours of enduro riding, that's quite remarkable considering Berd say the rims are light enough for XC racing as well as rougher enduro runs.
The wheels, which are entirely made in North America, have a retail of $2,195 USD and are available now in limited quantity. Berd say they will ship the remaining orders in 4 - 6 weeks.