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The Pros Weigh in on Carbon vs Aluminum Wheels - EWS Aspen 2017

Jul 29, 2017
by Enduro World Series  

This weekend's Enduro World Series in Aspen, CO means a fresh set of decisions for racers and their mechanics. When it comes to wheels, choosing the right balance of durability, weight, rigidity, width, etc. can be the difference between winning and DNF.

So what do the pros think? Is carbon the way to go? Or are they sticking with tried-and-true aluminum?

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MENTIONS: @EnduroWorldSeries




211 Comments

  • 257 4
 An easy choice for me - can't afford carbon rims.
  • 10 3
 Same reason I don't have any, just bought new wheels and as much as I lusted for some exotic carbon wheels and amazing hubs, i couldn't justify it when I got a full set of hope enduro hoop wheels built up for less than one fancy rear hub
  • 35 4
 Visit Vital Mtb and check out their review of LB rims...
  • 5 0
 @panzer103:
They get a good write up and are considerably cheaper than most carbon rims but still aren't cheap
  • 31 3
 @panzer103: can't trust that vital mtb review - it is based on 26" rims, and we are being told that's no good anymoar
  • 6 4
 @onemind123: True, that review is a 26in but the 27.5 and 29 are all the most up to date with the moulds and weaves so i would think that they are even better. All the forums have nothing but great things to say and i am also a happy customer.
Yeah they arent cheap but in the carbon rim world they are cheap. Strong, lightish and cheap. Perfect in my book!
  • 8 2
 @onemind123: cracked these lb rims on light impact in the alps. Posted it up on my album. To be fair lb customer service was good but can't trust them again. Lasted about 4 weeks.
  • 2 0
 @onemind123: does prove how long they have been testing them for though
  • 6 0
 @panzer103: I was checking them out a couple weeks ago man you can't go wrong spending 400 on a set of hoops with a 38mm exernal width. I just prefer aluminum for the dent vs crack factor
  • 7 1
 @mhoshal: Thats totally cool! The options out there nowadays is amazing! There is something for everyone to get the best bike for every budget or desire.
  • 3 0
 @panzer103: I have had the lb stuff as well. Zero problems with them. I have also never had problems with alloy rims - I just don't ride hard enough for it to matter I guess.
  • 16 0
 @panzer103: I've never seen so much positivity on the internet. Thanks hombre, I hope you find 20$
  • 6 0
 @Jimmy0: Im blessed to be healthy [other then being kinda porky around the midsection] and have the opportunity to ride bikes
  • 4 1
 4 rides for a lb rear rim to disintegrate. Front is still going ok tho... lb have a crash/disintegrate policy but it was nearly full price so I didn't bother with it and the alu replacement is still going strong. Never again!
  • 1 0
 @panzer103: personally, Ive destroyed two of these rims this year. Went back to aluminum. But at least I can say their warranty department was easy to deal with when the first one broke ha
  • 2 0
 @panzer103: the review was written well, but the reviewer is a complete tool and was fired from the resort... with that being said, I would never trust anything coming from him
  • 14 19
flag salespunk (Jul 29, 2017 at 9:42) (Below Threshold)
 I only get about 4 months out of aluminum rims before they are completely unrideable. Carbon rims I typically get about 12-18 month from plus I like the feel much better.
  • 1 0
 @DC1988: cheapest your gonna find in the plastic world!
  • 9 0
 @salespunk: What the hell kind of riding do you do? Are you a heavy fella?
  • 4 2
 Consider irresponsible budgeting, creative rationalization, and richer parents
  • 5 9
flag Rider656 (Jul 29, 2017 at 12:13) (Below Threshold)
 I love my Roval Traverse carbon wheels XOXO. Phuc aluminum!!!
  • 5 0
 @yeti-monster: I have 3 LB wheels and all have been solid for nearly 3 years now.
  • 5 1
 @panzer103: I have 3 sets of CF wheels 1-LB 275, 1-Nextie 38/32 Asym 275 and 1-Nextie 38/32 Asym 29 set.
All are holding up fantastic after several years of abuse. I worried about the LB set as they were early versions before the beadless design came out. Never go out of true or show any signs of failure. Don't ride the rockiest terrain on a regular basis, but the aluminum rims I've expereienced all would go out of true or crack or bend the first sign of rocks anyway.
Decent allow rims cost almost as much as Nextie or LB's. Every set I build will be CF from here on out.
  • 3 0
 @chasejj: I have a set of LB 29er rims and set of Yoleo 29er rims and both have been wonderful. Nexti makes fantastic rims as well!
  • 1 0
 @UserNumberTwo: my problem is I like new bikes every few years. I guess my next hardtail that I am due for I could get custom made w 26" rims
  • 1 0
 my experimence with LB rims as well. I went thru two of them in just 3 months and no replacement with mostly XC/trail riding and higher tire pressures. Even though a little more money, I have a total of 3yrs on NOX carbon wheels with zero issues. They are solid and even much stronger than Alu for me that usually ding and bend within a season, especially the rear. If carbon, NOX composites all day for me. Have had good luck with DT 481 for the hardtail this past year, whereas Spank Oozys didn't last as long as I would hope.
  • 2 0
 @jgusta: One item of note is I order the heavier layups on all my CF rims. The websites offer these for heavier rider weights and DH/AM applications. So I do take precautions and do not try and push the weight limits of these rims. The end up in the 400-450g range all of them . Not hugely different in weight from the aluminum rims they compete with but night and day different in stiffness and trueness. I can build these myself and literally have them laced and trued/round in 30 minutes. Most alloy rims I build seem to take forever to get as true and round.
  • 1 0
 @warmerdamj: I'm genuinely pleased for you, they do ride great and are pretty light. I'm a heavy guy so probably just not for me. Never killed a rim in 25 years of competitive mountain biking apart from wearing out rim brakes! And these lasted 4 weeks...
I need to move away from carbon now I've tried it. 3 frames this year, seat posts and handle bars in previous years. OK if your sponsored or dentist
  • 1 0
 @panzer103: I read that article and was really impressed. One more thing to start saving for now.
  • 6 0
 If even for the pro's - who are fighting for every second in their race runs - there isn't a clear recommendation towards carbon then why bother buying something more expensive, less reliable, more exhausting, less enviromentally friendly as a regular customer unless you're into the looks or weight weenie?
100% happy with my DT Swiss alu rims, no comparison to earlier generation of aluminium rims!
  • 1 1
 @panzer103: made in china
  • 1 0
 @chasejj:
I agree. I don't run CF runs nessicarily for weights savings, but for strength since when done right as you said I have found them to out live all my Alu rims I have run in the past and wheels stay truer as you stated as well. I weigh over 200 lbs, hard on my rear wheel wheel especially and have bashed my current CF rims with no issues other than scars and scratches. If Alu, likely dinged and hopped out at very least. I feel the same towards CF frames as well. When done right (SC) I have found them to out live ALu frames by a long shot since no welds to crack and eventually fail over time (sooner for me then I care for). So because of this, CF is worth the upcharge and has proven to be stronger for me with wheels and frames so far, when molds are done right of course.
  • 4 7
 @jgusta: agree. For those who think aluminum is better is ether a) dont ride hard enough or, b) don't own or never ridden carbon wheels (both means not creditable to give opinion).
  • 1 1
 @Rider656: I have over 5000 miles of hard trail riding on a set of no-bead-hook LB 29r rims and aside from scratches they're solid. I've been as heavy as 250lbs with gear and don't have the smoothest line choice but still my rims are holding up. I think many of the failures are related to improper spoke tension and poor line choices. If I hadn't got such a killer deal on my new set of boost Roval Traverse Fatie SL wheel I'd have picked up a second set of their wider asymmetrical rims.
  • 1 0
 @Rider656: I had a set of LB carbon wheels, destroyed 1 (had it replaced), the 2nd one had cracks but they said it was not warrantied because it wasnt manufacture defect (it was hit on the sidewall and had cracked) it held air so I never replaced it. When I built my new bike I threw on a set of Industry 9 Enduro 305 aluminum wheels and I love them. They are straight pull spokes so they are just as stiff as carbon and now I dont have to worry about line choice, I smash through rock gardens without worrying if Im going to crack my carbon wheels. I have absolutely no regrets. I have 6 buddies with LB carbon rims, besides me 2 others had cracked theirs, the other 4 have been running strong. I also have friends who have smashed Roval, Enve and DT Swiss carbon wheels. ALL carbon wheels can crack just like how all aluminum wheels can bend. It doesnt matter what brand the wheel is. The biggest difference for me is when an aluminum hoop dents, I can bend it back, when carbon cracks youre screwed, even if it is warrantied you will still need to pay crash replacement fee, shipping fee and labor to have the new hoops laced up. Dont get me wrong carbon wheels were awesome but I love my aluminum I9's and I will never go back. BTW my buddy just smashed his spanking new Enve M70's at Snow Summit on Sunday, It was only his 6th ride on them. I just upload the video on pinkbike today.
  • 1 1
 @TommyHuynh562: i know nothing about LB and didn't watch the video. I just know my Roval wheels fattie have been awesome for the last year and a half. Plus they have warranty. Never bent or broke a spoke and never trued. Maybe two loose spokes and thats about all. Sorry should have specified. I guess not all carbon is built equal. I race dh and weigh 205 so far so good.
  • 2 0
 @TommyHuynh562: FWIW . After examining many name brand CF rims at 2x and 3x the price vs LB and Nexties and speaking to several industry types. Most of these rims are built in 3 factories in Taiwan and China.
All using nearly identical technology but using slighly varying molds or layups.
ENVE is the only one I am aware of making purely US made product in this category and they charge what? 4x what a Nextie rim is? and probably have similar failure rates all things being equal.
I would love to have ENVE wheels as I buy US whenever possible but just the rims alone are more than my Chris King homebuilt Nexties.
  • 1 0
 @HK-Mazur: I don't personally know @salespunk but a lot of the guys I ride with do, and they're crazy fast. From what I understand, he's quite the beast. Top ten or so on most of the faster Strava segments around my home trails.
  • 4 1
 @kdiggity: oh shit, I had no idea we were in the presence of a strava-top-ten on-home-trails celebrity.
  • 2 1
 @Jimmy0: Just close this thread . No further commentary required.
  • 1 0
 @Jimmy0: Ha Ha! If you don't know... Now ya know
  • 3 0
 @TommyHuynh562: only part I disagree with is the assumption that every impact resulting in a dented aluminum rim would also result in a cracked carbon rim. yes, carbon cracks and it can be catastrophic. aluminum tacos and it can be catastrophic. the difference is, when comparing quality aluminum to quality carbon, its my opinion (based on my own experience with lots of wheels) that aluminum will dent (often) times when the carbon won't even be phased. for that reason carbon rims have lasted me significantly longer than aluminum rims. yes, they might explode underneath me. but if that were to happen, I think an aluminum rim would taco under the same impact. you can always bend a mild dent in aluminum back to straight-ish and that's great, but when I got carbon the dents quit happening.
  • 1 0
 @Rider656: Roval carbon wheels are built in Taiwan I was told they are manufactured in the same factory as LB (Light Bicycle) not sure if thats true. I personally know 2 riders who have smashed their Roval carbon wheels, 1 guy has smashed 2. But I also know people like you who have never had issues. I dont think brand matters, I have 2 friends who have cracked Enve rims as well. One buddy just did it on Sunday at Snow Summit Bike Park (I just uploaded the video yesterday). I think it depends on where at what you ride, over here in So Cal we got tons of rocky terrain. I know the issues that I had with my carbon rims are partially my fault I run super low pressures (21psi front and 23 rear) and my favorite trail is Mt Wilson which is super raw rocky terrain that is known to destroy wheels (carbon and aluminum). So yes if you are smart and run higher pressures you probably wont have as much issues. But saying that, my buddy who cracked his Enve's runs 30 psi.
  • 1 0
 @chasejj: yup I agree Enve are too expensive but they do have a great warranty
  • 1 0
 @dtrotter: yes I agree with you 100% I have dented all of my aluminum wheels (except my I9's but they are only 2 months old). I am sure that those same impacts that caused dents in my rims would have probably done nothing to the carbon wheels. However, I have never taco'd a rim and I was able to repair all of my dents to where they were still able to run tubeless. Keep in mind that the old school carbon rims made with UST lips failed way more frequent than hookless carbon rims. I did have hookless and like I said they were great for about a year before I smashed the first one, then a few more months until I cracked the 2nd. Most of my cracks where on the side smashing through rock gardens.
  • 1 0
 @dtrotter:

My experiences with CFR vs Alu as well, so I run carbon rims on the bike that sees the hardest and most use (dry weather bike) compared to my other trail bike (winter/wet weather bike) that doesn't get thrown into rough, rooty and rocky trails near as often
  • 1 0
 @TommyHuynh562

Should have your buddies check out NOX rims if they are cracking their LB, Enves and Royal rims. NOX just recently went lifetime warranty on their rims (retroactive too) and are 1/2 the price of Enves. The made overseas like most the rest, but I think their layups are a little different and possibly thicker and better designed at the critical areas of rim (the rim bead especially). Like I said I have 3 years now on NOX rims that have been hammered with no issues other than a couple broken spokes over that time. Prior to that I cracked two LB rims in just 3 months and many dinged out, badly bent Alu rims over the past 15 years. Should check them out if wanting to stick or go with CFR, but discouraged by experiences with other brands out there. Last time I talked to NOX they reported only one reported crack over past 3-4yrs that was under unique circumstances. I believe the IBIS/Derby carbon rims are solid as well and likely the new SC CFR rims too.
  • 2 0
 @TommyHuynh562: Tommy -- I have no dog in this fight and I actually ride AL Stans Arch MK3's and love them.

I've seen your videos riding with BKXC. You ride cray-cray and I mean this with "peace, love and envy" ????. The fact that only your rims get destroyed amazes me ????.
  • 1 0
 @jgusta: I actually have 2 buddies with Nox hoops and both laced to Chris King hubs. Neither one has cracked theirs yet but I think both have only had them for about 12-18 months. I know they are both happy with theirs. I also have a buddy who has Nobl hoops laced to Onyx hubs and is really happy. I was deciding between Onyx hoops laced to I9 hubs or the I9 Enduro 305s. I decided on the I9s 305 Enduro because I just didnt want to deal with another cracked carbon rim and being off the bike for 3-4 weeks waiting for warranty. I9's use straight pull spokes vs J bend which makes them extremely stiff, just as stiff as my carbon wheels as far as I could tell. There is a weight penalty with aluminum rims but I have never been a weight wennie, Im the guy who strapped a coil shock the first week I bought my Intense T275 carbon 3 yrs ago. If my I9's fail on me I will definitely look into NOX,
  • 2 0
 @WParkMTB: Thanks for the props brotha. I have actually cracked 2 carbon frames. hahaha but both were due to major crashes (going over the cliff at Mt Wilson) no frame would have survived.
  • 60 2
 Honest answer... "I run what I'm given"
  • 93 3
 Wanna know what's the best compromise between weigh, durability and cost? Look at what the self funded privateers are running.
  • 6 20
flag ka81 (Jul 29, 2017 at 5:12) (Below Threshold)
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: and whst exactly are they running? At least 5-7 examples, please...
  • 21 0
 @ka81: DT Swiss, Spank or Stans usually
  • 3 1
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: Exactly the Pros run what they are given. Wheather it's the best option or not. Because it's their job to sell product. Granted that's not always the case but more often than not it is.
  • 5 1
 trail mode you can run carbon (cheap LB, or nobl or equivalent at most $)... enduro race mode I put my dt swiss ex471 or a stans flow at the rear...dh mode on trail bike full alloy. No carbon on dh bike
  • 4 1
 Yep, most of the teams don't have choice between carbon or alloy:
-Mavic (sunn, CRC, canyon) alloy
-DT (yeti, cube) alloy
-ibis carbon

While spe, trek and SRAM (lapierre, cannondale) riders might have the choice.

I remember Vouilloz's bike check where he had carbon front, alloy rear.
  • 2 2
 @Whipperman: if carbon is so $trong DT guys can use XMC1200 wheelset
  • 5 3
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: From what I have seen most of the recurring EWS 'privateer' racers have minor sponsorships to at least get them discounts on parts. So, I don't really think that's the best place to look. I would bet some of them aren't hurting for money either.
  • 1 0
 @jasdo: But where do you look then? Any further down the ladder and you might as well just ask your buddies at the trail, who are probably biased by lack of funds, or the fact that they've already made an investment.

I don't have a good answer.
  • 2 1
 @Denah: there are no unbiased people...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns:exactly my point. So if you've gotta base your opinions on something, why not the pros?
  • 1 0
 @Denah: I think the best place is to yourself. Know yourself and how you ride. Are you heavy, ride heavy, live in a rocky place, and like low tire pressure? Then go aluminum. The opposite? Then maybe experiment with some LB rims and see how long they last. I have an LB carbon wheelset that's going strong for three years and over 3000 miles despite a bunch of enduro races and my sloppy riding, but I run reasonable pressures. I also have a DT ex471 wheelset that I use for bike parks. But back to the carbon, I decided to take the risk because I know how I ride. And it worked out fine. I really don't think the rim choice of some random dude entering non-pro class into an EWS race has anything to do with my rim choice.
  • 2 1
 @Denah: because they expose their bikes to much greater forces than most amateurs, while being at least 20% lighter than most amateurs, much fitter and much more skilled. Their bikes hit terrain in much different way than ours. Then, many of them use DH tyres, which greatly improve lives of carbon rims, where average Joey will say fk off I'm taking Exos, as soon as he hears about more than 2000ft of climbing. There is often no way around spending money and testing stuff yourself
  • 58 2
 Pick a rim material and be a dick about it.
  • 6 0
 too easy
  • 1 2
 what I meant to say is, that its not enough to be a dick about sth today - you have to come up with %s of gain, seconds that will be cut and karma point to be made. It isnt as easy to be cocky about sth you just want to have or sell as it used to be.
  • 44 8
 If your frame sponsor makes carbon wheels then ride carbon Wink Smile
  • 20 1
 It was pretty obvious it was all sponsored talk. I think the ally rim riders spoke more truthfully.
  • 6 0
 @yeti-monster: I read somewhere that Spec uses a different set of rims for every rider, every race.
  • 5 0
 Yes and no. We start with basically 2 sets of wheels. If they start to get too beat up like major rock scratches and stuff we will get them on the other set of wheels while we build up the 1st set with new hoops. It cycles on and on. You'd be suprised how many teams do this in the ews circuit. @scvkurt03:
  • 2 0
 @Khayes: Thanks for the info. Makes a lot of sense that a lot of teams would operate that way. And I definitely didn't mean it as a criticism - just some interesting insight in that article I read. Rooting for Keene and Graves!
  • 25 0
 As a cycling purist, I prefer the feel of wood rims.
  • 11 0
 Incidentally, wood is a composite!
  • 2 1
 @JohanG: But wood has the advantage over carbon that its production is already automated and CO2-neutral.
@cmcrawfo: As a recycling purist, I prefer the wood rims as well.
  • 53 39
 Alright people! No one is forcing you to ride carbon rims, no one is forcing you to ride aluminum, no one is forcing you to ride your bike at all for that matter! So ride what works for you and ride the shit out of it!!!! Nuf said!
  • 125 2
 But do we have your permission to debate the pro's an con's yeah?
  • 26 33
flag WAKIdesigns (Jul 29, 2017 at 1:32) (Below Threshold)
 oh look, a purist... nobody is forcing you to ride aluminium, hahahha Big Grin it's like saying: monogamy is not natural - as if you had a fkng choice. Carbon rims for amateur Enduro and Dh is an exclusive snake oil.
  • 20 27
flag jaame (Jul 29, 2017 at 1:40) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: have you read about that politician in Malaysia who said men suffer from domestic abuse of the emotional kind, when wives withhold sex? He was right on with that comment... but of course he copped a load of shit for speaking the truth.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
Waki, how did those carbon rims you got, was it from Light Cycle, about 3 or 4 years back hold up? What did you think of the carbon rim experience?

I never went for them in the end btw, instead buying a job lot of Flow rims for stock.
  • 11 2
 @jaame:
Yep, saw that.
I have to say, if he hadn't mentioned the "witholding sex" part, which should be the right of any human regardless of gender, but often isn't, then I thought he would have had a point.

Unfortunately, he did, which then negates the rest of what he said in the eyes of many....
  • 2 1
 Yet... I seem to recall this argument when 26" was still a choice...
  • 8 0
 It's a long complicated story, but I am, in fact, getting forced to ride my bike and forced to ride carbon rims and forced to also ride aluminum rims. I'll explain later
  • 6 1
 @robwhynot: i don't recal debates about the correlation between 26" and withholding sex. In fact I believe the opposite is quite true.
  • 2 0
 Holy Eff is that intro music pretentious!
  • 1 0
 @north-shore-bike-shop: I replied to the original post. Not the other arseh0les
  • 4 2
 @robwhynot: my dad told me once: beware of using a-hole in plural. If you see many a*sholes around you it means that actually it's you being one
  • 1 0
 @Ryanrobinson1984: is 2 days later later enough?
  • 1 0
 @jaame: MGTOW mang!!!!
  • 13 1
 So, someone can please explain me this one:
I'd say I belong to the 95% riders not being in the pro league, so the 0.5 seconds I gain through extra stiffness and traction really doesn't matter to me.
So you may say its also the weight...but then all the pros pack in an extra 500 grams of Hock Norris and Co,because due to increased stiffness and low pressure rider, their tires otherwise blow up...

Basically I end up with spending much more money, ending up with more stiffness and traction wich makes no difference to me anyways and the same weight....
Plus on top of it all, whereas aluminium rims can be recycled, I fill up another scrapyard with trash, once I need a new pair of carbon rims?

So my conclusion: spending more for creating more waste ...doesn't seem like an economical nor ecological modern way of thinking to me..
Am I getting anything wrong here?
  • 3 0
 Let's start with a list of points.

* There is an upper limit to stiffness, beyond which it's no longer good.
* Laurie Greenland in recent testing said he was fastest on 26" wheels.
* Greg Minaar is clearly fasted on 29" wheels, but is also know for loosening his spokes!
* Gwin is still blazing fast on 27.5's and suspension that is stiffer than most.
* Sam Hill rides flats.
* Sam Hill (based on comments) seems to prefer a more traditionally sized bike as opposed to something real long like a Mondraker or Geometron.

We could go on and on with this\, but the biggest take away here is that there is no single equipment recipe for going fast. Nothing those guys say should be used as absolutes to guider your buying decisions.

As you ride more and more you'll understand what works for you and make purchase decisions based on that. Until then, you don't have to spend much money at all just to have fun and go fast enough to hurt yourself. ;-)
  • 19 7
 What ever happened to the 1990's? "Oh yeah, carbon fibre, it's from outer space, it weighs nothing, and is 100000 times stronger than any other material". Sounds like carbon fibre lost it's marketing/BS train.
  • 5 0
 That is still sort of true. But if we insist on demanding 500g weights something has to give. It wasn't that long ago I was riding 600g alloy rims on my AM bike. A 600g carbon rim could be built to be tough and compliant.
  • 15 3
 It's interesting/notable/obscene to hear them talk about carbon rims being entirely consumable. $2000 a set and they are consumable, like $25 grips, $40 chains or $5 inner tubes.
  • 6 1
 inner tubes are 6€ here - I love my bling
  • 4 0
 Eagle chain is $100 fwiw.
  • 13 0
 Should of asked the mechanics if they prefer carbon or aluminium
  • 1 0
 I prefer to build up carbon because they don't egg as easy ????
  • 7 0
 What about interviewing people that really choose what they they ll be riding. Good level top 100 privateers. Their opinions is i think more valuable for this type of question and i feel it s a shame there is always the same set of riders on the pictures at each event.
  • 1 0
 Pros have a say in what they want at no cost value. So if a pro is saying one over the other it's their belief it's the best.
  • 6 1
 No idea what these guys are doing to their wheels and what they are talking about. I am 200 lbs, 6'2 and ride an extra large Carbon bike with Derby Carbon wheels. Best decision ever. Believe me, I ride hard on rocks, maybe I have a light touch because haven't broken anything carbon. Aluminum? Broke it all the time - frames and rims.
  • 12 4
 Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.
  • 7 2
 Good to hear the racer's perspectives on the carbon rim debate. Seems to be honest as well, rather than sponsor-spiel. Definitely something to think about for us regular plebs before we throw $2K at a wheelset.
  • 6 2
 i dont get it. i owned carbon wheels ( light bicycle rims) and totally loved then until i cracked the rear rim.
my primary reason to get carbon at the time was lighter weight ( rear wheel weight is most noticable. every gram counts for acceleration when you mess a corner or loose speed on sketchy rock garden) , so seeing carbon rims around 500 grams makes no sense to me as aluminium rims are now well around 450-500g anyway.
I would like to try carbon again , rim weight at 360g-ish + huck norris + maxxis WT tyres.
  • 6 2
 The nice thing about carbon is they pretty much stay true until they explode and you can build them up super stiff. Alloy wheels take more maintenance, and dent a lot, sometimes to the point where they won't seal tubeless. Carbon doesn't dent, but one day you're just riding along and it explodes.
  • 7 1
 I just took a look at the Santa Cruz Reserve wheels. They look awesome and super strong. But then the weight... 470g on the rims. My Spank Race 33s weigh 489 and 491 on my wife's kitchen scale, and cost me... I can't remember because it was so cheap. If they are strong enough for world cup dh riders like the commencal and polygon teams, they are strong enough for me.
I would like to try carbon but I would only be willing to pay $200 American per rim. I feel at current prices, even Light Bicycle, the cost benefit analysis is WAY OFF.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Funny, but your comment was perfectly reasonable yet you got down voted. Prolly by a carbon fan boi!

Carbon is cool and some people are down with spending the ducks on it, but my opinion is that you don't want that much more stiffness in the wheels. Ally provides plenty without sacrificing compliance of the system further. And the key to traction is compliance!

The failure mode is also a huge consideration. Absolute failure when you're way out in the bush sucks. Something slightly heavier but more durable makes more sense.

I agree with you that the cost:benefit ratio is way out of whack!
  • 2 0
 @jaame: I'm not particularly a fan of carbon but I am a fan of lighter wheels and weighing in at only 155 I have the benefit of being about to run them for years without failure riding in the PNW. The equivalent LB rim to that Spank is their 28mm and it weigh 410 +-15g vs +-500 grams lets call it an 80gram difference per rim not huge but quite noticeable to to some.
  • 1 0
 @geraldooka: true that, spank don't do really light stuff. I have been looking at the asymmetric xr361. It's 390g in 27.5. Only 22.5mm internal but that is right on for skinny xc tyres.
  • 5 2
 I really like carbon rims and have always thought they were better in every way. But who am I to argue with pro racers? Seems like most are on the alloy side of the fence? (Although I’m on carbon Rovals so if they’re good enough for Graves and Keene...)
  • 3 0
 good enough for 1 race at least since they get new sets every time Big Grin
  • 5 3
 This has to be the worse argument ever. "If they're good enough for him they're good enough for me"... That's exactly what companies want to hear and thats why they often hide what the real riders race on to make you believe you should buy it. (I.e. air forks) People need to stop being fools and learn to make their own opinion based on their own logic and experience
  • 2 0
 Advertising works!
  • 3 1
 @mollow: I always employ that logic when I buy Spank parts!
  • 2 0
 @mollow: Well said!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Graves liked alu more than Carbon as he was riding for Yeti
  • 4 1
 Honestly, I've tried I9, Ibis and Enve carbon rims on all of my familiar local trails and I like the feel of an aluminum rim better. Just a nice set of DT Swiss and I am a happy camper! Even my Stans Flow EX rims feel great and hold up well to my 210 lb self (27.5 wheels - 6" travel bike).
  • 1 0
 i like the feel of carbon rims when i am on stupidly high speed bike park tracks where i can really start feeling flex but for anything below mach chicken i cant tell the difference.
  • 7 3
 I think it is interesting what he said about the cushcore foam inserts allowing him to use carbon rims without breaking them all the time.
  • 17 5
 I thought that was funny too. Yah man, I got these $2000 carbon rims. They break all the time, but I save thirty grams at either end... unfortunately I have to use cush core which adds 250g at either end, and another $90, or my carbon rims don't last the race.
  • 11 11
 @jaame: You for real? Makes perfect sense. So he can run a stiffer wheel by using carbon plus a little weight saved to offset someb of the weight gained by the cush core. Do you think if he was running alloy he wouldn't be using cush core? Of course he would because he doesn't want flat tyres.

If was a big time racer thats the setup i would want.
  • 4 3
 @lochsweed: I would probably run one casing heavier, or pump the tyres up a bit. Honestly, adding 250g at either end for rim and puncture protection? It must make the bike snail like under acceleration.
  • 2 1
 @lochsweed: when he was using alloy rims he only used a ghetto tubeless setup and never flatted during a race run.
  • 4 3
 Cushcore in theory allows you to run lower PSI, which in turn 1) adds more grip 2) reduces rolling resistance (rolls through small bumps not over them) 3) makes for more comfortable ride.

It also helps if not eliminates pinch flats.

Lastly it helps if not eliminates rim damage, either cracking carbon or denting aluminum rims.

So it not all about not cracking your carbon rim.
  • 2 1
 @lochsweed: hook, line, a dit sinker!
  • 3 0
 @in2falling: a 1 cm piece of foam isnt gonna save your rim anyway if you smash down hard enough which in most cases it is. Id rather have my rim walls bend a bit then have my carbon rim crack right through but i also dont look for the softest lines down the course either so rim damage is inevitable for me.
  • 1 0
 Yeano ... Cushcore has a lot of benifits other than rim protection (tho it's the main reason) side wall stability and vibration damping are 2 other main reason Grubby runs them. And you can honestly barely feel it.
  • 8 2
 XC = carbon
Anything else = alloy
  • 3 1
 I'm the opposite. Aluminum for flow and xc (flex is not a bad thing for grip). Any gnarly trails are better on carbon and last about 10 times as long. Carbon wheels track so good through the rough.
  • 1 0
 @dualsuspensiondave: Compliance is prolly a better way to explain it. Flex has negative connotation. But I agree!

For the rough stuff I prefer Ally,but I'd rather make sure the sidewall and tire pressure is capable of dampening the effect of some of the chunder. But that's just my way I suppose.
  • 2 0
 I never ride carbon rims but a friend has a e13 wheelset on his DH bike. We ride the same tracks at same pace. In 2 years, I'm on my third rear rim (729, then destroyed a flow mk3 and now on 729 again) while his e13 wheels still looks like new.

I saved money but missed some days of riding waiting for replacements and spend hours lacing wheels.
  • 9 1
 He's just picking better lines and is lighter than you.
  • 3 2
 Well the I9 wheel I want is only available in carbon now. How long will carbon 26 rims be around for me to replace them with? Impact resistant (ballistic) grade carbon exists but the military won't let us have it. Stronger regular carbon rims weigh the same or more than alloy.
  • 1 1
 Cannondale's carbon is called "Ballistec". What do you think that is? A bit of kevlar woven in or something?
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Cannondale had special access to ballistic carbon pre preg for a while in small batches and they claim to have copied it as best they can.
  • 2 0
 Had both, carbon feels stiffer when ripping turns but rock gardens can destroy them, as they can alloy but alloy is cheap to replace and can be tweaked into shape. Sponsored? carbon, me? alloy.
  • 3 0
 My high end alu I-9's are almost the same price as entry level carbon wheels, these interviews make me feel like I made the right choice!
  • 1 0
 carbon is just getting started. companies have learned to infuse other materials in the weaving of carbon to make it stronger. first they have started with frames and next will be wheels. look at antidote bikes. there frames are raw carbon that they infuse vectran into and there frames have a lifetime warranty so it will move to wheels at some point. for now though i ride alum on the DH and carbon on the trail bike.
  • 1 0
 After breaking an aluminum rim about every year I decided to take the carbon plunge. I like the way they track better and feel. My thought being that for $400 a rim if I can make it 3 years on the carbon it will be cheaper than aluminum since aluminum rims are $100 to $150 and I don't build my own wheels so it is another $50 for the shop to lace it up.
  • 1 0
 Carbon rims are far from practical. The weight and stiffness is awesome, however the durability of a rim doesn't matter when it comes to a mistaken square edge hit. I go through rims more than I do brake pads, I would assume these are related!

That being said, $100 replacement for a flow EX or Mavic EX830 every now and again from user error is not the end of the world, but cranking out a minimum $300 bucks for a carbon rim which you bonked on a rock ever so slightly resulting in a crack is where the frustration starts.

Every rim is bound to die one day, especially when considering riding DH or "mini DH aka (enduro)"
  • 2 2
 I'm really interested in pro enduro racer's equipment choice. They have to complete multi-stage races on the same bike and components while competing with other, equally talented athletes down gnarly terrain, often with a few seconds difference between them. If a component lasts a couple of races under such abuse it will probably last a season for the average guy. If it lasts a full racing season for them, then it will most likely provide years of service for the average rider.
  • 1 0
 Just listen to the guy on the reign bud he says it all!!
  • 2 0
 @mhoshal: well, it's pretty clear carbon doesn't work for him!
  • 2 1
 @justwan-naride: Aussies are notoriously behind the curve when it comes to talking marketing shit.
  • 2 0
 Dented and cracked every rim I have ever ridden on. I now don't spend the earth on rims as I know they won't last.
Price vs performance/longevity generally means aluminium.
  • 1 0
 I get what your saying but the tolerance in carbon is higher to where you dent alloy, carbon would have flexed back. But yes when carbon reaches that breaking tolerance you're up a creek.
  • 2 2
 Rims are gonna break or dent regardless of the material. The amount of energy that gets focused on a bicycle rim particularly a mtb rim is rather extreme. It's a tall order for any material to be able to absorb that type of repeated impact, stay in an undeformed or unbroken state and provide an airtight seal. Force equals mass times acceleration. The math was worked out centuries ago. Personally I'll take a dent and keep rolling for a while longer rather than a shattered mess.
  • 3 1
 The most perplexing part of this video: why the British pronounce aluminum as if it were spelled "aluminium," "aluminyum," or perhaps "alumineum." "Alumiñum?"
  • 4 2
 Actually it's everywhere but America who pronounce it like that.
  • 3 1
 @panaphonic: Not from my experience. However, the question remains why?
  • 2 1
 @panaphonic: Turns out it's related to spelling - it used to be spelled "aluminium" for which the British (and apparently non-American world) pronunciation makes sense, but when spelled "aluminum" the American pronunciation makes sense. So when the rest of the non-American world says "aluminium" they are indeed referring to "aluminium" and not "aluminum," but we're all talking about the same stuff.
And apparently the consensus is that both are correct, depending on where you are/who you ask.
I find it most interesting that the British invented their spelling back in the 19th century because they wanted to sound "classical."
www.lostinthepond.com/2013/02/why-do-americans-pronounce-it-aluminum.html#.WX4p9ojytaQ
#TheMoreYouKnow #You'reWelcome
  • 2 0
 @panaphonic: we say it the same as murecans!!
  • 1 0
 how to make a carbon rim?........first get a premium wooden rim (bamboo is good) place in industrial oven, and bake at 400c
until it turns a uniform black.... voilah!! carbon rim!
  • 4 2
 Very cool, does seem like it boils down to preference instead of carbon being the $2000 end all be all solution
  • 3 0
 Depends on racer sponsor ? Not many have a choice of both alloy or carbon
  • 1 0
 Roval carbon fatties w dh/grid casing. 29psi in front and 34psi in rear. I weigh 225lbs. No issues. Very stiff but the faster you ride the better.
  • 1 0
 I have 3 carbon wheelsets and 2 aluminum (XC and AM). The only reason each one feels different is because of the different tires.
  • 3 1
 Martin Maes seems like he wants the carbon but GT is like "nope you're gonna say that aluminum is better"
  • 1 1
 I'm going back to ally for my next bike. Carbon is nice, and it is better, but it's not worth the extra in my opinion. I wish trek would do a slash 29 in alloy.
  • 1 2
 Aluminum Stan's Notubes Flow MkIII with Schwalbe Magic Mary for downhill 26x2.5 and Hope pro 4 hubs - never got a flat. I weigh 103 kg and like highspeed downhill in rock gardens. Psi 26-30. And here is a video from yesterday in 4K about what I do to them: youtu.be/qQsPgp1F0tc
  • 5 1
 To be fair that looked pretty tame.
  • 1 0
 That would be a flow trail where I live xD
  • 1 0
 I ride i9 al-lou-min-eeee-um rims and they are awesome stiffer I think because of the wider gauged spokes but they're still light. I've dented 1 one 2 years on them.
  • 1 0
 Aluminum DT EX471 - hopefully they never stop offering these because they are light (within 50g of comparable carbon rims), stiff (if you lace them tight) and strong.
  • 1 0
 best rims out there!
  • 1 0
 ive been demo'ing the new RSP carbon wheel sets on both my mtb and rd bikes, at £800 a pair im well impressed, with quality and strength, I would highly recommend.
  • 1 0
 Who could afford enve rims - just the trend of the day - remember atomic laboratories rims - the wait for them was crazy - and they weighted a ton
  • 1 0
 Love how they only interview factory riders. You know the guys who get paid to ride... who can afford to go through a wheelset each race.
  • 1 0
 Was there this much "Carbon vs. Aluminum" Coverage / Pushing when Spinergy made the Aluminum Wheels with Carbon spokes??? ???? Lets just go ride!
  • 1 0
 I can't afford carbon wheels, but I'd still love to have a go on a set. In other news and at 5:36, it says this video was 'Produced and Presented by Tracy Moseley'. Hmmm.
  • 1 0
 If I were racing and paying the bill I would purchase 2 sets of Santa Cruz carbon wheels and utilize the lifetime warranty to the fullest.
  • 1 0
 Just points out the fact that because they're fancy and expensive, they aren't necessarily better. I'm still happy with my mavic 729s. They're tough as hell.
  • 1 0
 I just want a rim in silver or white!! Does anyone know a decent train rim it white or silver? Everything is black!! Cheers
  • 1 0
 Check out Spank or Kore.
  • 1 0
 @dirtnapped: spank used to do silver but not anymore,well not on crc anyway. I'll look at kore. Thanks
  • 1 0
 ..
  • 1 0
 Including a polished silver option
  • 1 0
 @mikelee: Check out Velocity USA. They offer some nice wide rims in various colors including a polished silver option.

Apologies for the previous double posts. My mobile is acting up.
  • 2 0
 Pros use what their sponsors pay them to use.
  • 1 0
 The question is....if the rims were given to you for free which one would you choose?
  • 1 0
 Carbon, because I'd never pay for them. That way I could see if they're worth a shit.
  • 1 2
 I would not want to be on that Ibis team. Those carbon rims are straight trash. Hopefully the 742 is better but the 741 was god awful. Broke three in one season, without racing EWS speeds.
  • 1 0
 Tracy Moseley gets credit for presenter and production at end of video, But when did she grow a beard?????????
  • 2 0
 Wooden, I prefer a nice blend of balsa and maple.
  • 2 0
 What do the pros think......
I came hear for the comments Wink
  • 2 0
 Steel rims 4 lyfe!!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 I took note of Isabeau's statements. I am a San ridwr too and stiffer is not always better.
  • 1 0
 Just cracked my giant carbon rear wheel on a small impact. Getting aluminum rims again.
  • 1 0
 Easy to decide and change when everything is free! Not a real discussion here at all..
  • 1 0
 I just want something that keeps true. I am a bit sick of trying to get my back wheel to run straight again.
  • 4 3
 I like my carbon rims. I also like my aluminum rims.
  • 2 1
 Traverse carbon wheels with huck Norris = happy weekend worrior
  • 3 0
 Heavier than alloy and you lose the stiffness. What's the point?
  • 1 0
 what material is next in line after carbon?
  • 2 0
 Kevlar, then the bile-yellow rims will make everyone look like they're running big retro skinwall tyres.
  • 1 0
 Carbon->CushCore->Exo sounds like a nice combo.
  • 1 0
 i don't care wha t it is, stop @#$ing with us
  • 1 0
 screw rims, but the new DEVINCI SPARTAN!!!!
  • 1 0
 A solid alloy wheelset trumps any carbon wheels. Hands down.
  • 1 2
 I like my carbon wheels, liking my aluminum wheels but can't wait to try some aluminium wheels!
  • 1 0
 Deleted
  • 1 0
 Smaller rider
  • 3 4
 Most said "No thanks." I am beginning to feel that carbon rims are becoming the Trump of MTB.
  • 3 0
 That's way too harsh.
  • 2 2
 Carbon is dead
  • 1 0
 Why is he wearing a lil xc jersey?
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