Praxis C32 Carbon Wheels - Review

Apr 7, 2017
by Mike Kazimer  
Praxis C32 wheels

Praxis first made their mark in the mountain bike world with their line of bottom brackets, which were soon followed up by chainrings and cranksets. Wheels were the next logical step, and last spring Praxis debuted the carbon fiber C32 wheelset.

Intended for trail and all-mountain use, the C32 wheels are built up using an asymmetric carbon rim that measures 38mm externally and 32mm internally. DT Swiss provides the hub, with the time-tested 350 model laced into a 32-spoke, two-cross pattern on the Boost version, while the non-Boost version uses Praxis' own hub shell design with DT Swiss internals.

Praxis C32 Details
• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Carbon rims / DT Swiss 350 hubs
• 29" and 27.5" options
• Boost and non-Boost spacing available
• Weight (29" Boost): 1650 grams; front: 770g, rear: 880g.
• MSRP: $1799 USD
www.praxiscycles.com

With a retail price of $1799 USD the C32 wheels aren't cheap, but they're also far from the most expensive options on the market. Each wheelset is backed with a two-year warranty against manufacturing defects, along with a two-year crash replacement program where Praxis will lace up the original hub to a new rim for $300.


Praxis C32 wheels
The C32 rims are laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs.
Praxis C32 wheels
A 32mm inner width helps make it possible to run lower tire pressures without losing sidewall support.


Construction

Wide rims have returned to fashion over the last few years, although advances in carbon and aluminum technology mean that they're not nearly as heavy as those DoubleWides that you used to mount up with 3.0” Gazzaloddis. Internal widths of between 27-35mm seem to be where things are settling, and the C32 wheels' 32mm inner width puts them comfortably within that range. That dimension should allow them to work well with tires 2.35” wide and larger – if you prefer skinnier tires, a narrower rim would be a better choice to avoid having the casing become overly squared-off.

The carbon rims are asymmetrical, with the spoke holes offset in order to allow for more even spoke tension between the drive and non-drive side of the wheel. Traditional J-bend spokes are used to lace the wheels up in a two-cross pattern, and the spoke nipples are where they should be – outside of the rim for easy truing and tension adjustments. The rim is hookless, with a channel molded into each side of the rim bed that's designed to help lock the bead into place.

Rather than tackling the feat of creating their own hub internals from scratch, Praxis chose to lace the C32 wheels to DT Swiss' 350 hubs, which use the company's proven ratchet drive system. Our test wheelset came with an 18-tooth ratchet drive ring, but the non-Boost version is slightly different, relying on Praxis' own hub shell that houses DT Swiss internals, including a 36-tooth ratchet drive.


Praxis C32 wheels
External nipples mean that there's no need to un-mount a tire when it's time to true them.
Praxis C32 wheels
The asymmetric rim profile allows for more even spoke tension.


Set Up

For the most part, getting the C32 wheels set up tubeless was hassle free, although I did have a couple of tires, typically ones with thicker casings, that were a little reluctant to pop out of the rim's center channel and move up against the sidewall where they belonged. In those cases, a little extra elbow grease and some prodding with a tire lever were required to get everything situated, but it was only a minor inconvenience, and I still never needed to resort to using an air compressor. More than likely, removing the stock rim tape and adding a couple laps of Gorilla tape would have helped solve this by reducing the height of that inner channel.

My tire pressures varied slightly depending on what tires I was running, but for the most part, they hovered between 20-21psi in the front and 22-23 psi in the back. That was high enough to avoid any unwanted tire roll, but still soft enough to maintain traction in the slippery conditions that prevailed during testing.


Performance

These wheels haven't had an easy life – rain and mud have been a part of nearly every single ride they've been on, and I haven't been shy about smacking them into corners and plowing through roots and rocks. The good news? They've taken the exposure to the elements and all those hits like a champ. The bearings are still spinning smoothly and, other than a few tiny scratches the rims, are still as good as new, even after several hits that I'm sure would have dented an aluminum rim. The rear wheel has had a couple trips to the truing stand to get rid of a little wobble caused by my on-trail miscalculations, but each time it only took a few minutes to get it rolling straight again.

I'm not one to get hung up on weight, and for me, durability takes a higher precedence than gram counting, but I was very impressed by how light the C32 wheels felt out on the trail. Their handling was crisp and precise without going overboard – there wasn't any harshness or unwanted feedback no matter how rough the trail, but they were still stiff and responsive, exactly how you'd hope a high-end carbon wheelset would be.

My one gripe is that after spending time on several wheelsets with very quick engaging freehub mechanisms, the 20-degrees between engagement points of the DT 350 hubs proved a little underwhelming. At this price I would have liked to see the 36- or even 54-tooth ratchet rings as the stock configuration.



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesWide, light, and durable, Praxis' C32 wheelset is an excellent option for any rider looking to upgrade their ride. The price isn't as outlandish as some other carbon wheels on the market, but it's still an investment. Luckily, the stealthy graphics should make it easier to run them without your significant other noticing... at least until the next credit card statement arrives.  Mike Kazimer








95 Comments

  • + 62
 It's easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission. So go ahead y'all, get some carbon wheels.
  • + 47
 I couldn't even forgive myself for spending that kind of money on a wheelset.
  • + 25
 I would rather ride my bike more than work more, so the alloy wheels stay.
  • + 44
 Bikes are cheaper than heroin, or strip clubs or golf, or many other bad habits.. I remind my wife of that all the time.. I am doing something healthy... and it is my therapy, so we are saving money there as well.. at the end of the day, mtn bikes are essentially free in my mind...
  • + 12
 @billybobzia: Bikes are also way cheaper that Prozac and insulin shots.
  • + 8
 @billybobzia: i like this thinking. I have put it to my wife.
  • + 8
 I don't mind when my bike costs more than my car, but when the wheel's cost more than the car... yeesh
  • + 1
 @alexhyland: ya you should put it in your wife, if not someone will Smile
  • + 2
 But both are still easier than a divorce, LOL.
  • + 48
 Worth reading just to hear someone else say they hide the cost from their wives too.
  • + 27
 Makes you feel less sinister knowing everybody else is doing it too
  • + 40
 I had a 29er DVO Diamond, in green, on my bike for 4 months before my wife noticed. All I said was, "Oh, that fork? It's one of my old ones". 2 months later someone let the cat out of the bag, not me, and she was huffy and puffy. My response,"How much was that new saddle you bought for your horse?". A $1500 a year budget for bikes compared to a $9000 a year budget for horses is leverage. Moral to the story, buy your lady a horse. Or get her into golf, I heard a set of carbon golf sticks are expensive..
  • + 22
 Better yet, get your spouse into mountain biking. It's worked like a charm for me. She's got her own group of riding buddies and now understands why MTB rides need a 60 minute beer drinking window.
  • + 8
 @oldschool43: A bike is an investment in happiness. A horse is a hole in the ground to throw money into.If anyone asks me about the expense of my bike, I just tell them it's cheaper than a Bass boat.
  • + 5
 @oldschool43: my wife likes to decorate but she says that $600 bed frame is for both of us so it doesn't count as leverage Frown
  • + 5
 I'm not even married yet and my girl friend repeatedly tells me that whenever I buy myself something she wants me to buy her something, too. I just bought a mountain bike and I think I got out of it this time because she knows I sold my motorcycle to do it, and we're both students so we don't have much money. You married fellers are giving me a glimpse of the future.
  • + 65
 @WaterBear: If she is only your girlfriend and she expects you do buy her stuff when you buy yourself stuff. It is only going to get worse if you marry. Run for the hills my friend....
  • + 8
 @WaterBear: You gotta think about what's important to you. Now I'm not saying I know, but I've been hardcore riding since 83' or so. Lots of girls have come and gone, but my bikes have lasted forever... metaphorically speaking.. I do have my original cracked frame, bent fork 89' Haro Team Master in teal, but the girl during that time, she wanted "stuff" too. I only miss her cause she was a hot figure skater and had a nice set of legs... anyway, you're young. Hope you find a compromise.
  • + 1
 @codypup: A horse is a majestic creature created with god's own hands. And they're pretty.. Wink I pretty much parked my bikes for a few years (150 miles a year), because my first ever horseback ride I ran up a hill at 35mph. After getting very plump, I brought the bikes back out. That's where I screwed up. And she forgot I had invited her to a Norba national to see me race when we were courting. Had she seen me race.. Likely a different story. I mean, she knew I was a cyclist, I just didn't stick with it. I've spent $1000's on horses and it is cool when you get that bond with one, it's about 100 times harder to bond with a horse than a dog, it's total happiness, but it does not come cheap, at all.
  • + 2
 @freestyIAM: But dude, that's where the magic happens Wink I help pay for horse stuff. I still ride them. I still work with them. I go to the barn to see them when my wife is at work or school. I have a $300 receiver in my truck for her trailer. It's bikes before horses though. It's all how you work it. Start with the bed... Pick out some sheets with her, make them a mess, ask for what you want..
  • + 1
 @ryan83: I tried. I've bought her 3 bikes, she's not feeling the mtb thing at all. She'll ride the road, but didn't like her last bike so much (for the road, Specialized Vita Comp Disc), that she told me to build up the first bike she ever rode with me. So she's riding a 2001 Santa Cruz Chameleon with a 140mm fork, Raceface Diabolus stem and a 2" DMR 4butt jump bar, with 700 x 28 disc wheels and tires... I don't have the nerve to say anything about that..
  • + 12
 If you buy the same color bike each time she will never know.
  • + 4
 @WaterBear: When she buys herself a new purse, cute outfit, shoes, be sure to compliment her style. Soak it in. Then ask her to buy you something... Like new rims.
  • + 10
 @oldschool43: Sorry, can't go there. I grew up with horses and that's not me getting misty eyed, it's me crying at the thought of ever having to get within 20' of one again. 1,200 lbs. and a brain the size of a peanut. Never rode one after my first motorcycle ride-now there's a tool if you want to go uphill at 35+.
  • + 6
 @happychucky: @WaterBear

Second that from a happily married for 25 years guy - RUN AWAY! That sounds like trouble...
  • + 7
 @WaterBear: run for the hills. My wife is awesome and would never do that. Let you gf be someone else's head ache.
  • + 1
 @ryan83: that worked great till she wondered why her bike parts only said xt and Cain creek and mine said xtr and Crish king. I get a new bike and then she wonders when she's getting a new one. It's great I have my best friend to ride with but have a lot less cash for bike stuff now that I'm buying two of everything
  • + 2
 @oldschool43: I used to have that same Haro Master! Can you send me some pics of yours! Loves me some Old School Freestyle bikes!
  • + 1
 @ryanholio: I only have the frame, fork and bars. I have the 990 U-brake too. I kept breaking my naviculars, so in 1990 got out of freestyle and raced some BMX, then mtbs. I sold most of the parts in the early 90's. Sold the Peregrine HP-48's to buy some XTR hubs. They were used but in great shape. Kicking myself for that. I bought a Standard STA with a 990/peg boss fork in 98' and rode some street for a few years, but sold it to my little brother. Kicking myself for that too. He parted it out weeks later. Little jerk.. Wink
  • + 1
 Order online and ship to place of work. Dump packaging at a gas station or some other place between work and home. Oh....and always buy black components.
  • + 2
 @WaterBear: what you're seeing is not the ghost from christmas yet to come (ie future) but, rather, the DIVORCE LAWYER. Take heed of the warning.
  • + 1
 @freestyIAM: yes, but you can always use the bed frame for "leverage" *wink* *wink* Then at least you could both enjoy it.
  • + 20
 1800$ and you don't even get a dt240 instead of 350...
For 1000$ I had built a set of XM421/XM481 laced by sapim CXrays to dt 240s straight pull that weight 1550g in 27.5...
  • + 58
 So you are saying you bought a alloy wheelset that was cheaper than carbon? Cool story bro
  • + 13
 @Bigernmcracken: the way I see it he says I'd rather buy Hi end metal that is lighter and less than half a price. Carbon in this price range should come with nicer hubs at least for new name in the game.
  • + 6
 @kanasasa: I built a set of light bike asymetric rims with dt350's 32mm inner diameter for $900 shipped. I agree that the hubs should be nicer for the price, but saying your alloy set is cheaper is obvious. High end alloy may weigh the same or slightly more, but has others have mentioned carbon is stronger and stiffer. I personally like alloy wheels on my dh so they flex a little and run carbon wheels on my nomad.
  • + 1
 @Bigernmcracken: that's exactly the point, new player with probably just relabeled existing product laced to decent hub is asking premium price. Lb has been around for a while and its still half a price. They don't spend on marketing tho... And many look for carbon to save on weight and this one didn't score there either. They better be DH strong considering everything.
  • + 1
 Yeah, or you could buy a car that runs. This is the world of bikes. Nice things are expensive.
  • + 1
 Where can you get that build for $1000?
  • + 11
 Looks like light bicycles
  • + 8
 Exactly. Looks identical to my Light Bicycles I ordered last year, same hubs, same spokes. They were at my door for $1100 Can including shipping. I'd like to hear them justify why these are marked up to over double the cost...
  • + 1
 I've had a set of LB's for about 2 years now and they have been through a good amount of abuse. Im no where near even an intermediate rider. But they hit jumps, drops, rocks, and boulders. Still hold up. Scratched to shit but still rolling.
  • + 3
 Yet again, LB FTW.
  • + 3
 I've heard that Nobl wheels may be LBs too.
  • + 4
 i had a set of 30mm 27.5 UD carbon wheels built, with 28 pillar 1420 spokes and powerway hubs. Total weight 1390g. Cost including shipping to Canada and duty(none) $700 ...CAD From A-ONE Bicycle Co on aliexpress.com They were amazing to deal with and saved me from ordering the wrong size lefty hub. They were on sale, and are not at the moment, but I highly recommend them.
  • + 7
 i9 enduros, cheaper...lighter
  • + 4
 Don't get me wrong, I love i9's. But fwiw these are asymmetric and nice and wide. That's definitely worth something.
  • - 5
flag oldschool43 (Apr 7, 2017 at 8:55) (Below Threshold)
 I don't like that i9 have weight limits for wheelsets. That makes me think they have a short lifespan. I see them out on the trail, but always wonder how much time they have left.
  • + 3
 @oldschool43: Its supposed to be a limited lifespan product with a lifetime replacement for a fee per incident.
  • + 2
 Lots of great options for carbon hoops these days. If you want i9 and assym you can get a set of Nox laced up with Sapim CX-rays for ~$100 less than these. (nicer hubs, better spokes, choice of colors on hubs and decals). Or if you want even cheaper LB North America is now building with i9 hubs and a pair of those can run $1237 with i9 hubs. All reports seem to indicate that LB has their act together these days and have good cust service. Why would you pay A LOT more for Praxis/Enve/Reynolds/Etc ???
us.lightbicycle.com/shop/27-5-am728
  • + 1
 @corvus1: hah. I have Nox Farlows with i9s and sapim spokes on my yeti 5.5, and nox Teocalli's with Hope pro 4's on my Ripley. Such good wheels!
  • + 2
 @gooutsidetoday: You can get asymmetric, nice and wide with Nox Composites and get them with DT240s for the same price as these with DT350. Mine are still working great.
  • + 1
 @corvus1: Are bladed spokes any stronger? I'm no lightweight, so curious as to why Sapim CX-rays are so popular. Just figured the plain old double butted were stronger.
  • + 1
 @spenceratx: Bladed spokes are a bit stronger. You can get stronger round spokes but they're considerably heavier. Unfortunately bladed spokes are rather expensive (e.g. it's a $140 upcharge at LB). I prefer them in general but they're not strictly necessary. To compare bladed to a similar round butted spoke the wheel will cost $60-70 more but be around 40-50g lighter. Depending on the manufacturer it's not just a difference in shape, they do some additional treatment to the metal. Not sure if this impacts fatigue life of the spoke.
  • + 1
 @gooutsidetoday: Farlows on the wife's Carbine and Kitsumas on my Hightower and her Mojo 3. All with i9 Smile
...of course if I do another wheelset I'll likely go Project 321 to turn down the hub noise.
  • + 1
 @gooutsidetoday:

I9 enduros are 30.5mm internal width. Not exactly skinny.

They've been flawless for me and let me run exremely low tire pressures. I'd argue they're borderline too wide to run some 2.35s. A minion SS is almost flat and the sideknobs always touch.
  • + 1
 @UtahBikeMike: Yes I think the wide wheel trend is good up until about 30mm. The i9 enduro's are very nice wheels. I'm a big boy and the weight limit was not something i was comfortable with, but otherwise I very well could have been running them.
  • + 1
 @TucsonDon: Exactly. That's what I did, through Dave's Wheels (aka Speed Dream), in your town I do believe. The difference in price between DT 350 and 240 is substantial, and Praxis is taking that as profit.
  • + 1
 @oldschool43: my I9s still going. Wifes I9 after SS downhill park still going. My carbon hoops that are 1 year newer are broke but are covered under warranty. There is absolutely no better upgrade you can do to anything with wheels then give it high performance quality Wheels.
  • + 1
 I gotta i9 with lb carbon 700 bux used but I've only broken a nip. 3 years running. Best wheels ever 7 foot drop to flat and I'm 200 lbs on a hardtail. Better and less$
  • + 4
 So you can get a very similar wheelset in alloy for over $1000 less. It weighs 150 grams more maybe? Is carbon really worth it? I don't understand
  • + 6
 stiffness is what you are chasing with carbon. i like really stiff wheels. i dont like them 1800 dollars worth though
  • - 3
 @adrennan: why in the f*ck do people run lose some tension then??? Most notably ews racers
  • + 2
 @ibishreddin: personal preference?
  • + 3
 For $1,799 you can get a set of Ibis wheels, asymetric 41mm rims, cx ray spokes, I9 hubs, 7 year warranty.. 1,630g... Only caveat is center lock hubs...

Or for around $200 more, same set built in your LBS with CK hubs...
  • + 2
 Cracked two Light Bike rims. Both on the rear with super gravity tires @ 30 PSI on a 6" bike. I am 185#'s. The fronts have held up well however, and I continue to use them as such. Switched to Noble HD on the rear. It has endured but is not significantly lighter than aluminium options. Killington and Platekill were the the demise of my Light Bicycle rims. Both a result of aggressive riding on rocky terrain. My WTB I 35 and Velocity Blunt 35 aluminium rims certainly last longer in the same type of conditions and locations. But of course they are heavier.
  • + 2
 What tire width? Even with a 2.4 I find 30psi isn't enough for a rear tire bombing rock gardens if you're getting rowdy on the trails. Carbon rims are great but they don't handle rock strikes well.
  • + 1
 I don't understand how some people say they need such high PSI, while guys like Richie Rude are running upper 20's and weighing in at over 200lbs.
  • + 5
 @gooutsidetoday: Some people just don't know how to float.
  • + 1
 @gooutsidetoday: It depends on the terrain, upper 20s is fine for the loamy stuff but you bomb a rock garden at Keystone or Moab with that setup and you're going to blow up a wheel.
  • + 1
 @gooutsidetoday: I run tubes, typically 30 psi, and I dented a rear wheel without much trouble hucking a water bar on a local DH run. It's really not hard to blow up rims if you try. I guess I'm saying that average people can kill wheels doing less than rampage level stuff.
  • + 1
 I could get the Roval Traverse SL 29 148s for $300 and 83 grams less, but I think I will spend more money and have heavier wheels just so I can roll on a boutique brand. Why get something from the Big S, even when it's better than Not-Big-S's product?

How's that for keepin' it real? Hold on, gotta go pickup my handbuilt carbon frame made in Nepal by Buddhist monks using a carbon fiber technology invented by an avatar of Vishnu in 864 AD.
  • + 3
 I9s are very strong and reliable. I've been rolling on a set for for almost 3 years and they still ride like new and I'm 210 lbs. solid wheels.
  • + 1
 It's alright for all mountain/trail/XC, but no way in hell I would spend this much on a carbon DH wheelset that has a chance of exploding on the next drop I hit. 1800 is still a lot of money for a wheelset no matter what though...
  • + 1
 This should really be called a Praxxis rim review. Seem pretty nice, though. Carbon rims sound great, but I'm not sure I could notice the benefit over my KOMs for my riding. Love how my rims cost the same as dinner out for my wife & I instead of a night at a hotel on top of the night out.
  • + 2
 I just cant justifying spending a bunch of money on wheels. Until I ride a bike with dope wheels I can notice i would rather spend my money anywhere else on my bike.
  • + 0
 These rims appear identical to the Nextie model NXT29WC38. Get yourself two of those and a pair of hubs from a German site and spokes from Dan's Comp and you can piece together essentially the same wheels for $750.
  • + 2
 Any Nokian reference is OK by me
  • + 1
 A warranty where praxis will install a new rim on the old hub for $300? Are we supposed to be impressed by this?
  • + 2
 Lost me at dt350 and 1799.
  • + 1
 Just do it anyway. But be reasonable. Don't however, let her tell you what you can and can't do. And RIDE LOTS!
  • + 1
 is there an aluminum version? or am i being laughed at right now.
  • + 1
 Praxis does make an alloy wheelset, but the internal rim dimensions are 24mm, so it's not really an aluminum version of the C32.
  • + 1
 man...I wish I have extra nipple too
  • - 1
 please test the light bicycle rims, the budget-est of budget wide carbon rims!
  • + 2
 If they did l-b would charge more after the exposure. Don't do it!
  • + 2
 @sevensixtwo: youre right! turns out youre not allowed to downvote your own comment :/
  • + 0
 How are these different than light bicycle rims???
  • - 2
 They all are made from the same manufacturer in china. Gigantex composite technologies co.
  • - 1
 Is Praxis offered a great deal with a PowerMeter it might be worth it.
  • + 0
 light bicycles
  • - 2
 Yea cool another plastic wheel to explode the moment you take it off a machine groomed highway trail. Snooze....

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