Review: Crankbrothers Synthesis E11 Carbon Wheels

Jul 24, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  


Crankbrothers took a different route with their Synthesis carbon wheels by creating front- and rear-specific rims. There's a stiffer rim in the back to better handle bigger hits, while the front rim is supposed to be more compliant in order to provide extra traction and comfort.

The Synthesis wheel system comes in three different configurations - one for XC, one for all-mountain and enduro riding, and one for DH. We've had the middle sibling, the Synthesis E on test for a number of months now to see how they fare in varied riding conditions and to see if they actually do offer a benefit over a traditional wheelset.

There are also multiple hub choices. Our test wheels were laced up with Project 321 hubs, and
Synthesis E11 Wheels
• Intended use: Enduro/All-Mountain
• Carbon rim, front and rear-specific "tunes"
• 27.5" or 29" options
• Project 321 hubs, 2.5-degrees quiet engagement
• Designed to fail in a propagation mode
• Lifetime warranty on rims
• 1,825g (29" wheelset)
• $2,399 USD
• $699 USD (rim only)
Crankbrothers
the wheels are also offered with Industry Nine's 690-point-engagement Hydra System hubs. Synthesis wheels come with a lifetime warranty, which covers rims that break during normal riding conditions. In other words, leaving them behind your car and backing over them doesn't count.

Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
Synthesis isn't the first to offer front- and rear-wheel-specific rims, but they have taken the concept to the next level.


Construction

The Synthesis carbon wheels are designed to work as a system and are the creation of Jason Schiers and Mello Bouwmeester. Both of these guys have quite the background in the bike industry, which we went a little more in-depth on with our "First Look" of the Synthesis wheels last year.

The concept of the wheels is that with more compliance the front wheel can more easily find its way, and then with more stiffness in the back wheel the bike will track well. This is similar to how most riders run a little less pressure in their front tire than the rear. If the front wheel is too stiff, it won't flex and hold the trail. Rather, it will skip around and ride poorly. Conversely, the rear wheel has to be stiff to manage larger hits and power through impacts with more force.

Mello wheels
Crankbrothers' Synthesis rims use massively thicker walls in high-impact areas. The front rim (left) is wider and designed to be more compliant than the heavier-constructed rear-specific rim.Crankbrothers photo


After a lot of prototypes and back-to-back testing of wheels, the team settled on what they felt was the ideal combination of the two: a more compliant front and stiffer rear wheel. The front wheel has a reduced spoke count, lighter gauge spokes, and lower spoke tension. The rim itself is slightly lighter and is slightly wider than the rear. This is to pair with running a slightly wider tire up front and allow the tire to have a rounder profile.

The rear wheel's higher spoke count, higher spoke tension, and narrower rim stiffens things up and sharpens up the tire's profile for cornering. The rim flanges are made thicker to handle higher impacts. Crankbrothers claim that this combination of rim design and wheel build creates a more durable yet compliant ride.
Mello wheels
Synthesis also incorporated dissimilar tire widths into their front/rear wheel equations, as most riders choose larger volume tires up front.


Safe Failure Mode

As everything can fail, Synthesis wheels are designed to fail in a manner that is controlled, rather than catastrophic. Schiers claims he has been obsessive about the way carbon fails and has worked hard to figure out how to manage catastrophic failure ever since he made the first Edge/Enve wheels years ago.

The ultra-thick carbon sections have some traits in them that can't be duplicated in traditional thin-wall tubular-section rim types. The resin system used in the carbon is a special high-impact formula and the layup schedule is tailored to disperse impacts. Some of the layups and materials are similar to those that protect F-1 drivers in race cars where safety is paramount.

Yeti SB130 Daniel Sapp Staff Ride
The wheels are available with Project 321 (left) or Industry Nine's Hydra hubs (right).


Schiers says that if the Synthesis rims do fail it would be in a propagation type mode, with the damage spread across a wide area of the structure. Like the properties of an aluminum rim, the carbon is constructed to produce a noticeable deterioration - a heads up - that will hopefully catch the attention of its owner before further damage leads to a complete failure. Schiers believes that anyone who is developing carbon wheels has a responsibility to manage their failure modes to ensure a safe and controlled event.


Performance

I've spent many hours on the Synthesis E wheels. They've been my go-to on the Yeti SB130 I've been using as a test sled. That means I've had plenty of opportunities to compare the E 11's to the alternative carbon and aluminum hoops that I've swapped off and on more times than I care to count.

I'm happy to report that I experienced no issues. The high engagement of the hubs was great, and the wheels delivered an excellent ride quality. I wasn't easy on them either. I thunder cased multiple rocks and ignored that I was running seriously low air pressure at times, yet I never flatted nor suffered
any damage to the wheels outside of the standard rock gouges that are unavoidable in North Carolina.

bigquotesEventually, I did get my groove back with the other carbon wheels and didn't give it much thought - until I swapped back to the Synthesis. The difference in ride quality was noticeable and substantial.

The telling moment came after I had switched out the Synthesis E 11 wheels with another carbon wheelset. Same bike, same trails, but a very

My Yeti SB130 tried hard, but failed to defeat the new Synthesis wheels.
different ride experience. I was getting kicked around and couldn't seem to find the sweet spot on the SB130 anymore. Eventually, I did get my groove back with the other carbon wheels and didn't give it much thought - until I swapped back to the Synthesis. The difference in ride quality was noticeable.

The difference between the ride quality of the Synthesis wheels and their high-end competitors is quite remarkable. Upon riding these wheels, it's easier than ever to comprehend that there's a lot more to a wheel than it just being stiff and strong. Compliance and ride quality directly translate to comfort and control on the bike. Just like the difference in vibration damping an aluminum handlebar has vs a well made carbon bar, it's easy to feel the difference in the ride characteristics of the Synthesis wheels.


Pros

+ Compliant and comfortable ride
+ High engagement hubs
+ Lifetime warranty
Cons

- Expensive
- Benefits could be negated if not used in the full system



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesCrankbrothers have designed a wheelset that validates their claims - the Synthesis wheels have proven to be compliant and durable. The wheels deliver a better ride quality than many other options currently on the market, and if they fit your budget I recommend them for riders searching for durable, high-performance carbon wheelset.Daniel Sapp






161 Comments

  • + 129
 Pretty cool that they've made a carbon wheel that's almost as good as aluminium ones
  • + 2
 That was my exact thought as well. I get the appeal from a decreased weight standpoint, but the difference is so marginal. Especially when you have the added trade off of having a wheel that's rigid as hell.
  • + 2
 @skycripp: Most good aluminum wheels weigh about the same as good carbon wheels these days anyway. I don't really see the advantage of carbon wheels anymore...
  • + 3
 Some carbon rims are better performance wise. Especially the ones with the strip of red tape over the valve, so that everyone knows what they are and how much you paid. Genius marketing by SC. I felt noticeable benefits climbing, and I have had a few very hard rock strikes through the rear wheel without any issues. It would be interesting to test them against some of the cheap Chinese rims like Lightbicycle etc.
  • + 4
 My AM i35 carbon wheel set is 1470 grams. Get close to that in aluminium. You can't.
  • + 5
 @JohanG: Which brand and wheelset is that? I my recent searches, you can find some very light carbon hoops, but found the lightness usually comes from hub and spoke selection which you can copy on aluminum.

If you're on very light carbons, they're either a brand or wheels I wouldn't trust or XC variants vs something that will stand up to the abuse of AM/Enduro.
  • + 3
 @islandforlife:
I have a set of 26 Light Bicycles on DT Swiss 240s and CXray spokes. Enduro build. Thrashed hard and still true. 1450g.

IMO, the benefit is a lightweight build that lasts much longer than the aluminium equivalent.
  • + 1
 @JohanG: Industry 9 trail 270
  • + 3
 @Kurt1980: 26"? We're talking 29" wheels here, so add 400 grams. And... I'll skip LB, thanks.
  • + 7
 Happily rode carbon wheels for a couple years. Went back to aluminum wheels, and my riding enjoyment decreased by 0%.
  • + 1
 @JohanG: Yeah other carbon 29er AM/enduro-y wheelsets are or ~ 1500g. I have some that have been solid for years from light-bicycle (28mm internal width, 240s hubs). So almost a pound lighter.
  • + 3
 @islandforlife: Interesting, I took at look as well. It looks like the DT Swiss XM 481 29" Rim (Alum 30mm internal width) rim is 534g/rim and is $130/rim.
The light-bicycle AM930 is 440g/rim (same internal width) and is $280/rim. So just under 200g (about 1/2 lb) difference for the wheelset if you get the same hub/spokes/nipples, etc. About a $300 cost difference between the rims for a wheelset.
Stan's flow MK3 are a similar weight at 527g/rim (slightly lighter), but the EX3s are 618g.
  • + 1
 @sarahlh: you can get Chinese carbon rims for much cheaper than 280/rim...lightbike has an ebay store where you can get a set of rims for about 220ish out the door.
  • + 1
 @clink83: can you add a link? didn't see a lightbike store on ebay, might just not be searching correctly.
light-bicycle seem pretty established, however, which good customer service, etc.
  • + 3
 Unless your comparing cbros Al which didn't last due to spokes all spaced out.
Great comeback crank brothers! Dropper is top contender too! And of course, those mallets Wink
  • + 2
 @sarahlh: I know a guy who flip/flopped between a custom build here in Canada, and a cheaper light bicycle setup.

He ended up going with LB. He ordered dt240 J-bend hubs with the rims. They send him wheels with straight pull hubs, and the wheels were built so much over tension that the nipple holes were bulging and distorted.

They refused to replace the wheels, but did eventually replace the rims. He was left with hubs he didn't want, and left paying the bill to have them built here anyway!

LB service is terrible, judging by what he went though. And while they might make good rims, they build a terrible wheel!
  • + 1
 @Kurt1980: Have you had good experience with the Lightbicycle rims? I have read some good reviews. I was thinking of building up a lightweight set of race wheels for my 4x bike.
  • + 1
 @drjonnywonderboy:
Hi mate, I have a set on my hardtail (enduro build) and another on my DH bike (DH build, obviously). Just got back from Whistler on the DH bike actually. After 3 years, there is a very slight buckle in the back of the DH bike's wheel, which I think is due to a bent spoke.

I've had very good experience with both wheelsets. One was built by a local guy here and the other was built by LB themselves.

I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Great wheels!
  • + 38
 Designed by a former enve engineer, built by crank bros? Think I’ll pass on this one...
  • + 86
 Jason's track record is remarkable - you'll notice lots of the Edge/Enve issues started around the time he left and the Vulture Capitalists took over.
  • + 21
 He’s not a “former engineer” either. He was Cofounder.
  • + 11
 Normally I'd agree... but over the last year or so, I've heard nothing but excellent things from riders and reviewers about these wheels. Don't get me wrong, I'd never buy them (carbon wheels are a waste of money and these are expensive examples), but from what I've heard and read, these are legit.
  • + 13
 Mello Bouwmeester's work is solid, the guy knows what he's doing. His own rims before he went to CB were very interesting and by all accounts indestructible.
  • + 3
 @Socket: Agree with you, I rode a set of Tammar 650B since three years, they are indestructibles. Huge quality stuff.
  • + 38
 I'm a sucker for Crank Brothers, been through the good times and the god awful ones, glad to see them back on form
  • + 52
 When were the good times?? For me it was any time I didn’t buy crankbros product.
  • - 5
flag GeeHad (Jul 24, 2019 at 2:04) (Below Threshold)
 @gcrider: props already given
  • + 38
 @gcrider: I purchased a multitool lol Lovely piece of kit
  • - 9
flag kopaczus (Jul 24, 2019 at 4:17) (Below Threshold)
 @sewer-rat: I had a hand-pump. Some water got in, it broke.
  • - 6
flag yzedf (Jul 24, 2019 at 5:14) (Below Threshold)
 @sewer-rat: I did too. Rusted within a year.
  • + 14
 @sewer-rat: Their multitool is excellent.
  • + 16
 @sutter2k: mallet E have been excellent as well.
  • + 9
 @gcrider: Good times=inception of Mallet E
  • + 0
 Back on form? These look way too normal for Crank Brothers. For $2400, I at least expect some sort of absurd Celtic tattoo lacing pattern.
  • + 34
 "29" or 29" options" - so many options to choose from, my head is spinning.
  • + 16
 "Designed to fail" - new level marketing
  • + 3
 @KondziuNS: they have tons of experience with designed to fail - eg the Kronolog dropper
  • + 1
 Not unlike ford and the model T.... “you can have it in any color you want, so long as it’s black.”
  • + 1
 @incubus: and did you know why? because they were put outside to dry, and black dries fastest.
  • + 26
 @KondziuNS: Designed to fail - that's half the sentence. You are totally blowing this out of context.

Designed to fail I'm a safer manner, is the point. All rims have a point of failure - ALL. It's nice to know someone actually engineered them to fail in a way that will be less likely kill me.
  • + 3
 @privateer-wbc: If only people applied your logic to politics.
  • - 4
flag KondziuNS (Jul 24, 2019 at 11:33) (Below Threshold)
 @privateer-wbc: Well yes, I took that out of the context. But still not a good piece of marketing, let's compare it to SC's "It took Danny 2 hours of mashing the wheel without a tire to crack the rim". CB say "we designed this product so that there is a lower chance of killing yourself when it blows up".

In any way I would hope DFMEA is something known to people who design bike wheels this expensive no matter the brand
  • + 12
 @KondziuNS: The other point to consider is that this is a review. We're doing our best to fully explain how the wheels work and validating whether they do or don't perform as they are supposed to. These are our words, not theirs so it's irrelevant that it's not a good piece of marketing. It's a piece of information that hopefully helps someone understand how the wheels work.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: Just out of curiosity, are you aware if other bike industry companies perform FMEA in a similar way to CB shown here?
  • + 5
 @KondziuNS: Yes, some do and will say they do, others don't, and a lot more don't go into what sort of testing they do in order to protect trade secrets. It would be good to see more FMEA with high-stress components industry-wide. With certain components such as wheels, it should be required. Anything can be broken but catastrophic failures shouldn't be deemed as acceptable under remotely normal riding conditions. (Failure Mode Analysis, FMEA, is how things break - for those who don't know what that is)
  • + 11
 @KondziuNS: all rims fail past a point. Santa Cruz included. The Danny Mac video is marketing, just like anything else - like you say. And this is just one aspect of these rims, that they aren't making a 5 minute film on. I have broken both alloy and carbon rims in the past and it's nice to know when things break, they don't go all to pieces. That's actually important to some people, and they focused on that aspect of the engineering - you don't have to value that, but I do.
  • + 2
 @danielsapp: I'd love to see an article discussing and comparing FMEA methodology across different companies and component groups. If it's not the industry standard right now you'd expect more companies that actually perform it would brag about it. Safety sells well.

@privateer-wbc: Never said SC wouldn't break, there's no such thing as an unbreakable part. Just wanted to point out that it's interesting CB decided to appeal to customers this way, it's the first time I've seen any company do that. Bold move, let's see how that pays off.
  • + 1
 @KondziuNS: I think it's just one note about the design of the wheels, and an important one. Especially for those who have had carbon failure.
  • + 22
 I'd be interested to see how these stack up against Zipp's new carbon hoops
  • + 11
 I'd like to see a match up between these, the new Zipps and a set of We Are Ones. Especially curious to see if you get anything more from CB/Zipps for roughly double the price of WAO.
  • + 5
 @ratedgg13: toss a set of LB rims in there while your at it laced to some hydras or Onyx..
  • + 5
 Bouwmeester's original rim was single wall....
  • + 3
 A local guy snapped his Zipp laced front wheel recently. Took his bike off a tabletop, landed nice enough, and 10 yards down the way, the front wheel stopped becoming round. Granted, the Zipp rims were custom laced with other hubs. I don't wanna blame the wheel builder because he does great work for all the local riders. Local guy also had a Cush Core installed so I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the failure. Kind of a freak accident, but after seeing how the Zipps just broke under normal usage, I'd personally stay away from them. Local guy isn't even a hard rider. At least he's covered by a lifetime warranty.
  • + 17
 Aluminium FS bike frame = $1900
Carbon FS bike frame = $2900
50% price premium

Aluminium mtb rim = $150
Carbon mtb rim = $500-700
%400 + price premium

Is there a manufacturing reason for this or are we actually being gouged?
  • + 21
 The alloy rim is the outlier as its a very automated process, so yeah.
  • - 9
flag stumphumper92 (Jul 24, 2019 at 7:31) (Below Threshold)
 The bike market is insanity... straight robbery.
  • + 0
 That is an excellent question. I suppose there are probably a lot more costs associated with the volume of warranty claims on rims than frames, but then again, even if there are more claims on rims, the production costs are low enough that it takes some of the sting out of it for the company.

It would be interesting to compare the costs of open mold carbon frames to your scenario. LB/Nextie rims are $150-225 so they are nearly at parity with aluminum, and from what I recall of frames, it's the same situation, which would suggest that "name brand" rims have much more killer margins than frames.
  • + 29
 Can’t extrude an alloy frame last time I checked
  • - 3
 @stumphumper92: just make more money, and you'll be just fine coughing up the dough.
  • - 2
 Pivot M5.5 or 6 frame is $3500.
  • - 2
 @bohns1: i make good money. Doesn't mean I want to throw all that on a high end bike. Mid range fits most if not all. Unless you are pro or sponsored. But I get it, everybody wants the latest and greatest. Downvote me to hell people idc but I think the mark up on bikes is cray cray
  • + 3
 @stumphumper92: I'm no pro or sponsored.. But good enough that I want top bill equipment.. This is my hobby so I got zero issue with making the purchases.. Its all about priorities in life. Mid range doesn't cut it.
  • + 14
 So many haters! I have a set of these wheels and they are phenomenal. I've ridden carbon Rovals and Enves and the difference in ride quality was shocking.

If you like alloy rims you should keep riding them, but I've destroyed every alloy rim I've had and was constantly trying to true and bend them back into shape. A bent alloy rim will never ride quite right because you have to use uneven spoke tension to get them straight. I got quite good at re-lacing a wheel with a new rim, but I'd rather not do that if I don't have to.

Carbon wheels will never bend. You will never have to try to bend back the sidewall where it was bent by a rock strike, or use wonky spoke tension to get them true again. Yes, if they break they will need to be replaced, but with the way these are built you should be able to at least finish your ride until you can go home and get your rim replaced for free under CB's lifetime warranty. And BTW I don't know of any alloy wheels that have a lifetime warranty.

These carbon wheels are much lighter and stronger than alloy rims with a comparable width profile. Carbon can be tuned for stiffness in specific axis in ways that alloy can not.

In short, these are the best wheels I have ever ridden, alloy or carbon, and arguably the best wheels on the market. Of all the upgrades I have ever made, these wheels provided one of the most noticeable improvements. They are also very practical. I9 hubs are proven, and I will never have issues getting parts. Similarly, replacements for the standard J-bend spokes can be found at any shop and are easier to install & true than straight pull or some other proprietary spoke. The 28/32 3 cross spoke pattern is proven and if anything a little overbuilt. I don't anticipate having issues with broken spokes like I did with the Rovals I had for the last few seasons.

Yes these wheels are expensive, but I see them as an investment. With the lifetime warranty I will use them for many seasons and put them on whatever new frameset I get. Furthermore there are cheaper versions with cheaper hubs and spokes that will offer 99% of the performance.
  • - 2
 It's the "I've never ridden x but my y is better I know it contingent.
  • - 1
 @clink83: This exactly..
  • + 15
 I’ve got a set with I9s. Everything @danielsapp says is true. CB may have had issues and questionable design choices in the past, but these wheels are the real deal.
  • + 13
 Glad to see them get a good review. I have been riding these rims built to Vault hubs with CX Ray spokes, and I can say I am honestly impressed with both ride quality and feel, and how tough they have been while push below my regular tire pressure. They can definitely hang with the top-dogs, that is for sure. Very good stuff.
  • + 13
 I’ve had the same positive experience on the E11 wheels mounted to my Slash. My ride log shows 40 rides on them in 2018 and 78 this year so far totaling over 1100 miles. I’m a believer. Ask me anything.
  • + 26
 What is the meaning of life?
  • + 8
 @catweasel: deep thought! Smile
  • + 7
 How do they ride compared to other carbon wheels you've ridden?
  • + 3
 You need to ride more!
  • + 3
 Which hub did you get? Frequency in tensioning?
  • + 6
 @mtbsimon23: The only other set of carbon wheels that I've put any time on are the Bontrager Line 40s which I obtained as replacements for the Line Comp 30s that were stock on my 2018 Slash 9.7. (The OEM alloy wheels were not up to the abilities of the bike, sadly.) I put two rides on the Line 40s and found them too stiff for my liking, and they were a little too wide for the Grid 2.6/2.5 tires I mounted to them F/R - the front pushed in turns and the rear felt too harsh. Not terribly scientific, I admit, but I removed the wheels and set them aside and got back on the Crank Bros wheels. A few months later I unmounted the tires from the Bontragers and discovered a crack in each Bonti sidewall. Pretty disappointing. I have to wonder if the 40s were designed solely for snow/fatbikes and/or lighter riders*.
The ride of the Synthesis wheels has been really impressive. Control with the front wheel is confidence inspiring, the strength of the rear wheel has really sealed the deal. The width gives an ideal shape to my tires of choice (DHF/HR2 currently) so traction is never a problem. A lot of internet chatter has been posted here and elsewhere about the compliance of the front wheel and it's been misconstrued or worse (IMO) as 'flex' in the pejorative sense. I disagree and I think the only way to truly convey that is to demo these wheels if you possibly can.

*I'm 6'5" and about 235# on the bike so I'm not easy on equipment.

@castlecrew I am on the Project 321 hubs, and I had the rear wheel tension checked at my LBS in late April and found the tension was still spot-on.

@skelldify Haha thanks to the 30 Day Ride Challenge my tally is a bit ahead of last year's pace.
  • + 2
 @sngltrkmnd: I'd like to try those, hope there is a shop in sheffield..
  • + 9
 I get theyre good. But im no market for this stuff.

Id rather get myself a Hope/DT set. Upgrade my drivetrain to 1x12 (Think shimano XT), Install a dropper while im at it (still havent got one). Get some new bars and a little shorter stem. Oh and i might be able to fit a set of Hope brakes with floating rotors in the same budget as well.

I get this is clearly aimed at people who spend more on the bike than i do on a car.
  • + 4
 Keep the bike you've got, buy a set of aluminium rims to rebuild your trashed wheels after the holiday you took with the leftover money...
  • + 12
 How have you not bought a dropper yet? I thought I was late to the game getting one 6+ years ago!
  • + 7
 @veero: If im honest i never used one. So its a bit like i dont know what im missing. so im not missing it.

I might get one someday. But i also want to mention that the flag in front of my name kinda gives away that im not doing massive descends on my local trails. the style of riding i do is a bit XC-ish.

And i dont want a million levers on the bars. I think i might just go to a 1X first and then install a dropper while im at it.
  • + 5
 @RecklessJack: Fair enough. I got because a group of regular riding buddies all had them and I was left at the top and bottoms of climbs and descents adjusting my post height while they all disappeared into the sunset! now I coulldn't imagine riding a trial bike without one.

Good plan, I had 2x, a dropper and Fox CTD all on the same bike once, waaaay too many cables and levers!
  • + 2
 @RecklessJack: There's 7 days in a week, and someday isn't one of them... Life is passing you by.. Get those upgrades!
  • + 4
 True, these wheels aren’t for you. But if you spend more on your car then you do on your bike, you’ve got your priorities mixed up!! JK but honestly I’d love to see a poll on here of how many of us ride a bike that is worth more than our vehicle. I don’t anymore, but I did for about 15 years.
  • + 1
 @veero: And here we are. I still don't even see the light when I could get one. It's like 1,5k any of the non problematic ones.
  • + 2
 @BiNARYBiKE: I did as well for years..
  • + 1
 @bohns1: Great quote I’m stealing that one.
  • + 1
 @jeremiahwas: That quote is partially why I ended up on an sb130.. Ha
  • + 1
 @BiNARYBiKE: ha ha 1k on my truck over 10k in bikes the last 5 years.
  • + 2
 @BiNARYBiKE: Well i litteraly got the bike before the house. How many pinkbikers can say that? lol

But to be honest. Wen i pay so much for a mountainbike im afraid to crash it. Therefore i ride it to slowly.
  • + 10
 My set arrives today, I've heard nothing but good things about this wheel set. BTW y'all are a bunch of complainers, we know aluminium is cheaper than carbon.
  • + 4
 Eager to hear your first impressions!
  • + 6
 $2400 seems a lot, but I wonder what the actual street price is. If the warranty really is lifetime, and especially if it's transferable, then it makes the price easier to swallow.
  • + 3
 Street price is $2400. But if you have a 'pro' account, they're 40% off.
  • + 9
 @danielsapp How did the ride experience compare to the alloy wheelsets?
  • + 14
 Which alloy wheelsets? Carbon wheels ride a good bit different from the start - take a carbon handlebar vs an aluminum one for instance. Overall though, I'd say that these would be closer to a good riding aluminum wheelset than they are to a lot of other carbon wheels - and that's meant as a compliment.
  • + 4
 I will happily invest $700 in a properly made and fit for purpose wheelset.

However, I can not conceive a world in which I would be just as happy to invest that same $700 in just one rim.

And yet I can conceive a world where Yoan Barelli is my personal bike mechanic...so perhaps I am broken after all?
  • + 3
 My carbon rims cost 650 total...treat yo self to some nextie/lb rims.
  • + 1
 @clink83: my Spank aluminium rims cost me about US$150 a pair. I prefer to spend my coin on durable hubs. Rims are just another wear item.
  • + 3
 @silentbutdeadly: that's 650 with DT 350 hubs, DT spokes and nipples, plus the rims. Unless you ride like a drunk gorilla those wheels aren't going anywhere.
  • + 0
 @clink83: good for you. But I just don't feel I'm missing out by not having carbon rims...Spanks on Hopes/Whites are just fine for this drunken gorilla thanks very much.
  • - 3
 @clink83:

Between me and my mates we have destroyed around 8 LB carbon rims in the last 4 years! And all of mine, 3 off, have been when using DH tyres on their heaviest duty so called 'DH' rim.

Ive Still got one on the front that isn't cracked but I will be taking it off soon as personally i think they feel horrible compared to alloy rims.

A heavy duty DT swiss rim will easily out last a LB carbon rim.

For comparison I have been riding a Stans flow Ex mk2 on my 26" hardtail for 5 years and it has just given up after re-truing for probably the 6th time.
  • + 3
 @silentbutdeadly: I feel the missing out when it comes to climbing long durations on heavy rims in the Rockies... That's where it's noticeable! Been there done that.
  • + 0
 @bohns1: I've never been to Canada and never ridden on carbon rims so I can't really miss what I've never experienced! Still like to ride in the Rockies though.

The Spank Trail Bite 295 rims that I use were cross shopped against the equivalent LB and Nextie hookless rims at the time...and the weight penalty to price equation on the rims alone meant the Spanks got the nod. Even the wheel builder was impressed with the value and build quality - enough to recommend them to other clients to this day.
  • + 1
 @silentbutdeadly: an AL rim would of failed under the same load that will kill a carbon rim. It's DH, you're going to break rims.
  • + 1
 @silentbutdeadly: so basically you've never ridden carbon rims., but the aluminum rims that cost the same as carbon rims are better? That's a bit of a silly statement.
  • + 1
 @clink83: my go to alloy rims (Spank bead bite trail 295) are roughly half the price of the equivalent LB carbon rims the last time I looked. And, whilst I know LB rims are good, I can't imagine the LBs are twice as good...so why pay more?

When did I ever say I rode DH? I just ride XC in the rocks!
  • + 1
 @silentbutdeadly: I quoted the wrong person, sorry. I got my nextie rims for 110/rim, which is the price of a decent AL rim. Loosing half a pound in rotating weight while still getting a giant increase in stiffness and tracking makes them twice as good. I have hand built DT Swiss rims and Stans rims for roughly the same price, and the nextie rims blow them out of the water in every way. There is a reason people who can afford them buy them.
  • + 1
 @silentbutdeadly: umm less rotating mass.. The 27.5 spanks weigh in at over 1700g.
  • + 1
 @bohns1: perhaps...but I tend not to notice or recognise that across all my MTB and gravel bikes.

And I'm running the 29" Bead Bite 295 rims... don't recall them weighing anywhere near that much. About 490 grams each and the wheelset they are in is custom and is built for a rider weight of 105 kg...
  • + 1
 @clink83: that's an excellent price for Nextie - I couldn't get close to that at the time. I think my rims come in around US$90 at the moment spank-ind.com/products/oozy-trail-295

But then I buy everything in AU$....
  • + 5
 I will not debate about quality or price, however with this type of product i’m more interested in warranty?

In which countries it will work? Turnaround time?
  • + 2
 Is it transferable if you sell the bike they are on?
  • + 8
 I broke a rim going full speed down a chunky rock garden with pressure too low for my weight. They sent out a full wheel replacement the same day they received my broken wheel. All in I was out 4 business days. The experience was excellent.
  • + 9
 Our lifetime warranty on the wheels is valid worldwide. Currently any wheel that fails is returned to our development facility in Ogden, Utah. The expected turn around time is one week, from when the wheel is dropped off with the shipper, to being back in the hands of the rider.
  • + 2
 @crankbrothers: Are warranties still valid if you aren't the original owner?
  • + 6
 Can you lend these wheels to @paulaston ? That's the ultimate robustness test
  • + 2
 After his last reviews, the bike industry stopped sending products to Pinkbike. Then he left, and Pinkbike HQ got flooded with stuff to test.
  • + 7
 Nice product. If I was in the market, they would be my choice.
  • + 5
 Wheelset can be had for USD $1,440.00 on ExpertVoice for members, just a heads up.
  • + 5
 I considered these but ended up with Hydra/Stans build for $1700 less
  • + 0
 So expensive lol. A wheelset with spank rims, Hope hubs, sapim spokes and Maxxis rubber is cheaper than a single rim. We are one seems to be the way to go if you want carbon. Still expensive but that warranty softens the blow a bit.
  • + 2
 I'd like to know the difference between the Synthesis E11 carbon wheelset ($2400) and the Synthesis E carbon wheelset ($1700).

All I can see right now is 80 grams and $700.
  • + 3
 Just cheaper spokes and hubs. Besides the difference in engagement, you would probably not notice the difference.
  • + 2
 @kramerica5000: That's what I'm wondering... if it's just spokes and hubs, seems like you could get the performance of these wheels for much cheaper than $2400!
  • + 3
 @islandforlife: Yep, the ride quality is identical between the 11 and the non-11s!
  • - 1
 Weird, a bunch of people complaining about expensive carbon rims. Is the price of carbon rims new to everyone? Have I travelled back to 2012 in my sleep? May I recommend We Are One. Reasonable price for carbon, sourced and made in Canada, and lifetime warranty. I used to go through at least one alloy rim a season. Since switching to carbon seven years ago, I’ve cracked one rim (and it was completely my fault). How many years do they need to last before they’re worth it? Run the numbers.
  • - 1
 I cracked an Enve M70, by the way. A few years before We Are One came along.
  • + 3
 Is there a shipping flatrate during the lifetime waranty?
  • + 7
 If you experience a problem and need to use the warranty, we will cover all shipping costs incurred.
  • - 1
 Crank Bros Meeting:
Engineer: "Guys, our products always break, it's affecting our reputation and sales. We should do more testing and design our products to be more durable."
PR guy: "That sounds like a lot of work. How about we call it "Safe Failure Mode", pretend we made stuff that way on purpose and add $100 to the RRP"
  • + 2
 For the wheel building nerds; why would you want DH wheels to have longer spikes than the all mountain version?
  • - 1
 Two reasons I can think of off the top of my head. The first being DH duty rims have a lower profile and larger ERD so that wind has less of an impact when you're jumping (spank rims and flow rims employ this method) and the second being that longer spokes mean a more compliant wheel.

I actually build DH wheels with the spokes on the low end of recommended tension for the rim, and it has a huge impact on how durable the rim is, i.e. you get a lot less dents, buckling, and pinch flats.

Just my two cents. I'm also interested to see what reasons there might be, as my reasons are pretty much from personal experience and just anecdotal.
  • - 1
 You can get a Newmen wheelset for 700€ which weights 1650-1700g.

Why on earth would you buy something 4x the price?
Carbon wheels are so stupid expensive and do nothing better
  • + 2
 Why not go with an aluminum front wheel and carbon rear?
  • - 1
 Hum wrote this morning about waiting a review for Hunt trail mountain carbon wheelsets aaannnd... disappeared!! So I said you can afford two of these wheelsets for the CB cost! On paper it's exactly the same stuff!
  • - 1
 no mention of rim weight. $2,399 wheelset when you can build competitive stuff with better hubs for a grand.

this plus the e-bike content really makes me question PB's Core-ness, though I'm probably late to that party.
  • + 1
 Nice, they cost as much as my complete Canyon rig, including a Syntace W30 wheelset, which holds true after 4 years of use.
  • + 1
 It will all be over soon enough. Back to Al frames and wheels. If it aint broke...go back to it.
  • - 1
 I'd like to see a comparison with more sensible priced wheels.

Tested to destruction next to a £300/£400 wheelset. Because 700 quid for a rim is a f@&$ing joke!
  • + 3
 One of the German magazines did that (not with CB wheels, though). They found that on average, carbon rims were a bit stronger, given similar weight.

They also found that a really well made aluminium rim (Newmen) was stronger than most carbon rims and only one out of the carbon group was substantially better (= worth the price).
  • + 0
 @Ttimer: it's what I suspected. I've allows gone mavic and hope, they've never let me down and I'm a sadist with bikes.
  • + 0
 @Ttimer: "strength" is a poor metric of value outside of DH. Carbon rims are better performing in weight AND stiffness, which is more important.
  • + 0
 Generic chinese rim profile n°145248542
  • - 2
 They're just like aluminium rims: same weight, impact resistance, just less compliance and 10x the price.
  • - 3
 Weareonecomposite. FTW
  • - 2
 100%
  • - 3
 Hahahahahahahaha,
$700 for a rim, hahahahaha get f'kd CB
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