Shimano XTR Trail Wheels - Review

Feb 3, 2015
by Mike Levy  
Shimano XTR Trail wheels review test


Shimano's new XTR Trail wheels went pretty much under the radar when they were released, especially compared to their new eleven-speed grouppo that nearly broke the internet when it was finally made official. I've been spending a load of time on the drivetrain over the last few months, but it's the M9020 Trail wheels that get reviewed below. Carbon laminate, you ask? Yup, the wheels feature a 24mm wide (internal) rim that combines both carbon and aluminum, along with 28 straight-pull spokes and redesigned hubs, that add up to 1,706 grams on our scale for the 29ers, sans tubeless rim strips, valves, and disc lock rings. There is also a 27.5'' version of the same wheelset (no 26'' option, though), with both sporting Center Lock rotor mounting only. MSRP for the set is $1,499.99 USD. www.shimano.com @shimano

Shimano XTR Trail wheels review test

The XTR Trail rim is manufactured by wrapping carbon fiber over an extruded aluminum base, a technique that Shimano have already been using to create some of their high-end road wheels.



The big talking point with these wheels has to be what Shimano has done with their brand new rim, which isn't just aluminum, and isn't just carbon, but rather a combination of the two. They're calling it ''Carbon Laminate'', and the construction sees Shimano use aluminum for the base to create the inner profile, including the rim bed, sidewalls, bead, and general shape, and then they lay carbon over the outer, visible section of the rim. This approach is actually something the Shimano have already been using for Dura-Ace road rims, with the idea being to take advantage of aluminum's durability, but to up the rigidity by wrapping it with carbon. The finished product doesn't look like a lot of the massively tall and wide carbon rims out there, instead sporting a more traditional shape that's 28mm wide externally, 24mm internally, and 21mm tall. Shimano can definitely do a full-carbon rim if they wanted to - their carbon XC race rim weighs just 275 grams - but they obviously feel that the aluminum and carbon combo makes more sense for how the XTR Trail wheels are going to be used. The rim bed is drilled, so it does require tubeless tape to seal it up (which comes pre-installed, along with tubeless valve stems), but the external nipples mean that you don't have to peel back the tape in order to gain access to the nipple heads if you have to true a wheel. That said, they de require a non-standard spoke wrench to turn the oversized aluminum nipples, as well as a tool to hold onto the short, flattened section of the straight-pull spokes to keep them from spinning.


Shimano XTR Trail wheels review test
Shimano has gone with 28 straight-pull spokes for both the front and rear wheels.
Shimano XTR Trail wheels review test
The titanium freehub body accepts both ten and eleven speed cassettes.

Shimano XTR Trail wheels review test
Just like the rear hub, the 15mm front hub features an adjustable cup and cone angular bearing system.


The XTR hubs aren't as flashy as the brightly anodized units from King or Industry Nine, but they're certainly swanky in their own way. Appearance-wise, they don't look like anything new, but Shimano has revamped the axle design to drop over 30 grams out of the rear hub. There are no sealed cartridge bearings to be found inside, though, as Shimano is sticking with their angular contact bearings that arguably make more sense from a performance point of view. There's no denying that cartridge bearings, as found in the very large majority of hubs out there, can't be beat when it comes to a rider who thinks that maintenance ends at lubing their chain once every few weeks. The downside to cartridge bearings in a hub is that they don't handle side loading well, and while they are better sealed against the elements, they'll never roll as friction-free as a properly setup angular contact bearing layout.

Shimano XTR Trail wheels review test

An inside look at the rear hub's angular contact bearings.



Shimano's cup and cone design allows for the absolute perfect amount of bearing load, just so long as you take the time to adjust it properly if required, as well as the ability to easily perform some maintenance with only a few cone wrenches and some fresh grease. My thinking is that the guy who is proud about remembering to lube his chain every now and then is best suited to wheels with cartridge bearing hubs, whereas someone who enjoys tinkering and can appreciate a well sorted bike might be a fan of Shimano's cup and cone system.

Shimano XTR Trail review test

The aluminum rear axle, with the cones and locknut visible.



Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesInstalling the wheels went how installing wheels should go, with nothing really to note. What do you expect, that they won't fit? The eleven-speed Shimano XTR cassette slid onto the titanium freehub body, the Center Lock rotors slid onto the hub splines, and both were held in place with their respective lock rings. There are two related points that bear mentioning, though: the rotors don't rock on the hub splines when on the brakes like I've found when using Shimano rotors on non-Shimano hubs, and the titanium freehub body hasn't been marred by the cassette as an aluminum version likely would have after months and months of use. Plus, it's titanium and titanium is neato, which has to count for something. I mounted up a few different tires on the XTR Trail wheelset - Schwalbe's older Nobby Nic, as well as both Hans Dampf and the monster truck-worthy Magic Mary, and a few different Specialized tires. The fit with all of them seemed to be just a touch looser than I've found when using the same tires on some other rims, and I ended up having to resort to spraying some soapy water to get the bead to seat a few times. Not a big deal, but it could have been painful if I didn't have a good floor pump or access to a compressor.

The XTR Trails feel much like a set of wheels when you're riding them, and while that may sound underwhelming, I do mean it in the most complimentary way possible. There was absolutely zero pinging or popping to be heard, even after plenty of riding in dusty deserts and on muddy B.C. trails, and neither the front or rear wheel's bearings developed any play. The thought of the adjustable cone system backing off brought back nightmares from years ago when friends often couldn't get their Shimano hubs to stay tight for more than thirty minutes at a time, but that wasn't the case with these wheels. That's gotta be a good thing given that not many riders have cone wrenches in their tool box these days. Their 1,706 gram weight is pretty respectable for a 29er wheelset - although there are other options out there that are in the same ballpark when it comes to weight, width, and price - but they are nice and sporty when you're trying to ride your bike in a hurry. This is especially true if you're coming off of a heavier wheelset, with rotational weight really counting for so much more than static grams elsewhere on your bike.

Weight aside, these wheels feel great. What the hell does that mean? They're not flexy and vague feeling like some lighter aluminum rimmed wheelsets out there, but they're also not overly stiff and unforgiving like I've felt with some wider and taller carbon rims - this is especially important if you're going to run them on a hardtail or short-travel bike. The number of spokes and their tension also come into play big time when talking about wheel rigidity, and the twenty eight spokes per wheel that Shimano have gone with seems to have been the right choice. Top marks for ride quality. And while I'm becoming a big fan of ultra-wide rims, the more modest 24mm internal width of the XTR Trail rim means that they will work with all kinds of tire widths and shapes out there, unlike fatter hoops on the market. Their appearance is likely going to be split down the middle, with some liking the subdued looks and others thinking that wheels of this price should be flashy things. I tend to fall in the former camp, and prefer the stealth, understated presence that they have going on. Four months of hard use has seen the XTR Trail wheels come through nearly unscathed. Both the front and rear rims are dent-free, despite bottoming the tire on the rim hard enough to feel it through the bike a handful of times, but the rear wheel was recently out of true enough to require action. A few minutes on the stand had it back to its original shape, but when it was out I noticed that the hub bearings were just a touch rough. To be fair, I'm pretty hard on hubs, and four months is pretty much par for the course when talking about sealed bearings, so I'm not surprised to see the cup and cone system needing some attention. Also, I much prefer working with a few wrenches and some fresh grease to dial in just the right amount of bearing preload instead of just squeezing in a set of new sealed bearings. I'm sure some mechanics out there will agree with me while others won't.

With their aluminum and carbon construction, the XTR Trail wheels are interesting items. That said, I'm not sure if they meet Shimano's claim about being as light as carbon wheels and as durable as aluminum wheels. After all, there are lighter, full-carbon rim'd wheelsets on the market of similar width and price, and the fact that I had to get out the truing wrench means that they're not as trouble-free as some other wheelsets we've had in the office lately. Shimano is generally a conservative company when it comes to design and execution, and I'd say that the XTR Trail wheels fit that bill perfectly. They're not leaders in any specific category, but they are a great wheelset that isn't going to let you down. - Mike Levy


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208 Comments

  • + 74
 That's the longest Pinkbike's take I've seen in a while.
  • + 19
 Remote usability tests including eye tracking and mouse movement monitoring showed that you and some others tend to instantly jump to the Pinkbike's Take section. So Mike put more information there. Did it work, did you read it?
  • + 8
 I always jump to it, and almost jumped to another page when I saw how long it was, ha ha.
  • + 4
 I love it how @mikelevy's writing style changes drastically from one review to the next. It makes my life more interesting. I still remember the "taint like an open can of tuna" from a while back.
  • + 7
 "They install like wheels when your installing them and they feel like wheels when you're riding them."- That's the key takeaway point here, apparently.
  • + 4
 Wrap your rims with plastic and you get plastic wheelset.
  • + 0
 New marketing HYPE ! "they de require a non-standard spoke wrench to turn the oversized aluminum nipples, as well as a tool to hold onto the short, flattened section of the straight-pull spokes to keep them from spinning. "

What else do they require ? Another 4 specialty tools? GEEZ!
  • + 22
 although I dont care much for centerlock rotors, I really like servicable/adjustable bearings.
Back when I was a lad, all bearings were that way!
  • + 2
 Fulcrum MTB wheels can be preloaded, works like a treat! Sadly nobody knows how awesome their hubs are, so when I tried to sell my wheelset nobody cared for it. I've got new Tune Hubs, so I don't need the Fulcrum ones anymore, but they are wayyyyy to good to let them catch dust in my storeroom.
  • + 2
 Why don't you like centrelock rotors? Because it's another standard? Or is there a tech problem?
  • + 1
 At a point they become loose and tightening is a problem. There should actually be no problem what so ever, but somehow it happens.
  • + 13
 Centrelock: there wasn't a problem with six-bolt, but Shimano fixed it anyway.
  • - 4
flag mentalhead (Feb 4, 2015 at 13:59) (Below Threshold)
 Centerlock is the stupidest thing since disk brake revolution began. It makes you completely rebuild your wheel if you go to another brake manufacturer and want to use his intended rotors. Advantage? No. Disadvantage? Yes, most manufacturers don't care about it. I hate useless standards, so I hate centerlock.
  • + 5
 @mentalhead there are adapters. You don't need to completely rebuild your wheel.

From my experience you're right there's no particular problem with six bolt but putting 6 bolts instead of just one is a little long. Call it laziness - I call it convenience.

Fortunately here (for now) there appear to only be two possiblities (6 bolt V centrelock) so in that respect it's nice to have the choice. We're not at the point as we are with BBs.
  • + 0
 @eatridegrow, there are adapters, but I would never give about €25 for them just to convert to 6 bolt when I can just buy 6 bolt hub or wheel and live my life happily.
  • + 2
 Shimano does not make their 140mm rotors in anything but centre-lock, they claimed heat was not manageable in a 140mm 6-bolt rotor design

This means bike manufacturers building XC bikes and women's mountain bikes (both scenarios where you might want a smaller rear rotor) and road disc-brake bikes are having to use other rotor options, otherwise forced to use centrelock hubs.

My Giant Defy comes with Tektro 140mm 6-bolt rotors which are pretty trick, with an aluminium spider bolted to the steel brake track.
  • + 3
 I like centre lock because it's easier to clean, easier to install and looks better. I also like cup and cone bearings. I wish shimano liked louder freewheels and 20mm axles though. These wheels look tasty.
  • + 23
 Titanium freehub is an amazing idea! No more cassette cut marks on weak & soft alum freehubs...
  • + 3
 You could do one better and just copy Novatech or American Classic with their dovetailed steel insert preventing free hub deformation. Still lighter than an all Ti hub shell and far cheaper to make. The use of Ti in this application doesn't seem to be a very cost effective move.
  • + 50
 xtr isn't about cost effectiveness
  • + 4
 Hadley hubs have a ti freehib body.
  • - 2
 and Hope, of course
  • + 3
 /\ definitely don't.....
  • + 1
 Hope uses alloy stock, stainless as an option, no ti.
  • + 1
 Hope Bulb hubs did have a ti freehub body.
  • + 5
 No one's talking about 10 year old hubs, we're talking about what you can buy currently.
  • + 3
 Hope Bulb had titanium alloy freehub body, but were too expensive to manufacture once titanium costs rose.

Hope Pro II uses aluminium alloy freehub body as stock, but there is a steel option for durability, which you can buy aftermarket.


I won't use their hubs anymore as I kept destroying (severe notching = creaking and loose cassette) the splines on the aluminium freehub body on my Hope road bike wheels.

Hope were great with their customer service replacing the item FOC 3 times, but eventually gave me the steel body, which added so much weight that the wheels made no sense from a weight/value point of view.
  • + 7
 Having never had any contact with centerlock rotors, why do people dislike them? It's rare to see people on their side, but still shimano persist. Why? Beyond it being classic shimano 'make you buy more shit', why do they make them?
  • + 44
 Centerlock rotors are absolutely amazing, and it's just a shame it isn't the standard. It literally takes seconds to remove or fit a centerlock rotor, compared to minutes with a 6 bolt rotor and a torx screwdriver or multi-tool. There's no new proprietary tool to fit them, it's the same tool as a cassette lock-ring The design of the system is much less likely to come loose, or move under braking. The whole system is generally lighter than a 6 bolt design as far as I'm aware. It's a lot easier to strip out a little Torx bolt than it is a cassette lock-ring. You can get an adapter to run 6-bolt rotors on a center-lock hub, so you don't HAVE to use them, even if you have a center-lock hub. I would also say it's a lot harder to cross thread a centre lock hub, than a standard disc mount.
  • + 1
 Thanks. That was useful. So shimano hold the patent still then? This must be up soon no?
  • + 5
 Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know Shimano owns the patent but licenses other brands to use the standard. Mavic and DT Swiss have (maybe still do) make center-lock hubs.
  • + 12
 I like Centerlock.
  • + 5
 As Mike mentioned, they've been known to "klunk" back & forth when you apply the brakes, & people have had issues with the lockring not staying tight.
  • + 2
 I love the idea but the pair I had definitely were not as perfect as Clawz114 described them. I've never had an issue with 6 bolt rotors and I've installed and used them on dozens of bikes.
  • + 2
 Even Avid have a Center Lock rotor.
  • + 2
 I also back up centerlock rotors. I do dislike the fact that there are two "standards" for mounting rotors but I do have both styles and like my centerlock's better.
  • + 4
 In addition to everything Clawz114 already said, centerlock rotors are safer than a 6 bolt rotor. Even if the lockring comes loose, the centerlock rotor is still held in place by the hub spline and the brake caliper. It might start rattling, but it can't go anywhere. If your torx bolts back out or shear on a 6-bolt rotor (which in fairness, usually only happens when people use the wrong hardware or don't install them properly), your rotor is no longer held in place and will fall out of the caliper, rendering you brakeless.
  • - 2
 Sorry, but that's complete speculation. One threaded fastener has to fail on the centerlock, 6 have to fail on standard. I don't hate the centerlock system, but it just failed to impress me. (Deore XT wheelset and XT level icetech rotors)
  • + 1
 Theoretically, centerlock also helps increase the heat sink total area, i.e. does a better job pulling heat from the rotors into the hubs. Hence why on the road side Shimano recommends 140mm rotors, but only in centerlock fitment. In 6 bolt, they recommend stepping up to 160.
  • + 5
 "The design of the system is much less likely to come loose, or move under braking."

All the 6 bolt rotors setups I've had are usually pretty much welded in and I never heard/read about anyone who had a problem with them. Honestly, if I had to bet on which part would loosen last on my bike, I'd go all in on the rotor bolts without a second thought. Meanwhile, I've seen a bunch of reports saying that centerlocks sometimes have back and forth play.

If ease of installation or weight savings is a big factor for you then centerlocks are probably great but saying they are less prone to loosening is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
  • - 1
 @Clawz114, how often do you remove centerlock rotors, so you'd save some vital seconds? And you can change your 6 bolt rotor on the field as little torx costs you nothing to care with yourself. But I would not care a casette removal tool (plus huge wrench) with me to remove the centerlock rotor. Also the hub adaptors are so expensive that you better buy a new hub and rebuild your wheel. Centerlock sucks. It's completely pointless standard, made to make you spend more money on bike parts.
  • + 2
 Nothing worse than getting to the trailhead and going "what in the hell is that thunking?!" And noticing your rotor is loose and you need a BB tool for your 20mm front hub and a cassette tool for your rear.
  • + 2
 There's 2 basic versions of Shimano's centerlock rotors. One has a machined aluminum center piece, the other uses a stamped steel center piece. The former is used on the SLX, XT, and XTR rotors, it has a nice tight fit on the splines and doesn't rock around on the hub when installed on a Shimano hub. The stamped steel version is used in the cheapie rotors and it's the one that has back & forth play and can sometimes have the lockring loosen off.

For the average person, it doesn't matter at all whether a rotor is 6 bolt or centerlock. For a shop mechanic or anyone else who needs to remove & install rotors on a more frequent basis for wheel & hub service, travel, or whatever reason, centerlock is a godsend.
  • + 2
 I had the machined aluminum XT's and the lockring loosened a few times.
  • + 2
 Schofell if you are referring to my comment, that's not speculation. It is physically impossible to remove a centerlock rotor from its location relative to the hub without removing the wheel from the bike/fork first, as it has to move a significant distance (sideways to disengage from the hub spline. In a 6-bolt pattern, there is nothing about the hub itself which maintains the position of the rotor, allowing it to fall out of the caliper and eliminate your ability to slow down. You can run a centerlock rotor without even using a lockring- it will thunk, but you will still be able to safely brake.
  • + 2
 If a 6 bolts rotor falls out of a caliper, something went VERY VERY VERY wrong. I doubt it ever happened in the history of modern biking.
  • + 4
 It has definitely happened. People run less than 6 bolts trying to save weight (or they've lost them somehow) or use hardware they've bought at a hardware store that isn't hardened or the right material (aluminum instead of the correct steel), and the bolts either back out because they aren't locktited or shear from trying to support more force than they were designed to hold.

I already stated in my first comment that it is very rare and unlikely to happen if you properly install your rotor with the correct hardware, but it is possible and has happened. You would probably think it is impossible for a steering wheel to fall off a modern car too, and yet the steering wheel on my 2008 Tacoma fell off while I was driving last Saturday. My point is, sometimes shit happens, and when it does you want their to be redundant systems in place to ultimate failure and prevent serious injury or death.
  • - 1
 Or one lockring can back off and you can hit a tree, log, stump, rock, root, etc. Its a two way street my friend.
  • + 4
 You obviously have poor reading comprehension skills and are not an engineer, I've already explained this.
  • + 0
 I actually have an engineering background, funny you mention it. Keep bashing though! Hope it makes you feel better about yourself and centerlock.
  • + 5
 its really shitty shimano is going direct and ripping off local shops and distributors , they should have a price balance . its killing bike shops . luckily for them i hate sram but i hope that youll still be able to walk into a shop and buy my shit for reasonably the same price .....
  • + 22
 The bike shop I work at as well as a previous one orders from Shimano directly (obviously because they have to now), thus making everything less expensive now instead of going through other distributers. Pedals for example, way less than last years models. Customers have already expressed with coworkers and myself about how stoked they were to see XTR Trail pedals nearly $100 less than last year..... Shops pay less to Shimano directly and get great terms, in turn, smaller prices for you.
  • + 8
 its cheaper for the one im associtated with to buy half of the xt shit on chain reaction than from shimano or the distributor from last year.... if you ask me thats total shit
  • + 2
 Agreed, CRC makes the elite store look like a joke too sometimes. Stec is nice from an education standpoint but man...
  • + 2
 Agreed, CRC makes the elite store look like a joke too sometimes. Stec is nice from an education standpoint but man...
  • + 6
 Welcome to the wonderful world of online shopping, It's not going away any time soon.
  • + 2
 Wuzupjosh.....That's funny I was thinking the same thing- I left the shop world as "this" was becoming a thing. Often the Jenson price was lower than the distributor and the shipping faster.

Also...When I added the off the clock 'training's" in for shimano, giant, 3.5 etc..... It was cheaper for me to Ribble or CRC than to even to EP especially Shamino groups.
  • + 2
 it sucks this has to be the way , making people buy goddamn sram
  • + 1
 the only thing i like about sram is rediculously cheap cranks "xo" you put a direct mount ring on there aadn they arent much heavier than six c
  • + 3
 1. Still heavier. 2. Good luck when you encounter a rock strike on X0!
  • + 1
 i know but ... i cant justify spending and extra 200 bucks on next for abt 150 g
  • + 1
 if you buy an mrp or absolute bnlack ring its not a huge differance
  • + 3
 You can't compare CRC and Jenson to any shop. That's almost like the customer who comes in asking to price match eBay or Amazon
  • + 2
 this is true , but a 15 dollar differance on a xt chain which is only 45 in the shop , thats a big fucking jump .... granted with shipping and duty its not that big of a difference , but they reel you in witht he low prices ..... trust me i know , i worked out what my build would be after it actually got to me , jenson aint all that special
  • + 2
 If you come to Germany, you will NEVER buy parts from your local bike store. The prices are through the roof and almost all of the people here have no knowledge what so ever on parts and the makers history, everyone is book smart and have no idea how to do anything properly.
In a LBS, there is a Sun Rims Rhyno Lite for 65 Euro, because they say it's rare, yet a few years back I bought two for 32 Euro and are currently for sale at 28 Euro a piece at CRC. They sell Elixir 5's for 250+ a set, when online you can get them for 140. And tires are a whole other nightmare. When people start selling at normal retail prices at least, then I may consider, until then, I will just learn the craft better and buy my parts online Smile
  • + 1
 well thats really shitty , i guess where i live theres alot of competition aswell ... all the shop know what the other ones are selling theyre fat bike tires for , making it competitively sound . its a market monopoly out there , the clear choice numbers wise is always crc , jenson but youll learn alot more going into your shop . its a hard dillemma for me anyways
  • + 4
 when you make the best stuff you can do what you want. it's a free market.
  • + 8
 know what's really boosting online buying? The fact that bike part consumers are so crazy knowledgeable now that when they do go into the shop they know more about what they are looking for than the majority of people staffing LBS's. It makes the decision to buy online too easy too often.

You work in a shop nowadays, you need to know your shit inside out otherwise your service isn't worth the prices of your goods.

So I'm more than happy to support an LBS before buying online and will always try and do so, but it takes so little these days to steer a consumer away with lousy service and know-how and a lot of times those customers don't come back: too many options to get it elsewhere.
  • + 1
 I like buying online because: Amazon Prime.
  • + 1
 As a mechaninc.....When I needed something-
I'd think to myself should I EP this and wait a week and fill out this paperwork or go through Jenson: have it here in two days for $10.00 cheaper because some bike company order too many cranks. Or should: I spend my evening doing silly trainings on Shimano or 3.5 to get a price $20.00 cheaper and wait two.5 weeks for the parts (unwrapped the same as Jenson w/o support)? The whole idea of EP was to get the parts out to guy's who sold them and let them do the selling. But, having to work for the discount off the clock with trainings and waiting....It was too much-
  • + 4
 Cup and cone bearings may technically be better for some serious riders but for me, a casual rider who wants to be able to grab my bike and ride it not fuck with it in the minimal spare time I have, they are a lot more faff. Faff is bad. I would rather pop out and pop back in a set of sealed bearings every year or so than tighten cups and cones every few rides on the one set of shimano wheels I have had. Though honestly I get so little chance to ride and replace my wheels often enough that I have literally never had to swap out a set of wheel bearings. Cartridge bearings are great.
  • + 3
 Just like their new XTR crankset, it seems way too expensive for what it is. I can get a lighter, wider wheelset on I9 or CK hubs from Nox or Derby and still save a couple of hundred. Or I could get a set with Stans Flow EX for like half the price.
  • + 3
 One thing that (really the only thing) I really liked about my XT wheels and my brother's XTR wheels were the sealed rim beds that did not require rim tape for full UST tubeless; now that these need tape, I really do not see any advantages. Frown
  • + 1
 mavic m8
  • - 1
 croosmax xl is way stronger than a carbon rim will ever be , prettty damn close in stiffness aswell, if you really wanna go light buy crossmax sl....
  • + 3
 Here we go again another set of pointless £1200 (approx in £'s) wheels. Why on earth anyone would buy these over a set of Hope Hoops for £400 is beyond me.
  • + 11
 Stop with Hope please, I had a wheelset with Hope hubs. I bought them believing comments like yours on PB mentioning its the best you can get for the least price. Actually they are good looking, well executed, spins well when new, but reliability is a real problem. 3 star and ratchets system replaced in 2 years and countless bearings. The cartridge bearings are apparent on the side of the hub, so as soon as you ride in mud they're full of grit and spin badly, a shame for a product made in England. So please Hope, add a cup with a seal over the bearings like King and Hadley do.
  • + 3
 exactly!!! you could buy that and spend the rest of the cash youve just saved on a riding holiday abroad.
  • + 6
 Hope hoops are a bit heavy, Narrow, and have a noisy freehub. And have more bearing drag than these. But for 400 yeah they are good.
some of us have money to burn and like burning. So for us lighter wider faster stronger quieter more $$$£££€€€ is great not pointless.
diffrence in ride quality from hope hoops compared to truly light wheels carbon ect is amazing.
  • + 15
 But the noisy freehub... Music to my ears.
  • + 10
 Hell, I bought Hopes just for the noise.
  • + 2
 I bought hope hubs twice despite the noise. But my next hubs will be summat else I'm turning into a grumpy old man I like the peace and quiet. Dt Swiss are quiet arnt they?
  • + 1
 Remember markg, ninjas be quiet.
  • + 8
 you'll have to ask many many many people to stop with Hope bro.. they generally outlast many many rims and frames. your experience is part of a minority...
  • + 3
 Yeah I agree I've never had a problem with Hopes. You can actually quieten down the ratchet noise by adding some more grease. Stans Flow rims or their new Enduro rims are plenty wide enough. I've absolutely abused my hope/stans flow wheels on my 4x bike and they are still going mega strong after nearly 3 years.
  • + 3
 My erratic Hope hubs outlasting my Knolly Podium and Delirium... I doubt so Wink
  • + 1
 I have hope hoops, bought them about 3 years ago, took them apart last winter after riding them for 2 years in the mud of south Wales, they'd been past their axles in muddy water a few times and coated in thick mud plenty more times than that, the grease was a little brown but they were still spinning just fine. I replaced the grease and they're still going strong, still making that beautiful buzz and still looking beautiful.
  • + 2
 have to disagree with @brutalpedz about the bearings. Had second hand hope hubs on my AM bike for 2 years (probably had a year or more on them before I bought them). their entire life has been in scotland where its muddy and wet 60-70% of the time. In two years ive only replaced the bearings in the front 6 months ago, still running perfect. Bearings in the rear are still sound. I have replaced pawls and springs twice in a year I think, but considering they take a huge amount of stress and wear over months of riding, them needing replaced is hardly a problem. Overall hope hubs have been the best ones ive owned needing the least attention overall!
  • - 2
 That's because your soil is mostly peat, which is still ok for bearings. Where I live, it rain as much as in Scotland and mud comes mostly from sandstone, it makes a huge difference on bearings and transmission. That's why I prefer my King and Hadley hubs in which bearings are protected with cups and seals.

For those who don't know, sandstone is extremly hard and abrasive : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandstone.
  • + 3
 Nearest trail to hope is Gisburn which is sandstone and puddles to. So it safe to say there well and trully tested for that and I can back them up on that as iv rode there loads to. Iv know brand new gears and cables to go bad after 1 ride there in bad weather. Sounds like you got unlucky.
  • + 1
 So I got unlucky with Hope brakes and rotors too. I still find their products look good.
  • + 2
 @brutalpedz
I'm sure Alsace doesn't get so much rain than Scotland. Even if I agree on the (pink) sandstone, which is particularly abrasive, it doesn't particularly affect my bearing and transmission.
  • + 2
 Altough I mentionned Strasbourg in my profile, I come from Saint-Dié des Vosges, and that's really rainy Wink
  • + 2
 @brutalpedz
that's the same weather, and I guessed you were obviously not riding in strasbourg (flatland) Smile
  • + 1
 @brutalpedz youve never seen the soil in deep winter with snow melt and more rain. It gets everywhere and penetrates everything. So much so the bearings on my nomad have gone in 6 months. yet my hope bearings running perfect. Can safely say that the "peat" your on about doesnt exist when i made the comparison earlier
  • + 3
 This isn't Hope specific but it should go a ways to helping you...
Most ALL cartridge bearings, even the expensive German ones, come with little to no grease in them.
Don't know why but it's a fact.
I ALWAYS pop off the seals on new bearings before I fit them (pointy end of a cutter blade with care) and pack them with moly/lithium grease (the black stuff truckers use on the 5th wheel). Years and years of trouble free service.
Cheers.
  • + 3
 I don't get all the rage over Hope hubs. Had to warranty my freehub twice (service was good). My DT Swiss hubs perform flawlessly, and have had no need for service over a long season.
  • + 1
 I don't know if any one has already mentioned this but for me it's the way you wash your bike. If you spray at the cassette at an angle grit gets inside the hub and into the bearings. If you spray strait down then things will stay clean. And if you open it up every once in a while and clean it out ( super easy to do) that goes a long way.
  • + 1
 @yonibois Bearings are made to spin at like 30,000 rpm or something, so the amount of grease is calculate for these speeds. On a mountain bike, you can fill them with more grease as you do because they'll never reach those speeds.
  • + 1
 New marketing HYPE ! "they de require a non-standard spoke wrench to turn the oversized aluminum nipples, as well as a tool to hold onto the short, flattened section of the straight-pull spokes to keep them from spinning. "

What else do they require ? Another 4 specialty tools? GEEZ!
  • + 3
 Actually this seems like a really good idea to me on several fronts. Read anywhere about wheel building and people will complain/discuss solutions to the problem of the spokes twisting during the truing. Alright, so could do without the non-standard spoke wrench. In any case, whenever a company tries to solve a problem and introduces new "standards," people complain. But if it sucks it will go away, and if it's great it will be the new standard and we'll all wonder why it took so long.
  • + 2
 Ti freehub bodys rock! Hope used to do them and I have one on a ti glide I use on my winter hardtail and it still has zero marks on it e decades later !,with hope would do one for my pro 2 s!
  • + 1
 The issue I've had with Shimano hubs is their freehub system. I think it leaves a lot to be desired, especially in terms of serviceability I can get into my DT hub, inspect every part of the inside, and put it all back together with almost no effort. Ever try to service a Shimano freehub? It's a joke - teeny tiny bearings hidden inside a unit not meant to be fiddled with.
  • + 3
 As you stated they're not serviceable. Who wants to worry about springs and pawls and pressing out tiny cartridge bearings? When I was a mechanic I loved it when I had to replace Shimano freehubs. You pull it out and throw the new one in and you're done!
  • + 5
 24mm internal, 1700g, and 28 spokes? Must be made of lead.
  • + 5
 Comparable wheel: 18mm internal, 1650g, 28 spokes. CK ISO Disc hubs, Enve XC 29er carbon rims, Sapim CX Ray top-of-the-line spokes. Sounds more like it's made to last, and not made for race day only purposes.
  • + 0
 The build you mentioned is off by about 100g. Enve XC wheels with DT Swiss 240 IS hubs are 1430g and plenty strong. A good friend of mine has them on an Ibis Ripley trail bike. Hell my Roval Control Carbon 29s are 1580g with 22mm internal and 27mm outer, 32 spokes on DT Swiss 350 hubs. I've beat the hell out of them and after 1100 miles they're still true and spin fast.
  • + 2
 Also think they are a bit on the heavy side but the price will not be that steep.

@Varaxis Well I have 24mm, 32/32 AX-Lightness clincher, Sapim CX Ray, XD drive, lefty front hub and the wheelset is just below 1300 ( 1288 ). Your wheels must be made of lead Smile
  • + 1
 1.700 gr for 1.5k actually: Low grade Russian unobtaninium
  • + 4
 I can't believe it's not real butter@
  • + 2
 Make a 26" and I'll be the first to order. I've had the aforementioned Dura Ace wheels for a few years and they are bomb proof.
  • + 1
 Why would they make a product no-one would buy?
  • + 4
 You mean the Shimano Sport Camera?
  • + 3
 Even i'm a shimano loyal user, i never like their wheels.
I'm a "standard" rider.
32 hole, j-bend hubs & spoke.
  • + 0
 I've been pretty happy with my DT Swiss hubs. I had a set laced to some www.light-bicycle.com no bead hook rims (pretty much Roval Control SL copies) and they're almost as wide but far lighter. I'm a heavy guy, 220lbs + gear and so far have put 900 miles on them and haven't had to true them once. While I do like shimano drive trains for their reliability I don't much like their heavy narrow wheels or center lock hubs. If the angular contact bearings were so superior to cartridge setups more companies would utilize them for this specific application. I wonder how they would truly rate in a non biased third party review.
  • + 2
 I live and ride in Utah where it's rarely wet on the trails. I have LX hubs from 96 and I haven't done a single thing to them except ride. Not the entire time mind you but about 5-6 years solid before storage and intermittent use.
I'm with you though on companies releasing new wheels that still have narrow, kinda stupid rims. I went from 19mm DT to 25mm Enve and the wider rim made a huge difference on air pressure, traction, and small bumps seemed to disappear. I'm looking forward to my next wheelset using Light-Bicycle or Derby 30-38mm 29's, but I will most likely get XT hubs. The bigger companies are always slow to change. I think narrow rims will be a thing of the past soon. I have tested several rim and tire widths racing BMX, but I never continued riding rims under 30mm except when I was running 1-1/8".
I am just wondering how much width before it's too much.
  • + 3
 PS- I find it offensive that Shimano doesn't include a damn lock ring for their rotors. What kind of crap deal is that?
  • + 1
 I think it has something to do with manufacturing, as I understand. Getting the hub shell hard, polished and light is something that seems to be mitigated by the ease of pressing in cartridge bearings (thus we've only got shim and campy on this end and heaps of the other types). I can't speak to either being superior: as I can hardly tell the difference between sh!t and shinola
  • + 4
 Didn't know shimano's 11 speed grouppo broke the internet.
  • + 2
 people want di2? im sticking with 10 spd xtr
  • + 8
 But this one goes to eleven...
  • + 1
 but shimano chains are gonna eb shit for it , they are cramming it into te same space ... atleast kmc is around to save us with those sexy black and red ones , too bad they arent 10 spd Frown
  • + 0
 The one KMC chain I ran lasted about 3 rides and broke, It was twice the price of an XT chain. Never again.
  • + 1
 I've had my kmc dlc chain for three seasons of racing and training. You might not believe it, but it still hasn't stretched or broken on me.
  • + 1
 you sir have bad luck cuz i know first hand for a fact thats bs m8 , my x10 sl or wtvr lasted me like forever .... i dont rate my chains off how long i have em because id probly always have them way too short of a time anyway... all i know is kmc has the best ones by far. anyone who thinks otherwise should probly try buying more than one.... chains are hit and miss
  • + 1
 I hear yea, so I have had great luck with shimano chains and not so with KMC. I even sent them a picture of the broken link and nothing. . . So for half the price I am happy with shimano!
  • + 1
 a chain is somehting that youd really have to work hard to get warrantyed.... i bent a bunch of links they wont do shit .... evan if you shear one in half that was probly rider "defect " or whatever
  • + 1
 Let's be reasonable, both sealed cartridge and cup and cone are great so long as you clean and grease regularly. I'm more of a cup and cone kind of guy but love my hope pros... which really aren't that hard to rebuild.
  • + 2
 You must be a roadie? Haha! Don't worry, it was supposed to be a lame joke!
  • + 1
 I was a roadie, but I've seen the dirt and turned MTB'er! I have a terrible inability to sense sarcasm... must be my inner-roadie coming out.
  • + 1
 I have a set of XT hubs from 1990 that still roll smooth as silk after 25 years. I don't know of any cartridge sealed bearing hubs that can say the same.
  • + 0
 Those are not angular contact bearings. They are the same cup-and-cone system that Shimano has been using since the early 90s (slightly more technologically advanced than their original loose ball system from the 70s/80s).
  • - 2
 no sealed bearing, no care!
  • + 2
 They ARE angular contact and sealed bearings. They ARE NOT cartridge bearings.
  • + 0
 No one said they were cartridge bearings...
  • + 0
 But you did say that they are not angular contact bearings even though they are. Since you didn't know what they are, I was just telling you what they are and aren't.
  • + 0
 They are also not moose, should I point that out?
  • + 1
 If you want to clearly show your mentality then go ahead. You may know moose but you don't know bearings.
  • + 0
 Keeeeeeeep talking...
  • + 0
 Sure, back up your statement that "Those are not angular contact bearings".
  • + 0
 Ok, they're angular contact bearings. They're not cartridge bearings. But they're also not moose. You see where I'm going with this?

They're also a cup and cone system, which is awful and I wish that Shimano would finally start putting cartridge bearings in their hubs. It's not 1990 anymore.
  • + 1
 Not at all. You said that they're not angular contact bearings which shows in an instant that you don't know what you're talking about and should just keep quiet. My statements are all 100% correct and yours are not. Pretty simple right there.
  • - 1
 Wow, you are a Class A douche bag! I admitted that I was wrong. Doesn't mean I don't know anything about bearings.

The fact remains that they're a non-cartridge system that is outdated. I think that they should be cartridge. You know, join the rest of the wheel/hub manufacturers out there.
  • + 1
 I'm not being a D-bag at all. I started off by correctly identifying the bearing type and for some reason you got all snarky about it and also for some reason started talking about a moose. After getting snarky you finally admitted in your fifth comment that you were wrong.

Shimano's design is not outdated at all. It is easy to work on, takes side loading extremely well (most hub manufacturers that use cartridge bearings don't use angular contact bearings) and has less friction with only two seals per hub. They're simple, light, elegant, durable and without disposable parts (unless you don't maintain them). Preload adjustable hubs are great whether they use standard bearings or cartridge bearings.

If you don't like them then don't buy them but don't spread misinformation.
  • + 0
 Cup and cone systems are far from simple. Look at a DT Swiss 240S hub and compare it to an XTR M950 and tell me that the Shimano hub is still simple. DT uses no threads, no cones, no cups, and is one of the top hub manufacturers on the market. They even make the internals for various Specialized (Roval) and Trek (Bontrager) wheels.

Everyone else has switched to cartridge bearings. Shimano is just too stubborn to change.
  • + 2
 Look harder at a DT hub. You need special tools to work on it when you need to get to the internals. You also need a bearing puller and press to do the bearings and there are definitely threads in there. I can do my XTR hubs bearings with cone wrenches which are cheap and easy to find. I'm not sure why threads are difficult to deal with. Hubshell, axle, cones, bearings, seals and locknuts. Pretty simple really. I'm not saying that DT hub isn't good because I have DT 240s hubs, Chris King hubs and XTR hubs on my bikes. King hubs are more complicated than DT and Shimano and are still excellent hubs.
  • + 0
 On DT you only need a tool to remove the internal splined ratchet. You don't need a bearing puller to remove the bearings, a hammer and a nice punch works just fine as long as you're thorough and careful. You also don't technically need a press to put the new bearings in. I've used a large socket in the past with good results. That being said, the Wheels Mfg bearing press is the bee's knees.
  • + 1
 Management at Shimano is waiting for some old Japanese man to die so they can finally scrap their hub design and catch up with the rest of the world.
  • + 3
 Ummm... what is the engagement?! P.O.E? Anything? Anyone? Bueller?
  • - 1
 24mm- NO THANKS
Center lock- NO THANKS
11-40 NO THANKS
They are so stubborn to re-design the free hub to Sram standard that they are going to fade away...
10-42 and DONE SRAM
I will never go back to 2x10 Shimano garbage that skips and sends me over the bars "kick standing" again....very dangerous.
  • + 1
 Haha why would you even think for a second that shimano would use an XD driver?
Center lock is scraping the barrel for cons, you can get adaptors.
  • + 1
 10/42 is the difference between 1x or 2x
Shimano blew it big time.
  • + 1
 Ah, well you'd be surprised how much of the population could give a rats arse about 1x. Im not bashing it, I even have an XX1 setup myself, and love it. But as 2x shimano has a wider gear range, many riders who do not spend many hours in a day riding up and down, they will prefer the wider range of the 2x Razz
Just because it doesnt work for you, doesnt mean it doesnt work for anybody else
  • + 2
 I remember having cone bearings on my 1971 Raleigh chopper.
The bin man nicked it in 1978. T**t
  • + 0
 Cup 'n' cone bearings?
That'll be a no from me (again) then.
And 99% of those that ride in muddy conditions.

Great idea in theory, terrible in practice.
C'mon Shimano! Just accept it
  • + 6
 You know riding in muddy conditions is what cup and cone are good for. Because you can readily clean and re grease them as much as you want, and you should. I grew up on cup and cone bearings from the first time I had a hub explode I learned how to service them. Once you are good at it, and I admit it takes some practice for it to be second nature, they can be excellent. Sealed bearings can be pretty well shot after a season of mixed conditions where as cup and cone if serviced correctly can last years. They will also always be faster and smoother than a cartridge. I have a set of XT hubs in fact that have done just that. Not for everyone, but they have their merits.
  • - 1
 Clean and regrease, but not replace when (not if) the races wear out
  • + 3
 If you stay after them it takes long, long time for the race to wear out.
  • - 4
flag IllestT (Feb 4, 2015 at 8:53) (Below Threshold)
 I'm a rep for a cycle brand and I even advise shops to avoid the bikes we sell with Shimano hubs. We get so many headaches from them
  • + 1
 Maybe a dumb question, but why can't races be replaced?
  • + 3
 That's kind of silly huh? Avoid perfectly good bikes because of perfectly good hubs that could be no headache at all if those involved took the time to learn how to adjust and service them?
  • + 0
 By headaches I mean customer complaints and warranties. Sick of them. It's just a bad design and blaming it on customers just makes us look bad
  • + 1
 The only issue that I have ever seen from shimano hubs as of recently, were some of the freehub bodies exploding (and yes that is a pretty bad issue indeed) and some saint axles snap. Other than that, I personally cant really see them being a headache to deal with them. That kind of ignorance would be similar to me telling customers to avoid bikes with guide brakes on them because they were made by sram, when in actuality Sram has completely turned themselves around and are now making excellent products.

@Sheppers The races that are on the hubs themselves (not the axles) cannot be replaced because they are actually a part of the hub shell, its all one piece. The reason they can't get around it is because Campagnolo (who also uses the loose ball bearings) have patented a design for their hubs that uses removable hub races, and have not licensed it to shimano.
  • + 2
 $1500 wheels with cup and cone bearings. No thanks.
  • + 4
 The best spinning hubs I have aren't the King or Hadley of my MTBs, it's the cup and cone hubs I have on my old 1970 Kalkohff urban bike Wink
  • + 3
 $1500 wheels with roller skate bearings that have contact seals on both the outboard and inboard sides, that roll worse if you put pressure on one side of the bike (ex. pedaling), or tilt/lean it (ex. hammering out of the saddle or cornering)... why, oh why? Oh, because cup and cone is patented by Shimano?

A well designed cup and cone hub with labyrinth seals (non-contact, no friction added) on top of smooth rolling no matter how you ride the bike? Sure, sign me up, at least for the front. I'll pass on the rear until the cassette and freehub interface is redesigned to something like Kappius's.

Chris King has angular contact bearings that work similarly, which the Syndicate races on. Though I'm sure they remove the draggy contact seal that CK uses. CK's design is heavier and draggier. Their rear hub has a fairly novel design to work the ACB in, with the driveside bearings riding on the outer circumference of the freehub, and the freehub transmitting that load to the needle bearings riding between the axle and freehub.
  • + 1
 Got Kings laced to LB carbon wide rims 32h that only weigh about 80g more and a cheaper.
  • + 1
 can't wait to buy them from the UK cheaper than I can get them from QBP, SBS or KHS
  • + 2
 Shimano sealed bearing system please
  • + 18
 They are sealed bearings. Presumably you mean cartridge bearings. I dont think shimano will let go of the loose ball in our lifetime. I personally like it, others hate it. If you want cartridge, literally go with any other brand...
  • + 8
 Shimano you keep doing what you do best. I 100% agree with Xyphota.
  • + 3
 After riding shimano hubs for 20 years, I finally got a hub with cartridge bearings (Industry Nine). I'll never go back.
  • + 8
 Why don't they just use sealed cartridge angular contact bearings? Best of both worlds.
  • + 3
 Because the cartridge part adds weight (as does the preloading system and inner bracing for the bearing races), the sealing adds drag, and it takes up more room in the hub? More like worst of both worlds. These are sealed without the drag, with the grease keeping the water out and suspending the muck away from the races as the last line of defense if it gets submerged in deep water (ex. pond, deep water crossing). Cartridge bearings wouldn't survive that... most would just toss them out in that case.
  • + 3
 The fact that you can toss them means the life of your wheels is not limited to the life of your bearing races.
I know a certain group will never like cartridge bearings for wheels and I get why, but for those of us who like them, why not have the benefits of angular contact as well? You only explain why you don't like cartridge bearings.
  • + 1
 Yeh,sorry cartridge bearings is what I meant.each to their own seems to be the consensus
  • + 1
 Cartridge bearing have to be smaller by design, And you ever seen one get sloppy in a hub? Ugly. . . But cone bearing need maintenance once in a while. Replaced lots of cartridge bearings but only repacked a few cone bearings. Tought call.
  • + 1
 I have bought a lot of used wheels. I like being able to make the hub as good as new with a new set of bearings. If it has cones there is a chance it was ruined by the previous owner. Other than that cones probably make more sense.
  • + 2
 I agree that the bearing races should be replaceable, but its actually because campagnolo has removable races and have patented the design, that shimano cannot use this design. That is my only dislike for loose ball hubs. Otherwise, I think they are superior in most ways! As for the angular contact cartridge bearings, the only downside is the weight. I would be under the impression that the drag would be similar to cartidge bearing systems but I could very well be wrong. They are actually used in some high end headsets, some german brand, I forget the name...
  • + 2
 My race rusted so needed a new axle. (I know but I was a newbie) Sorry part no longer available so new hub/axle required. Then fine tune preload as it beds in. It's just easier to use cartridge bearings.
  • + 1
 Waiting for Shimano to make a 32 straight pull DH wheelset with Center Lock. Any time now... I hope.
  • + 1
 Why strait pull spokes?? They are not better performance wise and they snap more often because they can't rotate.
  • + 1
 $1500 for a carbon/aluminum hybrid?! Seems steep. Guess I'm sticking with my Stans Flows.
  • + 13
 Of course this is the first comment....
  • - 2
 i agree, 1500 for a carbon wheelset at 1700 g is alot , maybe if they had a good engagment sytem , like instant . you can build a set with some way better hubs and blade spokes if you wanted...
  • + 1
 stans flows all the way. they're so popular i cannot get one. Frown
  • + 1
 superstar am carbon with tesla hubs 600£
  • + 0
 right becasue people want tesla hubs
  • + 1
 There great they have a very fast pickup
  • + 0
 60 points of engagment is not fast pickup, try 160+ or roller bearing clutch ..... if your on a budget the atomlab 180 is great .... i have stealth hubs and they are instant , instead of teeth they have a sweet desighn that is really hard to explain ... "rooller bearing clutch modified"
  • + 0
 the roller bearing clutch has seen a few different revisions, but I think I remember them failing for certain hubs, I have heard nothing about the hubs you are using! If they work power to you!
I agree 60 POE is pretty weak in comparison to anything 120+, however realistically, 98% of the population needs hardly more than 18 POE for most applications.
In my opinion the best hubs today are probably the dt 240s!
  • + 0
 240 aint bad , they have virutally no drag and pritty damn light but after you expeirience the instant poi/e its hard to go back...
  • + 1
 if I didnt just purchase a pair for bike I was building, I might have taken you up on that Wink
  • + 0
 damn
  • + 1
 I stopped reading after "(no 26'' option, though)" i'm so sad Frown i'm still saving up to build my 26 s-work enduro
  • + 1
 Those XTR hubs look pretty sweet.
  • + 1
 What are the chances anyone can tell me the ERD of these rims?
  • + 2
 Does it spin?
  • + 0
 Do they make em with xd hubs?
  • + 5
 Are you dumb?
  • + 12
 Oh I get it! You're one of those guys! Haha
  • + 1
 You do realize what you're asking, don't you? That's like a roadie asking for a Campy freehub on Dura Ace wheels... it just isn't going to happen!
  • - 1
 NO SEALED BEARINGS, NO CARE
  • + 3
 JUMPMAN FIX BIKE WITH HAMMER AND STICK
  • + 5
 sometimes thats just what you have to do Wink
  • - 1
 Jesus, they seem good. Very good. XTR good.
  • - 2
 lol cup and cone bearings.

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