Sixth Element 27.5+ Carbon Wheelset - Review

Jan 19, 2017
by David Arthur  
Sixth element wheels


You might not have heard of Sixth Element, but the young British brand has been gaining a lot of traction in the UK with its smartly-packaged and keenly-priced carbon fiber wheels. Over the years carbon has steadily worked its way into the affections of all but the most stubborn mountain bikers, and while still expensive compared to aluminum, prices have fallen a lot over the years, making a carbon wheel upgrade more viable than ever before.

Despite the slowly-falling prices, carbon wheels are still a pricey upgrade, but with a sub-£1000 price, the Sixth Element wheels are one of the more affordable options currently available.

Sixth Element Details
• Size: 27.5” (29” available)
• Intended use: all-mountain
• Internal width: 45mm
• Rim material: Carbon fiber
• Hubs: Hope Pro 4 Boost
• Weight:1870 grams; Front: 890 grams, Rear: 980 grams
• MSRP: £979 (about $1180)
• Contact: www.sixthelement.co.uk

The company specializes in carbon wheels, there are no aluminum options, and offers a wide range of rim widths and built options to suit budgets and wheel size preferences. Like most carbon fiber products, the rims are manufactured in the Far East, but the wheels are assembled by hand at the company's base in Manchester.

I tested the 27.5” version with the widest 50mm rim option, spinning on new Hope Pro 4 Boost hubs with 32 double-butted spokes in each wheel. With tubeless tape and valves readily installed they weighed in at 1800g. They also come with a two-year warranty and crash replacement policy, in the event that you do damage one of the carbon rims. Here’s how I got on with them, but first let's catch up with Sixth Element founder and owner Graham Stock.



Five Minutes With Sixth Element Founder Graham Stock

What motivated you to start selling carbon fiber wheels?

I've always been keen on pushing the boundaries and looking at new products from the rider's perspective. Some four years ago I started experimenting with carbon rims from different suppliers - building various wheels and testing them on my own and others' bikes. I quickly realised that I was onto something good. The improvements in handling were so dramatic. I knew it was a good business concept, and so worked on the logistics and the quality of the product, always knowing that I wanted it to be rider focused.

Sixth element wheels

I then spent a good deal of time dealing with manufacturers and testing their products - resulting in me settling on a select number of suppliers. Once I was sure that we had a great quality product, that we could sell at a reasonable price, I founded Sixth Element Wheels in 2015.

There's a lot of choice in the carbon wheel market these days. What sets yours apart from the crowd?

It's all about top quality, at an affordable price. By this I mean: we use branded hubs (mainly Hope and Chris King, along with DT); the rims are top quality and go through strict Quality Assurance checks; All Sixth Element wheels have a two-year 'no quibble' guarantee and we have a three-year crash replacement programme (£275 for a replacement rim, including re-build: this is available to all our customers). We have a choice of four rim widths and weights to cover all mountain bike and downhill riding and tire sizes.

And not forgetting the decals - customers are making an investment in the wheels and its right that they look great for the long term. Pretty uniquely, Sixth Element decals are physically part of the wheel, they are not stickers. The decals don't fade or become discoloured, they don't peel off or get scratched at the edges. The colours remain permanently true. Customers also have a full choice of decal colours.

Do you think the early skepticism towards carbon wheels on mountain bikes has dissipated now?

Mainly - the wheels are so proven now. From our perspective that includes use of Sixth Element wheelsets at World Series level, the Mega Avalanche and across many top UK events. Our Sixth Element riders have been at events where alloy wheels have been broken on the rocks, whilst our's have come through unscathed. Actions rather than words I suppose.

Of course, we still get asked 'are they strong enough?' - this may be founded in the perception that carbon is light and so perhaps not as strong as other materials. I sometimes reflect that most military aircraft these days are made of carbon parts - that must tell us something about strength.

What would you say is the big benefit of a carbon fiber wheel?

The most noticeable benefit is the precise handling that comes from riding the wheels. The cornering is amazing compared to alloy rims. The weight saving - mainly on the rolling weight (i.e. the outside of the wheel) - is, of course, beneficial, but I always feel that it’s the performance that counts.

Sixth element wheels
The carbon rims are laced to Hope Pro 4 hubs.
Sixth element wheels
While the wheels are pictured with a SRAM XD Driver Body, the Hope hubs are also compatible with Shimano 11-speed freehubs.


Construction

Despite the low price of these wheels, there's nothing at all cheap about their appearance, which is first class. They look a really good product, with smart decals and a clean finish to the carbon rims. The rims are manufactured from unidirectional Toray T700 carbon fiber with the addition of a 3K weave carbon to reinforce the spoke holes. Build quality and attention to detail on the rims is excellent, with a very smooth finish and no signs of blemishes or rough edges upon closer inspection. They are a tubeless-ready rim and use a hookless profile, like many carbon rims these days. The design offers a stronger rim when as there’s a more consistent carbon thickness from rim bed to the outer edge.

The test wheels were built onto a pair of new Hope Pro 4 Boost hubs with a SRAM XD driver - a Shimano freehub can be specified if you prefer. The British-designed and manufactured hubs are a solid choice, combining, as they do, excellent durability with a reasonable price tag. The Hope Pro 4 replaced the PRO 2 Evo hubs with a raft of small but significant updates, including an updated 44-tooth ratchet mechanism in the freehub providing quicker engagement and an increased flange width to provide a stiffer wheel. A wide range of axle options are available with easily-replaceable end caps to fit most bikes. The hubs are also now offered in Boost for the increasing number of new bikes switching to the wider axle standard. Ceramic bearings can also be specified for an extra cost. The rims and hubs are laced together with black, double-butted spokes. Spoke tension was taut and remained so throughout the testing process. You can also choose the size and colour of the graphics to match your bike if you’re that way inclined.


Performance

Going tubeless with the Sixth Element wheels was easy. They come supplied with Stan’s rim tape and tubeless valves already installed, so it’s just a case of fitting your favourite tire and a generous squirt of sealant, and inflating. I tested them with Specialized, Schwalbe and WTB tires, and encountered no problems with any of them. Inflation proved simple even with a track pump. They retained air well too. Once fitted to the bike, it really was a case of fit-and-forget. They went about their business with no fuss or drama.

These 50mm rims are absolutely massive. Now, you don't need me to tell you that rim width has increased over the years, and nowhere is width more important than Plus bikes. I've been riding a Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie 27.5 Plus bike for the past year or so and the rims it came with were dwarfed by the 3-inch tires. Just too narrow. Switching to the Sixth Element wheels created a much wider platform and resulted in a less rounded profile that noticeably improved handling and traction. Tire roll and squirm in the corners at lower pressures was reduced in every scenario. With the wider rims, the ride was simply more predictable. Traction was enhanced, especially on off-camber trails, as the shoulder knobs could be put to work: a bonus on slippery trails where Plus tires can sometimes flounder.


Sixth element wheels
A 45mm internal rim width provided plenty of support for Plus-sized tires.
Sixth element wheels
Sixth Element offers an array of decal options.

Wheel stiffness is a tricky thing to assess. There are many variables to take into consideration when riding, but it was noticeable that the Sixth Element wheels produced a more responsive and energetic feel. It was no surprise that the carbon wheels felt noticeably stiffer than the aluminum hoops they replaced, but the stiffness wasn't so high that they produced a punishing ride. Feedback was more direct, the bike felt tighter through the corners, and had more zip and snap in the way it responded to inputs and contours on the trail. The Sixth Elements proved to be bombproof wheels as well, handling massive roots, rock gardens and dodgy landings. Nothing seemed to phase them at all. After a whole bunch of riding the wheels were still straight and true, the spokes evenly tensioned.

There’s a growing choice of carbon fiber wheels at ever more affordable prices, and early carbon scepticism has faded away now that the material has proven itself to be strong and durable. These Sixth Element wheels saw plenty of use and abuse and they’ve been remarkably good in every situation. In short, they're a really good upgrade to most stock aluminum wheels. Throw in the top-notch finish and build quality, a wide range of rim widths, hub and decal options, and top it off with a reasonable price (for carbon), and you’re looking at a thoroughly good wheelset.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes A solid and dependable carbon fiber wheelset at a price that might not break the bank. - David Arthur


Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review.



129 Comments

  • + 40
 I laugh and shake my head at the product prices that the MTB media now deems "affordable." But I have to say in my experience a quality carbon wheelset produces the greatest gains if you're looking to add some plastic parts to your bike. These look good, but if I'm reading between the lines correctly, you're buying Chinese rims and paying a premium for a nice finish and warranty?
  • + 47
 But aren't you doing the same with most carbon wheelsets that cost quite a bit more?
  • + 26
 1180$ USD is a pretty awesome bike in Canada if you're not being too snobby. I guess there's the saying, "you get what you pay for", but I don't need a bike to ride to the moon.
  • + 11
 @BiNARYBiKE : When it comes to open-mold China carbon, though, some will consider the warranty more valuable than you might think. Spend a few hundred dollars extra on the wheelset from a company with a face, or spend a few thousand at the hospital if something goes south and Alibaba hangs you out to dry?
  • + 11
 @Bluefire: Well, the warranty isn't going to prevent the consequences of a blowing up a wheel. But if these guys are able to pick reliable rims, it could be worth it. Guess I'm just thinking if I could find the same rims straight from China, I'd built my own set for less.
  • + 3
 @WasatchEnduro: Ya, but I was referring more to generic catalog rims rather than rims like NOBL that are made in China but custom designed and tested in North America and only run for $200 USD more. I'd probably get the NOBLs or order the rims direct from China and build up my own for $700 or whatever. Or of course you can pay the premium for enve.
  • - 10
flag bridgermurray (Jan 19, 2017 at 23:23) (Below Threshold)
 See your point. I'd rather just get an aluminum wheelset and then buy ENVE decals.
  • + 5
 He did say "might not break the bank" not won't break the bank?
  • + 7
 I have one pair of carbon wheels and one pair of alloy wheels, and I haven't really noticed any increased performance or handling precision. I'm sure there's a big improvement switching from spindley lightweight alloy XC wheels, but there doesn't seem to be much difference coming from beefier alloy rims.
  • + 2
 You're paying a premium to be like Bruce Willis. It's worth it to me.
  • + 5
 @dthomp325: carbon rims for dh and enduro are noticeably stiffer and harsher in feel than their aluminium counterparts. My LBs felt like I have 3-5PSI more in tyres. Jury will always be out on them making any sense for regular bikes. They are excellent for XC racing but other that that it will always be hard to tell. One thing is sure they are slightly lighter than alu for given width and purpose. And that often is more than enough.
  • + 1
 @bridgermurray: nice thats originality
  • + 2
 @dthomp325: I've a set of Flow II and Farlow 29 on a 140mm hardtail built with tandem-size steel chainstays. Granted the Flow rear is on XT 5mm QR vs DT 10mm throughbolt on Farlows. Carbon spins up faster and allows for more precise control in trickier landings. I don't notice much harshness diff, but I'm running DHR/F and flats. Your comparison isn't very useful without more details. I'm guessing that the smaller the wheel size and narrower the rim, the less difference there is between materials. My carb rear is as quiet as alu, now that alu freehub body has been swapped for steel....Does it really matter? No. But it's fun playing around.
  • + 1
 @BiNARYBiKE: im not sure you could build em for much less. Rims are a couple hundred each, hubs same ballpark, plus spokes/nips/labour and shipping. Itd be close to 1k
  • - 1
 Roval traverse fatty SL carbon wheels are on sale . And way lighter than this ones.
  • + 1
 @Gregorysmithj1: @Gregorysmithj1: I laughed at that but applaud it as well. What doesn't break the bank for one will certainly break it for another--like myself.
  • + 4
 @enrico650:

They're also noodly garbage that went out of true hanging in my garage.

I'd never recommend a set to anyone
  • - 1
 @UtahBikeMike: Touch a nerve?
  • + 1
 @ceecee, @WAKIdesigns: My comparison is based on Flow Mk3 29er vs Roval Control Carbon 29er, which I own and have many miles on. Maybe not a perfect comparison since the Flow's are wider, but overall there's not much difference in performance. The carbon wheels certainly don't feel "noticeable stiffer and harsher" than the Flow's.
  • + 1
 @enrico650:

The set I owned that lasted 2-3 rides before needing a true, did.

They needed bearings after 6 months of summer riding (no mud or slop).

When people jump on the traverse fatty bandwagon they know what they're getting. Roval in each case told me that i was hard on equipment and refused to warranty anything well within the warranty period and called all of my issues wear and tear.

I bought them new from a LBS (they cost me $550 with a "bro" deal) and i later bought an xd driver that cost me another $90.

The shop that i bought them from and nutted up and trued them for me for 6 months, after that they told me I was on my own even though they sold me a set of wheels that were garbage.

After they charged me for the last true I threw a set of bearings in them (note, you have to remove the ratchet ring on the AL versions to replace the rear hub bearings, wich is a PITA)

I replaced them with a set of i9 enduro 30.5s. I was going to do the $700 set of i9s (trail s, most comparable) but I was able to get the better set for $950 with some cupons from competitive cyclist. The extra spokes (32 vs 2Cool and higher engagement were what pushed me to the enduros.

The extra couple hundred for the i9s was WELL worth it. I've had zero issues with this wheelset. They're super stiff, the engagement is crazy and they're stealth.
  • + 0
 @UtahBikeMike: Maybe you are not very good to the equipment.
I maintain bikes for Red bull and i can tell
You that besides replacing a broken spoke here and there, Curtis Keene can get a full season out of a Roval traverse fatty SL . Afterwards we just replace the bearings so he can sell them with the bikes.
On the other hand, you maybe a better rider than him.
  • + 2
 @enrico650: pure curiosity, no wanker prejudice here: which casings is Curtis using? Grid or DH?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: He is training and Southern California trails are not very technical so, he is on the new GRID 2.6 and he is running Ohlins coil and a pre production Ohlins 36 at front. Magura brakes too.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Also he is been switching between the 29er and the 650b
On the Niner he likes the 2.3 slaughter/hillbilly combo
  • + 1
 @enrico650: thanks! Always cool to hear some insights from people who actually do sht. Why do you think Jared Gaves used to say he prefers DH casings for most occasions? Power surplus driven Peace of mind or what?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: For the Ireland round, DH for sure but in case of emergencies blacked out maxxis aggressor or tomahawks (for heavy mud) Double D's will do.
  • + 2
 @enrico650: so perhaps, by the time he was doing that video interview for Whistler there's been no double down casing. Funny enough I punctured Slaughter GRID twice on my local trails that may be rocky but speeds are low. Funny enough it only punctured on top of the casing. No "Schwalbe" bites at the base of the bead. In general I don't get it how Curtis runs his Butchers. I changed from Butcher to Minion DHF and grip is just world's apart. Perhaps Butcher rolls faster and is a bit lighter and that's what's important for the boys.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: He was also testing a prototype 2.5 butcher at tfront and a regular 2.3 butcher rear. Some of us have wondered what rear tire he will use this year. We measured the thickness of the sidewall on the 2.3 and the new 2.6 slaughter. The 2.3 is thicker. So he, either,stick to the 2.6/2.3 butcher combo or run a slaughter 2.3 and 2.6 bucher front
  • + 1
 @enrico650:

I was using AL rims. I don't run carbon.
  • + 27
 My knee-jerk response was "too heavy; pass", and I imagine most Pinkbikers will react the same way. But take a look at this alloy model from a highly reputable competitor:

www.dtswiss.com/Wheels/MTB-Wheels/XM-1501-Spline-ONE-40

Our brains are calibrated for the weights of regular-width rims. This Sixth Element wheelset is only 15g lighter than the comparable DT Swiss set - probably negligible - but it is also 5mm wider and $133 cheaper (as quoted).

With these figures in mind, I think we should be cognizant of the fact that we've quietly reached a new milestone. Technology and economies of scale have allowed for a carbon wheelset that is a strong, DIRECT COMPETITOR to its alloy part - higher performance and lower cost at the same weight. That was impossible three years ago, and six years ago it was beyond imagining.
  • + 14
 It's not a black & white opinion of 'higher performance'.

There are plenty of people out there who have ridden carbon wheels who don't like a lot of the 'qualities' that are sold as performance gains.

I for one, would rather pick a decent aluminium wheelset over carbon. Comparable weight, comparable width, better ride quality (IMO) and stronger (based on my experiences).

But then I don't have a vested interest in purchase justification towards a set of carbon wheels.
  • + 1
 @HobNob: thank you, i am the same. I rode a few carbon wheelsets about two years ago from a couple of different manufacturers and didnt like them at all so purchased alloy wheelsets for my two new bikes at the time. Theres a great video on dirt about how they have different ride qualities and saying one is better than the other is misleading.
  • + 1
 I'm going to disagree. I've just gone back to aluminium after three or four bikes with carbon rims. I've ridden the als just like the carbons and have had dents, flat spots, and thin flanges cutting into the sidewalls in the first few rides. Having to run higher pressure until I can do a rim swap.
  • + 3
 @HobNob: The nicest feeling wheels I have ever owned were Mavic factory wheels - Crossmaxes ST and Deemaxes. They may have been narrow, but the new ones are wider and I can't wait to get a pair. The compliance, acceleration coped with incredible durability were astonishing. They aren't cheap and you need to stock at least 4 spare spokes, just in case, but if you want max performance they are hard to beat and may be worth the extra over DTs which are also amazing in every single aspect. What is worth mentioning is that spare mavic rim costs 120 Euro which is still almost half of the price of a cheapest carbon rim. As for DT, you get one for 70-90Eur and DT spokes are easier to get and cheaper.

@iamamodel - fastest guys in my town run DTs for the full length of the season and each of them broke at least 2 carbon rims. When a smooth dude cracks a rear LB rim on the second ride and front rim on the fifth, something is fricking wrong... if you talk to guides in Malaga or Finale they will tell you that carbon rims are far from being invincible.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: so they cracked LB rims like everyone else commenting?
  • + 0
 @Bluefire - you do realize that DT spline 1501 wheelset uses 240 hubs that cost double the Hopes on that pitiful plastic thing? Not to mention aerolite spokes and pro lock nipples
  • + 1
 As someone who builds up my own wheels every season or so, I don't mind the $100 replacement rim along with a spoke or two.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I had Crossmax ST's before these and as nice as the Mavic's are, you just cannot compare them on many aspects. And when you have an issue with the Mavic's it takes ages to sort out due to difficulty of getting parts and they are quite expensive.
  • + 1
 @gbcarmona: I mean you have to pile up a bit with spares. Bike Components de tends to stock their rims.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: yes i agree. I sold my Crossmax ST's with a few spares spokes i had to spare. I understand what you say about carbon rims, but i know a guy who races who busted some Enve's M70 and his 6E's are still going strong. Maybe because they are a bit heavier (by a few grams!? oh the shock!?) they are a bit stronger than normal. Anyway, my main point above is that i noticed a great difference between the Mavic's to these. Arguably the Chris King hubs will have helped too since they pick up speed even better/quicker and roll forever. They hold the line really well and the profile of the tyre opens a bit which tends to give more grip and comfort.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: @WAKIdesigns: mavic still sell 26 inch spares? A work mate found a cracked cross trail rear wheel on kerbside collection. Wonder if they'll sell me an st or sx rim. Do these new wide rims mean that plus tyres will soon be able to corner when they make plus sized DFRs? All these anecdotal subjective comments aren't really useful. Can someone please destroy 1000 wheels of every different type and come up with a rating system based upon the actual force in Newton metres or lbft that each rim can withstand on average from blunt force trauma.
  • + 2
 @choppertank3e: it makes no sense what so ever. Such research is impossible to perform unless the damage to nearly each single rim of each kind gets reported to some magical independent data base . Lab tests are a good indicator but they will never simulate trail conditions. That test of a vice being dropped en Enve rim is gullible. How come their rims still break on the trail since such extreme impact rarely hits them, if ever.

In general every discussion on Pinkbike is useless. Unless you like to chat. I hope nobody comes here to eastablish whether carbon rims are better than aluminium ones or whether 29ers are better than 27,5...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: You know as well as I do that that's EXACTLY what people come here to do, for better or worse.
  • + 1
 @choppertank3e: You're more likely find those kinds of tests on the German sites. Traditionally, they take the more quantitative angle, while the North American media focuses on the qualitative and - as you say - the subjective.
  • + 2
 @Bluefire: the funniest bit is that long term tests are useless. The average time span of a component that people use before selling it will be like 2-3 years. If someone makes a long term review, let's say after 2 years, then it is more than likely that some "spy shot" of a new version has been already posted and you'll see it next year on Sea Otter. Well you may say: some people are not wasteful sheep and keep their stuff. In that way you are signaling that you are really into objective qualities of a particular thing. That won't save you though from that new thing popping up which often is better by a tiny margin and you are on the losing side of the argument. That is because the only thing you can hold on to then is the long term durability which in case of rims can simply bring you to the situation, when someone will tell you: why don't you buy Mavic EX729? Therefore it doesn't really matter since pace of change is too high. Unless some product is seriously screwed up, the debates to determine which product is best-ish are useless. Also because most products these days are rather comparable in performance. We aren't comparing XC717 rim to Enve M90. We are comparing some carbon rim to a top performing alu rim like EX471 or Flow Mk3. Thus the main point of an online debate about bike parts, performed by experienced users is to constitute his bias. The second and last purpose of engaging in such debate is the social aspect of the debate. So the only person who is wrong, and truly wastes his time, is the one that tries to convince everyone that his opinion is the best one and everyone should use the product (or rather a compromise) he considers as superior. I don't know why people think I am trying to convince others to use what I use. I preach: it always depends. Because a carbon 29er with coil shock and aluminium rims is better - is bollocks!
  • + 20
 those light bicycle hoops look stellar
  • + 1
 Broke a few of the light bicycle hoops, but I was smashing rocks at Bootleg Canyon so....
  • + 4
 just another start-up playing the market like the trump administration did. I have hope pro 4's on 45mm internal carbon LB hoops running strong laced by a reputable local wheelbuilder with DT spokes/nips for a few hundred bucks less (usd) and few hundred grams lighter. support your LBS. ohh do the analogies run deep.
  • + 7
 @twentyfos: "Support your LBS" Did those Chinese consumer direct LB rims come from the LBS? Maybe but it's unusual - most people are just taking them their internet products to assemble...which is fine but hardly a time to brag about supporting the LBS.
  • + 0
 @CarlMega: so the frame your riding was welded in Ohio? And the carbon was formed in Colorado? Right. Even my LBS openly buys chinese carbon rims so they can build the highest end product for lowest cost to end user (with reasonable crash replacement not offered by CH direct). Get a clue.
  • + 5
 @twentyfos: The point is if you are bringing them stuff you bought off the internet, you are not really in a position get on your high horse and proclaim you are supporting them. Shops like to make money on the sales too, not just labor. Do whatever you want, I think it's practical sometimes just not boast-worthy.
  • + 3
 @CarlMega: your american. you should understand the multiplicative analogies.
  • + 2
 @CarlMega: For a lot of smaller shops, the majority of their sales are low end entry level bikes that they don't make much money on. I know for my LBS, labor is one of their biggest money makers for this reason.
  • + 2
 @hpiguy: absolutely, that's where the bread and butter is for good reason. shops cater to their per capita demographic and hopefully continue to do so. is that where this wheelset is marketed to? no.
  • + 3
 @twentyfos: If that makes any difference, 6th E wheels is a one man (maybe two) outfit. And the guy runs my LBS.
  • + 1
 @hpiguy: yeah but your local bike shop is like the "hub"...not your normal bike shop.very,very busy for tourists who don't know shit about bikes.
  • + 1
 @hpiguy: I've worked in a lot of shops. Glad I'm not in the industry anymore but just call this what it is: I brought the shop some parts I bought off the internet that I didn't know how to service myself. Yes, you bought their service and utilized the shop but I have a higher standard for 'supporting the LBS'. This is like saying "I just got a killer deal on a Pike from BikeJunk dot com and brought it my to local shop for the $20 starnut install and steerer cut. Totally supporting the LBS." Ummm, not really. Again, this is fine to do - just don't bragging that you paid some for labor under the banner of 'supporting the little guy'.
  • + 1
 @nug12182: My LBS is not the Hub actually. Wish I was closer to Pisgah, but then I'd miss my LBS, and the owners.
  • + 1
 @CarlMega: I don't do that personally, just making the point. In the four years I've been back riding, I've purchased five bikes from my LBS. I'm a huge proponent of supporting your LBS, and buying local.
  • + 1
 @hpiguy: Sorry not directed at you. Just scoffing at the idea of someone taking their Chinese Carbon rims in for a build is supporting the LBS. Doesn't really matter...it's not my fight ,I just thought it was an odd comment back in the timeline. Horse beaten and no ill will towards anyone; I'm sure we're all fine people here.
  • + 1
 @twentyfos: Just wondering what your spoke count is?
  • + 13
 This is a wheely good review
  • + 3
 Oh the puns!

Such a vicious cycle..





Wink
  • + 4
 @darkmuncan: I thought we spoke about this before, they must be really good!
  • + 0
 Plus the sixth pictures
  • + 3
 @chillrider199: That would make you the Good Pun Spokes-Person?
  • + 2
 No need to reinvent this.
  • + 3
 Agreed, they're playing above the rim lately.
  • + 4
 I Hope puns relieve the uneven tension
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Well spoken, my friend.
  • + 5
 Here we go with all the

'too expensive' - Compared to what other 50mm carbon wheels with a great build and decent warranty?! Affordable by comparison is still technically more affordable.

'they're Chinese' - And? You just need to accept that China has many of the best carbon fettlers around.

'too heavy' - Again, compared to what other 50mm carbon wheel. They aren't designed to be super light.

Blah blah whinge whinge.
  • + 5
 Not quite bike related but as someone with years of experience wrenching on rotary wing military aircraft, I can, without hesitation, say that there is little to no use of carbon fiber on those machines. They are held together with aluminum, titanium, pro-seal and hopes and dreams. There are composites but not much resembling carbon fiber. I cannot, however, comment on fixed wing aircraft where composites tend to be more prevalent. Though those birds just aren't expected to shrug off bullets and return to base. The costs associated with R&D, low production numbers, and over priced military contracts make helicopters too expensive to produce with a big percentage of composites. Just food for thought. Think twice before you believe the "it's military strength" crap. Carbon is an amazing material but the military has a hard on for Kevlar, ceramic, and aluminum....remember that my dudes
  • + 1
 Military carbon especially ballistic grade carbon is not available to plebs. Cannon dale had some a while back and claim that their own carbon is similar but who knows.
  • + 3
 Just to put things into perspective guys, as there has been some doubt on their strength.

I am one of their team riders and this summer competed in the Trans Savoie, this even it as hard as any mtb event anywhere, to bike and rider, honestly.

I rode these wheels up to the event, 4 weeks in the alps, no problems, switched to mavic crossmax's for the first two days to do a comparison, blew through about 10-12 spokes, then moved back to the 6th E's, whereby I competed the event wheel trouble free. I'm also a 100KG rider who has an aversion for smooth line choices. :-D

These are not cheap tat!
  • + 12
 i guess as a team rider its unlikely youd tell us if they were rubbish, but thanks for your input @m9lee

Id like to see a couple of runs down ft bill with brook mac riding them, thatd really test their strength.
  • + 5
 Not quite sure what you were doing to those Crossmax, but the 6th Element wheels are heavier, made from a stronger material and more expensive. Not really a surprise that they held up better.
  • + 2
 @wallheater: crossmax xl's retail at 800 and something, not so much off a set of 6th E's on pro 4's? I was using them primarily because they had the MP3 protection and I wanted to keep the carbons looking minter, but they held up a treat like I said.

@russthedog If they were rubbish I'd just keep my mouth shut to be honest. My integrity is worth more to me than promo. Obviously I'm not going to bad mouth, but I'm genuinely impressed with these. I've made breaking bike parts a bit of a full time commitment, just ask my riding buddies! ;-)

Brook mac is a bit of a beast!
  • + 1
 Annoying that the photos don't do them justice AT ALL! Get on their Instagram page to see the bigger and bolder graphics with other colour combos...I still think my matte black rim with gloss bigger graphics are the coolest. People talk about weight, but as I mentioned above, they are still going so strong, like new...and if I'm spending all that money I want to make sure they stay that way. Btw, 0% finance for 12 months...
  • + 21
 If you're financing $1200 bike rims you need to re-evaluate your life!
  • + 7
 @OFF2theGYM: Unless of course you have that money earning you more money somewhere else. In his scenario you would have $1200 less $100/month in the bank, but in yours you simply have $1200 less in the bank. As long as you have the capital for the purchase taking the free money option is almost always the correct choice. People who decry debt because of some illogical emotional response are of course welcome to do so, but feelings and money seldom work well together.
  • + 3
 @chuckd71:

I work for a high end car company and people regularly buy $100k cars at 1% interest to gain capitol for other investments where they earn 6-12%

You can't explain stuff like that to people that are bad with money.
  • + 1
 @OFF2theGYM: It's always healthy to evaluate one's own life. You may want to evaluate your personal finance acumen, unless of course you simply didn't see the 0% part.
  • + 1
 @levysac*nt @UtahBikeMike @chuckd71: You guys are joking right? Chuck, you don't have a solid argument. We're talking about low end carbon bike rims! If you cant afford to drop $1200 bucks on a side hobby, then you cant afford these rims! I would go toe-to-toe with my portfolio to anyone on this site. I'm not saying that to brag, I'm saying that because I know the difference between an investment and a SMART investment. I own a business, co-own another, I have a duplex I rent out, and hold a great job with the Department of Defence at 28 years old on my own.
Utah Mike, there's a difference between a $100k car and rims for a bike. I own a 2010 LP 570-4 Superleggera and a 2014 GTR, I got both at a steal of a price. Now I use them as collateral to finance other investments exactly as you said... try telling a bank you want to use your bike rims as collateral and see what they say. Do yourself a favor... pass on the rims, invest the money, build a savings account strictly for your hobbies/fun money then buy the bike rims and/or wait till you can get them slightly used. If you're the kind of guy who is going to finance $1200 for a year even at 0%... you're the guy who is ultimately going spread yourself too thin, which is rule #1 in what not to do. $100 bucks a month, compounded amongst other pointless things you're probably willing to finance equals what? One big compounded financial fail!
  • + 1
 @OFF2theGYM: oh, the smart idea is to invest your money in fast cars?! As many as you can...thanks for the free advice. Making such a fuss about 100 bucks when you can spend that going to the pub! Funny how someone can make assumptions based on ignorance and a product they don't know since it is definetely not a low end product. With all your fast cars and judgements you must be lacking other stuff in life.
  • - 1
 @gbcarmona: Im not the one fussing, Im simply stating that it's not a wise move and the majority agree. I didn't bring high end cars in to it. If youd take 5 min to read back you'd see someone else did, I just used it as a real world example. Not once did I say buy as many as you can... fool. Then you close by trying to insult me, I've served in the military for many years along side many Brits. I've done more for your country in a 6 month deployment, than you will your whole life. Kick rocks.
  • + 0
 @OFF2theGYM:

You're cool.
  • + 1
 @OFF2theGYM: I agree, I would never finance a set of wheels even at 0%. My point was that if you are disciplined, it's a great idea to use other people's $ / cheap money/ free money as long as you pay it back on time and use it to make money whether it be to invest or even just sit in your savings account. Kind of like putting everything on Visa but paying off your balance each month incurring no interest. The longer that money sits in your account the better. Again, I probably wouldn't do it on such a small scale but there's nothing wrong doing it on any level.
  • + 1
 So you can buy rims that appear to be identical from the Light Bicycle website:-
www.lightbicycle.com/Carbon-beadless-50mm-wide-bicycle-650b-rims-for-27-5-plus-bikes-tubeless-compatible.html

I have had a set of Light Bicycle rims on my 29er for years now, and they have been faultless, until I drove over over one of them the other day, turns out they aren't indestructible, meh!

In the UK, to get rims from Sixth Element works out only a tiny amount more expensive than getting them from Light Bicycle, like £200 or so after import duty, so why wouldn't you get them from there with a quicker turn around and the same guarantee? I wish them all the best.

NOBL have now teamed up with Light Bicycle for the US market.
  • + 1
 I have some of these on CK hubs for almost a year now and they are incredible! After loads of abuse around UK and mostly Peaks, I only had to tighten a spoke once. So stiff, pick up speed really well and you can hold your lines much better. Due to the wide profile it opens the tyres a bit and loads of people ask if they are plus tyres...with that I felt some added comfort. The fact that you can choose which graphics and colour combo is another positive point, and Graham could not be a better man to deal with.
  • + 1
 What rim size have you got and what weight fancy some on ck hubs? Cheers
  • + 1
 @theakerdanny: I have the 38mm external ones. Weight I'm not sure and I could weight the wheels for you but not sure it will help since they have tyres, Stans gunk, cassette, etc! But I can tell you, they are very good!
  • + 1
 I have these in 38mm with Chris King on my Enduro.( DH still Stans Flow). Really does make a notable performance difference. Really snappy and much more agile. I did not think a wide rim would make such a difference but would add it to anybody's thoughtfood when needing new rims. Alloy or Carbon widerims are the new widebar. And they have had a beating already and are still solid. Anything alloy in my hands would already have been dinged; but cannot run ProCore by about 3mm.
  • + 1
 Want to win a set of Sixth Element Wheels of your choice? If you marshal at the 2017 BDS your name goes into the marshals raffle to win a set at the end of the season! Sixth Element kindly did the same at the Cannondale BES - Enduro last year.
  • + 3
 @davidarthur: you can spell 'colour' correctly, but fail on 'fibre' and 'tyre'. Commendable effort though.
  • + 3
 Saw the + sign and didn't read the rest. Do you guys do 27.5 normal width for you know, actual real humans?
  • + 2
 Yes. I run mine with 2.35 at the front and 2.3 at the back. works really well.
  • + 1
 Define 'normal'. Pretty sure some out there would consider a 1.9" tyre to be normal and that you wanting something up to 2.4" presumably would be weird and make you not a human, t use your own odd wording.
  • + 3
 "A solid and dependable carbon fiber wheelset at a price that might not break the bank." Key word: Might
  • + 3
 Kind of heavy. At this weight I don't see the benefits of carbon 650 wheels besides looking rad at the pub.
  • + 6
 No kidding - almost 1900g is not acceptable if I am gonna be dropping 4 digits into a wheelset.
  • + 3
 @michaeldorian: That was my first thought as well, but then it occurred to me that my brain is calibrated for the weights of regular-width wheels. I looked up a 40mm alloy competitor from DT Swiss - 5mm narrower than the wheelset reviewed - and while the Sixth Elements are only marginally lighter, they are in fact $133 cheaper as quoted. Not the formula we've come to expect from carbon, but also a more viable value proposition than I at first realized.

www.dtswiss.com/Wheels/MTB-Wheels/XM-1501-Spline-ONE-40
  • + 7
 @Bluefire: for real these look like a sweet value proposition for carbon. Of course you can still build your own set cheaper with LB, Nextie, or Tandell rims. How cool would it be to see some budget carbon rims tested against each other. Sure you can get a lighter carbon rim but is it as strong as these?
  • + 0
 @WasatchEnduro: they are amazing...read my posts under.
  • + 2
 @Bluefire: That's a good point.
  • + 2
 @WasatchEnduro: exactly. There is more than just weight. And these rims are very good from experience. Just annoying the photos don't do them justice on the graphics otherwise I'm sure people would get more excited.
  • + 0
 I was thinking they meant like the Shimano Alfine 11 speed internal geared hub, and got all excited. Saw them at the bike shop, pretty sweet, especially in terms of not having a big breakable thing hanging off the right rear of your bike.
  • + 2
 Just wait it out for a bit till it goes on clearance people, then will go on a buying frenzy!
  • + 4
 why so much tension?
  • + 1
 It would be nice if 6th Element posted the tech specs of the rims. Is ordering a 38mm rim refer to the internal or external width?
  • + 2
 Who saw that the Sixth Element decal wasn't straight on the rim?
  • + 2
 Not a decal Wink
  • + 2
 Looks like some copy/paste photo captions need an update Smile
  • + 7
 The author just must have been wheelie, wheelie tyred...
  • + 0
 No wheelset should ever cost more then $500.00
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