Stan's Arch MK3 Rim - Review

Apr 14, 2017
by Mike Levy  
Stans Arch MK3


Let's be honest here: a lot of us, including myself, have an unreasonable craving for carbon. This is especially true when it comes to carbon rims, but, when you do the 'cost vs. weight vs. performance' math, it's aluminum rims that make the most sense for almost everyone, isn't it? Of course, which is why I've been putting Stans' $100 USD Arch MK3 rims through the wringer for the last handful of months.

At a reasonable 453-grams for the 29'' model, the new Arch MK3 is kind of an all-around rim, even if Stans says that it has been designed ''with input from our Enduro World Series teams.'' Prefer smaller wheels? Stans also offers the Arch MK3 in both 27.5'' and, gasp, even 26'' sizes.

Arch MK3 Details

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Material: 6069 aluminum
• Sizes: 26'' / 27.5'' / 29'' (tested)
• Internal width: 26mm
• External width: 29.3mm
• Rim height: 16mm
• 28 or 32 hole (tested)
• Weight: 453-grams (29'')
• MSRP: $100 USD
www.notubes.com

Internal shape of the new Mark 3 rims. This is the Arch.


Design

The 6069 aluminum Arch MK3 rim is all-new for 2017, with a wider, 26mm internal width that's intended to mate best with 2.25" to 2.5" rubber, which is what most trail and all-mountain types are using these days. The rim's width isn't as massive as a bunch of other options out there, especially some much pricier carbon rims, but Stans is calling this 'wide but not crazy wide' design their WideRight theory. In a nutshell, they're saying that too wide of a rim combined with a tire not designed for it (and the very large majority of them aren't) will force the tire into a less-than-ideal shape. If you've ever put a high-volume tire on a skinny rim and found that the casing folds over too easily, or ran a tire with a more square cross-section on a very wide rim and found your bike's handling to be weird, then you know there's some truth to matching a rim and tire properly.

So while the 26mm wide (internal) Arch MK3 is best suited to tires between 2.25" to 2.5" wide, the 29mm wide Flow MK3 is made for tires up to 2.8'' in width because the wider profile offers more support to high-volume tires. The Flow, which is sometimes even used on downhill bikes, is also heavier than its skinnier brother, at 527-grams in a 29'' size compared to the Arch's 453-gram weight in the same diameter. The new Arch MK3 is also wider than the older EX version yet manages to weigh the same.

A UST (Universal Standard For Tubeless) rim design is considered mandatory by some to achieve a true tubeless setup, but Stans has long used their own BST (Bead Socket Technology) rim design to allow most non-tubeless tires to be setup up quickly sans tube.
Stans Arch MK3

BST consists of a large bead shelf to encourage a snug fit for easy sealing and a low sidewall with a profile designed to interact better with the round beads of non-UST tires. You don't always need a specific rim or tire combo to run a tubeless setup, but the idea behind BST is to make it easy to run normal tires, which are usually lighter than a UST option, and have the whole thing go together without needing an air compressor, drywall patching kit, and a counseling session afterward.
Stans Arch MK3
Performance

The Arch MK3 aluminum rim has seen a boatload of original equipment spec, including on Rocky Mountain's Element 990 RSL BC Edition cross-country bike that I've been abusing for the past handful of months. The 32-hole rims are laced to a DT Swiss 350 rear hub and a house-branded 15mm front hub with WTB spokes from the factory, and I've removed and re-installed the stock Maxxis DHR II front tire and Minion SS rear tire as well.


Stans Arch MK3


The Arch MK3 rims have also seen a set of burly Continental Der Baron 2.4 Projekt mudders installed, two Vittoria Gato wet condition cross-country tires, and now a set of Vee Rubber's sporty Trail Takers (review coming soon). So that's five different types of tires on the Arch MK 3 rims, but not a single episode of swearing and yelling during the installs. I have a Bontrager TLR Flash Charger floor pump in my workshop that makes things easy, but I also used it as a regular pump rather than an air tank just to see if I could get a few tires to seat up smoothly without relying on a massive rush of air. Still no swearing or yelling.

The different tires the Arch rims have seen required vastly different pressures, with the big German rubber seeing numbers as low as just 16 PSI and the much slimmer Trail Takers being pumped up as firm as 26 PSI, depending on the terrain and the day's conditions. But one thing that has been consistent is the burping - there hasn't been any. All of the tires fit snug but not so tight that I needed a set of steel levers to do the job, and none of them belched any air despite plenty of crooked landings and mistimed moves. That's story of my life, to be honest, but I had no trouble with any of the tires on the Arch MK3 rims.


Stans Arch MK3
Stans Arch MK3


Now, I know that the 100mm-travel Element (with a 120mm fork) isn't exactly a heavy-hitting all-mountain bike but, to be fair, my little black BC Edition test rig has probably seen more miles and rowdier terrain than a lot of bikes with 60mm more suspension. Does having less travel put more focus on the reliability of the bike's wheels? I think so, and the result is... not much, and I mean that it a very positive way. Aside from one quick session on the truing stand to fix a minor wobble, likely caused by that time I 50/50'd a large rock hard enough that I thought I was going to die, the rims have been essentially invisible while doing their job. There aren't even any flat spots, which I did kinda expect given their wide, low shape.

That the Arch MK3s are trustworthy in these days when the large majority of rims and wheelsets are quite reliable isn't enough to make them standout, although it's obviously a good thing. No, what makes the Arch rims worthwhile, at least in my mind, is how they feel. A lot of the carbon rims on the market, while being lighter, tend to pass chatter up through the bike and into the rider; this is something I've felt firsthand with tall, wide carbon rims. The aluminum, 16mm tall Arch MK3 rims have a softer, more forgiving feel to them, but without the vague sensation that a lighter weight, skinnier set of rims can be guilty of having. If you've ever run a set of deep carbon rims on a short-travel bike, or even on a hardtail, you might know that stiff, unforgiving ride that I'm talking about.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThese Stans rims are a bit of a tough product to review because they do their job without any fuss or troubles, all while costing a quarter as much as many carbon fiber rims out there. Comparing a $100 aluminum rim to a four hundred dollar (or much more) carbon rim isn't exactly an apples to apples kind of thing, but I'd have a real hard time spending four times as much money for what I feel are the pretty negligible benefits of a carbon hoop. Instead, I'd pick up a set of the Arch MK3 rims, put them on my bike, and proceed to forget about them. You can't ask for much else. Mike Levy
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185 Comments

  • + 79
 i very much agree with the cost benefit argument. alloy frames and parts can ride super well and be strong at a fraction of the cost. i own a carbon dh bike, but id definitely buy another aluminum one when the time comes depending on the suspension design and geo. i think the material choice of metal vs carbon is secondary to design choices and execution
  • + 4
 I think it's totally worth building up a fresh set of wheels every season or 2 if it's only $100 a rim. This is definitely a wheel builders choice.
  • + 33
 @AdustytrunkMonkey: huh why do you need a fresh set. do they have an expiry date? if so where on my stan's flow is it located?
  • + 17
 @Jokesterwild: I generally seem to get a flat spot within a season or 2 from doing some park/dh trails. My Flows are still holding true since last season so we'll see how they hold up this year. Idk about you, but I'd rather buy a $100 rim than send a cracked carbon rim to the manufacturer to deal with a "warranty" issue.
  • + 16
 @Jokesterwild: You can only true a wheel so many times before it is deemed 'fatigued' and basically won't hold a true longer than a single ride. If you ride hard, this is what happens.
  • - 12
flag Jokesterwild (Apr 14, 2017 at 14:23) (Below Threshold)
 @mikealive: well gosh I better tell stans to make more flimsy rims so I actually need to true it more often.
  • + 13
 @Jokesterwild: it's the bit that says "26" or "non boost"
  • + 2
 @Jokesterwild: Or if your like me, then your happy if you get even a year out of rims, imo they are disposable items (I normally crack a rim 6-8 months old on uk pushed up dh)
  • - 2
 @AdustytrunkMonkey: thankfully, in the UK, we have Superstar Components. They do £100 whole wheelsets (about $125) that are really quite decent. You do have to wait for a sale, but they're pretty frequent.
I buy a couple of pairs at the start of each year that I can bin or give away at the end of the year
  • + 2
 @IllestT: they've got a clearance sale on now I just looked, thanks for the tip off. Could be my new favourite website.
  • + 1
 @mikealive: And what part of the wheel is fatigued exactly? Rim? Spokes? Nips? The interface between each?
  • + 13
 @FLATLlNE: It's the internet, so I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or are genuinely curious.. but I didn't neg ya, if that helps Smile

Sure, all those things are factors man. If you're in every couple weeks to replace a spoke, probably time for a rebuild. The increased tension needed to keep a wonky rim true will start to pull spokes through the rim, or load so much tension on the spoke that the heads want to sheer off.
Think about a new rim--it looks true and round to the naked eye, but as you build up spoke tension during the build you quickly realize that it's a few mm off here or there, and you adjust the tension on the spokes to make it perfect (you'll see that all the spoke tensions are not perfectly equal though, because the rim wasn't laser straight to start). Now imagine bashing the hell out of it while it's on a bike... those spokes are hanging on for dear life, trying to keep that rim true and round. As things go out of true a bit here and there, you can tweak spoke tensions to bring it back to a good round/true wheel. But every time you do that you are messing up the original tension balance of the spokes--and you can't just crank the tension up infinitely to pull a rim back into line because you'll eventually break the spoke or more likely, crack the rim at the nipple hole.
I'm no engineer, but as an example take an empty soda can and pinch it together in the middle. We know that aluminum alloy is malleable, so go ahead and bend that can back and forth at the pinch.. why does it eventually start to form holes and want to tear in half? In other words, why can't a person just keep bending it back and forth ad nauseum? I'd guess that has something to do with the fatigue life of that particular material. Same principle in an alloy rim, slightly different application. So even if you tore down the wheel and built it up with fresh spokes, that rim has already been bashed enough to turn it into a spaghetti noodle, relatively speaking.
  • + 10
 @mikealive: You tell him Sheldon Brown!
  • + 1
 @IllestT: Wouldn't you be better off buying one set of quality wheels rather than tat you have to 'bin' or 'give away' (dispose of either way) each year?

Would balance out to the same cost after a few years and you wouldn't have to ride a heavy budget wheelset....
  • - 4
flag juretunic (Apr 16, 2017 at 9:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Racer951: no mater what wheels you buy they will need new rims every few months or even more often than that if you ride allot and hard enough
  • + 7
 @juretunic: Seriously? You must be a complete hack.
  • - 2
 @Racer951: What's your average life of a rim?

If you are one of those people who replace a rim soon as it gets a ding, then juretunic would be right. I'm not surprised if I get a new ding each ride, almost disappointed if I go a couple without, know I haven't been riding aggressively enough.
  • + 4
 @bxxer-rider: I dont have a specific time frame, I replace them when they get out of true to the point they cant re-tension to a decent standard or if they have a fair few dings / flat spots.

I have had a full year out of a set of wheels on the trail bike, no problem - No huge rocks (which admittedly are rim killers, thats just not the terrain here) but as an ex DH racer to a decent standard I know how to push the bike, I do run tyres fit for purpose and tend not to deliberately smash into things to see if I can dent my rims though....

Its such a bizarre thing for you to say you are disappointed if you don't ding your ring every ride! - I know people that race at national level (Elite) that get half a season from a set of rims on their trail bike and a fair few training rides and races from DH rims and they post times that are 15 seconds off the podium against regular WC racers.

Are you guys running super low profile on thin tyres and hitting everything you can just to try and smash your bikes up? - Are you all running really cheap tat wheels like Superstars or similar? - What the hell do you expect if so?
  • + 1
 @Racer951: unfortunately the economy of our throw away society means that it's far cheaper to buy a new set of cheap Superstar wheels every year (that really aren't bad at all).
They're so much cheaper than pretty much any alternative
  • + 2
 @IllestT: Most superstar wheelsets seem to be £250 plus unless they are on sale (which everything they sell seems to be at the moment admittedly) - That's not exactly super cheap anymore, especially for a 2kg wheelset - When they first started selling them they were a bargain but looking at the site many wheels are coming in an RRP at more than £300.

You can get a Hope wheelset for just a little under £350, one of the best hubs in the business and you get the amazing support Hope offer.

Their Stans Mk3 'electro' build even on sale is more expensive than you can get a Hope / Stans rim custom built by a shop at £400 with a £520 RRP.

Buying a low quality product to save 25% on the reliable, premium offering never works out in the long run, sell your bike with a Superstar wheelset = hmm, suppose they will do, sell it with a Hope hub / wheelset and its a selling point.
  • - 4
flag juretunic (Apr 17, 2017 at 3:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Racer951: oh yeah total hack damn danny hart must suck at riding considering he replaces 10 rims per race or more? It's all about where you ride and how aggressively, for me the only wheelsets that lasted the whole race season were deemaxes but barely, rims were flat spoted and dinged so bad setting them up tuneless was quite a pain
  • + 3
 @Racer951: i agree that hope is miles better but the aftercare on superstar stuff is still decent. Free re trueing for life and extremely cheap crash rebuilds. The ds25s did get 5 stars in a mbuk review but I'm beginning to doubt the quality of the rear hubs after buying my own set
  • + 5
 @juretunic: you are not Danny hart.
  • + 2
 @Racer951: thats why I don't relace 10 rims per race? Did i say i do
  • + 2
 @juretunic: Exactly - Danny Hart is completely irrelevant to the discussion about normal people's wheel use.
  • + 0
 @Racer951: i was just following your logic that you must be a complete hack to break wheels.
  • + 2
 @juretunic: Danny is a hack when he is riding as hard / fast as he can at a WC race, he doesn't care about equipment in that situation, just the fastest way down the hill on the edge of the equipment surviving.

You are just bumming around on your local trails, so if you are damaging rims every ride you are probably just a biffa.
  • - 1
 @Racer951: did you miss the part about me being a racer?

And so caled "local" trails are maribor, krvavec (val di sole type track) quite a bit of schladming some time in france during the off season and so on... now stop acting like a know it all and trying to make me look bad just because you disagree with me.

Happy trails.
  • + 1
 Well said, Steve. I agree, though I've never had carbon anything hahahaha. The numbers just make sense.
  • + 1
 @juretunic: You know what, if you are riding full DH tracks like these then I can kind of see your point, but this review is about a Stans Arch - a rim designed for the average joe to use on trail bikes.

You said "you need to replace rims every few months if you ride hard enough" - But should have included the distinction that you are on a full DH bike riding WC level DH tracks regularly.....

This is why I took the point about guys killing rims every month or so and called it out - It just isnt the reality for average riders on trail bikes, most people do not race / ride serious DH and certainly dont have access to tracks that you do on a regular basis.

So realistically, you probably do kill rims quite often, but you dont run the Stans Arch on your DH bike either, which is the topic of this review - the average rider on their trail bike does and doesnt kill rims every month.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: Flow EXs on Fuel hubs, £125 for the set. Couldn't even buy at Pro 4 rear hub for that!
  • + 1
 @gkeele: Got a link to those or were they on some kind of clear out sale?
  • + 1
 @Racer951: Definitely on clearout at that price, they're last year's Flow rims. Can't fault the pricing though, and they were also having a big clearout of DT Swiss hubs - between the Flow rims and the half price hubs I could have gotten a truly top-end alu wheelset for a shade under £500.
  • + 1
 @gkeele: Fair enough, I think their prices have risen quite a lot over the past year or so, puts them in the Hope / Stans full build league now.
  • + 1
 @IllestT: I just bought some of the flow rims with crest hubs for £209 as a spare set for megavalanche.
  • + 46
 "without needing an air compressor, drywall patching kit, and a counseling session afterward." Best comment ever about tubeless.

So while I don't doubt that these hoops are good, I LOVE my carbon nextie rims that only cost $160. They weight a hair lighter than these, but the real benefit is that they NEVER go out of true. Bust a spoke? Lace up the replacement and its true. Flatland on a rock so hard it bursts your tire? Rim still true. And the Nextie rims have a light, springy feel- not too stiff like certain carbon rims that I'm not envying, if you get my meaning.
  • + 6
 I have 2 sets of Nextie Wildcats and couldn"t agree more. Amazing durability. Broke 4 spokes when I overshifted and chain slid behind big cog. Rode it out after cutting the spokes out. Laced up new ones and with very little truing time had it back on bike like nothing happened.
  • + 3
 I've been using the LB carbon rims for about 3 years on 2 different bikes with very little complaints. They cost barely more than this alum (about $160 /rim) and have significant benefits, not even considering weight. Extremely easy to build up, they never go out of true, they're MUCH stiffer than any alum offering, which is highly noticeable on the trail, and even though I have broken 3 rims, they're always warrantied.

I can't say enough about carbon wheels... biggest improvement I've made in a while
  • + 1
 @chasejj: how did you cut the spoke out, while on the trail?
  • + 9
 @sevensixtwo: Leatherman has a wire cutter. Short sections stayed on the flange.
  • + 19
 I've seen 2 wheels with Nextie rims die an early death. Something that would have dented an alum rim, taken 4 minutes with a rim wrench to bend back, and you get to continue your weekend. Carbon rim = crack = no more riding. My front rim is still going strong, but the rear is gone.

I won't buy carbon rims again. I know they are blingy, light, and stiff, but one mishap with a flat tire on a super rocky section = bye bye carbon.
  • + 10
 @y0bailey: If you have a flat tire and are riding rocks. That's what you get.
Pretty sure if I'm bombing a rock section with a flat my aluminum rim is not gonna be ridden again once I examine it at home. Cracked CF or Mangled Aluminum. Result is the same in the end.
  • + 3
 @y0bailey: yeah I feel that, blew one up this past weekend. The company warrantied it so I have a new one to lace up but after this Im headed back to alum.
  • + 12
 yeah broken 4 carbon wheels at this point, at this point i'm insane to keep trying as they all weren't extraordinary situations. Back to alloy for me.
  • + 3
 @y0bailey: Not necessarily... A dented aluminum rim is just as likely to a catastrophic fail as a cracked carbon is. I've full on broken an aluminum rim, more than once, and I've ridden a cracked carbon rim for 6 months with no issues (I wanted to see if it would break completely and it did not, it stayed true and never gave me a a fuss.)

The benefits of carbon for wheels heavily outweigh the drawbacks, and the aluminum has very little benefits over carbon. The perceived benefits of durability with aluminum are negated if you just take care of them... riding a flatted rim is bad for the wheel, no matter the material.
  • + 5
 @chasejj: got a flat racing on my novatec demons, rode the rest of the track hit a few rocks on the way and no damage to the rim, didnt even go out of true, wouldnt wanna try that on a carbon rim
  • + 12
 @toddyf12: You stick with your aluminum rim and I'll stay with my Nextie CF rims. Win-WIn. After building my own wheels for 25 years, and destroying Thousands of dollars in parts I'll stick to what I know.
  • + 6
 @therage43: I don't understand, how are they good if you broke them 3 times? That qualifies for shit everywhere else.
  • + 3
 They are good while they last, but all the forms prove carbon rims crack
  • + 7
 @SlodownU: people have been brainwashed to believe Carbon is the best even if it's always cracking
  • + 8
 @therage43: you broke 3 carbon rims in 3 years? Hmm...
  • + 1
 @markar: Mine have been fine, and I weigh 210 pounds. I have hucked to flat on them several times, one time so hard it blew my back tire.
  • + 12
 @markar: Let's not pretend on the interwebs that aluminum rims are somehow magical and never fail.... and miserably. That is kinda how we arrived at paying crzy money for CF rims in the first place. Because in order to make stronger/stiffer rims that were light enough to ride.
I think lots of guys buy the lightest CF rim and then cry when they crack.
Get some good wide LB's or Nexties with 3mm or 3.5mm sidewalls and maybe even the added DH/Enduro reinforcements and you will never go back. The strength/weight/stiffness ratio is off the charts. But don't get XC rims to do Enduro/DH duty.
  • + 3
 @therage43: I have not been able to get Light Bicycle rims for less that $250 shipped, where are you getting them from?
  • + 2
 @chasejj: if you get a pinch flat and the rock garden is steep enough or your going fast through it, it's impossible not to smash a few rocks with a flat tyre.
  • - 1
 @hamncheez: Maybe you might want to be running those tires with some actual air pressure in them?
  • + 6
 @SlodownU: Hans Damphf. Doesn't matter what pressure you run them at.
  • + 4
 @chasejj: Aluminum rims are not magical, but I won't feel nearly as bad trashing my aluminum rim vs. a carbon one. Also, take a good look at weights, most carbon rims aren't that much lighter, if at all, vs aluminum until you get into Enve money, and even then, weights aren't that far off.
  • + 4
 @hamncheez: Word, understand completely. Shwalbe was my expensive experiment before I went back to Maxxis.
  • + 2
 @chasejj: why are you destroying thousands of dollars in parts? What are you doing!
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: ya I don't understand myself.. Been hacking to flat on a set of nox carbon am 29 wheels for three seasons! Only tightened spoke tension once.. No cracks and stay Tru...
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: what wheels are you running?
  • + 1
 @Travel66: the 30mm internal width Nextie 29er rims with the DH layup. I think they only make them in 29mm now.
  • + 33
 Finally! Something I can afford and, therefore, care about the review.
  • + 20
 Nice to see some new 26 rims
  • + 15
 After a second cracked carbon rim I decided to go back to aluminum rims. I picked up a pair of Flow MK3's and laced them to my Kings and I could not agree with the summary of this review more, I installed them and completely forgot about them.
  • + 2
 Agree - carbon is a risky proposition that typically ends in no truing but catastrophic damage and a premature negative sum coming out of your bank account.
  • + 8
 Vital MTB claims they cracked 7 carbon rims and 0 alloy rims during their most recent bike comparison test.

www.vitalmtb.com/features/2017-Vital-MTB-Trail-Bike-Test-Sessions-Introduction,1540
  • + 5
 @dthomp325: "6 severely hammered alloy rims"
  • + 4
 @dthomp325: It says 7 rim cracks not cracked rims. If you read into the tests most if not all of the cracks were occurred on the giant trx 0 rims. Bad apples I think.

"Over the course of the next few rides the rear rim cracked several more times, each one seemingly easier than the one before it"
  • + 1
 @in2falling: I severely hammer the shit out of my Stan's rims. They're covered in dents, but they've never cracked, are still reasonably true, stiff, and hold the bead.
  • + 17
 Nice review! Great to see products aimed at all us normies!!
  • + 8
 so is the difference between arch and flow just a width thing or is the flow actually built burlier? 26mm inner width is on the money for my general tire choice in the 2.3 range but i chose the flow because i was under the impression it was a stronger rim.
  • + 6
 My impression is the flow IS a burlier because it is wider and heavier, however the Arch is still very very strong and most folks would be fine with it.

Where you find some differences are the type of tires you want to use (as you mentioned) and the pressure you want to run. The wider flow will allow a lower pressure, however I think tire-profile is more important, so if you are running 2.3-2.5 then 26mm is perfect.

That being said... you aren't hurting yourself by having the flows.
  • + 5
 @adrennan Arch used to be more cross country-oriented, but that was a long time ago. The new Arches are what the old Flows used to be. So this would seem to be true. They are built exactly the same, with the same profile/shape. They should be just as strong, just narrower with the Flows being bumped out to support wide and plus sized tires.
  • + 4
 Doesn't look like the review mentioned this but the notubes site lists a rider weight limit of 230lb for the Arch and 250lb for the Flow (190lb for the Crest). As someone who weighs 220lb, I would have a hard time trusting the Arch and would likely just take the weight penalty of the Flow. I went with an XM481 on my most recent build, very happy with it after 6 months.
  • + 6
 I would go arch rear flow front, ex471 rear xm481 front or spank spike race33 rear 345 front...enduro bike of course
  • + 6
 You would be correct. Stronger for sure. I have a friend who spent 4 months in NZ riding DH-ish trails on some Flow MK3 rims without issue. These things are nearly bombproof, and since Stan's managed to shave some weight off of them, I went with Flows on my last build too. For my riding I'm sure the new Archs would be just fine, but going with the Flows I know that a) Not going to worry about much, and b) I like the extra width. Running some Maxxis WT Minions and couldn't be happier with how they hook up. Just nutty.
  • + 6
 @Lagr1980: interesting that you opt for stronger front wheels.
  • + 2
 @mikealive: I would think the 2.6 WT tires would be pushing the clearance limits of some frame and fork designs. What's your experience with clearance and what frame and fork are you running?
  • + 3
 @adrennan: its because of the width. I think once you go above 28mm ID your rim is more exposed with some tires. May be the case of stans combination is what you mention, but the others are probably similar strengh if not better for the rear choice
  • + 13
 I'm fat as fcuk, and my Flows have lasted three years.
  • + 4
 Arch for the front flow for the rear assuming you case your rear more like most people.
  • + 1
 @BaeckerX1: I'd agree with ya there--depending on the frame, it would be tight. The Flows I have are on a 29r, so the DHR2 WT are only a 2.4. Boost frame and fork (Pike/Honzo), I have zero issues with clearance. Had a coworker running WTs on a 2015 Process 153 (Non boost) and had no problems... and that guy rips waaay harder than I do--but he wasn't running 2.6s..
Haven't talked to anyone who has run the 2.6WTs, but on a boost frame/fork you'll have no clearance issues (obviously). I'd guess pedal strike issues because the tires aren't as big as a 2.8 or 3.0... but good question man! The 2.6 tires seem to be that sweet spot many are after, but will it take a purpose built frame to accommodate them?
  • + 1
 @BaeckerX1: flow is just wider but same design as arch
  • + 3
 @Lagr1980: nonsense putting the weaker rim on the rear imo. Fook that sheet.
  • + 1
 @markar: Believe I already said that above. Smile
  • + 6
 There is only one real benefit of carbon rims for me. I'm a heavy and pretty aggressive rider and flat spots and wheels going out of true were a constant issue for me with aluminum hoops. Since going carbon I just never have to deal with it. Ride quality, stiffness, bling etc are much harder to justify.
  • + 5
 These reviews usually make you think of doing hours of research ,a review should be more realistic , this was more like it ,I ride my bike and do little maintainence other than run of the mill chain lube and clean. I could afford more expensive shit but I would rather just ride my bike ,leave the big stuff to LBS
  • + 6
 My heart goes pitter-patter I see "26" on this website. My next bike, already on the way, is going to be a six-fiddy-bee, but I will always have a soft spot for 26. Nice work, Stan.
  • + 4
 If you have a 2017 Scott Spark or Spark RC, you've probably found the standard Syncros rim is terrible. The ERD on those and the Stans Arch or Flow is 1mm, so you can do a rim swap without having to change spokes. Note that they are sqorx nipples. Also, the uncut 25mm/1" roll of Gorilla tape works perfectly in the 26mm rim bed.
  • + 1
 Sorry, the ERD difference is 1mm.
  • + 7
 Sick! Someone spelled wringer correctly!
  • + 2
 So both LB and Enve are roughly around the same weight 400 - 420g. These come in at 450 grams. Somethings gotta give here, otherwise we're saying that at less than half the price of the chinese made product, you pick up 50g per rim and have similar stiffness?
  • + 2
 My Tandell (similar to LB & Nextie) i29 is roughly 450. I wouldn't trust a carbon rim much under that weight for trail/am riding. And nobody's saying the Arch are stiff. They aren't.
  • + 4
 I wish there was a comparison to other high quality aluminum rims for those already unconvinced of carbon. Why should I buy these rims over what Spank/DT Swiss has to offer?
  • + 1
 weight, width, and ability to mount non-tubeless tires. that said, I have Spank Oozy 295s and the are stiff and tough. I like them.
  • + 1
 I am running 7 year old flows after I knocked the DT Swiss rims that came with a new bike into an egg shape within a month.
  • + 1
 Broke mine on the rear on my second trail ride, did hit a rock and could well have been my fault but would have expected it to have survived. Swapped the front rim to the rear and fitted a flow up front and expect to swap the rear to a flow when this one dies.
  • + 1
 At $425 a set delivered from China via Ebay, I'll keep riding my carbon wheels. The last set I bought were 27 mm ID, hookless, and weighed in at 1,490g. Who cares if the hubs are shit. For $600 I can get an Onyx rear hub and I'm still around $1,000
  • + 4
 How do they compare to say a Flow EX rim of yore? .5mm difference wider than an old Flow EX...
  • + 3
 This. Anyone have first-hand experience with both the Flow EX and the Arch MK3? Very similar dimensions but the Arch MK3 is lighter, so is it more fragile?
  • + 1
 My old Arch Exs 27.5 I had built have taken a hiding. Now get a hiding on a 140mm travel hardtail. So when replacing a bent front rim on my hope hubs on my dually made the choice to go the Mk3 Archs over carbon. Heaps cheaper.

I'm running a 2.6 Spec butcher which aired up with hand pump, never had sealant in it and holds air fine. Topped up once or twice in a few months!!!!

Thinking of swapping the 2.6 butcher even though I love it but it runs pretty close to the fork (RS Pikes) non-boost. I think not only the rim but a good even build makes all the difference. No issues yet with the new Arch Mk3 and was sceptical due to the same weight but wider. I have slowed down but still ride rocky trails. I think if I build a new bike Flows will be on the list though at 29mm and really not that heavy whilst being dam strong.
  • + 1
 It's interesting to read about having no issues seating tyres on these, i struggled like hell to get a 29x2.3 High Roller II seated on my flow mk3 rims. The tyre sat so damned tight on the rim the beads wouldn't move even with an airshot. Cue lots of swearing, sweating, bleeding, throwing of tools etc. Eventually it set and now it's on its brilliant, the rim is stiff and lighter than the stock ones, as the author said fit and forget, blasting through rock gardens or casing jumps cause no issues at all. Funnily enough the Minion DHF on the front seated first time, maybe there was a bit of extra material on the HR bead?
  • + 1
 I dont get the love for Stans Wheels.. bought a pair of MK2 Flow EX rims on hope hubs, the hubs are great but the rims are made of cheese and only remain true for a day in the park... I'll stick with my Zelvy Carbon DH wheels.. and the one bike running flows is about to be converted across.
  • + 1
 Levy's conclusion is spot on. Its a well engineered rim with appropriate material at a good price from a reputable source. It's outcompeting expensive carbon rims. Cheap back alley carbon rims are not in same bracket. Good thing is 26 option. Lighter and more durable than bigger rims and traction is better.
  • + 1
 This time around I tried Wtb kom i26 on my Rawland tourer. Same width, a really nice finish and they almost built themselves.
On trails I'm sold on wider, 35" for my burner and 50" for the winter rat. Notubes new flow and sargent in my future.
  • + 1
 I run a set of these om my 29er xc rig and after 1 year cracks started to appear on several nipple holes on my rear wheel. It was exchanged under warranty but I was surprised to say the least. Wheel still ran true and spoke-tension wasn't too high at all. I've been running stan's rimes for quite a few years, arch and flow, I weigh 93kg, crests weren't stiff enough for my likings, was thinking about trying the new mk3 crests but after the cracks I have my doubts...
  • + 0
 Please note that the Mk3 Arch rim is stronger than the previous Mk2 rims. If you've had yours for a year then it's not the new Mk3.
  • + 1
 Arch and Arch Ex were probably the worst rims that ZTR ever made. Crests had weight limit 86kg for 29er model and they were cheesy. These were competition XC rims or fire road warrior stuff. I don't know how anyone could ride Olympic MMX rims unless he/she was 60kg.

Generally if you want a sub 400g 29er rim that lasts you need to go carbon. Otherwise harden up.
  • + 0
 @iamamodel: got them just before summer last year, they were just released, ordered a wheelset with arch ex rims but had to wait for the rear dt 240hub which was out of stock, i got the newer rims in trade of the delay in delivery, they were just released that month. Big thanks to Superstarcomponents for the service and guarantee
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: yeah, for the EX versions you had to treat Arch as an XC race rim and the Crest was idk, race day only?
  • + 2
 I'm not quite sure about the "less travel = less forgiveness" argument, since you can achieve far more abuse on a dedicated am/enduro. Never heard an enduro-bro telling me "trust me on this, it has survived my xc bike!!" ^^
  • + 2
 Definitely true if you ride both bikes the same. Shorter travel bikes are much harder on rear wheels if you ride them hard, but you usually don't push as hard on shorter travel bikes because the margin of error is so much smaller.
  • + 1
 Can WTB and other UST bead tires actually fit these? The earlier Arch EX rims were slightly oversized and getting a WTB tire on was pretty much impossible, and if you did manage to get it on, getting it off required cutting the bead.
  • + 1
 I'm still riding the 2nd generation arch rims with zero complaints​, I have sets on two bikes, and they have been abused for 7 years, changing tires is easy and they never burp
  • + 4
 If you are looking at these, you should also consider rims made by SPANK. I have ridden Stans, but I prefer the Oozy rims..
  • + 2
 The one criteria carbon can't compete with aluminium is in the environmental footprint for manufacturing and disposal of used product. Stans is keeping it green.
  • + 1
 Green nuthin - Doesn't Stans do carbon now too?
  • + 0
 And what about the environmental footprint of extracting/mining aluminum outa the ground?
  • + 2
 @WasatchEnduro: Combined with its ability to be recycled after it is broken again and again means that it's complete life cycle is still more sustainable. Steel, aluminium, titanium then carbon fibre is the sustainability herachy. My source is an old article in Bike magazine but, I'm open to new Info if you have some.
  • + 4
 The Arch has a weight limit, so heavier riders should avoid them
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 14, 2017 at 13:04) (Below Threshold)
 Umm that weight limit is rather high... it was 86kg for the old Crest in 29". I guess these Arch Mk3 are like 100 kgs. That gives you a rather normal 2m tall dude. If someome is around the average 180cm tall and weighs more than 100kgs he should rethink some life choices not rim choices... start with cutting on cake.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: Wrong...I'm 225 6'2 with just plain clothes on, but if I load a pack for a long then I'm closer 230. As for cake, I prefer weights and rugby when I'm not riding.
  • - 3
 @Longtravel: so what you mean is you have so much muscle and consider light weight rims?
  • + 1
 Sorry I know pounds not KG, I know the older arch rims had a limit of 220, not sure about these new EX ones
  • + 2
 @sml2727: i knew a big body builder who desired to have a sub 9kg XC hardtail. He was at least 220lbs. It was at the time when SID had 28,6mm uppers. He didn't snap the sid but he was refitting bushings every half of a year. Then he bought 32mm Sid and he was regularly blowing the left seal and rebuilding the air spring. I wonder how many crossmaxes he waisted. At it was all 26" bikes
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: @WAKIdesigns: no, I don't run lightweight rims, my comment was more about you saying people above 100kgs should rethink life choices. I do run flow mtk...
  • + 0
 @Longtravel: did you notice that I mentioned height next to it? 180cm and 100kg - that starts to be a material for fat shaming ( or cortisone shaming)
  • + 1
 @Longtravel: and the point of my comment was that few riders go above weight limit of Arch Mk3...
  • + 0
 A few days ago, I wrote to Notubes.com trusting that they were manufacturers and not just traders, because I need the rim Mk3 in 24 holes, declaring my agreement with losing the guarantee (and therefore, without the color and logo of the company ). Do any of you know the Chinese company that manufactures them?
  • + 4
 SunRingle is the manufacturer.
  • + 3
 @font>font>Catsick /font>/font>: ευχαριστώ πολύ
  • + 3
 Anyone built a dh wheelset with these hoops ? I got this idea from a couple months..flow mk3 are too large for my likes..
  • + 0
 These seem to give WTB KOMS i25s a run for their money. 1mm wider (whatever) but lighter - sounds good to me. That said, next rim I get is internal 30mm ish at least. I'm confident in a year or two even this 26mm internal measurement will be considered narrow.
  • + 0
 Thanks for the write up, I literally ordered these rims this past Wednesday, after having my front tire roll off the bead carving a berm. Hoping these feel as nice as I have read. I have a set of Stan's arch ex on my full suspension and they​ have been rock solid to setup.
  • + 0
 These new Arch rims look great for a trail bike. I've had great luck with Flow rims built with quality hubs by Dave at speed dream. I'm sure carbon wheels are great, but I don't feel like I'm missing out on much and I never have issues with my wheels.
  • + 1
 My flows are the best rims I have ever owned. Back wheel is starting to look very well used, but no cracks. Loooking forward to trying the new 29mm internal version!
  • + 1
 Got them on my PP Shan 917 hardtail, laced on Hope Pro 4 hubs. They can withstand rocks, jumps and my 100kgs with no problem at all..
  • + 1
 First ride yesterday on my new Arch wheel set and was stoked with their performance. Easiest tubeless setup I have ever done too.
  • - 1
 I preferred stans rims before they introduced the mk3 line. I like the width of the new rims but that is about it. The new rims are junk in my opinion. I have gone through 2 sets in 4 months. They are prone to flat spots and dents and I run 26psi front and 30 psi rear. The nipples actually pull through the rim as well. I get all my wheels built professionally by a guy that has been building wheels for 15 years and these rims have given me nothing but issues. I would not recommend these rims to anyone that rides hard in rocky terrain.
  • + 0
 Great rims. Have them on my Hightower laced to 350s and run them hard without any worries. The Arch MK3 is a great blend of value, durability, and weight.
  • + 0
 I recently had a set built with Hope Pro 4s and DT comp race spokes and nips. Very pleased so far and they came in a tad under 1800 grams.
  • - 2
 New ARCH ZTR MK3 27.5 rim owner. First thank you to Stan's for standing behind there equipment. But, I've been a Stan's wheel set owner for 9 months. In 9 months the rear rim has shredded 2 hubs Stan's neo and now I'm waiting for a replacement rim for the 2nd occurrence. First time it took one week of riding to for the bearings to seize around the axle, waited 2 weeks for new parts and had to pay my mechanic for repair. 6 months later shredded a 2nd Stan's neo hub then noticed cracks around the spoke holes, 8 to be exact. It looks like the rim wanted to spit in 2. I hope Stan's is working on a fix for this product, not a pro rider just a weekend warrior. I've lost to much riding time with this product. BTW even it I used a Chris King Hub the rim would have split/cracked.
  • + 8
 how does a rim shred a hub...
  • + 2
 @adrennan: ride a pair of sun double tracks.
  • + 2
 Do you mind telling me how much you weigh? I almost ordered the crests but realized they have a weight limit. I think on the new arch the weight limit is 215, which a lot of people are close to weighing.
  • + 2
 I have also had the flow mk3 rims crack around the nipple holes on two sets of these rims in a short period of time. Happened to my friend as well. Got the new DT swiss EX 511 which I have been very happy with.
  • + 0
 Love my Arch rims, super easy to setup tubeless, sensibly wide, tough, reliable, and really rather light! Can't ask more for the price. Oh and they still come in 26"!
  • + 3
 Yusss 26 for Lyfe!
  • - 2
 Why anyone would put a set of carbon rims on their bikes instead of these is totally beyond me. These are cheaper and will certainly take more of a beating and last longer. It's a total no brainer.
  • + 3
 No they won't actually. But yes, they're cheaper. That's ok Matt, 1 out of 3 isn't bad.
  • + 1
 @WasatchEnduro total disagree
  • - 1
 This review makes me feel like a good husband. Bought Arch MK3 to my wife's bike. In 26" Smile I am quite impressed that they hold so well under Mike in 29er version.
  • - 1
 Just put a set of flows on my dh rig, looking forward to riding it soon. If the world cup dh riders use them, I sure there strong enough.
  • + 1
 they have been great for me so far. and i like seeing if i can blow up rims.
  • + 4
 World cup riders don't really care because they get replacements but yeah, I got some flows on my enduro bike I ride fully fledged DH trails with and never had an issue. Only damage was from a massive case that no other rims would have escaped. I'm 150lbs and ride light on the pedals so YMMV.
  • + 1
 @PLC07: if that is how big you are then you are fine. I am 200 and heavy on the pedals, holding well so far.
  • + 1
 running flow ex's on my AM bike.. they are always running out of true and losing tension. definitely not a fan... going back to dh carbon wheels (like the rest of my bikes).
  • + 1
 @MrZ32: I just got the hoops and had them built up. Hopefully that doesn't happen
  • - 2
 stoped reading when the text say trail bikes are using 2.5 tires... where is that?
  • + 12
 Funny thing - up here in the Pacific Northwest, Minion DHF/DHR has become the standard setup for most locals riding trail bikes (130-140mm 27.5 or 100-120mm 29er) - and I'm seeing a fair number of people experimenting with wider stuff. We ride all winter, and with the mud and the wet roots, wide beefy tires are a lot more enjoyable.
  • + 1
 2.5 wtb convicts F&R on my bike
  • + 1
 2.5 maxxis shortys all winter* on the trail bike.
*that's 9 months of the year in the UK...
  • - 1
 all of you 3 have Enduro bikes. so 2.5 for a Nomad and Reing is ok but I don't think 2.5 good for a trail bike. that's my opinion for what I see in all riders in my city and my trails.
  • + 0
 dirtmountainbike.com/bike-reviews/downhill-bikes/inside-trek-rd.html

in this trail bike article says 2.3 is the max... but it depends on what trails you ride, how aggressive you ride and many more
  • + 2
 @g-42: 2.5" Maxxis is like a 2.35" true width tire.
  • + 1
 Anywhere west of Kansas.
  • - 1
 for me a bike that can be called a trail bike is a Giant Trance. just look at the latest version using 2.35 front and 2.25 tires in the rear. so maybe Giant is wrong with tire sizes?

www.giant-bicycles.com/it/trance-1
  • + 1
 @mudmandhbrazil: I don't think it's wrong or right, just preference and terrain. That combination would be a safe bet for lots of people. I'm happy to have to pedal a fraction harder with a bigger tyre and have more grip and cushion in the rough/looser stuff, also I just like the look Smile . As others have mentioned it's tough to compare tyre sizes as the same listed width from one manufacturer can be dramatically different to another. I now run all maxxis in the 2.4 or 2.5 Wt sizes and love them. I find that tread design and compound makes a bigger difference than just width.
  • - 1
 @Kickmehard:
to things.
1 what is a trail bike?
2 what is a 2.5 tire.
my V10 has 2.5 and 2.4 tires makes it a "modern" trail bike? I don't see no DH racer going bigger than 2.3 or 2.4. my Giant Reign has 2.35 Scwalbe tire that is bigger than a Minnion 2.5 and now I am looking for a thinner tire to make the bike feels lighter, and I ride rocky trails.
so it's confusing. we can stay here talking and talking.
I just wanted to say that I don't see any bike brand selling "trail bikes" with tires bigger than 2.3 just that... and I think 2.5 to big for trail bikes.
I love Stan rims they are one of the best rims ever.
funny how you say that you like the look of a bigger tire on your bike... so if you didn't care about the look would you ride a thinner tire?
  • + 0
 @mudmandhbrazil: And what about 27,5+? Majority of them are trail bikes..
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