First Ride: Crankbrothers Carbon Synthesis Wheels

Sep 28, 2018 at 19:45
by Daniel Sapp  
wheels


Crankbrothers have a new wheelset on the way, and it's far different from their past creations. The Synthesis carbon wheelset is actually different from a lot of what's out there right now, and that could be a good thing.

The wheels are not your standard run-of-the-mill carbon hoops. They're designed to be tough, but if they do fail, that failure is supposed to happen in a non-catastrophic way. There's a front and rear-specific rim design and wheel build, and a lifetime warranty. That alone should raise an eye, but there's a little more to it.

The Synthesis wheel system comes in three different rim set configurations - one for XC, one for all-mountain/enduro riding, and one for DH. Crankbrothers have designed the front and rear wheels to give specific ride characteristics and to create a system that they claim improves performance, handling, and ride quality over many traditional wheelsets.
Synthesis E11 Wheels

• 27.5" and 29"
• Intended use: Enduro/All-Mountain
• Carbon rim, front and rear-specific "tunes"
• Crankbrothers/Project 321 hub - 2.5-deg. engagement
• Wider inner front rim width, narrower rear
• More compliant front wheel, stiffer rear wheel
• Designed to fail in a propagation mode
• Lifetime warranty on rims
• 1,825g
• $2,399 USD
• $699 USD rim only
Crankbrothers

The carbon wheel system is available in a few different configurations. There is a standard hub with 17 degrees of engagement, and a fancy hub with Project 321 internals and 2.5 degrees of engagement. All of the wheelsets have Sapim spokes, with the higher end E11 wheels coming with Sapim's CX-Ray in the front and CX-Sprint in the rear. There is also a rim-only option for those wanting to build up their own sets.

The XCT and Enduro wheels both have a standard hub option for $1,699 USD/EUR or the Project 321 hub and higher end spokes for a cool $700 USD/EUR upcharge. The DH wheels are only offered in the high-end build and sell for $2,399. The rims in both wheelsets are the same and can be purchased by themselves for $699 each. The Enduro wheelset is available for purchase now and the DH/XCT wheelsets will arrive in late 2018.


Crankbrothers wheels
Crankbrothers wheels
Brian Park photos

Background

The design and development of the Synthesis took Crankbrothers several years; it's not an evolution of their previous wheelsets but a completely new approach and philosophy on wheel systems.

Jason Shears
Jason Schiers Crankbrothers photo
Few would contest that the wheels that Crankbrothers produced in the past didn't quite deliver what the company may have hoped for. You'd see the wheels under sponsored riders, but it was rare to see anyone shelling out their hard-earned money on a set of Crankbrothers Iodine wheels. Crankbrothers had to make some changes in their development team and the way they engineered products to get the results they wanted.

That change was largely in the addition of Jason Schiers. If that name isn't familiar to you already, Schiers has been around the bike industry, and
carbon specifically, for a couple of decades, spending time at Reynolds, then at Enve. He was the first person to make a carbon clincher wheel and a carbon mountain bike wheel, among other things.

Shiers admits that joining on with Crankbrothers initially wasn't an idea that he nor many people he knows and trusted would consider the best move - their track record for wheels hasn't been stellar. He worked with them as a consultant for about 18 months, and then as the pressure built for him to come on full time he came up with a wishlist that included quite a few asks, including having a new development center in Utah - SR56. SR56 is used for designing and developing carbon and Selle Royal brands.

Greg Williamson UNNO
We first saw the new wheels on Greg Williamnson's Unno Ever at the Losinj World Cup DH. The Unno team have been a partner in the development process.


The other piece to the engineering puzzle is Mello Bouwmeester - Mello had his own company in Australia, manufacturing rims, specifically, the first single-wall carbon rim, which was gaining traction among downhill racers for its outstanding durability and compliance. The two wheel designers' products were positioned at opposite ends of the spectrum. Mello and Schiers linked up and Schiers ended up convincing Mello to come and work with him at SR56 after a few drinks.

Mello wheels
Mello Bouwmeester Crankbrothers photo

Carbon rim
Bouwmeester's single-wall carbon rim concept flew in the face of all contemporary rim design at the time...
Mello wheels
...but its thick flanges and narrow cross-section could handle more punishment than any contemporary thin-section hollow rim. Bouwmeester photos

With the two minds together, they decided that if they were going to bring another carbon wheel to market, they needed to do something completely different than what was currently available.



Mello wheels
Seen these before? We didn't think so. Crankbrothers' Synthesis rims use massively thicker walls in high impact areas. The front rim (left) is wider and more compliant than the heavier-constructed rear-specific rim (right). Crankbrothers photo

Crankbrothers Synthesis Wheels are Born

The philosophy behind the new guard at Crankbrothers is to develop products that actually improve the ride experience, not just something to bring another product to market...commendable this day in age when at times it seems there's often a new standard just to be different.

The team developed a number of wheelsets, some very compliant and some very stiff, and then put them under a variety of test riders. Schiers claims that they ended up getting a mixed bag of feedback on each set. Some were too stiff, some were not stiff enough. Mellow developed compliant wheels, Schiers made stiff wheels. After some frustration with the results of those tests, they started to mix and match the compliant and stiff wheels. At this point, the team found that everyone agreed on one mix...something Schiers says he hasn't seen before in 20 years of wheel development. The result was a more compliant front wheel with a stiffer rear wheel.

Crankbrothers wheels
Brian Park photo

It's a pretty simple concept: more compliance to let the front wheel find its way, and then more stiffness in the back wheel to help the bike track well. An analogy that was made was how most riders run a little less pressure in their front tire than the rear. If the front wheel is too stiff, it won't flex and hold the trail. Rather, it will skip around and ride poorly. Conversely, the rear wheel has to be stiff to manage larger hits and power through impacts with more force. With the idea of a more compliant front wheel and stiffer rear wheel figured out, the SR56 team could now start the development process.

Wheels
Wheels

Wheels
Crankbrothers' top-drawer 321 hubs are an option on enduro and XC wheels and standard on the Synthesis DH wheelset. Crankbrothers photo

Across the board in the Synthesis wheel system, the front wheel is more compliant than the rear. It has a reduced spoke count, a lighter gauge spoke, and a lower spoke tension. The rim itself is slightly lighter and the inner rim width is slightly wider - this is to match up with running a slightly wider tire up front and allow the tire to have a rounder profile. The rear wheel has a higher spoke count with a higher spoke tension, and the rear rim has a slightly narrower inner width to sharpen up the tire profile for cornering. The rear rim wall is thicker to handle higher impacts. Crankbrothers claim is that this builds a super tough and durable wheelset but one that has a compliant ride quality.

Front/Rear Rim Comparison Chart

Mello wheels

Durability and a Controlled Failure Mode

The rims have been under the bikes of the Unno World Cup DH team for some time now. The SR56 engineers claim they are happy with the results, especially from the rock-laden tracks in Losinj and Mont Sainte Anne as the wheels were in more of an R&D phase rather than a final and refined product at that point.

Everything can eventually break, but the well-known fact that carbon wheels can fail catastrophically is a contentious issue that a lot of riders are rightfully concerned about. Schiers says he's been obsessive about the way carbon fails and how to manage catastrophic failure ever since he worked to make the first Edge/Enve wheels.

Synthesis' ultra-thick carbon sections have some trade secrets hidden inside them that can't be duplicated by traditional thin-wall tubular-section types. The resin system used in the carbon is a special high-impact formula, while the layup schedule is tailored to disperse impact events. Nobody is talking about specifics here, but similar materials and layups are used to protect drivers in F-1 race cars, where catastrophic carbon failure is not an option. Those materials require additional thickness to disperse energy - a feature the new rim profile incorporates.

Schiers says that they're not the absolute lightest out there, but they fail with a propagation type failure...more like an aluminum wheel. You'll get a deterioration before a complete failure. He claims that if people are developing carbon wheels, then they have a responsibility to manage the failure of carbon wheels and make it safe and controlled. I won't argue with that.


Synthesis E 11 Specs:

Wheels



Crankbrothers wheels
Brian Park photo


Performance and Ride Impressions

I have quite a few days on the Synthesis E 11 wheels on a smorgasbord of terrain ranging from long steep fire road climbs with chunky and extra-rocky descents to more mellow undulating trail loops. The wheels are set up on my Specialized Enduro 29 test bike. The E 11 wheelset has the Project 321 hub internals with 2.5-degrees of engagement and magnetic pawls. 28 Sapim CX-Ray spokes in the front and 32 Sapim CX-Sprint spokes in the back. The front wheel has an inner rim width of 31.5mm and the back is 29.5mm.

With the Synthesis wheels installed I found that the bike does feel pretty damn connected, especially in chunky terrain, and the wheels don't feel overly stiff - in a good way. They track well, and felt solid charging into whatever terrain I found, but there was no harshness or any unwanted deflection.

The Project 321 hubs are a nice complement to the system. I've grown to appreciate a hub that has a high amount of engagement, especially in zones where you may need a pedal kick to get up and over whatever is in your way, and these hubs have 144 points of engagement. Necessary, no. An upgrade? Hell yea. Additionally, the hubs are nearly silent. It's half as loud as a Chris King freehub, and a magnitude more quiet than an Industry Nine.

As far as the durability of these wheels goes, breaking carbon wheels is something we are usually pretty good at. I have run the wheels with lower tire pressures than is probably a good idea, pinging the rim through all sorts of rocks at full speed and so far, I have had no issues.

Time will tell, and I'm really curious to see how well the Crankbrothers rims continue to hold up. Even more than that, If they do fail, I'm looking forward to seeing how that works out. The idea of a "safer"
wheels
Crankbrothers photo
propagation failure is appealing to me, and I would imagine that other riders are into that as well - especially given there's a lifetime warranty as long as you're riding the bike, not running over your wheels with a car.

I'll continue to put miles on the Synthesis wheels to see how they hold up at home in North Carolina, especially through the fall season as leaves blanket rocks that have taken many a wheel in the past. We'll do an update once we have more time on them, as I'm sure anyone who's dropping that kind of money on a wheelset will appreciate a long-term test.


bigquotesSo, did Crankbrothers reinvent the wheel? I wouldn't go that far, but they certainly have a unique product on the market, one that's different than anything they've produced in the past - and that's a really good thing. The Synthesis wheels do offer a high-quality ride in a complete package. Knowing they are engineered to fail in a way that is safe, and also have a lifetime warranty, suggests your body and wallet will be better protected. My initial impression is that they've created a serious contender in the sacred circle of high-end carbon wheels. If that's what you're after, their ride quality is certainly better than many I've ridden.Daniel Sapp



316 Comments

  • + 113
 Say what you want, but Crankbrothers has really stepped it up in the last year. All their current parts are great value and durability.
  • + 51
 Innovation has never been a problem for them. Couple that with better engineering, and they could really be a force.
  • + 59
 Great Value ? $2,399
No thanks but go ahead and buy them, we'll wait for your feedback
  • + 15
 @cerealkilla: I do believe in the past couple years they've invested in engineering.
  • + 60
 @Whipperman: We also offer the Synthesis wheels at $1,699. Check crankbrothers.com/synthesis for the whole range.
  • + 30
 I am happy to report that I have spent a few months on the latest Mallets DH and not only they haven’t exploded, just took them apart and the grease is still in there, no need for the bushing kit.
  • + 15
 @WAKIdesigns: I've been on the e-enduro since inception.. No need for rebuild here either.. They have been flawless.
  • + 28
 A whole article on how a product is better at failure than others doesn't inspire me to buy it...but it does give me some subtitle ideas for my autobiography.
  • + 17
 @scary1: building a carbon rim that doesn't fail catastrophically like most other is actually a good thing.
  • + 7
 @FLATLlNE: I dont expect everyone to get my humor, but I would expect a little more rallying support from my British compatriots.
  • + 4
 Yeah.. but with 2,4k usd , I'd rather buy the entire bike
  • - 1
 @scary1: Except my Autobiography would include some catastrophic failures.... of the orthopedic kind
  • - 3
 @Whipperman: by great value I obviously mean just the one carbon wheelset and nothing else from the brand. Obviously......
  • + 2
 @Whipperman: Hey, lets play "never have I ever."
$2,399 is nutz!.
  • + 5
 these will go great with my epic pass!
  • + 9
 How come carbon frames, bars and cranks cost about 1.5-2 times the price of aluminium, and rims cost seven times as much? Add to that the fact that pretty much every ews pro is back on aluminium... do they ever sell any carbon wheels at these ridiculous aftermarket prices? Or is it more about high end OEM?
  • + 5
 @crankbrothers: pretty excited about these wheels. Any idea of time line for when your wheels will be compatible with shimano xtr 12 Scylence freehubs? Thanks
  • + 3
 @alpenglow45: you mean Shimano micro drive? I think everyone is a year out before Shimano release use of micro drive. Some are trying to work around this - i.e. white industries.

If you want scylence, you'll have to buy Shimano hubs. Their rims work with shimnao hubs now.
  • + 3
 @FLATLlNE: yeah micro drive. Thanks.
  • + 3
 @alpenglow45: yeah. From what I hear coming down the pipe, it's a year out at least from being an open design. Lame.
  • + 5
 It's really Shimano shooting themselves in the foot IMO; lots of market share can be gain or lost in a year. My guess is when microdrive 10-51 trickles down to XT level, then the design will be opened up to other companies.

Having said that since these CB wheels use p321 hubs and the freehubs are easily interchangeable, future compatibilty shouldn't be a problem
  • + 4
 @ronufoh: agree, fully. Shimano are usually pretty smart imho. Not on this one though. Another year eagle gains ground.
  • + 2
 @frix182: 2.4k bikes are shit.
  • + 4
 reminds me of Skoda
  • - 1
 @crankbrothers: you do realize that the masses probably spend about that on a whole bike right? Its funny how 800 dollar rims used to be expensive and now they are considered the cheap end of the spectrum. Its all about that need for greed.
  • + 6
 @mhoshal: there’s a more value priced option, but honestly the wheels are an unapologetically high end top shelf product. The people who spend half that on a whole bike probably aren’t buying carbon hoops anyway.
  • + 0
 @FLATLlNE:
US distributors have Micro Spline DT Swiss 240 hubs in stock and ready to shop right now.
  • + 1
 @lccomz: yes, because Shimano shared the license with DT. No one else is allowed to use it.
  • + 2
 @lccomz: white industries seems to have cracked the code however, and have made their own splined freehub, which will accomodate the microspline cassette. Kind of cool. But it seems onyx, i9, so on, are in limbo.
  • + 1
 Yes, great for them! Id love to see them bring back a cockpit(bars/stem).
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: e mallets since inception..no rebuilds, no problems.
Mainly socal riding helps im sure.
  • + 3
 @jaame: Most alloy frames still have complex bends, or even hydroformed shapes and hours of welding put into them. My guess is that this puts the manufacturing process of alloy more on par with the cost of the carbon manufacturing process for frames. This isn't the case when it comes to rims. Alloy rims are extruded; which is a MUCH cheaper manufacturing process than the carbon molding process.
  • + 3
 @Jordan2550: maybe so, and I agree with you about layup time. Still, I can't see the labour cost, since those Chinese factory workers are making next to nothing an hour. And how about cranks? Ally cranks are not simple extrusions.
  • + 1
 @jaame: anyone correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that compared to other jobs in China and Taiwan bike manufacturing jobs are highly sought after and better paying than many other jobs.
  • + 2
 @jaame: alloy cranks are mainly machine forged then machine CNC'd, once again not too labour intensive overall due to modern automation
  • + 1
 @loganflores: Average salary in Taiwan for the first quarter of 2018 was officially $1230 American, but that is slanted by very high earners as means always are. In reality they make about a grand a month in tw. It's less in China but I don't know any figures. I also don't know the numbers of units they are making per person, but you can bet it is more than 3-5 a month that would give a fair $700 rim. Closer to 3-5 an hour I would guess.
  • + 8
 @mhoshal: I think Crank Bros are perfectly aware of the fact that neither 2400$ nor 1600$ are for normal people. Just like Porsche is not a car for normal people, neither is a house in a fancy district of your town. They are for 0.01% or less. The rest has plenty of decent options to choose from, no need to get anal about rich people.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: every time I see a young guy in an m3 or whatever, I am jealous, but I take solace from my belief it's not his. Probably belongs to the credit company. I could get one too if I wasn't averse to wasting my hard earned.
  • + 6
 @jaame: everytime I see a young man in an M3 I am thinking: he must be happy, he now knows how it is to own a rather fun car. Regardless of intentions and implications of such purchase. Then I sit in my V70 mk3 and I think to myself: I am so fortunate, what a practical and comfortable cruiser. I may have wished for having A6 Avant instead, but well, I am still super happy. Proud to some degree. Then I see a young man in SUV... wait... any SUV regardless of the driver and try not to think about anything since those thoughts lead to very unhappy place, which is a foyer to place where you take a shot gun and start shooting people. I like to be happy... Then there are those young parents in those fat family wagons like S-Max and I get what Germans call: schadenfreude. It is good to see someone who is even more dead inside than I am.
  • + 2
 @jaame: M3s are for peasants to get to the grocery store. In Vancouver we drive Ferraris, Lambos, and Mclarens.
  • + 5
 @ronufoh: funny, your username does not sound Chinese
  • + 1
 @joewlo: you do know that there is only about 10 dollars worth of carbon fibre in each wheel right?
  • + 3
 @jaame: funny enough I am. Too bad I drive a soul sucking SUV
  • + 1
 @mhoshal: even if that were the case, you could say the same about pretty much anything in your day to day life -- the $100 shoes on your feet probably $1-2 in materials; your $1000 smartphone, maybe $100 worth; your $50 steak dinner, lets say $5 to be generous. Cost vs. personal value are quite different individually
  • + 3
 @ronufoh: you drive Ferraris pfff. He was commenting on typical m3 owner not wealth of the town he lives in. I see a Hurracan every other day and the owner is a total wanker. Even though he drives around with a new chick every month. Blokes in Porsches look way more decent. Do yourself a favor and buy A6 allroad or v90 XC. Just as much room inside, identical offroad capability, way better driving experience, burns less fuel and looks decent. If I had the money I’d go for either RS6 or Panamera Turbo S. Then I wouldn’t need to worry about Ferraris trying to show off... I could leave them behind having 2 bikes inside...
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: one thing I like about Conor McGregor is, he drives around in a green Huracan with his shirt off. It reminds me of myself, because I always drive around with my shirt off too and I'm pretty buff. Not that buff, but still pretty good. And I drive a ten year old Skoda.
  • + 3
 @jaame: that must be a MMA thing because Swedish Alexander Gustaffson dude also has a green Lambo. McGregor is not buff. He is effective... wait... Skoda on Taiwan?!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: oh shit! You haven't seen the shoulder commercial?
  • + 2
 @jaame: hahahahahah
  • + 1
 @ronufoh: no I couldn't I don't own 100 dollar shoes. I wear 45 dollar DCs I don't and never have had a 1000 dollar cell phone. I bought 150 dollar moto g that does the same thing. I've never even seen a 50 dollar steak before but I can buy 5 pork chops for around 8 bucks. I do have a bike that cost 4500 dollars but do you think I paid that? Hell no I waited and bought the bike for a grand one year later used off a buddy. Sorry but I'm not stupid with money.
  • + 1
 @ronufoh: I bet I doesn't even cost them 40 dollars to make a carbon rim so why does it cost 20 x that to buy it? Again its all about the need of greed. Funny thing is if they did sell them at a reasonable price they would probably sell 100× more product which in the end would equate to morw money anyway lol
  • + 2
 You don’t know how much it costs them to make carbon rim just like you don’t know how much does it cost to make ANY part that has ever been produced for a mountain bike. If find it extremely likely that You have actually no knowledge about production cost of anything around you. So you may as well do yourself a favor and drop this subject @mhoshal:
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: actually I did the research and thats pretty damn accurate. Maybe you should too if you don't believe me
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: you may think you know it all because you literally have no life other then pinkbike but you don't. But seriously get a f*cken life dude go get laid and get off your f*cken computer. There isn't one article I read where you haven't commented on something or other. You're a loser at best. Now go get a real life!!!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: how come you're entitled to opinions but I'm not? Just curious you idiot.
  • + 1
 @mhoshal: I didn’t mean it in a bad way. All I meant is that things we don’t know, there’s comfort to it. You did the research? Someone shared such info with you? Now you behave like a wasp locked in a jar. No respected company would share info on costs and margins of their products with anyone but close relatives. One of the most important secrets to any business if only for PR. You can say whatever you want I don’t care, be my guest slam yourself against walls of this impotence.
  • + 1
 Never will I ever comment and hope to be top comment again. Haha Holy crap you guys just keep going on and on. Give it a rest, joeys
  • + 1
 @jaame: 1000 divided by 160hours is 6.25 usd the minimum wage in Taiwan is 4.7 usd. Do you think bicycle manufacturing jobs pay the same as textiles or other industries. Do you really believe a frame welder makes that close to the minimum wage?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I didn't know you are so knowledgeable about cars too. With your top comment on Evil article I am actually starting to like you.
  • + 1
 @AspidMan: I don’t know crap about cars other than Volvos ????
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Still OK to me, Volvo is one of my all time favorites car makers.
  • + 1
 @FLATLlNE:
Hey, what do you know? www.bicycleretailer.com/product-tech/2018/10/15/industry-nine-receives-micro-spline-license-shimano#.W8VCaBZMGEc

This is gotta be it though, right? No one else will be able to use it...
  • + 1
 @lccomz: yeah, i saw that today on their instagram! Should be available for end of 2018!
  • + 1
 @ronufoh: now that's the spirit! Make it and enjoy it, but save too.
  • + 47
 lol, $2400 wheels? Who is buying this shit?
  • - 3
 you'll be surprised how many people fall for marketing stuff, dont knowing the user experiences..
  • + 94
 Guys who wear sweaters like Jason.
  • + 17
 Dentists
  • + 22
 i got downvoted when i asked the same thing about the roval wheelsets. they were redesigned and now are heavier with jbend spokes... so whats the point of the carbon rim if they are no longer lighter? every iteration of carbon rim they get heavier and heavier. For the average non DH racer, theres no point anymore. Even for enduro they are riding aluminium because they dont completely fail and shatter if a mistake is made. Carbon also STILL can't be recycled. Buy a new hope/spank/stans wheelset or new rims every season if you need and know that the recycled alu is going into your redbull cans.
  • + 21
 DT Swiss 511 & 471 combo with a top quality hubset for less than half the cost. $2400 for wheels? It definitely isn't me buying this stuff. I'm right there with you @sheldonuvic
I don't quite understand why this Kool-Aid tastes so good to folks...,
  • + 16
 We also offer the Synthesis E at $1,699. Check crankbrothers.com/synthesis for the whole range.
  • + 1
 @crankbrothers: Torque Caps available for the base hubs? I know 321 doesn't offer them yet.
  • + 12
 Check out We Are One wheels. If you're from the US, by far the best deal out there with our crap exchange right now.
  • + 3
 Dentists wear sweaters too.
  • - 1
 @makripper: * tips hat
  • + 21
 @FindDigRideRepeat: Doing my best to look and hang with the Italians. Jason Smile
  • + 3
 @FindDigRideRepeat: haha mate I laughed out loud at this
  • + 0
 @FindDigRideRepeat: LOL Burn

"if you want to destroy my sweater, pull this thread, and I'll walk away"
  • + 4
 those wheels are the only carbon ones apart from Bike Ahead Bi Turbo that I would not sell directly after someone gave them to me for free or they would come stock on a complete bike I bought. Enves? Bontragers? Rovals? Light Bicycle? Pfff off to buy sell right away.
  • + 1
 @Three6ty: and tradesmen! Along with many blue collared nobody's.
  • + 5
 Yes Yes Yes... but... what... does... @TEAM-ROBOT have to say about these?
  • + 1
 @focofox37: Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked...
  • + 4
 @wang-chung: Look out for our later launch of Synthesis Wheel Accessories on crankbrothers.com
  • + 2
 @FindDigRideRepeat: yes! I came here to comment on that. Bloody hell. If that’s bike designer attire, I’m glad I don’t work in the industry any longer!
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Hes busy riding road bikes. I think we lost him..again.
  • + 2
 @scary1: whaaaaaaaaat
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: yup. He did move back to the pnw after moving to DC. I'm assuming he'll come back around.
  • - 1
 @Nagrom77: Looks like you're sucking down the Richie Rude coolaid. Everyone follows the herd one way or another.
  • + 11
 @makripper: Not having to constantly true aluminum. Its not about weight etc for some. I'm heavy and fairly aggressive and ride an area with lots of rocks. Carbon holds up better for me over a season.
Granted I'm not a pro and don't care about having to nurse a bent or cracked rim to salvage points etc.

I bet given the opportunity most pros would rock carbon bling when not racing or paid to ride something else.

Anyway. Are you 100% sure where your old aluminum is going? Ever looked into what it takes to mine the stuff? Take a step off that eco soapbox my friend. We all have a pretty large carbon footprint in the first world. Especially as grown ass men riding specialty push bikes for fun.
  • + 11
 Why is everyone ignoring that lifetime warranty? Ton of value there for $1600
  • + 19
 @crankbrothers: I might be weird, but I'm more likely to trust a dude in his 40s with a strong sweater game than a dude in his 40s wearing a flat brim. Just sayin.
  • + 1
 @Dustfarter: LOL! You got me! Nope..., Happy with my old Alu Kona Process thanks.
  • + 2
 @Nagrom77: I run the same setup on my trailbike 511 up from and 471 out back. friggin love that combo.
  • + 2
 @Dustfarter: the metals needed are obviously not easy to mine. Carbon and petroleum chemicals are just bad. Also can't be re-used. I know where my metals go. To the scrap yard in my town and sold off to be re-used. Also, i have no issues with the latest aluminum rims. I used to go through lots of rims but not lately.
  • + 5
 Don't ENVE wheels cost around that price? I've seen TONS of their stuff.
  • + 1
 @wang-chung: I ordered and received Torque Caps from 321 about 2 weeks ago.
  • + 1
 @crankbrothers: haha all in good fun bud. You pull it off better than I would Smile
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: for me best rim design is from Ax-lightness Enduro wheelset. It is a simple design,the rim is very flat outside&inside,the hole thing can bend much than any other design. Is the only enduro carbon rim I would like to test and own. It is the same design than those steel wheels from classic bikes with rod brakes,very flat and flexible.
  • + 2
 @xfoxracing12x: It just works. No frills. Cheers!
  • + 1
 @Leppah: enves or chienves
  • + 1
 @SunsPSD: sweet! I've been waiting for two years, thanks for the heads up!
  • + 2
 @makripper:
But your alloy rims can't be recycled either.
And ppl have said it before, and say it again. The ride is totally different, regardless the weight.
  • + 3
 @TheMrPlow: are you on drugs? Yes aluminum rims are recycled. Just like all other aluminum and metal alloys. Maybe in Australia you just toss it in the ocean? We like to recycle in Canada. And for good clean alloys we get money back! It's kind of great
  • + 2
 @makripper: do a search on PB about what aluminium recycling is about. Interesting article. It isn't as great and eco as you think.
Yes, I take drugs daily.
  • + 0
 @TheMrPlow: why would i search on pinkbike? It's not a very good source for complete information. Once metals to make alloys are mined, the hard work is over. After that it takes substantially less resources to re-use. Carbon. Well that just goes in the landfill until the end of time. Look at other plastics the take upwards of 70 years to start to decompose. Now imagine a strengthened high density plastic like carbon.
  • + 6
 @Lagr1980: Surprising how many people never get to ride top notch stuff and have such experiences. Ive broken four brands of Carbon wheels (every brand I have ridden) and the only one that was replaced for free including shipping in both directions was ENVE. As for other brands the BEST crash replace on a rim was $200 (+ shipping and having it hand built (another $100+ with needed spokes, etc.) So good wheels with exceptional warranty are worth every penny. If Crankbrothers can compete with Enve's Nordstrom level customer service, this is a great value. They appear to have engineered out the biggest complaint about Enve wheels (Ride quality)
  • + 2
 @makripper: As PinkBike recently did a pretty extensive article on Carbon vs. Aluminium from an environmental perspective. Worth a read (not saying you are wrong, just pointing you to good intel)

www.pinkbike.com/news/aluminum-vs-carbon-separating-environmental-fact-from-fiction-in-the-frame-materials-debate.html
  • + 1
 @kusanagi72: i read it. Thanks?
  • + 2
 @Dustfarter: Aluminum has value you should be taking it to the scrap metal yard it can and will be made into other useful things if your not doing that or leaving it out for scrappers who will do so than your being wasteful and not eco friendly. It’s better to recycle than mine you won’t get a lot for a single frame but you would be surprised how much you would get for an old box of broken parts or all the crap some of us keep that we don’t really need. The best thing people could do would be ride the same bike for more than 3 years.
  • + 4
 @Nagrom77:

for sure nag77, and the carbon-curious who don't want to go full kool-aid can get carbon rims for ~$200 each (LB, Nextie, Tandell) which hold up pretty damn well and you can choose: 1) internal width & depth, 2) spoke count, 3) offset/standard, 4) rim weight (lightweight/"enduro"/dh layups, not to mention rim aesthetics. Consumers have awesome options these days if they want to dabble with the feel/benefits of carbonium but don't want to go too broke doing it. And lots of wheelbuilders use these brands already.
  • + 4
 @WasatchEnduro: Fair enough. I'm certainly not looking to discredit any benefits of Carbon rims, just can't wrap my noodle around the ridiculous cost of many of the options out there. I have ridden a set of Enve's (AM's not the new HV's) on a Demo Nomad and couldn't get the pressures right without the tire rolling off the back rim under hard cornering. Is this simply the stiffness of the rim? I'm a large aggressive rider at 6'4" and 250lb riding weight. Maybe Carbon simply isn't for me.
  • + 0
 @Nagrom77:

that's gnarly... i wonder if the proliferation of hookless rims could be a factor?

yeah i think everyone just needs to calm the fk down every time a new wheelset is released. We do love to b*tch though, especially at another expensive non-option. the margins must be lovely for the companies that can actually sell this stuff.

not sold on carbon in perpetuem and when i get around to my next build (not soon) it'd be cool to go back to a nice alu build and see how it feels. if i were on 27.5 i doubt i'd go for carbon, but on 29 it takes some burly wheels to offset the additional flex you get in the larger rim, and then you start to feel like you're slogging around a heavy wheelset, because you are.

anyway i'd give my money to We Are One decades before i'd give it to Crank Bros.
  • + 0
 @WasatchEnduro: With you 100% on the Crank Bros situation. Broke 2 rear axles on an Iodine wheelset on my old Mojo HD. A bit gun shy on their products. Carbon makes a lot of sense to me on a 29er. Thanks for the info. Ride on
  • + 20
 I had a chance to ride these wheels at the Whistler Bike Park and and some North Shore trails with a mix of up and down.

Seems obvious now that they say it... that the front wheel should be compliant while the back wheel should be stiff. Makes you wonder why no one else has marketed wheels this way before.

Anyway, at the bike park, what I found was that the softer front wheel made it so my hands were hurting way less after a few laps. Even with all the brake bumps, the rocks, etc... I wasn't feeling the burning pain that I usually do in my hands. Definitely got a few more laps in than I normally would.

The front/back wheel difference is noticeable on my local trails where there are flatter sections that you are powering through. The front wheel gives you a softer, damped feel as you go through the rocks/roots but you still feel like you can put the power down and hold the line. You just feel.... fast and in control.

Price is definitely up there but I like how they are bringing something different to the market that seems to make sense. Nice idea crank brothers!
  • + 17
 I had multiple friends break carbon rims at California Enduro Series races. Santa Cruz Reserve rims, no less. Multiple friends at multiple races, breaking one of the burliest carbon rims made. Guys that were not breaking aluminum rims before they switched to carbon.

Who is buying these?! EWS pros don't use carbon...downhill guys don't use carbon often...normal guys are destroying carbon rims at a much higher frequency (AFAIK) than alu rims. I really am getting the feeling that carbon rims are for XC guys, and light trail riding, and that's about it. Can't believe that company after company keeps coming out with the "latest and greatest" in carbon rim offerings.

There must just be a huge profit margin in carbon rims. I can't think of any other reason so many companies are pumping out so many carbon rims these days.
  • - 1
 Maybe its because idiots are buying them?
  • + 17
 Wow lots of rim breaking, let me guess they are running 5 psi on rock gardens?
  • + 3
 I keep asking the same question, why all the carbon bikes and crap but virtually no weight savings over aluminum? Definitely not worth the inflated prices. Probably cheaper labor cost to slap some carbon in a mold.
  • + 9
 Because your average rider lowers tire pressure to get better grip because they don’t know how to ride their damn bike
  • + 12
 @NCchromoly: Weight is only ONE advantage to carbon. Increased damping, strength, stiffness (efficiency) shape-formation, and in regards to wheels, less truing. Now, is that important to you? Maybe not. But it's not just weight savings why manufacturers and riders want carbon products.
  • + 6
 Just want to throw something out there that goes along with the original comment which has little to do with the article. You can ride just about any rim to the breaking point. Nobody should expect to be able to ride at full speed over a bunch of sharp rocks with a flat tire and not destroy their wheels. I don't care what rims you are riding. I personally love my carbon wheels, as they offer greatly increased acceleration to my 29er due to the lower moment of inertia. I also choose my tires to be pretty burly, but I don't choose a DH casing. I run a butcher and a slaughter which I find to be reasonably light for the grip they offer.

I ride my bike hard and use it for everything. If I'm racing a sharp-edged DH track or messing about in the street with curbs and large drops, I run 25+ psi. If I'm racing an XC course I run 25ish psi because they still have rocks and things. If I'm not racing and riding mellower trails, I like to run about 21psi. One time I ran 18 psi and was a little late bunny hopping over a square-edged rock. I chipped my front rim and put 3 holes in the tubeless tire. One of them had to be patched with a piece of a tube later (haha). Anyhow, I flatted at the top of a small ski slope so I just rode down the ski trail on the flat. Not a big deal. Didn't go out of true.

Regardless, carbon rims offer a serious performance boost. Acceleration is improved with a lighter wheel especially on a bike with larger wheels. That is valuable to me because it makes my 29er quicker and livelier. Carbon rims for me have been much more durable than my aluminum ones ever were. The chip in my front rim has not affected the performance at all. Do I run high pressures and not use the "POINT AND PLOW" technique that requires less thought? Yes. I'm okay with that because at the end of the day I can ride my bike really fast on mellow non-DH trails, my wheels are always true, and I don't have dents in my rims. I bought my wheels used for cheap, and they are my bike's greatest asset.
  • + 1
 @NRogers27: All this talk about moment of inertia, and better acceleration, assumes the carbon wheels are lighter than aluminum. Which these are not...
  • + 0
 @skelldify: Just saying that mine are. I have rovals and they're sweet. I don't think I would race xc with this wheelset. I do however think I would be way more confident using the guide and gouge method with these carbon babies. They look thiccccccc.
  • + 1
 I know it's the internet's duty to assume everyone breaking carbon rims is doing it because they're idiots running low pressures, but that's not the case with the guys I know. One is former pro DH, and most of the guys I'm talking about podium these races. Carbon rims just aren't the best tool for the job when it comes to going fast on rough tracks.
  • + 6
 @NCchromoly: Find me a 1400g AL wheelset that's not noodly under my 210 naked butt.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I wonder too.. I have used 2 sets of carbon rims, and all have failed. Aluminium rims get straightened and ridden on again.
  • + 2
 My carbon rims have been running just fine.
  • + 5
 Downhill guys don't run carbon? Unless I am mistaken there are quite a few riders, including Gwin, that used carbon rims for the 2018 season.
  • + 10
 @acidwire: the entire YT Mob, Santa Cruz, intense factory team, UNNO factory team, giant team, trek factory team, etc. Several teams run carbon wheels (e thirteen, reserve, crank brothers synthesis, ENVE).

It’s more rare to see the team run alloy. Like Canyon team specifically chose aluminum Mavics because they had the same logic as most of these commentors.

I have carbon rims. SC reserve. Haven’t broken them. And that’s because I use it at its strength. A bike park. Alloy is definitely better at the rock gardens. You need the give. But carbon you just rail berms and hit jumps so much faster. But they also reminded me of Mavic Deemax when I had them.

And the people complaining about the $2399 for the DH set. Remember ENVE are $2799 across the board (unless you get Chris king hubs, then it’s more). And you see those RIMs every where. So I have a feeling these RIMs are manufactured in USA but not only that, the material is domestic. Yes that can drive cost.
  • - 1
 The bit that puzzles me is why are carbon rims so much more than aluminium rims when carbon frames are nothing like as proportionally more expensive than their alloy version.
  • + 2
 @Happypanda1337: the CB rims are manufactured overseas. Not to say the quality isn't there though as domestic does not always equate to higher quality
  • + 4
 @CM999: aluminum rims are considerably easier to make. They are extruded to shape (think a section of rain gutter being shaped from flat aluminum), bent into a hoop, then pinned or welded together. Carbon rims need to be hand laid into the mold, individually baked, finished, etc etc. A much less efficient overall production process.

With frames, I would wager to say moulding a carbon frame is probably similar labour intensity as welding/aligning/heat treating an alloy frame.
  • + 7
 Clearly you have not ridden carbon rims. Carbon rims have much better ride quality and are much stiffer than the typical aluminum rim. Many pros are running carbon rims and not breaking wheels every race... They're about the same weight yet, but literally everything else about them is better, minus the price.
  • + 1
 @ka-brap: I think some of that thinking is based on older designs and manufacturing processes. aluminum has continued to evolve as carbon has it can be made with better dampening qualities. Carbon was sold as the lighter stronger super material originally they where lighter but they came with a shorter warranty. since they have had to increase weight over the years to the point that it doesn’t make a huge difference I’m not sure if they are much better.
  • + 17
 For that price, I'd rather buy a whole new bike when my rims break!
  • + 12
 Whoa, they made a good rim and ditched stupid spokes and stupid hubs with garbage axles that fall apart?

Sounds like they un-reinvented the wheel and went back to tried and true basics, plus worked on a rim that doesn't explode... there is hope.

Still ain't shelling out, but I would be happy to ride this, while I wouldn't be caught on a test ride with iodines
  • + 13
 Very interesting. The rim profiles look quite nice, and well thought out concept with tuning front and rear a little differently.
  • + 13
 I've got almost 2 dozen rides on these in 29" enduro/AM spec in areas from Post Canyon to Whistler and they're performing flawlessly. As a bigger rider (6'5", 230# on the bike) these are a huge upgrade for me. Absolutely unflappable.
  • + 3
 @sngltrkmnd: I wonder how suitable they are for a hardtail.
  • + 2
 @crankbrothers - sensible for hardtails, or is that rear wheel too stiff?
  • + 4
 @FLATLlNE: The day we rode the park with CB there was a fellow rider on a Root Down and he fared quite well. I'll wait for him to possibly chime in here but no downside, as I recall.
  • + 3
 @sngltrkmnd: interesting. Certainly a stronger rear wheel makes a load of sense.

As far as I know strength and stiffness are typically linked pretty closely. To have compliance you sacrifice strength.
  • + 4
 @FLATLlNE: I'm no physicist but I am not entirely certain that strength and stiffness are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Same for compliance. Think about a big block of rubber from the truck of a tire. Very strong, not necessarily stiff. Titanium rod? Very strong, not *necessarily* stiff. Plate glass? Pretty stiff, not terribly strong if loaded wrong. Climbing rope? Strong, not stiff. etc etc. It's all in how you design a material.

I should also add that a "compliant" wheel is not a flexy wheel per se. I think that should be highlighted.

I wonder if CB will offer these as a demo product at local shops. I think that's the best way for riders to experience the design philosophy.
  • + 2
 @sngltrkmnd: good examples, but not all real world examples fit. Busing need strong and stiff. Concrete, for example! You can't build a building or a bridge out of rubber Wink . Well, maybe you can try.

I think when it comes to carbon, it's profile, thickness, and carbon orientation that control both strength and compliance. The thicker bead walls definitely give greater strength and stiffness against rock strikes. Thin them out for compliance but they won't be as strong.

Dustin Adams did a good podcast with Downtime, and he actually discusses these exactly. Have you listened to it? If not, I'd say it's definitely worth tuning in for.
  • + 2
 @FLATLlNE: I had these on my Primer during the launch event at Whistler. I found the rear wheel stiff as I was using 27.5x2.8 then used these 29x2.4. But I also don't have a good baseline with other carbon wheels.

Absolutely no concerns with durability so far, I've not been light on these wheels. 'Knowing' how tough the wheels are has helped my riding, its certainly opened up more of the trail for me.
  • + 4
 @sngltrkmnd: I've also discussed with @crankbrothers about using the more compliant front rim on the rear for a hardtail setup. They did not test the enduro rims on a hardtail, but the belief is that it is still preferable to keep the standard stiffer rear rim on the back. At this point I don't think I'll disagree, the compliance of the front wheel design is more for traction than comfort.
  • + 3
 @ronufoh: isn't traction even more important in the rear of you don't have suspension?

Mind you i'll take strength and durability first if I have to chose.
  • + 3
 @FLATLlNE: of course. But the added minute compliance of running a slightly more compliant front rim design in the rear won't be giving you the traction improvement you are looking for. Not in my arm chair engineer's opinion anyways.
  • + 3
 @ronufoh: yeah. I think I agree. It's like looking for fine motor skills when you lack gross motor skills to begin with.
  • + 3
 @FLATLlNE: exactly lol. I'm bouncing my rear end off everything anyways. With a slightly more compliant rear, I'd then be bouncing my rear end off most things instead. I'd rather have the peace of mind knowing that the stronger engineered rear rim is there to help me smash into things. I've heard many janky concerning sounds from impacts so far but none the worse for wear on these
  • + 3
 @ronufoh: this is great to know.
  • + 1
 @FLATLlNE: I get what you´re saying, but concrete is a bad example. Its not strong at all. Buildings and bridges are built with steel reinforced concrete, giving the ability to withstand critical tensile stress.
  • + 2
 @daweil: fine. The. Let's go with steel.
  • + 5
 Agreed, looks like more R&D went into these than just about any other wheel out there and from dudes who know what they are doing. Impressed with the wheel, but the price would be hard to stomach.
  • + 2
 @FLATLlNE: if you wash out on the front wheel your probably gonna crash. If you lose it on the back you have a much better chance of recovering. Just my opinion.
  • + 12
 I love the fact that they are admitting their last stuff wasn't all that great, instead of defending it. It shows they might have actually made something worth trying...
  • - 7
flag rippersub (Oct 1, 2018 at 10:06) (Below Threshold)
 Stan's don't need to, because they make good stuff to start with.
  • + 9
 @rippersub: Never bought their hubs, eh?
  • + 1
 @scottzg: I'm referring to rims, their hubs are no doubt just someone else's with a logo on them
  • + 1
 @rippersub: Thanks for the laugh!
  • + 13
 That looks really good Crank Bros!!!
  • + 5
 I agree! I dig the low profile look, and more importantly they work well.
  • + 9
 Engineering compliance and longevity into a wheel is a good idea. 18 months of testing ensures that these wheels will live up to what is expected of them. Life time warranty . That helps justify the cost.
  • + 0
 WeAreOne are a much better deal....
  • + 8
 So which part is made out of soft-as-cheese bronze? Hopefully its the pawls of that P321 hub... then I could synchronize my bi-weekly rebuilds with my Mallets.
  • - 1
 @crankbrothers Will you sell hub rebuild kits too ?
  • + 6
 I actually do like CrankBros stuff, and at first I thought, meh those Iodine wheels were terrible and I would probably never try these. After reading the article, came away impressed that they hired 2 guys that know what they're doing in regards to carbon wheels and then did a hell of a lot of development on these, I'd guess more than most other wheel designers. For high end carbon wheels, I'd definitely give these a try and look to be on par with Enve's and the few other ultra high end wheel makers. That being said, I have a pair of We Are One Agents on Project 321 hubs that were $1600, handmade in Canada, and absolutely bomb proof. Personally I can't ever see myself buying these CB wheels over those with similar specs for an $800 upcharge. Then again, I'm sure people will as I see Enves all over the place.
  • + 7
 I thought the whole point of carbon was to offset the weight of bigger wheels and heavier tires. Whats the point if you can't make them lighter than a set of quality aluminum rims?
  • + 2
 @SlodownU...I agree, especially for the added cost of carbon, but there are a couple other benefits to carbon rims..stiffness-which I could careless about..Personally, I've never , ever thought any aluminum rim I've ridden was not stiff enough.
The benefit most useful benefit I think is not flatting from a dented aluminum rim, which I've done countless times and can be the most annoying thing out on the trail..I've cracked two rear carbon "trail" rims...I'm eager to try a a much burlier carbon rim.
  • + 1
 @bikeblur: I've dented rims, bent them back, and they've sitll held air when I later put sealant back in and aired them up. Where your rims made out of Swiss Cheese?
  • + 1
 As I am no dentist I won't ever buy carbon wheels... but maybe it is possible to re-true the wheel without compromise by loosening all spokes and true the wheel again because carbon snaps back into it's original form...straightening a potato chipped aluminium wheel is just an accident waiting to happen. Maybe someone with carbon rim experience can comment on that.
  • + 3
 @SlodownU: I've done the same..that doesn't invalidate my point that flatting on the trail from a dented rim could be avoided with Carbon...and NO I've dented/flatted burly DH/All Mt rims alike..it happens infrequently but it does happen never the less..
Lastly, what's with the smart ass Swiss Cheese response?
  • + 9
 Did you ever see the video of the Santa Cruz testing lab where the V10 head tubes were tested to failure? Carbon was chosen as its yield strength can be so much higher than alloy. That's the case here as I understand it. Carbon does not necessarily mean lighter.
  • + 0
 @bikeblur: I'd rather take a dented aluminum wheel over cracked carbon. As far as the smart ass response, lighten up Francis, its the internet.
  • + 4
 @SlodownU: I don't ride hard enough to crack carbon rims but I do ride hard enough to dent aluminum rims. I think for your average bloke like me they make a lot of sense and I find them cheaper in the long run.
  • + 5
 @sngltrkmnd: except the only frame I broke was a carbon frame from SC. I have been told this long time ago by a dude making some of the world’s most advanced sailplanes: carbon needs thickness if it were to be hit resistant. This rim design along with SC downtubes seem to support the claim of this aero engineer. Unlike all other carbon rims or carbon swingarms...
  • + 2
 @SlodownU: OK Sgt. Aluminum..Sorry the internet turns you Green Hulka..
Cheers Warren!
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Yeah, I think what needs to be highlighted (stressed? haha) is that these were designed from carbon NOT FOR WEIGHT SAVINGS. A kilo of carbon = a kilo of alloy.
  • + 1
 @SlodownU: cracked carbon but lifetime warranty seems pretty good though? For aluminum you can bend it back but how many wheel makers will warrant it against any ride induced damage?
  • + 4
 @joewlo: EX511 is possibly the best rim an Enduro and DH riders can buy. If it gets bent, you bend it back and keep riding. If it’s bent too much, you buy a new one. And so on 6 times. Now we have arrived at the price of a premium carbon rim. Will you need to do it 6 times?
  • + 1
 @jzPV: What? Its glued together why would it snap back it’s brittle. titanium snaps back steel can be heated and bent back but carbon does not snap back. It’s made from epoxy and fibers they no longer work when compromised.
  • + 1
 @loganflores: Not in the event of broken fibre of course... carbon is extremely flexible as you can see in carbon leaf springs, carbon bows, carbon skis, flexstays...
  • + 2
 @jzPV: I understand that I grew up with archery but you you are missing the difference making a flat product like a bow or skis is different than a hollow frame with multiple differently angled tubes/stress points. A carbon rim or frame is much more complicated than a simple leaf spring or ski or bow.
  • + 1
 @loganflores: I don't know... some road bike frames have a pretty good amount of flex engineered into the rear end and they don't use leaf springs as seat stays and some carbon bars also have rather much flex
  • + 1
 @jzPV: there is a difference between flexing and deforming I agree carbon can flex and that it has excellent vibrational property’s. But that’s different from snapping back into place.
  • + 8
 Controlled Failure Mode: when my bike and I go separate directions, yet I land on my feet.
  • + 5
 Front and rear specific wheels are not new "news." Gravy and I have been building wheels like that since at least the 90's and even Mavic offers wheels designed that way.. wider front rim, different spokes and tensions front/rear. It is a classic idea that works great. These may be the first production carbon-hoop wheels to do this but they are far from the first wheel company to make wheels in regards to this style, Hell even the big S makes front/rear specific wheels with carbon hoops (though they suck, a lot). The engineering behind these new CB wheels (Formula 1) will for sure make them a real option.
  • + 4
 At what point is it a good idea to just re-brand these under a different name? I mean, when a press-release-style article like this one still has to mention CB's baggage (multiple times) and the head of the project says he (and everyone else he knows) initially thought working for CB was a bad idea... What exactly is the brand name bringing to the equation? They could be fantastic wheels, but when the reviews are constantly comparing them to your history of crap, I think a re-brand is in order.
  • + 2
 Which we are one rims you using for whistler?
  • + 2
 I thought the same when i saw they bought the name.
Like, they seem like nice enough guys with a vision of what they want to accomplish but how can i as a customer be sure they rooted out all of the previous structures responsible for the crappy products?
Just a new CEO or lead designer/engineer won't cut it if the shareholder still ask for unnecessary "innovation".
At this point, with quite some water down the river, i slowly believe to be able to notice a change in their products, but i'm still hesitant to buy.
If they had released those things under a different brand name i don't think the negative associations would have prevailed as long.
  • + 3
 I currently run Nobls with 321 hubs and Sapim spokes. It's good stuff.

However if I were shopping today I'd probably buy this product. I agree with and like CB's position specific tensioning, width, and thickness.

I would like to see them push the price down about $400 for the premium product for consumer direct purchases.

CF rims ,mostly break cause guys run too low of air pressure. And those that don't run low air pressures and break them would break anything and need a tire noodle. I'm not some super rad rider or very heavy but any less than 24/ 28 psi and something is breaking, and usually on the very next ride.
  • + 4
 Surely it can't be long now until the reintroduction of steel rims?

Now that compliance and recycling is so important. Also, no issues nowadays with rim brakes on shiny chrome rims Smile
  • + 3
 Spoke Tension. Does it really effect wheel stiffness?
I know it's almost become accepted lore in the past few years, with manufacturers even apparently getting on board now, but I'm not convinced it's anything more than myth.
I totally get it, I even believed it myself at first. It seems logical that tighter spokes should create a stiffer wheel, but the more I think about it, the more I start to doubt my initial gut feeling. There are so many variables involved that it's incredibly hard to work out in my head what goes on in a wheel when it is impacted, but I find it very hard to ignore the fact that according to very well accepted and understood physics, the amount of tension on a spoke should not affect spoke stretch during an impact at all. This implies that spoke tension should have absolutely no effect on wheel stiffness, however a full wheel is a much more complicated system than a single spoke, and as I say there are too many variables for me to confidently get my head round.

I'd love to see an article on it by PB. With real life timed runs vs. lab tests vs. theory etc. I think it would be really interesting to see this idea really explored properly, rather than just kinda passed down through rumours and fokelore.
  • + 4
 I wrote a blog post about some aspects of wheel strength
  • + 3
 @Whipperman: Interesting read
  • + 2
 @Whipperman: So, how about a link..?
  • + 2
 @skelldify: here's whippermans' blog post. It's well thought out and argued www.pinkbike.com/u/Whipperman/blog/biggerstronger--calling-bs-on-super-boost.html
  • + 3
 So much hate on carbon wheels... yes alloy might be cheaper but tiers these days Are expensive, and with the dt swiss wheels that Are «so great» you get a sidewall (of the rim) at only 2.5mm thick, that cuts tiers with snake bites for nothing, and fixing a snake bite in the tiers are hell, Santa Cruz reserve wheels have 3,6mm thick side Walls, i have never had a snake bite with them, i was a week in Finale Ligure Running maxxis exo tiers, hitting the rims so hard that a alloy rim Get so bent u cant go tubless and ruin the tier. I have hit my rims so many times without any failiur, i really dont se the poit of being scared for Running carbon wheels, i would never go back to alloy as long as i can afford carbonwheels. In my opinion the thicker walls of carbon makes them way better, i really wouldnt mind Running alloy wheels if they had thicker sidewalls, but then the weight go up and then the carbon wheels would be lighter again. I’m no enginer but this is my experience
  • + 3
 The idea of front and rear specific wheel is not new at all. I've been building wheels that way since the 90's and even Mavic made off the shelf wheels designed front and rear using different rims (wider front, different spokes and tensions), though this may be the first time a production carbon wheelset has been sold to the public in this way, the concept is not new. I know Jason and Mello know this and am positive it is part of their thinking in these.

Pretty stoked to see US made hubs in the mix here too. the P321 hubs are pretty spot on.
  • + 7
 Good point - that's sort of what I was thinking. The pros and even enthusiasts have probably been doing custom wheel builds like this forever - but the first time in a production wheelset.
  • + 3
 even Sheldon Brown, God rest his soul, said he thinks 28 front, 36 rear is a much better idea than 32-32.
  • + 5
 Eh, I'll stick with my aluminum DT wheelset with their reasonable weight, much lower cost, nearly bomb proof construction, and I won't cry when they (if ever) fail.
  • + 2
 ok, I'm not in the market for a $2000+ wheel set, nor am I likely ever to, but if I was the Crank Bros name would instantly rule these out.

Every Crank bros product I've owned, every one I've ever even seen has failed in an utterly stupid manner. From pedals, wheels, headsets, dropper posts (come on, who can say "crank bros" and "dropper" in a sentence and not laugh?), even their freaking tools break. Easily, and for no apparent reason.

Lifetime warranty? Yeah, that's a start. But given the brand baggage, I'd need a second set of wheels so I have something to ride while they're warrantying them. Given their history, I'd expect to make use of that warranty at least once a year.
  • + 14
 Well, within the last few years basically every long-term review of their new products has been met with praise, especially dropper posts. It seems your problems stem from older products, not their new offerings that have been thoroughly redesigned.
  • + 7
 I believe the Highline is one of the most appraised droppers out there. Works great.
  • - 6
flag skelldify (Oct 1, 2018 at 13:58) (Below Threshold)
 @ka-brap: No, their pedals, other than maybe mallets, are crap. And expensive. Just a poor design all around.
  • + 8
 Very valid concerns, a brand's identity and its history are what it carries around.

Having had the opportunity to spend some time with the CB crew, I know they are in good hands with the right direction from the CEO down. They were able to give me good answers to my tough questions and every one on the team are well aligned

I will disclose that CB did wine and dine me during the press launch event for these wheels, and they did provide me with a set of the wheels to test at home. I'm not so easily bought though, and I don't ever anticipate I'll be in the market for a $1000usd wheelset let alone a $2400usd wheelset. So I believe I can be quite objective
  • + 6
 @skelldify: I have been running their stamp pedals and they’ve been just fine. They could be cheaper but they’ve been fine. Wouldn’t call them crap.
  • + 6
 Wrong on the dropper. Mines performing flawlessly and so is every other one the shop has sold.
  • + 0
 @NebulousNate: I always wonder about droppers. I had a KS LEV and it was sticky and the stanchion got scored. Then I got a fox transfer and it has been flawless for two years with no servicing except for cleaning and oiling it every ride. I get why people would buy a cheaper one, but if you're going for high end in the aftermarket at least, why would you get anything else? The transfer is the market leader with a proven record for strength and reliability. If you're spending transfer money, why wouldn't you get one? I mean, I get that people just want something different, but it's just a seat post. They all look the same! I can only assume anyone with a high end post that is not a fox transfer came as OE on a complete bike.
  • - 2
 @NebulousNate: How long have you had it? A month? I don't think I'd even spend money at a shop that sold Crank Bros posts. That's a product that's impossible to stand behind, so you/your shop can't possibly stand behind products you sell.
  • + 4
 @ronufoh: I've heard they finally got their shit together, but the fact remains that it still took them 15 years before they finally made any product that wasn't utter shit. Their only saving grace was they used to be pretty good with warranty.

They're saying a lot of the right things with this wheelset, but they'd have to lower the price - by at least half, before it would be worth it (to me) to take that risk with a company with that track record.
  • + 6
 @Weens: absolutely, CB's previous track record is something they will have to wear on their sleeve and the reputation will have to be earned back over time. To me, the fact that they didn't rebrand themselves shows me a willingness to learn from their past mistakes with a renewed focus on quality and consistency resulting in improved performance and durability. Time will be the true test.
  • + 0
 @Weens: It sounds (to me) like you have almost no experience with any of the new and current Crankbrothers line. They've completely addressed and owned up to past mistakes and proved their reliability and consistency with the new stuff. For a couple of years now. Open your mind a little, you just might like what you find Wink
  • + 2
 I really like the rim profile and concept of differentiation. I have a set of the Bouwmeester rims and they are easily better than my DT or Enve as far as ride quality goes.
However, what's up with this?

secure.utah.gov/bes/details.html?entity=10481188-0142
  • + 2
 Broken my first rim this year ... carbon. Definitely never going back. $180 for a new aluminum rim, rim tape, spokes, and the labor to string it up. Seems fine on the trails - I can't tell the difference. Why would I ever want a carbon wheelset again?
  • + 3
 @pinkbike please can you arrange to get a set of these wheels to @mattwragg your resident wheel wrecker. It would be good to get his feedback on these based on his previous wheel width article.
  • + 2
 #26aintdead!!! Only because I can't afford these wheels and my rear hub spacing is from the stone age apparently. I could buy a decent bike and upgrade with the parts off my Prophet for that price. I'm sure they're the bomb diggity but damn that price.
  • + 1
 While these look very interesting and extremely promising. It would be a lie if I said I wasn't a little bit sad that they aren't being made in Aus like Bouwmeester were (unless they are?). We don't make nearly enough stuff here and not for a lack of knowledge as they proved! Plus they were still competitively priced compared to other high end carbon wheels despite being hand built down under.
  • + 4
 Should have gone FULL Mello and went w his single wall design. The BEST rims ever made! Thanks for those Mello @crankbros
  • + 4
 At first I had thought the cb rims were an adaptation of the solid Mello rims; definitely some practical principles in Mello's rims. Apparently by going to a shallow cavity rim, there is more control of ride characteristics and lighter weight.
  • + 1
 @ronufoh: Yeah, the shallow cross-section and thick walls of the Mello rims seemed like they had a lot of potential for tuned compliance and durability. I'm bummed that they went for a double wall design on these, as they're losing a lot of what made the Mello rims unique, and these don't look all that different from some DH rated carbon rims from other peeps. With Alu rims single wall designs generally suck as the material needs a box section of sorts for adequate strength, but I was willing to entertain the belief that carbon totally changed the viability and potential advantages of single wall designs.
  • + 2
 @aushred: Sounds like you have personal experience with the original Mello rims. I don't, but was really intrigued by the concept and, like you, am bummed that they didn't go full Mello on these ones. Besides the greater difficulty adding compliance to a double wall like these, I would also like to see impact testing and compliance figures between these and the originals. I know these have very thick sidewalls and spoke beds, which are common failure points in carbon rims, but I find it hard to believe that those thin walls in between in the box section will hold up like the continually thick sections of the original. And if compliance was a key feature of the originals, how do these compare, for example are they close to the originals, or did the double wall design move them closer to the Enve end of the spectrum.
  • + 2
 @thekaiser: do you know the weight of the original Mellos? Did they have issues with being too compliant/flexy? Based on my layman's understanding, a solid single wall rim should be easier to mass produce more efficiently/consistently as well. From my chats with Mello, it was necessary to move to a shallow cavity design to get the right mix of compliance/stiffness/weight/durability (and probably cost?).
  • + 1
 Thanks to the new NAFTA treaty or what ever they are going to call it, our loonie is valued more today.

This only works out to a bit over $3000CAN.

So I could get one (1) set of these wheels or around four (4) (?) of alum rims?

Options. Options. What to do?
  • + 1
 I've been doing trying for the same characteristics by going alloy 30mm up front and carbon 27mm in back.

F: e13TRS+
R: e13TRSr carbon

I've loved the results and sense wondered why companies didn't sell this as a package for sub $1k. I feel like a lot of people would jump on the combo and the Dentists would scoop up all the remaining carbon front wheels.
  • + 2
 I have no idea why anyone would spend $2400 on these when DT Swiss EX1501s are available. Certified Richie Rude-proof, almost exactly the same weight, and a little under $2000 cheaper if you shop around.
  • + 7
 Or you can buy a set or weareone carbon wheels made in Canada (with lifetime warranty as well), laced to DT350s for about $1600 Canadian, and put DT's 56tooth ratchet upgrade in for an extra $150 bucks.. Love my weareones!
  • + 11
 Please point me to where you are finding DT Swiss EX1501's for 400 bucks
  • + 10
 @brodiediablo: I'm going to go out on a limb here: "...a little under $2000. [You can find them] cheaper if you shop around."

F*cking punctuation, people!
  • + 3
 @brodiediablo: If you shop around you can get them for around 800€ which is a fair price for a bomb proof and user servicable set.
  • + 2
 @qman11: I've got one ride on my brand-new WeAreOne Insiders. I annihilated both the long climb and the double-diamond descent. More "testing" to go, but I am in love so far and the weight savings are real with WeAreOne's builds.
  • + 2
 I paid £360 for my ex1501 wheels @brodiediablo:
  • + 2
 @poah: that’s just over a half of MSRP. And exactly how much I paid for my DT350SP/comps/EX471 custom build
  • + 1
 @tripleultrasuperboostplusplus: yah man I have the outlier dh wheels, and absolutely love them!! great price point too for carbon.
  • + 5
 Richie doesn’t ride eX1501, he rides custom built sets, 32H 511 on 240s w regular Jbend Spokes. Not DTs 28h Straight pull builds.
  • + 3
 Great, now give them to the top enduro racers and see how they run for a year and then report back. (I'm sick of being a lab rat)
  • + 12
 @wobbem - these wheels have been tested both by a World Cup DH team and Enduro racers for a substantial period of time with great success in performance and reliability. The testing was an important part of the R&D process. The rims also come with a lifetime warranty.
  • + 6
 @crankbrothers: I wonder if you can share some stats on Synthesis failure rates under GW vs competitors' products e.g. Syndicate.
  • + 2
 @crankbrothers: What team, and what racers?
  • + 2
 @skelldify: DH team UNNO been running them all year
  • + 4
 Christ thats a lot of money
  • + 0
 I would Stay away from those wheels solely based on how the company dealt with me the last time i broke one of their pedal axels. I don't know how many times i have snapped a 4ti (now eggbeater 11) axel on the right side and the most recent one involved a bad spill. Typically they have been good in the past but most recently I've had a lot of trouble with them. Their service request process used to be bang on now they just don't respond
  • + 1
 Where does this company get the funds to hire pros and keep reintroducing new stuff. They must have way more sales than PB commenters would let on, or their backer just love dumping money into the company.
  • + 0
 $2400.00 for wheelset , $3,800.00 for Yeti frame and a nutsack in a pear tree. Dear Santa, please make the riders of the world make smart buying choices...so that over priced companies will lose customers to keep prices in check!
  • + 0
 So thats what happened to bouwmeester rims. Love how they make out that using a narrower rear rim is so revolutionary when mavic have been doing it for ages. Carbon rims to me are pointless, no lighter than alloy and 6x the price.
  • + 4
 How are these any better than aluminum rims
  • + 28
 Buy a pair and I guarantee you'll be making up reasons left, right and centre in no time.
  • + 0
 Dentists recommend them Wink
  • + 7
 It’s a good question @ronnie2k, compared to aluminum a carbon wheelset offers you dampening properties that alloy can’t. You also have the ability to really design a unique layup offer different ride characteristics. There is a balancing act however as if you go too stiff with carbon it can decrease performance. This is where the profile design, layup, R&D and material quality really come into play with a carbon rim. Crankbrothers – Jason & Mello
  • + 8
 The question is not if they are better, but is the marginal gain worth $1500 ?
  • + 0
 There seems to be a new high-priced carbon wheelset being 'released' here on PB seemingly every week or so, which means there's obviously a HUGE market(ie the people right here in this thread are buying them...over and over) for 'em and I have no idea why
  • + 0
 It's alright to say things can only get better, you have not lost your brand new sweater, pure new wool and perfect stitches, not the kind of jumper that makes you itchy, oh no.
  • + 2
 As soon as I’m done pulling this tooth, I’m ordering a set for all 5 of my yetis!!
  • - 1
 The word compliant was used 14 times in this article. Maybe it's just me, but I had to look it up-
Compliance: the property of a material of undergoing elastic deformation or (of a gas) change in volume when subjected to an applied force. It is equal to the reciprocal of stiffness.

And to think, we all wanted carbon wheels because they were stiffer and didn't flex as much as aluminum. A flexy front wheel seems unpredictable and sketchy, go loosen up your front spokes and tell me I'm wrong? Maybe I'm over thinking the marketing hype. And along with that, show us these failures that aren't catastrophic so to speak, when another wheel would have grenaded to oblivion.
  • + 0
 Two things: that's not the only definition of compliant, and no one is saying these wheels are flexy.
  • + 1
 @sngltrkmnd: please enlighten me. It was the best I could find, and must be confused because I read the entire thing and came away with the notion it flexes more than a standard carbon wheel.

com·pli·ant
kəmˈplīənt/Submit
adjective
adjective: compliant
1.
inclined to agree with others or obey rules, especially to an excessive degree; acquiescent.
"good-humored, eagerly compliant girls"
2.
PHYSICS•MEDICINE
having the property of compliance.
  • + 2
 @HARv379: flex is related to compliance I agree. In this case I believe the compliance is engineered in a vertical fashion, while horizontally they remain stiff--something engineers can control with carbin fibre. So it's not the same overall effect as loosening up all your aluminum rimmed wheels' spokes a turn.
  • + 2
 @ronufoh: Gotcha, that makes more sense.
  • + 2
 can someone point me in the direction of a review on PinkBike of reasonably priced rims?
  • + 1
 @Loche: I've got a set of those, they're a bit heavy, but strong and pretty cheap!
  • - 2
 I am very biased. I hated the eggbeaters for not having enough space for bearings. Benefit of doubt........my ex wife went with mallets on her mountain bike. Where the spring dug into the aluminum causing them to no longer work as clipless pedals. And crank bros. Ignoring the issue. She also ran the road pedals. And had issues. Again. Not crank brothers problem I ran the 5050s........and blew them up within 100miles. 3 strikes...............
  • - 2
 Project 321 hubs are one of the worst bike components that I've ever had the misfortune of owning. Huge issues with the freehub, non-existent sealing for the bearings & truly woeful customer service. Bad decision Crank Bros, bad decision indeed.
  • + 3
 Looks like we could just get the rim only and build them on hubs of our choice?

If only they had a 26" version I would send them a cheque right now
  • + 0
 If you think about it they fit perfectly with the CB business model!
  • + 1
 been happy with mine for the past year, granted in dry socal conditions. I would probably go somewhere else next time, but they're far from being one of the worst things i've owned.

For the record my only problems have been that they used too heavy of an oil in the freehub (i have the light action silent ones) so the pawls started skipping after a month or so. And having to manually adjust the preload cap every once in a while to keep the thing from shaking side to side feels dumb when none of my other hubs have needed me to do that.

I've been able to speak to someone knowledgable immediately both times i've called them, so I can't corroborate that one
  • + 1
 I think their old hubs were outsourced (internals used to be i9) - but now they've taken them all in house. The new hubs are magnet driven and are pretty cool.
  • + 0
 35 mm Lb rims and 350 hubs for 800.00. Been using for 4 yrs on one of my bikes. 2400 is insulting and a flipping wallet swallower. Crank brothers I don’t get it.
  • + 4
 Can't deny the value that LB bring to the table. But you can also make the same comparison of Santa Cruz/Yeti/etc vs. YT/Canyon. Crank Brothers have brought a premium product to market based on their MSRP's, only time will tell if they can right their own previous mishappenings with these new wheels. I'm led to believe the current Crank Brothers are vastly different from the Joplin/Iodine CB both in terms of quality and execution.
  • + 2
 All that matters to me is the warranty. Did I miss it?
  • + 3
 Lifetime
  • + 3
 What are peoples' experiences with CrankBrothers warranties? It sounds good, but we all know it really comes down to customer service...
  • - 1
 I stopped doing crank quite some time ago. Unfortunately my brother still hooked to this stuff. What ever happens to the Maverick anyways??
  • + 2
 Nice Formula fork.
  • - 3
 What a bunch of poppycock, built in "compliance" factoring for catastrophic failure? Built by a company known for unreliability, and all for the reasonable price of more than my entire bike, actual LOL.

My Stans flow mk3's on hope pro 2's are still going fine, thanks.
  • + 0
 Okay I get that they are ridiculously high quality but I spit all my coffee over my screen when I read that price...
  • + 0
 So, SR56 bought him and his technology. Hmmmmm....
  • + 0
 Now just make them aluminum and reduce the price by $1,800
  • + 0
 Get Danny Macaskill to test them. He’ll see how well they fail!
  • + 0
 They would but he is under contract with Santa Cruz to run their wheels. They beat CB to the punch on that.
  • + 0
 Lot of trouble to go to before manking these into a rock.
  • + 1
 Bearded man!
  • + 0
 Okay, this is great and all, but where's the tireless staircase test?
  • - 3
 Or you could just get a nice set of alu rims and save yourself a lot of money. You will never be able to tell the difference anyway.
  • + 6
 Yes you can, my alloy rims aren't coated with tears of regret! The more you know.....
  • + 2
 If your local shop has a demo pair of these wheels, you really owe it to yourself to try 'em out. Noticeably different ride than alloys.
  • - 1
 300g a wheel heavier and noticably flexier!?


yeah, brah.....I can f*cking tell.
  • + 1
 @conoat: A set of DT Swiss Spline One weighs what? Like 1800 - 1900 grams? That is about the same weight. And yes I am sure you would fail a blind test. My XC bike, a Transition Smuggler, weighs 14.5 kgs and I do all day riding on that bike. I would rather have 3 different bikes than a full carbon, super light weight bike that could fail catastrophically every time a rock hits the frame.

My personal opinion is that people need to stop thinking they have the same needs as EWS racers, unless you race of course. Regular riders need equipment that is cheap to replace, is durable and works in all conditions.
  • - 2
 Junk-brothers
  • - 3
 you lost me at crank brothers
  • - 2
 We Are One for the win
  • - 1
 WE ARE ONE!!!!!!
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