Review: Stan's Flow MK4 Wheelset - Now With Magnets

Aug 26, 2022 at 15:05
by Mike Kazimer  


Stan's latest version of their Flow wheelset uses an updated aluminum rim profile, along with an entirely different (and very clever) hub design. That second point will be welcome news to riders that had issues with Stan's Neo hubs in the past – those hubs weren't exactly known for their longevity.

There are 29” and 27.5” versions of the Flow MK4 wheelset, or you can purchase it as a mixed wheel setup – Stan's sells front and rear wheels individually on their website. The front wheel is priced at $308 and the rear is $657, for a total price of $965 USD.

The rims are covered by a 3-year warranty against manufacturing defects, although that won't cover you if you come up two feet short on a road gap. If that happens, Stan's has a 1-year crash replacement policy that gives riders 50% off a replacement rim. As for the hubs, those are covered by a 5-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Stan's Flow MK4 Wheel Details

• Wheel size: 29" or 27.5"
• Intended use: trail / enduro / DH
• Rim material: aluminum
• Rim width: 30mm (internal)
• Hubs: M-Pulse, 1.66° engagement
• Rear hub spacing: 12 x 148 or 12 x 157
• Weight: 881 g (front) / 1039 g (rear) / 1920 g total (29")
• MSRP: $965 USD / rim only: $129 USD
• More info: notubes.com


The asymmetric rim profile allows for the same length spoke to be used across the board.

DESIGN

The new Flow MK4 rims have an asymmetric profile, which makes it possible to use the same spoke length for the entire wheelset, eliminating the need to have multiple spoke lengths on hand just in case. Those 32-hole rims are constructed from 6069 aluminum, with a welded joint and a reinforced spoke bed.

They're laced up to the hubs with a three-cross pattern using Sapim D-Light spokes and alloy nipples. I prefer brass nipples over alloy, since they're less like to round out during truing, but they're not as common on pre-built wheelsets these days. The internal rim width is 30mm, a number that's pretty much become the norm for trail and enduro wheels, since it works well with tire widths from 2.3” to 2.6”.

What makes the new hub stand out is the use of magnets on each pawl. Small circular neodymium magnets pull the 6 pawls upwards into the drive ring, a design that Stan's says provides better engagement with less drag. And yes, it's based on Project 321's design – the Oregon-based company manufactures the freehubs for Stan's. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the fact there aren't any miniature springs underneath each pawl, since those seem to pop off and bounce into the darkest recesses of my shop exactly when I don't want them to.

The 6 pawls are oriented so that two at a time engage with the 72 tooth drive ring, which equates to 216 points of engagement, or 1.7-degrees of rotation between engagment. In other words, there's minimal crank rotation to engage the hub. It's not as quick as I9's Hydra hubs, which only have .52-degrees between engagement points, but it's not far off, and is up there as one of the quickest engaging hubs on the market.


Small magnets lift each of the six pawls into the drive ring, no tiny springs required.

SETUP

This wheelset saw action in the wettest and the driest parts of the year here in Washington, so it's been exposed to the full gamut of mud puddles and moon dust. For the majority of the test period is was on a Stumpjumper EVO alloy, with a Maxxis DHR II DoubleDown rear tire and an EXO+ Assegai front and no inserts. My typical pressures were around 21 psi in the front and 23 in the rear, changing slightly depending on conditions. Tire installation was a breeze, and everything popped into place without any fuss.

ON THE TRAIL

I've reviewed several different iterations of the Flow wheels over the years, and every time 'neutral' is the word that I end up using to describe the ride feel. They're not crazy soft or crazy stiff, which makes them one of those wheelsets that doesn't dramatically the ride feel of a bike. Now, 'middle-of-the-road' may not be a marketer's dream product description, but when it comes to wheels that's a good place to be.

Suspension and meaty tires do a lot to disguise wheel attributes, and it takes something dramatically different to deliver a tangible difference. Still, I could notice the slightly softer ride quality of these wheels compared to the carbon WTB CZR wheels I'd had on previously. Aluminum wheels tend to have a slightly more damped quality than stiffer (and more expensive) carbon options, and that was certainly the case here. There wasn't any harshness, and they were nice and comfortable on chunky, brake-bump filled trails.

This time around, it's really the hubs that are the main talking point. The fast engagement is most noticeable in slow speed, technical sections of trail, the type where you take a half pedal stroke here, and a half pedal stroke there. Whether ultra-fast engaging hubs are better than hubs with more moderate numbers is up for debate, but riders who are looking for a nearly instant response when stepping on the pedals will find a lot to like about the M-Pulse hubs.

Even with that high engagement the sound the rear hub makes when freewheeling isn't obnoxiously loud – it's audible, but not distracting at all. Riders that prefer super loud hubs could probably run a lighter grease or oil on the pawls, but for me and my sensitive ears the decibel level was ideal.


A rubber gasket on the non-driveside end cap would help improve the hub's water resistance.


DURABILITY

The rims themselves have held up well, with only one small dent in the rear wheel after plenty of rough miles.As for the overall build quality, I did need to add more spoke tension after a couple days in the Whistler bike park. That's not uncommon, since those brake bumps seem to rattle pretty much anything apart, although I will say that historically I've had more Stan's wheels need attention than, say, DT Swiss wheels. The Flow MK4's don't have crazy high tension to begin with, so it's important to keep an eye on them, especially if you're doing a bunch of shuttle or bike park laps.

Most of the bearings are rolling smoothly, with the exception of the non-drive side bearing on the rear wheel. That one has developed rust around the perimeter, and is feeling a little gritty. Again, these wheels have seen some very wet rides, but I do think a rubber seal on that side of the axle could help improve the hubs water resistance.






Pros

+ Quick engaging, easy to service hubs.
+ Very neutral ride feel – not too stiff or too soft


Cons

- Spoke tension dropped dramatically part way through testing
- Hub sealing could be a little better for really wet conditions





Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe latest version of Stan's Flow wheelset is the best one yet, but these days there’s no shortage of options in this category, and for riders who aren’t as concerned about quick engaging hubs it’s easy to find a less pricey option.

That said, the M-Pulse hubs are easily serviceable, and the ultra-quick engaging magnetic freehub is a truly innovative feature. The rims themselves are suitable for a wide range of riding styles, and can handle a decent amount of abuse – just remember to keep an eye on the spoke tension.
Mike Kazimer








217 Comments

  • 211 11
 An alloy Wheelset for close to 1000 bucks, that has bearing issues, non ideal seals and spoke tension issues. Average weight, no standout features. Why would anyone buy it?

You can custom-build a wheelset just as good for half the price and even choose colors etc., or buy a better dt swiss wheelset for 600$. I dont get it

Why would anyone want to buy this?
  • 20 5
 I custom build a set of MK4 rims only Industry 9 Hydras. Very happy with the rims...surprised coming from years on DT EX471's. I put them thru many bike park days in the chunky rocks of my area, few enduro races, etc. I don't like Stan's hubs, but their rims are nice.
  • 63 32
 Your not getting a wheelset built for $500 that is quality unless you do it yourself with cheap parts.
  • 1 15
flag golfman1 (Aug 29, 2022 at 8:36) (Below Threshold)
 The Pro deal is the best thats why
  • 60 1
 The industry got everyone comfortable with poor product performance and high prices.
  • 22 4
 Idk, every wheel is going to have its issues over time. I've run Stans rims and DT swiss and I've actually had less issues with my Stans rims. Nothing against DT swiss, and I am currently choosing to run E532's, but my personal experience with Stans rims, they took a beating and never let me down. And I mean a beating. I would definitely buy a set of stans wheels after what I put mine through. Also, I had the hub axle break after 2-1/2 years of abuse, they shipped out a full bearing and free hub rebuild kit absolutely no questions same day. Great customer service
  • 3 1
 I built up my own set of E13 ENR carbon rims to Spank Hex hubs earlier this year for less than $1,000 CAD. Seriously considering doing it again for next year.
  • 34 1
 MAGNETS!!!
  • 56 3
 @RadBartTaylor: you could for sure do it for like $700 though, and have a superior product, and not have to do it yourself. Hope hubs, DT Comp spokes, brass nipples, EX471's or EX511's. It might be "boring" to show off, but built right, it'll virtually never fail or have any problems... bearings, spokes, nipples, rims, none. If you like telling your buddies about your carbon rims though or your 5010320 points of engagement on your shiny new toys, well then... your results may vary.
  • 30 7
 I think that Pinkbike, like most other places (save maybe Enduro MTB) softballs their reviews to make sure that they don't REALLY piss off sponsors. But they do mention the issues and just trust that the first comment will provide the critical part of the real conclusion.
  • 8 1
 If I'm already paying $1,000, how much more is it for some wheels with a lifetime warranty?
  • 5 0
 @nickfranko: you aren't likely to find a lifetime warranty on alloy, but Stan's does actually have a crash replacement program on their wheels and rims, or have historically, where they will allow you to buy another rim discounted by 50%. I always thought that was really impressive.
  • 25 2
 @Sweatypants: you may want to check your math.
Hope hubs -360.00 for the set, DT rims 150.00 each. Spokes are 120.00 (box of 100) should you be lucky enough to have the length the same for front and rear and drive and disc. Providing that you build them yourself you are still over your 700.00 budget? I keep hearing this argument about prebuilt wheels being overpriced and while some can build wheels on their own, most can not (or should not). A DT Swiss rear 1700 series wheel alone is 700.00 as well, just FYI.
  • 2 2
 @privateer-wheels: rim and you have to buy new spokes and pay somebody to lace it? or wheel and they just send you a new wheel for 50% off? cause 50% off an alloy rim in the context of how much all these bikes cost is a stupid selling point to then have to go pay for or do more work to get you back on the trail. "wheel" would at least be more stress free and quicker for the average consumer. saving $50 when there's literally not a single part you can buy for a mtb that costs $50 besides some headset spacers is kind of a cruel joke. time value of money and all that i guess though...
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: not 500 but I got hope pro 4s, cx Ray spokes and St swiss ex511 built for less than these. You do get stiffed on factory wheels I reckon
  • 4 3
 @scstrail: I've now built 3 of those exact wheel setups over the last 6-7 years. You can find all of those things cheaper than you've listed if you look around. I don't have any shop discounts/affiliations. I didn't say these were overpriced, more so in that I was implying you could build better ones for less money.
  • 8 2
 @Sweatypants: when you dent a rim to the point it won't seal or you deem the dent bad enough that it's written off, you have to buy a new one no? With any alloy wheel. So getting one 50% off is not a bad value proposition in my eyes, but if course you are entitled to you opinion.

If you are buying the same rim, you don't need new spokes, fyi.

But yeah, if you take a bad line choice or an accident and you ruin your own wheel that's on you. As with every other part of your bike, you have to pay to play. I like that Stan's will help take the edge off. Here in Canada their MK4 hoops are nearly $200 at retail, and you a little over $100 after tax by taking advantage of their crash replacement program. That's not nothing.
  • 5 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Any of the DT 1900 line wheels, or Hunt alloy wheels. Slightly over 500 gets you Hope wheels. Or build them yourself from bits.
  • 3 1
 @scstrail: seems like you american guys are getting ripped, in europe 2 dt ex511 rims are something like 160$ hope hubs something like 170$ for set
  • 7 1
 @scstrail: I just looked up the ones I built in 2015 haha... Hope Pro2 Evo hubs, DT Comp spokes, DT brass nipples, DT EX471 32h 29er rims... $454.

The ones from smack dab during the brunt of COVID in 2021 were worse... Hope Pro4 MS hubs, DT Comp spokes, DT brass nipples, DT EX511 32h 29er rims... $680 (but also these were white spokes that were $3 a piece instead of less than $1 a piece cause I was an a*shole this time).

So yea... way cheaper the last time, this one even with COVID and money wasting to not have to wait as long, is still cheaper after paying the LBS to lace em'. Price hunting is annoying, but it pays off. Same reason you can get Magura MT7 or Hayes Dominion brakes right now for $260 for both sets if you look around and people are still over here paying $500 for them.
  • 2 4
 @privateer-wheels: They're $100 all day all over google from a dozen stores down on this side of the border. And I get you, I was thinking of "destroying them", in which case your spokes are goners too, or I wouldn't re-use them either way. Whatever works for people. Everyone I know on EX511's doesn't have those thoughts, or if they do/did, they're probably in the hospital and have bigger problems on account of our shitty bankrupting healthcare system, something to consider there too.
  • 5 2
 @Noeserd: bike24 put DT on the list of "we won't ship to the US any more." that was the easiest way to score that price. can still find it if you look hard enough though. normal shops in the States are hosing people on products from certain brands though, this being one of them. Euro sellers won't ship Shimano stuff to us any more either, although their prices seem to be more or less in line across the globe.
  • 3 0
 @Sweatypants: oh that's a bummer, checked bike components and it's the same case aswell
  • 1 0
 @MarcusBrody: Watch out, you might get dinged for suggesting such a thing Wink
  • 2 0
 @Sweatypants: Where would one find MT7s for $260 a pair? I've never been able to find anything even remotely close to that price. Would buy immediately!
  • 37 7
 I bUiLt a sEt oF EX511s oN hOpEs foR $20. wHy wOuLd aNyOnE bUy tHiS
  • 7 0
 @Sweatypants: Yes, you can find anything you want cheaper on the internet I'm sure.

The EX 511's are quite good, but they can certainly be dinged and dented. I actually think the MK4 hoops are pretty nice as well, for the record. The crash replacement is a nice bonus, and in my past experience Stan's will even cover the shipping to Canada. We should step back for a moment and agree this is something they don't have to do, and almost no other company does. I know a few people who have used it and appreciated being able to do so.
  • 3 0
 I bought some of the ALU newmen wheels. I think I paid $800 including shipping and Import fees to Canada. They're lighter, more durable, and an almost completely silent hub. Really hard to see how stans justifies these...
  • 3 1
 Agreed, there’s a company in the U.K. called Superstar and they offer custom wheel building - usually a choice of WTB, Stans, DT Swiss (and their own in-house rims)…their own hubs (which are rebranded Novatec so infinitely serviceable)…choice of spokes, choice of hub colour etc…being custom they’re built to order and can be £300 - £600 (about $700 max) depending on your spec.
Used them loads over the years, I wouldn’t buy an off-the-peg set from a manufacturer again
  • 7 0
 @bigogoat: sram being the biggest culprit imo...huge oem market share and poor quality on anything that stops you or sits below gx
  • 4 0
 Fully agree, I can have a DT350 + EX511 build for € 600-650 in Europe, maybe the US are more expensive?
  • 2 0
 @fraserw: check your PMs
  • 3 0
 @ratedgg13: newmens are like lighter than most of the carbon wheels lol
  • 3 0
 @TommyNunchuck:

How do they work?
  • 3 0
 @uk-hardtail: Novatec are pretty bottom of the barrel hub, I had a few wheels built up with them and had nothing but problems over the years, specifically the free-hub. The hub Stans is using, based on what we can see here, looks to be much better quality particularly if they are using 321 pawl mech.
  • 2 1
 @RadBartTaylor: pretty decent DT Swiss wheels with 350 hubs can be had for comparable money if you shop around, especially in Europe. Fewer points of engagement, but bombproof and better for suspension when freewheeling. Also, better spoke tension (retention) and no rust seem like definite wins in my book.
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: probably nothing.
  • 1 0
 @Sweatypants: please tell me where I can get two sets of Dominion A4s for $260!
  • 4 0
 Silt: You want a carbon wheelset? Give me $1,000 and I'll ship it to your door!

Stans: What if I told you you could have the same thing, but no carbon, infinitely more magnets, and an entire $35 cheaper!!!!!!!
  • 4 0
 @nickfranko: $300 more. Nobl does carbon rims with either DT350s, i9 1/1s, or Hope Pro 4s for $1300.

I’m not sure who these Stan’s wheels are for.
  • 4 0
 perfect match for the new $12k Santa Cruz which the highlight is the amazing grips!
  • 6 0
 @TommyNunchuck:

Dennis: "Whats your favorite hobby?"

Charlie: "Magnets"

Whats tour favorite food?

Milksteak
  • 2 0
 @Mac1987: might not work for you depending on your country's deal with VAT, but PM'd.
  • 1 0
 @Sweatypants: appreciated, thanks!
  • 4 1
 @Sweatypants: Actually priced this out this morning for a customer. $724 at MSRP for what your are describing. That is without labor or shipping or extra cost of the brass Squarx nipples (the only ones to use). So unless you know a good wheelbuilder that will do it for no labor, it'll be more like $894.
  • 2 0
 @icthus13: solely for OEMs
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: yea I’m not sure if the reserves are still 1600 or if they’ve jumped a ton like everything else but if they are then 600.00 more for a no questions asked replacement makes one wonder. Especially considering it’s an entire wheel replacement so your not paying any labor, maybe Stans is doing that as well but as far as I know most just give the rim and leave you on your own. There is the ride quality though and I’ll admit the flows have always ridden really well and don’t beat you up on a long ride.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I have a front Novatec hub that has a lot of miles on it. I'd run Novatec on the front but not back personally.
  • 2 3
 @konadan: If you shop around for deals anything is possible whether it be wheels or complete bikes...I built a better spec bike for thousands less than the top of range prebuilt bike. My wheelset was built for less than £850 , it weighs 1300 grams...Stans carbon rims laced to Carbon ti hubs via dt comp spokes. Top tier hubs on quality branded carbon rims..it's called shopping around and looking for deals. Only lazy or crazy people pay rrp for stuff when with a bit of searching and patience you can aquire the parts you want for much less. I keep hearing this argument all over the forums you can't build a bike for less than a prebuilt, prove it etc etc...these guys not know how to perform a Google search or have the patience to wait a few days/weeks to check stock or what?? Those paying full price are those either not looking for the cheapest price or are impatient and have a must have it now attitude.
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: Line Elite carbon are a thousand
  • 4 3
 @scstrail: www.cyclewheelsusa.com/collections/wheels/products/copy-of-industry-nine-hydra-hubs-with-stan-s-mk3-rims

Now with Mk4 rims for $864 with Hydra hubs, $649 for 1/1 hubs, $625 for DT Swiss 350, $630 for Hope Pro 4.
  • 2 0
 @danielshiels: cx rays in Canada retail for $6 PER SPOKE lol. That's 380 bucks for spokes alone.
  • 1 2
 and magnets that detach from the pawls and get eaten by the drive ring. Ever tried to ride a double black trail with no ability to ratchet and no chain tension - not much fun at all!!!
  • 4 0
 @Sweatypants:

260 lb guy here. I haven't had to true my 471s I hand laced to hopes in over 2000 miles. Only maintenance I've done is cleaning and regreasing the rear hub. If you're using anything else, you're wasting your time and money.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: had a mk4 flow last 30 minutes earlier this year. to be fair, not sure anything would've been okay
  • 5 1
 @Ironchefjon: amen. people don't want to listen, but it costs nothing to say it out loud when these threads come around. i had a set on a bike that saw riding 4-5 days a week, in rain and snow and mud, for 6 years with servicing them once for greasing and touching the spokes ever. stayed completely true, hubs never missed a beat. they're the OG 5.10 Freerider of wheels... they just work. Others keep coming out, new gizmos and claims, but they still don't stack up.
  • 1 0
 *never
  • 1 0
 @Sweatypants: any chance of you sharing the deals this way too?
  • 2 0
 Agreed, on paper at least, they look about $400 over-priced.
  • 1 0
 deleted
  • 2 0
 @uk-hardtail: Used to order many small parts from Superstar and once also a wheelset. Then came Brexit Frown
  • 3 0
 @somebody-else: that actually looks like a good deal. As far as I’m concerned there is really only two options I’d consider which is ful reserve wheel with no questions asked warranty or a good set of Stan’s mk4 with the best warranty I could find (hopefully some uses one with Hadley hubs)
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: You got smoked at Hell Track.
  • 4 0
 @Ironchefjon: same here. im about 220lbs, the wheels i described in my original comment consist of DT e532 rims and newmen hubs, cost me around 350€ for the complete set. around 1950g.
No component has ever skipped a beat in 1.5 years. Had to retension the spokes once, i dont even have a trueing stand.

ANY issue with seals or bearings in a wheelset of this pricepoint is inacceptable when dozens of wheelsets for much less money exist that have proven to be reliable over years and years
  • 2 0
 I got a set of spank 359s laced to hydras for $825. This price point is insane
  • 1 0
 @bigogoat: let’s not forget lousy customer service too.
  • 1 0
 @Ironchefjon: maybe 471s with 350 hubs
  • 1 0
 @cainer1: PM'd you
  • 2 0
 @Jesse221: all my love to Hadley hubs. I have two pairs of them still perfect after years of abuse.
  • 1 1
 @Ironchefjon: if you dont break your rims within 3 months you are not riding fast enough
  • 1 0
 @icthus13: my friend ( good rider, pretty good, but not a like world champ good Big Grin ) Broke 3 NOBL wheels within 2 seasons in Kicking Horse ( less than 10 days riding... so that is 3 days of riding per wheel Big Grin )
  • 1 0
 @valrock: yeah light bicycle doesn’t make the best stuff…
  • 1 0
 @valrock: Well, they theoretically offer a lifetime warranty now.

I ordered some last week so I'm hoping I don't have the same experience as your friend. It's much flatter here than Kicking Horse, though.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I most certainly can and have and will again build quality wheels for less than $600 .. it's not a difficult task. As stated above, the industry has had up compliant with overpriced, poorly performing components.. it's time to change the tide in the thought pattern that more expensive always means more better.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: pro 4 or dt350 hubs are like 300 plus 150 for stans mk4 rims and around 45 for pillar spokes plus 10 for labour where I live, it's not impossible
  • 1 0
 @Lemitrails: Or you can pick lines? Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @icthus13: my point is that those are seems to be shit. Lifetime warranty is good... but not good when you cannot ride a bike because 5 weeks wait time to replace broken one... you ride one weekend and off for another 5 weeks Big Grin Anyway I rode more days on my cheap stock AL wheels that have dings everywhere and fancy nobl weren't saved even with cush core on them.

Good luck with your set... just add a few more PSI so you don't have to walk home Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @bman33 i make my own lines
  • 92 0
 f*ckin' magnets, how do they work?
  • 4 0
 ICP haha
  • 10 0
 How does a posi track rear end work?
  • 7 0
 @kirny6: nobody knows! It just does
  • 3 1
 Magicccccccc!!!! (Throws arms up and toss's rabbit's instead of doves. Fired, can't afford wheels). Black magiccccccc!!! (Rabbits reanimated. My mom wants to know why I have opossums) Because of Stan, Mom. It's Stan's fault.
  • 3 0
 @kirny6: Positive vibes
  • 3 0
 It just does.
  • 9 0
 @kirny6:

The car that made these two, equal-length tire marks had positraction. You can't make those marks without positraction, which was not available on the '64 Buick Skylark!
  • 1 0
 @enis: ok ok, switched up the movies on my but I dig it. Lol
  • 39 2
 Magnets are cool enough already, no need to tart them up by putting wheels on them. - Dwight Schrute
  • 26 1
 Uhh..... $965 USD for the generic middle-of-the-industry-road aluminum Stans wheelset? What? I guess it comes with frickin' magnets now.
  • 9 0
 When they give up the ghost, you can use them to stick your kid's crayon drawings to the fridge...
  • 33 0
 Its a perfect upgrade for your $4000 entry level bike.
  • 2 1
 @RonSauce: not even an upgrade from most OEM wheelsets at almost 2000g
  • 28 3
 Not the most magnet-ficient wheels on the market.
  • 24 0
 Admittedly, opinions on Stans wheels tend to be rather polarized.
  • 5 0
 And the price, not very attractive
  • 2 4
 They are rather attractive.
  • 11 0
 I find them repelling, personally.
  • 2 0
 I bet they spin up nice though.
  • 3 0
 I guess it depends on if you are in the north or south.
  • 2 8
flag DizzyNinja (Aug 29, 2022 at 11:04) (Below Threshold)
 Your puns are weak, maybe stick to your day jobs
  • 3 0
 I wonder how they will do in the field
  • 2 0
 Thats the price of 1 Tesla
  • 18 2
 Solid wheels. Have 2 sets and they’re running strong. I had to check tension after the first couple rides, but they haven’t moved after that. Also I would add on @mikekazimer that the puncture resistance is really good vs other alloy rims that seemed to cut tires easily. After racing the week at Trans BC, there were a bunch of hits, but I never cut a tire.
  • 3 5
 why would anyone down vote this, PB is salty lol
  • 15 0
 I've been riding for over 25 years and in that time I have never cracked a hub....until I bought a set of Stans wheels 2 years ago.
  • 3 1
 Same here. I had a set of mark 4 rims on hope pro 4 hubs nice enough but I cracked the rear rim in two places in six months of use. I’m old so not sending it very hard takes me years to slowly reck a dt Swiss rim. Won’t make that mistake again!
  • 13 0
 Where is the next field test bike!?
  • 3 0
 Came here to say this - aside from updates on World Champs, everyone is just waiting for the next Field Test to drop.
  • 7 2
 @m4k1 They're only posting Field Test content on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Really dragging it out. You can thank our Outside overlords for this new drip campaign approach.
  • 1 0
 @haen: that and the late morning drop kills me! But it keeps me refreshing all morning so it’s definitely working.
  • 1 0
 @plustiresaintdead: Field Tests posts drop at 9am pacific. Set your alarm.
  • 11 0
 I prefer Spank
  • 18 2
 That’s what she said.

- Dwight Schrute
  • 11 0
 @txcx166: "Don't....Don't you dare"

-Michael Scott
  • 4 0
 i had a set of DH wheels that were NS Bikes rims laced to Hope hubs that shrugged off everything and anything for like 6 years, and recently somebody told me that Spank makes NS rims, and I was just like, "oh, well that makes total sense then." Their stuff rips.
  • 8 0
 Lets hope the MK4 is a MAJOR improvement on the MK3. I`ve never had rims crack as badly as those. As for hubs....I`ll stick with the HOPEs thank you
  • 6 0
 I’d say P321 hubs are as nice or nicer than Hopes.
  • 4 0
 @wyorider: Certainly they have substantially better engagement and less drag.
  • 2 0
 I've had plenty of Hope hubs and currently run a Raceface Vault which is also the same design as the P321's. Hope's are reliable and a great hub for the money but I prefer the quicker engagement of the Vault. It's a bit more refined.
  • 1 0
 I'm not a particularly large or heavy rider and I managed to dent a Flow MK3 rim badly enough that it wouldn't seal anymore, with a DD Minion and Cushcore. I bought another rim, relaced it, and did the same thing, Cushcore and all. Also the hub bearings could use replacement and the freehub is making some godawful noises. I'm going to see if I can limp these through the rest of the season and then just build myself a new wheelset over the winter.
  • 4 0
 @tremeer023: P321 and RF Vault hubs are significantly different designs. It terms of pawl style engagement hubs, its hard for me to imagine two hubs that could be more different in fact!

They are both great though Smile
  • 1 0
 @privateer-wheels: oh sorry, you are right. Shows how long it's been since I serviced it last :-/
  • 9 0
 Let’s hope the rims don’t crack at every spoke hole like the MK3 & EX3
  • 4 0
 I am pretty sure the rims are coming from an entirely different factory, by looking at the design and finish. But I could be wrong.
  • 2 0
 I Cracked the mk4 I had on the rear in multiple spots.
  • 1 0
 @bullit398: interesting. Where? The spoke holes?
  • 1 0
 @privateer-wheels: They were across spoke holes but ran down the sides too. There were about 4 cracks in different spots when I noticed.
  • 1 0
 @bullit398: ouch!

Did you reach out to Stan's? I bet they will warranty it with zero hassle. That sounds odd! The MK4s build up really well, so I would think that sort of failure is probably about of an anomaly.
  • 1 0
 @privateer-wheels: I didnt even think to do it. I just tossed it and laced up a flow ex.
  • 2 0
 @bullit398: Noooo! If you called it in to them and gave them the serial, they almost for sure would have sent you a free replacement. Stan's is so good to deal with!

The are one of very few rim makers who actually have a 50% off crash replacement policy on their alloy rims as well.
  • 5 1
 I'll add to the durability testimony. Anecdotal review from a below average rider here, but I had the Flow Mk3 prior to the Mk4. I had significantly more flat spots/dings on the Mk3 than the Mk4. I started running 2-4 psi higher on the Mk4 (which is likely the reason for less rimpacts), but so far liking the Mk4 better with regards to durability. Asymmetric rim was real nice when building and it's nice not to have to fuss with a two different spoke lengths. So far after about a year of riding just one flat spot where my tire pressure was low and I pumped into a rock. Not bad for rim price of ~$100
  • 5 2
 I bought MK3s because I trusted the brand and wanted to save some $ compared to DT, and that proved to be a mistake. Glad to hear they may have fixed the issue with MK4, but I’ll never go back.
  • 3 0
 @stonant: I see Stan's as a budget company that I buy sealant from. And now they sold out to another company. I'll sooner just buy Hunt wheels if I want a budget wheel, and at least the pricetag reflects its position in the market
  • 5 0
 Am I the only person who never had issues with my Flow Mk3's? Mine had about 4 seasons of riding on them on several of my bikes and never gave me one issue. I have also had the same luck with a set of DT Swiss M1700's.
  • 5 0
 @jeremystclair: I had mk3 rims since they came out. So 7 seasons or so? Other than spoke tension loosening early in their lifespan they were great. Had dents all over them but no loss of air. The rear wheel finally met its demise when I wasn't paying attention backing into a parking spot. Otherwise I'd still have it. Replaced it the mk4 rim and no issues so far. The front mk3 still going strong. Thought I'd get a few seasons out of those wheels so 7+ is outstanding for an alloy set.
  • 2 0
 I’ve smashed the ex3 as a front wheel for the past 2 seasons and it seems pretty bulletproof. I really want to try one as a rear wheel
  • 1 0
 My MK3 rear wheel was super solid for 5.000 km but then I discovered cracks at the spoke holes. Strange though because my old Flow EX rims lasted 6+ years of which 2 years in my sons hard tail. I am now on a EX511 rim, see if that will last longer.
  • 2 0
 @jeremystclair: Went through a rear about every three months for a year and a half. DT was still holding up after about a year, now it is my backup wheel just in case. I built some Race Face Arc Carbon wheels and have about a year and a half on those so far.

The MK3 were cheap and easy to replace, so I just kept running them.
  • 1 0
 @stonant: same here, except I actually had great luck with the ZTR version. They fked up huge on those mk3. Done.
  • 1 0
 I had an arch Mk3 rear rim laced to a pro4 hub hold up very well but eventually succumbed to cracks in the rim bed. I received a Mk4 Arch under warranty but after a couple of months it has multiple dents and is basically done. I have had multiple asymmetric rims do this, I think they are much more likely to dent and flat spot as more leverage is applied to any given point of impact. At least that’s my experience.
  • 4 0
 I'll stick with my £400 set of hunt endurowide v2s tbh. With so many great budget wheel options not sure why you would spend loads on an aluminium wheelset. Carbon hoops with i9s I understand but this is no different to most midrange alloy wheels
  • 1 0
 Ya same, been running the same on my bike since April and no complaints. I’ve done a couple enduros, and done a couple bike park days. All good so far. I can’t see myself paying double for the same thing. I know some people like the feel of other wheels, but I really just care about durability of the rim and hub. And so far the hunts are doing as good as my last 2 sets of wheels that cost twice as much.
  • 2 0
 I'm on Hunt trailwides and I've done several park days on them and some enduro races with no issues. Great rims! The hub is kind of meh, but I don't notice it 95% of the time.
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: Yeah agree on the hub, it isn't very loud, put 72 POE is pretty good. Not had any issues with it.
  • 3 0
 Glad that Stan’s is offering a better hub option. The Neo hubs would start slipping from pawl/drive ring damage in a few rides.

I’d love to see a longer term test though. Every pair of Stan’s rims I’ve seen the past several years has developed stress cracks at the spoke holes, usually within one season.

Older Stan’s rims didn’t have that issue, and their rim shape does make for easy tire installation.

It’d be great to have an alternative to DT rims.
  • 3 1
 stans rims just aren't holding up this year at least for me and people i know, i recently got an ex3 and im having to re tension spokes in the lift line pretty frequently just to keep the things alive. i could care less about any wheel technology that doesn't involve improving durability and id wager a lot of other consumers feel the same way, hard to understand how a new flow mk4 with the same issues could be described as the "best one yet" but here we are
  • 2 0
 So, how long did the durability test go on for this time @mike kazimer ?
The old freehubs and axles were a joke. Pawls migrating into the freehub body, freehub body cracking, axles snapping.
Wouldn't dare put them on an eeeb, wouldn't make it up the first climb
  • 2 0
 I have a new Stan's Flow Mark 4 rear wheel that I picked up at the last minute prior to some big rides. I have now been riding it for about a month, 3-4x a week and it has impressed the hell outta me. It has remained true and the hub has a pleasant buzz similar to Chris King. I haven't detected any issues as of yet and that I am using on my Banshee hardtail says a lot.
  • 2 0
 I've ben through a few iterations of P321 hubs. I've had the magnets fall off multiple times, they get ground up inside the hub, and the hub never held oil and achieved low drag at the same time, the seal would either create drag or not seal the hub entirely. Customer service and warranty were always great though. I hope this iteration lives up to it's original intent, but it's gotta be far superior to the garbage hubs Stans has used in the past.
  • 2 0
 The infamous Stan hub failure was due to the aluminum drive ring cracking which isn’t mentioned. The pawls were never the issue so not sure what the purpose of that change is other than to have more engagement so as to require an o-chain ring.
  • 2 0
 I've been using the new MK4/Neo combo for a few months now and so far so good. It replaced my warped Roval Traverse alloy. I haven't checked spoke tensions but the old finger squeeze test seems like everything is even. I will get the gauge out though.

Isn't checking spoke tension on a new wheel pretty standard after a few rides?
  • 5 0
 It's always the most diligent approach, to check and recheck new parts after the first few rides. But a professionally, handbuilt, pre-stressed wheel should never need a spoke tension top-up. You may have to true it after some abuse, but the overall tension shouldn't drop.
  • 2 0
 I rode Stan's for years...because I bought a wheelset and kept having hubs explode every few months. I'd call the rep, he'd send out another wheelset. Eventually I ended up with two wheelsets that would cycle on and off my bike. While one was on, the other would be out for warranty, and once that one blew up, the new one would go on and the cycle would continue. Finally I had to break it up and just got DT, and my warranty issues have stopped. I'll give a ton of credit to Stan's for being really good about warranty replacement, as I basically rode two new wheelsets every season for about 5 years while only buying one, but it got old. I'm not super exceited to hear about all the little issues with these new sets, so I think I'll stick to DT.
  • 2 0
 stans should stick to designing and manufacturing rims. pair the flow mk3 or mk4 with a quality hub from hope, i9, etc and it makes a pretty beastmode wheel. i get that any product outside that which a company specializes in will have issues but you'd think for that price point the company would test the shit out of it and iron out the wrinkles. if they're not willing to do that then they should just stick to what they're good at.
  • 2 1
 Disappointed they haven’t fixed their issues. I really like the rims. They help up well for me and had a nice feel. My spokes were loose when received from the retailer. Went through two hubs in 12 months: 2 different mechanics thought it was due to poor dust cap seal. Purchased a different set of wheels, after that.
  • 1 0
 I came into some money and wanted to build up a high end wheelset.

Prices are just so insane for such negligible returns I always just settle into building up Stans rims w/ Bitex hubs and can keep a build around $500. Engagement is at that sweet spot to not be annoying, Bitex offers a steel axle to solve the one issue of hard riders breaking the alloy axle, and these things are just impossible to beat even when I have money to throw around.

Sorry money in my wallet, you will get throw at something that actually gets me some return for my $.
  • 1 0
 @y0bailey: Cool to hear your experience with that build. I've been looking at the Bitex hubs for a similar build and have heard the freehub seal is a bit loose can let water/grit into the freehub mechanism. Any issues with sealing in your experience?
  • 4 0
 @cyclebiker0-0: Not in my experience. There were 3-4 of us rocking these hubs and the only failure was one broken alloy through axle. Thousands of miles between us. This has been 5-6 years ago so I guess something could have changed but I'm buying these hubs again.
  • 2 0
 @y0bailey: Same, I always circle back to Bitex. Just built a wheelset with BX211. The MTR12 before it was wholly uneventful for the five years I had the bike. Took it apart every year and put it right back together for lack of anything to do.
  • 1 0
 @alexdi @y0bailey: Thanks for the input from both your experiences. Looks like Bitex it is for my build as well. Cheers!
  • 2 1
 Seems like the buried the lead. My Industry 9 alloy wheelset has a "hydra" hub in back. The near-instantaneous engagement really makes a big difference for me. Previous hub came with my Hunt wheelset, not bad but not nearly as quick as the hydra.
  • 1 0
 I've worked with plenty of Stans rims now and once they've taken a proper beating, it seems there is very little you can do to make them true again. Arch, Flow, Crest.. it all feels a bit like garbage to me. Anyone else had this experience?
Can't say nothing about those hubs tho.
  • 1 0
 I built a set of these rims on XT hubs myself for my spire. They built up easy and also tires seat very easily on them compared to race face 30 arc offset rims I built for my friend. They ride nice. I broke the rear hitting a rock in a crash that also broke my clavicle, and they sent a replacement for half price. The rear when it broke had a vittoria Aggarro trail and xc cushcore, and the way it broke was the cushcore actually dented the rim bed so badly it buckled the whole rim. The warranty guy said this wasn't unusual in hard impacts with cushcore. Overall good rims, unremarkable other than fairly easy to setup tubeless.
  • 2 0
 Stans just proving once again you're better off lacing dt rims to nice hubs and calling it a day. if you're over 200 lbs or ride hard as fuck, just skip pre built wheels all together.
  • 1 0
 Blew up 2 new rear Stans hubs in less than 6 months (warranteed). Switched to Hope pro 4 and have been really impressed. I opened up the freehub after a couple PNW winters and a dusty utah summer expecting an overdue service and it was dry with factory grease in good shape. My flow rear rim has been ok, after a few too many dings though it wont hold true and has a flat spot. I'll try a dt swiss rim next just out of curiousity.
  • 1 0
 i was always under the impression that:

a) impacts to magnets cause them to loose their magnetism
b) neodynium magnets are very very brittle, and have a tendencey to smash (assuming neodynium, i appreciate)
c) magnets attract swarf metal wearings from things like bearings, pawls and drive rings.

Its a no from me.
  • 1 1
 Wasn't the primary issue with the neo hubs the alloy axle sleeve that wasn't strong enough? They fixed this a couple years back by switching to steel. Curious if the neo hubs are solid enough at this point. Bring back neo hubs for a budget flow wheelset with this rim?
  • 4 0
 I'm glad they resolved the issue with the previous hubs being too cheap.
  • 1 1
 I've got alot of time on 321 hubs. I've had my issues. On the 1.6 degree I had the pawl seats flare out so the pawls got super loose. The second time it got so lose that one fell out of the seat and jambed which locked the back wheel up. I'm now on their lesser engagment setup becuase it engages 3 pawls at a time instead of 2 in hopes that it doesnt happen again. I wouldnt but another set of 321's when i9s are the same price.
  • 1 0
 Hopefully those new hubs are stronger then the Stans Neo Durasync hubs that came stock on my Transition Spire. Didn’t even get 3 rides on the rear hub before it failed in spectacular fashion .
  • 1 1
 Ok, well as someone else said in the comments, the failure mode was the pressed drive ring slipping in the hub shell. Not the pawls. So this doesn't solve anything. Stans is a great company and they will warranty stuff, but I will not be buying wheels from them for a while. Found at least 16 cracks in a 32 hole rim. Apparently the rims are extremely sensitive to spoke tension.
  • 1 0
 Warning, every once in awhile the Earth’s polarity flips, North Pole becomes South Pole and vice versa. The magnets in the hub will reverse polarity too and mayhem will result.

Source: Bilt Nyge the science guy.
  • 1 1
 so, When are reviewers going to start leaning on The price of these products? pretty much every LBS here is slowing down, Infact they told me this week its quieter than before covid... They have a heap of bikes in stock and Advertising like crazy but nobody wants them...
the owner said "everybody has a bike and no money now"

So that tells me its time for brands to start competing for cheapest products again. im seeing more and more People wanting "value"
  • 1 0
 I would love to see PB review a BTLOS carbon wheelset. I've had one for the past few hundred miles and so far so good! Idk if there's a better price out their on rims or wheels.
  • 2 0
 "Water, fire, air and dirt
F*cking magnets, how do they work?
And I don't wanna talk to a scientist
Y'all motherf*ckers lying, and getting me pissed."
  • 1 1
 I can't be bothered making any scathing comments, but I'm wistfully remembering when I could buy Hope Hoops for £250 with Hope hubs and Stan's Flow rims. Now it's double that for Hope hubs and EX511 rims - which is still a good bit cheaper than these and almost certainly better.
  • 1 0
 mike, if the intended use is DH, and the spokes seem to loosen...did you notice this after any drops/gaps/step downs...or was it more just from rough riding?
  • 5 2
 $1k for alloy wheelset. They look promising, but damn.
  • 5 2
 @gristle they aren’t promising
  • 1 0
 Which part? The dent or the missing seal(s) causing rust on the hub?
  • 2 1
 Does anyone know if We Are One are coming out with a new Dh/Enduro wheelset? I thought I saw/read awhile back they had a funky looking rim that was still not in production.
  • 2 0
 I don't know, but I'm so glad I switched to a WAO rim. I'd go through an aluminum rim (like Flow's) every 6 months, but after a year my WAO rims are 100% true and spoke tension is perfect. And I know I've had impacts because of a few pinch flats at the bead, but the carbon doesn't show any damage at all. Those impacts used to be the slow death of my alu rims.
  • 2 0
 There were pictures and sparse details in this year’s SeaOtter coverage. Said “this fall” for the new wavey rim. I have a current set of Unions, which have been great, but am waiting for more news about on the new rims before doing my next customs wheels build
  • 2 0
 The new funky wavy rim looks to me like it will make for a much better spoke path, directing the spoke on a straighter line to the hub flange. I am guessing this is more or less the reason for it. Looking forward to trying them out.
  • 3 0
 "neodymium magnets"

Is there a adamantium upgrade available?
  • 3 0
 No, but there sure seem to be plenty of nickel'n'dime'ya'm products available.
  • 1 0
 I rode Stans for a while and changed to Raceface just for the heck of it. I ride Arc 30s on both my bikes and really love them! (I9 hubs on both)
  • 3 0
 The opinions on this wheelset are quite polarizing.
  • 1 0
 Was Project 321 the first to use magnets, or was Kappius?

If I was going to spend 1K on a pair of aluminum rims, I'd be looking at Rolf for a much better value.
  • 3 1
 Verdict: Stans is still junk, you just have to pay 1000 dollars to be disappointed.
  • 1 0
 I've had easton ar 30 wheelset with sram mth hubs (230$ each ish) with a cup and cone...6 years and about 2 services later and they're still going strong...
  • 1 0
 "since they're less like to round out during truing"

"one of those wheelsets that doesn't dramatically the ride feel of a bike."

Proofreading!! How does it work?!?!
  • 1 0
 based on their last rims habit of breaking, I would first wait a little too see if the new rims are made to last
  • 2 0
 Why not just go carbon if you are dropping a grand?
  • 3 0
 Magnets
  • 1 1
 If your from BC give Tairin Wheels a look see. I am on my second wheel set and I love them super durable super light and the spoke tension is amazing.
  • 1 0
 why dafaq would anyone buy these mediocre hubs and rim when enduro hydra s wheelset is $995?
  • 1 0
 That warranty and crash replacement policy is a joke these days for wheels that are $1000 bucks.
  • 2 0
 You got examples of other $1K wheelsets with better replacement policies? No one is putting lifetime anything on alloy rims...

Though I do agree the time limits are pretty weak.
  • 1 0
 They claim DH capabilities but the front hub doesnt come in 20x110. Am I missing something?
  • 1 0
 have a flow s1(older,cheaper set) and the same problem with spoke tension
  • 2 3
 I’m sure the hubs will explode in less than a year. I haven’t had a single one last more than that sadly. At least their support/warranty is decent?
  • 8 0
 These are based on the Project 321 hubs, which are known for impressive durability. Definitely not the old Neo junk. I'm not sure if these are the exact P321 hub, or modified version of it to be more affordable.
  • 6 1
 Neo hubs have drivers made of cheese. Project 321 hubs are really nice though.
  • 9 0
 The P321 hubs are a substantial step up in terms of hub quality. Completely different product.
  • 4 0
 I had 2 neo hubs blow up in less than 70 miles each. Replaced with a Project 321 (not the Stan's version) for almost 600 trouble free miles. Good engagement, relatively quiet.
  • 1 0
 @JustinVP: hopefully they didn't modify it by removing the non drive side seal...
  • 1 0
 Lol $1000 (about £800) for an alloy wheelset? Ha no thanks.
  • 3 1
 Stan’s hubs are junk
  • 1 0
 Pros: Project 321 Hubs
Cons: Your nice hubs have a STANS logo on them.
  • 1 2
 Why does Stan's, manufacturer of Stan's fluid, spec alloy nipples? Stan's fluid corrodes and destroys alloy nipples!
  • 1 0
   





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