Quai's Stepped Carbon Rims - Taipei Cycle Show

Mar 23, 2017 at 3:58
by Mike Levy  
2017 Taipei Cycle Show

Taipei Cycle Show


There may not be a load of interesting new bikes at the Taipei Cycle Show, but there doesn't seem to be any shortage of new carbon fiber wheelsets to be found in the halls of the Nangang Exhibition Center. These unique looking carbon hoops are from a Quai, a brand that probably doesn't ring a bell with a lot of mountain bikers at this point but might do exactly that in the future.

Quai's carbon rims, with their stepped construction, look nothing like the sleek offerings that they're going up against, but the company says that their rim design is definitely not just to be different or for low weight.

It's all about spoke tension, they say, with the high/low rim bed mimicking the effects of the tall/low flanges that you'll find used on rear hubs in an effort to have the drive and non-drive spokes be closer in tension. Ask any wheel builder what one of the keys to reliability is, and he or she will surely talk to you about equal spoke tension. Manufacturers have been doing things like tall/low hub flanges and offset drilling patterns on rims to this end for a long, long time, but Quai claims that their stepped rim design is a far more effective way getting the job done.
Taipei Cycle Show

They're also saying that the tall, segmented box section design adds rigidity, although the rim's appearance might not be everyone's cup of tea.


Taipei Cycle Show


Their 27.5'' trail/enduro rim is said to come in a 410-grams, which is a low number given its intentions. That said, it has an internal width of just 25mm, which a lot of riders might find a bit slim these days. Wheelset weights range from 1,419-grams for the 27.5'' ISOS Ultimates to 1,633-grams for the 29'' ISOS Pro Boost. Depending on hub choice, pricing runs between $1,500 USD and $2,520 USD, with the latter sporting a set of DT Swiss Boost hubs.






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74 Comments

  • + 83
 @mikelevy I understand that product reviews are your jobs, but it really is a shame that there are two posts about lame carbon wheels and NOTHING about the Cape Epic since stage one...

The Cape Epic is one of the greatest races in mountain biking. There is amazing scenery and footage coming out. The racing seems to be neck and neck! I am only in finding coverage on CyclingNews... I thought a mtn bike specific site would have more info than a site covering the Spring Classics... Wouldn't it be simple enough just to repost the race recaps from Cape Epic's youtube even? Or better yet, send someone there to cover the race! Wouldn't you rather be riding bikes in South Africa than shmoozing in Tapei over some nothing special carbon rims?

I was pumped to see the Cape Epic get some coverage for stage one. I thought maybe you guys would give XC a bit more coverage this year. But sadly it seems that product and advertising is trumping actual mountain biking...

I'm understand that there is a lot going on in the MTB world and Pinkbike is only so many people. But I would love to hear Vernon covering Cape Epic first hand or similar. I dont expect other MTB websites to cover every stage etc but i thought you all were better than that. Not mad, just disappointed.

Thanks!
  • + 6
 +1. I wouldn't say it better!!
  • + 13
 Because we have to buy buy buy buy. What we bought this year is garbage the next. I am really getting sick of this. P.S. Good point you got there!
  • + 13
 Sad truth is, Tapei Cycle Show paid them to go there and do some coverage. While Cape Epic won't pay Pinkbike for coverage because they don't need them to... I agree with you that it can suck a bit for us mere mtb fans sometimes, but we need to remember that pinkbike is giving free media and stuff like trailforks for free. Mad love to you, Pinkbike.
  • + 9
 "Not mad, just disappointed" lol ok dad. I do agree tho, less window shopping more riding! Smile
  • + 4
 @mollow: They don't give it for free. They sell data about us to anyone who is willing to pay. Just like any other website.
  • + 4
 If you aren't already, follow the Cape Epic youtube channel. They have been putting up race recap videos every day, in addition to other videos. That is how I have been keeping up with the race
  • + 5
 Scroll down the front page, there is Cape Epic coverage there...just gotta look.
  • + 17
 We were running coverage targeted to certain areas, but we've made the cape epic global now so you can follow

www.pinkbike.com/news/absa-cape-epic-stage-three-video-2017.html
  • + 8
 @beerandbikes: "What brand of hubs are you currently using... what brand automobile do you drive... what brand mtb gloves do you plan to purchase next..."
  • + 2
 yeah, because racing is so important! it's about progression yo, mtb bike racing is central to the well being of those who ride and read this here forum damit, more racing coverage!
  • + 1
 @karl-burkat: Thanks for he response! I didnt realize Pinkbike did targeted coverage. Thanks for making it Global. I always appreciate how personal and responsive your whole team at PB is to inquiries. Looking forward to more great content this year!
  • + 25
 Whats the point of these carbon rims? You can buy high quality alloy rims, that cost $60-$80 and weight just 50g more, what you can compensate by not drinking 0.5dl water before ride. Or pee before you ride.
  • + 53
 I'm guessing a lot of companies have figured out the profit margins on carbon rims are crazy.
  • - 10
flag Wouldhaveletmego (Mar 23, 2017 at 6:05) (Below Threshold)
 Carbon rails corners better. It's undeniable.
  • + 9
 I've just built spank race 33 rims, they are lighter than the dh carbon ones.
  • + 4
 You can get a top quality DH alloy rims that weighs only 500g. Yeah quality alloy trail/Enduro rim in the realm of 450g... Carbon is barely lighter especially if one builds up wheels with quality spokes and hubs
  • + 4
 @bat-fastard: mine weighed 489 and 492g and they are strong as an Ox. Really, I don't see the point of spending all that money on carbon wheels that are going to crack instead of bend.
  • + 2
 @bat-fastard: yeah I just did the exact same thing. Built a spank spike race 33 on a saint hub with double butted spokes -- super light, strong, and cost me less than $250 with the hub on sale. The "w" shaped inner channel is a godsend for setting up tubeless as well. No idea why anyone would spend insane money on carbon wheels
  • + 1
 @Wouldhaveletmego: Yeah because that has nothing to do with skill hahaha
  • + 1
 so
  • + 12
 you save more than 50g think about how much lighter your wallet will be
  • + 4
 @stainerdome: In Germany, where 57% of transactions involve the use of cash, a lot lighter. In Sweden, where they are hoping to eradicate cash by 2020, it won't make much difference.

Hopefully the manufacturers will take this into account when deciding on their pricing.
  • + 5
 This is not quite the same as not drinking water since this is rotational mass and will have a much more adverse effect on acceleration, suspension performance, overall weight, etc.
  • + 7
 Carbon kills environment... Besides, it is much better to just quit whinin' and weighin' and just ride whatever you've got right now. Y'all can thank me later *drops mic*
  • + 1
 @Wouldhaveletmego: its true. Haters gonna hate
  • + 2
 preface to my point, i have gone back to alloy rims because i hate the sound of rock vs carbon. however, when i did have carbon rims, the stiffness is what i really liked. a lot of people say you need some flex for ride quality but if i am feeling anything but my suspension move, i get freaked out.
  • + 2
 I own aluminum rims and have demoed carbon wheels. There is a noticeable difference with stiffness and acceleration; weight, not really. With all of that said i do not see a favorable cost/benefit analysis even if i had the cash. If the costs drop significantly, I am in!

disclaimer: I don't race, I don't have the cash for carbon rims, I am hyper anal about the smallest of improvements to my bikes
  • + 5
 @Wouldhaveletmego: unless you have bumpy corners?
  • + 1
 @Tier1Voodoo: Aren't we "killing" the environment on a millions of others ways anyhow?
  • + 1
 @Wouldhaveletmego: perfect for pavement smooth flow trails I guess. Lots of guys prefer extra flex for rough trails...
  • + 3
 @passwordpinkbike: Ain't that the truth... :'(
  • + 2
 @Tier1Voodoo: That's really not worthy of a *mic drop*
  • + 1
 @passwordpinkbike:

Just keep killing, more, more, more. Effort to do otherwise is futile. Douche Bag attitude.
  • + 1
 @passwordpinkbike: Why the ""? We are killing the environment. It's a pretty serious problem. Like really serious.
Here's a tune that quickly shows how serious. Maybe I missed your point, and if so sorry.
www.theguardian.com/global/video/2016/nov/18/150-years-global-warming-minute-long-symphony-video
  • + 3
 A carbon rim is stiffer and it makes a snappier wheel. Theyre roughly 100g lighter than an alu rim of equal strength. They start at $200 and are more toxic to produce than alu. The benefits are more noticeable for 29. These are the facts, ride whatever you like.
  • + 0
 @IrishTom: Never believe anything on the Guardian
  • + 18
 Carbon wheel announcement standard protocol. - Scroll, scroll, scroll - check price, still WAY above LB - hit back button.
  • + 11
 Shit yeah can't wait to get some of these bad boys.
  • + 4
 Doing a few quick calc's show that radially offsetting the driveside nipple like this pretty much does nothing for the spoke tension. It evens out the spoke tension by about 3 kgf, where as a 2mm axial offset in the drilling to the disk side evens the tension out by about 13 kgf... so just marketing BS
  • + 3
 I wonder if Box had spied these in development and copied the ridges without working out the design intent.
The same manufacturing concerns apply to these; have they machined the carbon or is the shape created in mold?
  • + 16
 I very highly doubt that they machined the carbon. That would be a tooling nightmare and make them so expensive even I would hesitate (for a millisecond) to buy them
  • + 2
 is there not an edit at the bottom of that article stating that they werent machined?
  • - 5
flag jaame (Mar 23, 2017 at 6:30) (Below Threshold)
 @naadams2: My friend was on the design team that cre8-ed these. They are moulded.
  • + 16
 @jaame: I didn't down vote you because I believe you to be lying or incorrect. I did it for 'cre8-ed' .
  • + 3
 @gavlaa: "Cre8 Designs"
  • + 2
 @yourDentistsDentist: username checks out
  • + 5
 Mavics on Steroids
  • + 2
 I feel like these would be right at home on... a plastic surgeon's advertisement: "We can fix your botched plastic surgery!"
  • + 4
 carbon haters bashing the product in 3, 2, 1...
  • + 2
 Carbon is just 33% of the problem. It's also ugly and expensive. Plus we all know the best rims are called EX471.
  • - 3
 I have absolutely nothing against carbon. It's just that there's very close to zero benefit for it being used in wheels and it's like 5x more expensive.
  • + 3
 @leftCoastBurn: Have you ever ridden carbon wheels? Im guessing a big NO on that one, after upgrading to carbon wheels on 2 bikes, can say it is by far the most noticeable difference to my rides compared to any other part changes i have done...
Having said that I would never pay the price most companies are asking, I got my haven carbon set for 850 when jenson had their crazy 26" sales a few years ago.
  • + 2
 @radrider:
I got my first carbon bike last year and I can say that the bike is much better and lighter than I though and worth all the money I spent.
I would love to put some carbon rims on my V10 because I know the bike will be better with lighter rims.
but anyone can do what they want right?
So carbon haters stay on your steel bike and let the ones who chose carbon do what they want
  • + 2
 @radrider: it's just preference. I have tried them never owned any. I don't feel like I can ride any better on carbon. I like some flex especially since I ride a crazy stiff frame. If you think carbon wheels make you better they probably do -- a huge part of riding is mental so if you are confident and comfortable with your equipment that is definitely a huge plus and you will likely ride better. plenty of races are won on both alloy and carbon. And i'm talking about top of the line alloy rims when comparing to carbon...
  • + 2
 @leftCoastBurn: Exactly. Many of the top DH and Enduro pros run alloy when they need something that can finish the race run (especially on really rough trails). The performance gains of carbon rims remain minimal, if at all, relative to the risk of carbon explosion. The latter is much less likely to occur for the average rider. That said, if you like the way they feel get after it.
  • + 1
 Your talking professional DH racing...There are a shrinking number of riders using aluminum in DH and enduro racing, but can you say they arn't using it because there isnt enough performance benefit, or could it be that their wheel sponsors arn't building a suitable carbon wheel, or dont want to fork up the cost of replacements. Either way, your right in that carbon is not very beneficial in Dh or enduro, but xc and road it is very beneficial.
I think there is a huge room for improvement as far as carbon rim design, but so far they are BETTER without question than aluminum rims, in EVERY way except the cost, that is why i find good deals or buy used... Im using a carbon wheelset that weighs 1150grams on my xc bike, they where raced hard for one year, 15 broken spokes... rims are still perfect. and they are true within les then a mm yet spoke tension is even within 2% accross the board, good luck getting that with aluminum, even a new rim wont do that.
Now..throwing heavy tires and tubes on a carbon wheel? thats ridiculous and takes away the point. Weight saving is done to improve the efficiency of acceleration. I feel like a ferrari on these wheel, the acceleration is beyond noticeable.
Anyways, if you dont like carbon..your missing out.
  • + 1
 @radrider: honestly curious since that's not my niche, of which wheels you speak and what's a good or used deal for them?
  • + 1
 @WoodenCrow: Well I'm still riding 26" on my enduro and xc bike, so deals are not hard to come by(enve rims for 275usd at chainreaction) , but end of year sales now you can find good carbon wheels atleast 30% off.
Really too many companies putting out good carbon wheels to mention.
  • + 1
 @radrider: If I still rode XC or road I'd be in your camp. In fact, I'll likely build a pair of carbon hoops just for fun one day. That said, our rocky trails and my fat a$# absolutely eat rims (I'm 190 lbs). In under 12 months my front and rear DT Swiss XM 481's have many chips, dings, and while they are true, will likely only last through this season. I had a flat occur on during a rock garden and slammed my rear alloy rim so hard it bottomed out my suspension. I pounded the rim back into place and still riding it. I'm afraid that would have been more ugly with carbon? Perhaps with something like Huck Norris I'd be safer?
  • + 1
 @ryan83: I cant say much about carbon rims for hard abuse and heavy riders. But I have seen some carbon rims on the used market that looked absolutely beat up to shit, but mechanically sound. Most new carbon designs are not going to fail catastrophically, and I think it would take a very big impact to destroy a carbon rim. Is that impact going to destroy an aluminum rim as well, its hard to say? On the same impact a good carbon rim might have come out of that situation completely unharmed because there is so much flexibility in carbon before breaking, something which cant be said for aluminum. But it could also have come out of that situation with a huge crack, possibly not worth the repair costs. There should be more tests made public showing comparison between aluminum and carbon rims at breaking point.
  • + 1
 Over rated. How can somthing so simple to make cost such an exorbitantly high price tag?
Suckers born every minute.
Blue rims though with bumps.
Cool!
  • + 2
 I wonder what kind of spoke length calculator you would need? Ouch. No doubt I would mix up the spokes when building.
  • + 0
 It appears there taking a page out of the ZIPP wheels with there latest zipp 454 road wheel set. Not a huge fan of the look on a burly MTB where set but interesting to see reviews in the future.
  • + 2
 hahaha, crazy cool rim Big Grin
  • + 3
 Looks awesome!
  • + 2
 I feel, like the wind rushing would be louder than my hubs.
  • + 1
 LB will be the only carbon wheels for me. Fancy ridges be damned.
  • + 1
 Please news of Cape épic...
  • - 3
 "Ask any wheel builder what one of the keys to reliability is, and he or she will surely talk to you about equal spoke tension"
Or not using carbon rims...
  • + 7
 This is year #4 on a set of Light Bicycle carbon rims on my AM bike. No damage. No issues. Gets ridden frequently and hard for ~7 months of the year. Funnily enough I switch to my winter bike for ~5 months of the year with same travel, same trails, same tires/pressure and same width AL rims. The AL rims are beat to shit over the same time and the carbon rims are perfect.

My carbon rims cost ~70% more than my AL rims, but since they'll outlast the AL rims the cost is basically the same.

I have landed a jump badly onto a rock pinch flatted a tubeless tire and popped a spoke on my carbon rim. Took the tire off to repair it and the rim bead was still perfectly smooth to the touch. No damage at all.

Just bought another set of LB carbon rims for my new bike.
  • + 0
 Fugly.
  • - 2
 At least they don't look ridiculous........ oh, wait

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