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.
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.
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.