Why Carbon Tubeless over Alloy?

Posted by Jerry Chabot on

You see a lot of people riding on alloy tubeless for cross and MTB, and even gravel, as those disciplines would seem "hard on wheels" and one assumes that folks don't want to invest in a set of carbon wheels they might damage. 

I disagree with the economics of that thinking, actually. While I like an alloy wheel for salty roads and general miles on a rim brake bike, once you go disc I toss that all out the window. A quality carbon disc wheel is a lifetime product. You will go through three sets of alloy rims (and rebuilds and spokes and nipples and costs) in the same time as you get good service from a carbon disc. You can nail these things against rocks and logs and such and they simply do not ding up. 

The most popular tubeless rims out there have a very thin bead hook which is very susceptible to damage, and eventually leads to nuisance air leakage or even failure. The carbon hookless is essentially a downhill rim, with a 3mm thick, short carbon tab with no fussy hooked bead. You can smack that with a hammer and it wont damage, and if it does hit a rock and chip, it has no real affect on the seal or the rim structurally. Its pretty great. 

Similarly, we get lots of questions about rider weight limit. On the regular product there really is none. We do an SL build to shave a few grams around the edges and push things as much as we can. We do the XL product to add stiffness to the wheel, more than any strength. The Race butted spokes just stretch less than a CX Ray under big or watty riders. The rim itself can take what you can throw at it. We have many riders on 38G 28H wheels who are north of 250 with no issues. We have plenty of cross racers who are similarly demanding of their wheels. And with carbon, you can run a deeper rim and still be lighter than alloy, while adding a lot of stiffness and strength with that depth. 

I will leave you with this: One of our favorite Official NEXT Dealers, Eric Lovering of Chainline Cycles in Laconia, NH. Here he is airing it out on our shallow 28Mx wheels (with tasty blue nipples) in a cross race, set up tubeless. He is a big dude with a BMX background, well over six feet tall, just a big strong dude who hucks his bike at race pace, and the wheels have been stellar. 

And hey, if you stack it and break something, don't worry! Our rim replacement and rebuild plan is the best in the business. $250 bucks and we replace your rim AND ship it back to you, no question asked.