If you’re reading this blog then you probably already know that one of the things I enjoy most about this job is getting to build special projects. For this years Interbike we have some really special projects planned that will take what we’ve done in the past to a whole new level. My only fear is that next year there really won’t be any way to improve on what we do this year. While I can’t talk about either of our main projects, I can give a sneak peek at one part for one of the projects.
So without further ado I present you with our 943 gram (actually it’s 942.7 grams to be precise.) 29″ tubular wheelset.
We began with some hand picked tubular 29″ Edge rims weighing 256 and 250 grams each. Made in Utah, the Edge rims are not only light but incredibly stiff. The 32mm deep and 25.5mm wide rims are So stiff that it allows for a lower spokes count or simply a much stiffer wheel than their aluminum counterparts in the same drilling. Because of this we felt very comfortable using only 28 ti spokes in the front.
The ti spokes that we choose were the new Pillar PST X-tra. A 2.2x.95mm titanium bladed spoke. To hold them in place we used the matching Pillar nylock nipples. 28 spokes were laced 2 cross in the front wheel and 32 spokes were laced 3x in the rear wheel.
For the front hub we choose a not quite standard Tune Cannonball hub. The hub was a mix of ideas and would technically fall in between the standard and SL versions(except that it’s not a production version.) The already under claimed weight hub was tuned with a ceramic bearing upgrade reducing the weight down to 88 grams, including the mounting bolt and cap.
For the rear hub, we had to call in a big favor. Our friends at Tune provided us with a Prince Dezibel rear hub. Taking what will already be the lightest hub rear mtb hub in the world when it hits the market later this year, and doing just a little tuning in the bearings resulted in an incredible 145.9 gram rear hub. The Dezibel is a big departure for Tune from their traditional pawl hubs, but the new design is what allows such large weight savings. Taking a ratchet system design similar in concept to DT or Soul-Kozak but simplifying it down has really made a difference. Rather than using two plates that are separate pieces to engage, they use only one plate made out of hardened alloy and the second plate is machined as part of the free hub body. In place of springs they use magnets with like charges to repel each other. The hub is really quite an engineering feat. I continue to be impressed with how Uli and the guys at Tune continue to push the envelope and slowly whittle away at the weights.
So that’s it, 943 gram 29er wheelset. Of course there’s still the issue of tires. Something special is being made to adorn these but we can’t talk about that yet.
Maybe some of you are wondering why I’m showing this now if it’s a piece of a showbike which won’t be unveiled for 5 months still. Well in this case it’s partly because we thought this wheelset was special enough to stand on it’s own. Of course the other reason is that this isn’t the final wheelset. We have a couple changes in mind for this before the show and the final version is expected to be between 907 and 910 grams for the set.