There are always a lot of new wheels introduced at bike shows and we already saw Praxis Works entry into the wheel market a the Sea Otter 2016 and earlier this year at NAHBS we saw a new company Knight Wheels enter the market. Knight is now a sponsor for reigning 12-time National Champion Katie Compton.
At Interbike this year, the new wheel trend continued with Alto Cycling, Lightweight and Knight showing new products. We have another round of new wheels from industry veterans and a new company unveiling more exciting wheel products.
Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubeless Clincher
Zipp Speed Weaponry has been a leader in carbon wheel development, especially in the area of aerodynamics but also in durability. Zipp created the first carbon wheelset that gave enough confidence to be used in Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders races, each known for its punishing cobbled ‘roads’.
The Zipp 303 wheels are famous for their wind tunnel proven aerodynamic profile, but they’ve been getting a constant stream of updates over the years. Zipp applied the 77/177 hubset introduced last year with more proven reliability on disc wheels and this year at Eurobike and Interbike 2016, they introduced the 303 Firecrest tubeless clincher.
We’ve had great results with the tubeless alloy Course 30 wheel, and clamored for a carbon tubeless rim option from Zipp. With tubeless tires now a regular site on wheels of amateur and UCI podium racers, Zipp knows that at least for cyclocross and gravel, there’s a market for a tubeless version of its 303 rim.
The 1625 grams for the wheelset puts it in the mid-weight category for disc clincher sets, but you get proven aerodynamics and expected promising tubeless reliability. The inner width is 21mm with a profile that follows the successful tubeless Zipp Course 30. Retail price for the Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubeless Clincher is $3400 USD.
More info: zipp.com
Alex Rims is a longtime maker and OEM supplier of rims to the cycling industry and Alex also produces wheelsets under its own label formerly called Alex A-Class. Due to its OEM experience, Alex Rims is one of the world’s largest producers of aluminum rim extrusions, but now has entered into the carbon rim arena.
Two new carbon rims were introduced at Interbike 2016, the ARC1 and AMC1. Of most interest for cyclocross and gravel is the AMC 1 (M for mountain as opposed to R for road) with its 21mm ID and tubeless designed rim profile. It is 30mm deep with a claimed weight of 430 grams and is 3-D drilled for internal nipples (3-D drilling is angling the spoke hole to the spoke or nipple exit matching the trajectory to the hub). At this time, the AMC 1 is available as a rim only and is not yet in the 2017 catalog with a slated availability at the beginning of 2017. For $250 USD per rim, this looks promising for custom builds. We’ll likely see it spec’d on OEM wheels or within the Alex Wheels lineup.
More info: alexrims.com
Spēd Precision Courseque CX Tubular/Clincher Wheels
A new wheel company from Southern California made its debut at Interbike 2016. The difference with Spēd Precision is it is focused on performance wheels for dirt riding. That obviously includes cyclocross and gravel! Its introductory line includes wheels for downhill through cyclocross. This season they are sponsoring Rebecca Gross, a top women’s masters ‘cross racer who took the national 30-34 title in 2014.
At Interbike, Spēd Precision brought its Courseque CX tubular wheels along with a full spectrum of mountain bike wheels. Colin Esquibel, CEO and founder of Spēd Precision Wheels, told us the company engineered and designed its own carbon rim molds and layup, as well as its own proprietary hub design. A big advantage, according to Esquibel, is the quality control and features such as spoke drill angles.
The Courseque CX with its 38mm deep bull-nose shape is 25mm wide with a 23mm wide bed radiused for cyclocross tubulars specifically. The straight-pull bladed spokes are sourced from HT using Sandvik wire and is 24 x 2 in front, 28 x 2 for the rear. The hubset comes with a SRAM XD driver as a default with the option to specify a Shimano/SRAM body that is easily user exchanged. The hubs are also easily convertible from QR to Thru-axle, either 15mm or 12mm for the front and 135 QR to 142 x 12mm for the rear. Claimed weight is 1450 grams.
The Courseque CX is also available as a tubeless clincher with the same profile and a 20mm internal width with a total weight of 1525 grams. Spēd Precision did not bring a Courseque CX clincher set to Interbike 2016, but will have all sets in production and available through normal distribution channels (via your LBS or consumer direct where there is no dealer available). Either Courseque CX wheelset is $1550 USD and will be available mid-December 2016.
Spēd Precision is sending us a pair for review and we will have more photos and specs when we get them – stay tuned.
More info: spēdprecision.com
See our still-growing collection of new product news from Interbike 2016 here.
Zipp, Alex Rims, Spēd Precision Photo Gallery – Interbike 2016: