Atom Composites is one of the new kids on the block in the carbon wheel market, having been founded in Long Beach in 2015 by Derek Brayton and Tadd Armbruster. Although new, the company has already established its roots in the gravel and cyclocross worlds. Its first sponsored rider was 2015 Dirty Kanza 200 winner Yuri Hauswald, and it has also been the wheel sponsor for Van Dessel rider Cassie Maximenko, whose bike we profiled at the Sea Otter Classic last year. The company will be chipping in at the West Sacramento GP UCI race later this month by serving as the course sponsor as well.
With Atom's heart lying in the cyclocross/gravel world, we were motivated to take a closer look at the carbon tubular wheels Maximenko and others have had success riding and secured a set for review. Today, we're taking a look at the $1,797, 1,420g CX38 carbon tubular wheelset we are starting to test.
Atom's wheelsets are named for their respective depths, which range from 38mm to a very-aero 88mm. The CX38 tubular model is 25mm wide and has a 5.3mm deep center channel. For those interested, there is a clincher model that is, according to the company, sized to handle cyclocross tires with widths up to 35mm, and Atom also offers a wider model that can handle tires up to 42mm for gravel and adventure riding.
Atom's wheels are molded in Taiwan using what the company says is their proprietary mold. One of the unique aspects of this mold is a notch at the valve stem hole sized to accommodate the extra thickness of the valve—a nice touch not found in every carbon rim.
The rest of the production process for Atom's wheels is done in the U.S. The hubs are made in the U.S. by White Industries and branded for Atom, and they feature titanium free hubs bodies—which are less likely to be damaged by cassette cogs as alloy free hubs—and Enduro stainless steel cartridge-style bearings. The wheels are also built by the company in Long Beach.
The CX38 wheelset is disc-only with Centerlock hubs. The front axle is a 15mm thru-axle and the rear is a 12x142mm thru-axle. The spokes are round Sapim Race with alloy nipples, and the wheels feature 28 spokes in the front and 28 in the rear.
Weight-wise, the Atom CX38 is similar to the $1,200 1,435 gram HED Ardennes SL alloy wheelset we reviewed earlier this summer with list weights of 640g front, 780g rear and 1,420g total. We measured 671g front, 824g rear and 1,495g on the test set provided to us. MSRP for the CR38 is $1,797.
Stay tuned for impressions from gluing and putting the Atom CX38 tubular wheels to the test.
Atom Composites CX38 Carbon Tubular Wheelset Specs
Rim: carbon, tubular, disc only, 38mm deep, 25mm wide (5.3mm deep center channel)
Hubs: White Industries, Atom-branded; Centerlock; Titanium free hub body; Enduro cartridge bearings
Axles: Front/rear thru-axle; 15mm front, 12x142mm rear
Spokes: Round Sapim Race stainless steel; 28 front, 28 rear
Weight: List: 640g front, 780g rear, 1,420g total; Measured: 671g front, 824g rear, 1,495g total
More Info: atomcomposites.com