Edge Composites Update

Edge Composite wheels

We saw the Edge Composites 29″er wheels at Sea Otter last week and they are very impressive. We also wanted to correct a couple of things we got a bit wrong which Edge Composites’ Jake Pantone was so kind to point out to us.

First of all, we had stated that there were washers molded into the rims for the spoke nipples to bed into. This was incorrect. Jake states, ” We don’t add a washer to the inside of the rim. The nipple seat is actually molded into the rim and it is all carbon. Essentially the shape is a cupped shape that allows the nipple to articulate and rotate freely all the while it is allowing the spoke to pull in a straight line minimizing unnecessary spoke fatigue. This is a feature incorporated into all of our rims.”

Secondly, we had mentioned that Edge Composites is working with another tire company to get a tubular mountain bike tire done. We got it slightly wrong. Jake states, ” The company that we are working with for tubulars is Challenge and Tufo, not Clement.

While I’m on the subject of tubular mountain bike tires, I wanted to address the scoffs that many of you are undoubtedly expressing in regards to tubulars for off road.

While at first glance, the idea maight seem absurd, think about it in terms of tubeless mountain bike tires. How often do you change tires once they are set up? If a tubeless/tubular tire has sealant, then punctures are not a worry, and if there is a sidewall failure on either type, you are pretty much walking anyway. The exception being that you may just be able to limp a tubular home flat, like a roadie.

I don’t think the two types are that much different and I can tell you, racers are salivating at the chance to race tubulars. We’ll have more updates as they become available.


No Responses to “Edge Composites Update”

  1. Jwiffle Says:

    After seeing the hassle my shop manager had to go through to uninstall and install a new road tubular on a carbon road rim, I have little interest in a mtb tubular on a carbon rim. Too much effort, not enough payoff. On an aluminum rim, may not be so bad an idea.

  2. Mike Says:

    There shouldn’t be any appreciable difference in the installation/removal of tubulars from aluminum or carbon rims. I think what you noticed was the install of a “new” tubular that might not have been properly stretched. And just like clinchers, there are those tight tire/rim combos.

  3. Guitar Ted Says:

    I agree with Mike. Generally it is the glue that makes this a difficult process, not the fitting of the tubular to the rim. Since you should have glue on both the tire and the rim, the material the rim is made from shouldn’t have any bearing on the install.

    I figure that without the stretching process counted, a good mechanic should have these mounted in about the same time as it takes to do a tubeless ready set up.

    In regards to the rim/tire combination here, it would be hoped that the installation would be relatively easy since the companies are working on the interface together. At least you would think so. πŸ™‚

  4. Cloxxki Says:

    Good luck working with TUfo. When I suggested with them to give XC a try, they sais it was not thei ore business. And look at which CX-specific XC tires they came up with.
    Tubulars still have tubes. I wonder why no-one’s made a tubular without the tube yet.

    I hope the Edge tubular rims are going to be WIDE. 30mm+ will be required, I think.

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    Cloxxki: In my talking with the guys at Edge Composites, I got the feeling that Challenge was the way they were going to go because Tufo wasn’t interested in changing the tread design to something marketable for Edge.

    As far as the rim width, I’m hearing 28mm, which when told to a famous single speed racer that has been known to race Dugast tubulars, got the reaction that 28mm sounded fantastic. Of course, the guys racing on the Dugast tubulars are using 19mm wide carbon rims, so an extra 10mm of width ( well almost ten! ) would probably be seen as plenty.

  6. Jwiffle Says:

    It wasn’t the install of the tire itself that was so difficult, that part was pretty straightforward. It was the hassle of trying to remove the old glue from the carbon rim. It was practically impossible to remove the old glue without harming the carbon rim. He spent hours at it and still never got all the old glue off. And since the old glue wasn’t even around the rim, it wasn’t like he could just add some more glue and install the tire.

  7. Dude Says:

    I love the Idea of a mountain tubular. Better contact patch, lower rim profile, amongst other things. I have to say I would also prefer 30mm width on a rim and a beefier tire designed for riding the sharper rocks and such that seem to split sidewalls like crazy out here in Arizona.

    Plus wouldnt Tubular also reduce pinch flats?

  8. Guitar Ted Says:

    Jwiffle: Yeah, old crusty tubular glue can be tough, but I’m betting there is something out there that takes it off easier without harming the carbon. Of course, that doesn’t help your friendly mechanic right now. πŸ™‚

    Dude: Yeah, pinch flats would be pretty much non-existent. That’s why roadies love them for those cobble stone events over in Europe.

  9. Ken Bloomer Says:

    Having mounted, dismounted, and cleaned carbon rims several times, I will speak up on the mounting dismounting issue here. Tufo offers a alternative, their Extreme Gluing Tape. Traditionalists may gasp, but it actually works as well as gluing. I picked this tip up from Marc Gullickson back in the day, and haven’t gone back to gluing since. I have been riding the clinchers and tubulars from EDGE, and they ride superlative. In my opinion, this is the best application for carbon, taking advantage of its ultra high tensile strength for a very true, laterally stiff wheel, while damping and smoothing out the trail. It really is a ride you have to experience. While I lean towards a tubeless setup like Stan’s with the EDGE clincher (a big reason is tread choice), tubulars offer a unique, very nice ride quality. Racers, lighter-weight &/or finesse riders and women will especially appreciate a tubular setup.

    Warning, if you thow a set on your bike to demo, bring the credit card or check book, because you will not take them off.

  10. cdb Says:

    Being a long time XC MTB racer, and also Elite CXer. I don’t think that a Tufo casing would be durable enough for MTB use, unless they were to make it significantly more durable than for example, their Flexus tubular cross tire. They are just not very durable to sharp rock cuts. The cost vs. benefit ratio is just not worth it, in my opinion. Yes, it could be a sweet setup on smooth, tacky earth. But, for limited and specific use only. Like a short, groomed multi-lap worldcup type of course where you have mechanical pit stops. For the everyday racer, it’s impractical. But, I guess people ARE willing to waste their money on anything!?!

    As far as tubular tape goes, opinions vary, but it isn’t really strong enough to counteract the extreme forces placed upon it due to heavy braking, side loads, and especially harsh moisture elements. The popular opinion of top racers and their mechanics agrees with this. Considering that it isn’t currently accepted as the “best” method for attaching CX tires, adding the significantly larger casing size variable of a MTB tire would surely exceed what the base tape and glue is capable of holding. With all the different types of race course terrains, and changing weather, it is important to have many options available to choose from in the days leading up to a race.

    The expense of these tubular wheels and tires would eliminate the possibility to change out tread patterns at the last minute, due to the multiple day time requirement necessary to do a proper glue job.

    I’m all for light wheels, but I would say a lighter clincher wheelset w/ a Notubes setup and a few tire choices would be more practical. For example, some of the new 26″ Stan’s race wheelsets that are around 1250g. Surely they could build a 29er rim for less than the 1650ish gram options they currently have.

  11. Ken Bloomer Says:

    To address a few of the issues brought up by cdb – the new Tufo tape is especially for mtb use, with a wider band of tape – not to be confused w/ their traditional tape for cyclocross application. Removal of this tape takes some effort and cleaning as well. Having several seasons of cx both geared and single speed, trail riding on my cross bike and a half a season on a set of mtb tubulars, I have never rolled a tire, not am I worried about it. The tape really works. I agree with his idea that Tufo tires are on the thin side for protecting against sidewall tears, flats, etc… Dugast Rhinos have been my choice, and once again, no issues. Just so you know I am 155lbs, 6′, 1″, ride custom hardtails, steel & ti, and mainly do single speed, but also some elite masters XC and elite cx.

    VS. Stans rims/ wheels, I would go carbon anyday. Stans rims are OK at best, weights go back and forth as much as a politicians opinions in an election year, and the ride is nowhere the quality of a good carbon rim. Be looking for JHK on a set of carbon 29er wheels w/ Dugast XLs for Bejing if he finds himself on the starting line. If you want the best or what the pros use(Kobollski/ Nys, Frischy, & Swiss Power), then yes, you have to pay to play. I too lean towards clinchers/ tubeless for the tire choices, but make mine carbon for the superior ride quality. Edge 29er carbon wheels will be in around 1350g – 1400g

  12. Cloxxki Says:

    I’ll throw this in. While I used to race CX on a single set op Zipps I own, I developed this opinion.

    UCI shoul ban tubulars.

    It’s making a financial ivide between riders. Regular tires don’t do this, even offer unsponsored riders the “edge” (no pun intended) of choice.
    Let’s suppose these $800/ea rims and their $150/ea? Tubs are going to proove to be worth it. That means multiple sets per rider. Perhaps easy to justify, but for many riders who ride hard and work little, impossible to afford, or even transport all to races.

    So, ban tubulars. And the use of $$$$ carbon in rims. It’s offering a technical edge, but at a cost favouring the rich.

    This is besides me totally digging the idea (been propagating it for years), and wishing to be elected test rider for this stuff.

  13. professed Says:

    Not having ridden carbon rims off road or CX but enjoying a set for my road machine I can say that the stiffness and other unique material properties provides for a superb and faster ride..addictive.

    So I see a huge merit in persuing carbon clincher rims for MTB use. Lets get the weights and costs down with some market competition and development…..

    As for tubulars, I am with Ken and Cloxxki – the cost/benefit ratio of a set of carbon rims with diabolically expensive tubulars of very limited tread and size choice to a well built traditional wheel with say some Racing Ralphs run tubeless, is just not worth it for most of us mere mortals who do not race at Pro level.

    Pinch flat resistance is not the main benefit of tubulars at all. If you want pinch flat resistance simpy and inexpensively run tubeless!

  14. Cloxxki Says:

    A really wide tubular rim will help in preventing rim hits first, and snake bites second. A tubular rim can also feature softer sides to take up hits, and protect the latex inner tube.

    The wide rims make for steeper air compression, just before the tread is about to be banged on the rim.

    With all the tubeless hype, I am still waiting for the firt tubeless tubular. A tubular with no solid butyl/latex air holder in it.

    I see new materials outside the bike market that could be used to improve tires in ways rarely properl tried.

    For the carbon rims and techy tires to become a success, a heavier alu rim alternatie will be required to reach more riders, bring up the tub numbers.

  15. Z34ME Says:

    Seriously, how can anyone argue that Tufo tape isn’t a god send. It is hands down the best stuff out there. I have mounted/unmounted dozens of tubular rims for mountain, road, and cross. The ticket is taking your time to do it right and prep the rim. Scotch brite the tire bed, and wipe it down with alcohol or acetone. Then when you put the tape on make sure that you apply tension and eliminate any air bubbles. Put on the tire, inflate, and remove the backing plastic so the tire will adhere(duh). That is the beauty of Tufo. The tire goes on straight, true, and even every time. Did I mention clean?? The extreme tape is serious business. I’ve had a hell of a time trying to remove tires, that stuff holds a tire every bit as good as glue and with none of the mess. If it has any knocks against it the rim cleanup can be pretty hard, but so is glue.

  16. cdb Says:

    Even if the new “mtb” version of the tape is wider, it is still susceptible to extreme lateral prying forces that 23c road tubies don’t have to go through. Also, due to the lower pressures of off road use, there is less keeping the tire on the rim, unlike a road tubular w/ much higher pressures (which can actually stay on pretty good w/o glue in an emergency, as opposed to a cx tire).

    And when it’s time to remove the damaged or worn tire (lucky if you don’t kill that spendy tire in the first 8-10 hours of use), the tape is messier to remove than glue, because it breaks up into little bits. It wants to stick to the tire casing sometimes, and the rim other times. With glue, you can use a light solvent and “smooth” it out, leaving much of it on, and only needing a fresh wet topcoat on the rim.

    First, to clarify, I have not ridden a carbon mtb rim, nor a mtb tubular. I am hypothesizing based upon my experience racing mtb clinchers and CX tubulars… Take my opinions w/ a grain of salt.

    What is the huge benefit to using a carbon rim vs. extruded aluminum in MTB? Is it weight? Seen the weight of the Stans rims? Stiffness? Is that stiffness useful? Is stiffness provided to a mtb wheel via rim strength alone, or the quality of spoke build and hub flange width/height? Is carbon any more durable against rock chips and other damage from real world riding? How does that “gain” in stiffness translate into faster riding, when factoring in all the other variables like suspension and the need to swap out tread patterns at moments notice.

    I will say the carbon rim looks cool. It at least has that going for it. And, if you make it deep enough, you could put some flashy brand stickers on it. Some folks are all over that kind of thing.

  17. Guitar Ted Says:

    cdb: I feel that there are a lot of misconceptions and just plain myths out there regarding tubular mtb tires. I’ve done some research into this and I have spoken with a few people that have actually ridden tubular mtb tires in real world conditions and I have spoken with several folks about the carbon rim idea. In fact, I have built up some carbon rimmed mtb wheels, so I have some first hand knowledge of the material for rims in mtb situations.

    First of all, lets look at the tire issue. One: a good mtb tubular does not exist, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t. Secondly, if you are afraid of rock cuts, or destroying an expensive tubular mtb tire, please tell me that you don’t run 29″er tubeless set ups, because when you rip your sidewall on that Hutchinson Python, you are walking home, and you are out an expensive tire to boot. (just a single example, I could provide you with more)

    Removing a damaged or worn tire: If the performance benefits are greater than a tubeless set up, (and everyone that has actually ridden mtb tubulars agrees that it is a better system for high performance), the little extra effort to clean up a rim will not be a consideration. Look at tubeless mtb tires as an example if you don’t believe it. There is no doubt that the tubed set ups are easier, less messy, and more convenient to use, but you don’t see people serious about performance running tubes anymore. πŸ˜‰

    According to athletes and the Edge composites people I have spoken with, the benefit to running carbon rims is better ride quality, better durability. and less rotational/overall weight, in that order. Carbon rims are less likely to be damaged in Edge Composites testing. I also found this to be true with the athletes I worked with on the wheels I built up. Stan’s rims can be very light, but a similarly weighted carbon rim would exhibit no flex, whereas a Stan’s rim certainly will exhibit flex. (I am aware of where Stan’s rims are made and that factory isn’t known for making the stiffest aluminum rims in the first place) Is rim stiffness a factor? Certainly. So is the rest of the wheel build, but your final outcome is only as good as the components you choose to build with. Their is no doubt that a stiff, true rim will build a better wheel. Carbon can be controlled and can be made to be just that, in a much more consistent way than metal drawn through a die. Think about it: An aluminum rim extrusion goes through several convolutions before it is a hoop worth making a wheel out of. A carbon rim is molded in it’s final shape. Heck, the Edge Composites rim has it’s spoke holes molded right in them! No drilling required!

    Okay, so a carbon clincher/tubular may not be for you, but I have no doubt that if the right tread patterns for the tubular are produced that you will see a whole lot of them under racers in the coming years. I have no doubt they can be made to work. I also know that the guys I talked to that have ridden them are salivating at the possibilities. If it is done right, it will be a home run. Of course, that is a pretty big “if” at the moment. We’ll see soon enough. πŸ™‚

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