Edge Composite Rims: West Coast Testing

Editors Note: In our “Top Ten 29″er Products of ’08” series, these Edge Composites rims laced to American Classic hubs came in number 8. Then we sent them out to Grannygear in SoCal for some further testing. Here is his first report on them

First Impressions: Edge Composite 29er wheels – Increasing your carbon footprint.

Edge Carbon rims/American Classic hubs

Since Guitar Ted, being a citizen of the great state of Iowa, is in the middle of the 2008/2009 ice age, he was kind enough to send the Edge/American Classic wheels combo out west. Here we only allow 6 days of winter and they are scheduled to not interfere with runs to the Starbucks located on every other block. Priorities, ya’ know.

When I unpacked the box of wheels, they were wrapped in plastic. I picked up one of the wheels and thought, “that is a light front wheel”. It was the rear wheel. Oh…wow! I have to say that they are pretty cool looking. After years of the same shape rims either in polished or black anodized aluminum, the flat black, deep V rim is pretty stealth looking, although the Edge decals will let the world know what you are rolling on.

I was not too concerned about raw weights, etc, since GT had already covered all that. I wanted to see how they compared to the wheels I am using now with tires, tubes, etc, all ready to go. I am presently running a Stan’s Flow rim on Hope hubs, standard QR, with a butted spoke of some sort (used wheels). They are tubeless with the yellow strips and separate valve stems.

I had talked to GT about the possibilities of running the Edge rims tubeless. It seemed like it would need to be a ghetto conversion and I did not want to mess with that. Instead, I would run them the way the manufacturer intended. I mounted them with 26” tubes (I always use 26” tubes in any wheel that is not tubeless) and a spare set of Captain Controls/Eskars from the Specialized tire testing. I used the same QRs and the same cassette, basically stealing that stuff from the old wheels on the Lev. Disc rotors were comparable, all four being 160mm in size and pretty much the same in any other way. The difference in weight with no QRs and no Cassette was just less than 100g per wheel, with the feathery Edge rims and hubs overcoming the burlier looking Flow/Hope combo.

As a side note, the American Classic hubs have a nice, smooth feel to them and the pawl action is light, but crisp, more positive than a Shimano hub, but a Swiss watch compared to the draggy Hope hubs. I did notice that the flanges, although tall, are spaced slightly narrower than the Hope hubs. Typically, as far as hub flanges go, wider is better for a stiffer wheel build.

Mounting the tubes and tires was a bit like wrestling a snake, since putting a 26” tube into a 29er rim/tire combo is kind of a dance. I noticed right away that the presta valve was barely visible out of the rim, but Edge supplies little tube-like extenders that provide the needed length for airing up. They screw onto the presta valve and stay in place. Is this good or? Well, frankly it was kind of a pain in that there is some fiddling involved in getting the tube-y thingy into the hole and over the valve, threading it on without also closing the presta valve, etc. But the biggest thing in my mind is what if you lose the extender? Bummer. Are there long stem 26” tubes out there? Maybe…never needed one before…but if so, you would be about the only guy in a given group ride to be needing one, I would bet. Better carry the extenders as well as the special long stem tube.

Editor’s Note: The valve extender idea will not be a foreign concept to triathletes, or roadies, but that said, it is rare in mountain biking. Cane Creek used to sell some wheels that required the valve extenders that I used in my 26″er days. In my experience, I did not find them to be any trouble, but Granny is right, if you lose one, you are stranded.

The tires are a loose fit, better than the DT Swiss 7.1TK rims on the SS Monkey, but nowhere near the secure bead fit on the Stan’s Flows. Also, they are kinda’ narrow. I lost over a ¼ inch in casing width on the front Captain Control compared to the tubeless Flow combo. In fact, I still have not gotten the tires to seat evenly on the rim and both tires are dipping and diving as I look down while riding. I need to deflate and fiddle with that some more.

Now, all that done, how are they on the trail? Well, that will be the task over the next bit of time. Are they all that and more? So far, one ride is not enough to know too much, but they do feel very zippy. What does zippy mean exactly? Exactly, I am not sure. But I felt like momentum was easy to initiate and maintain. Entering and exiting sharp corners and transitions was very snappy. I could not feel the wheels giving me anything but what I asked for. I did feel the tire/wheel combo deflect a couple of times over obstacles, but I bet that was the narrower rim allowing the tire to roll a bit on the rocks. That was one thing I noticed right away when I went to the wider Flow rims. The straighter sidewall a wider rim allows is nice for a bigger rider running lower tire pressures.

I will run them for a while and then switch back and forth to the other wheels and see if I can tell the difference. Since I am coming from a pretty good set of wheels, I may not see the difference as much as a rider who swaps to the Edge rims from a lesser wheelset. But at the cost of this wheelbuild, I can only imagine that the target market will already be on some pretty nice rolling stock and will be considering these as an ultimate race day wheel that can feel very fast and yet take the abuse of a heavier rim.

For now, I am rolling fast and happy. Will I stay that way? Time will tell. Stay tuned.


No Responses to “Edge Composite Rims: West Coast Testing”

  1. Shop Mechanic Says:

    I looked at these rims at interbike and thought that they were pretty cool but when you look at the specs they don’t quite make sense. The catalog says the rims are 380g and the website says that they are 400g. Stan says his 355 rims are 410g. I weighed as stans 355 and it was 385g! With the stan’s rim you can go tubeless easily and save more weight there plus the other benefits of tubeless. When you add that the stan’s rims are much cheaper it made my decision to run the stan’s rim easy.

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    Shop Mechanic: Yeah, the price is crazy, but horses for courses. I couldn’t race on 355’s. At my size, the 355’s are like riding wet noodles. So, you see, it all depends on what works best for each individual.

    Lightweight and stiff? The Edge rims would have to be my choice if those two items were top priorities for me.

    But again…..that price differential is huge. It would be hard to part with the cash for sure.

  3. kaz_kougar Says:

    Okay, I’ve gotten mixed answers on this, not sure if this is the appropriate place or time to ask but here goes..

    Shopping for a new commuter, considering a 29er. Can I run 700c tires on a 29er? I’ve heard several people say yes, as long as they are wide enough. My understanding is that the rims on a 29er are the same diameter as a 700c wheel just wider. A guy at my LBS told me today that you can’t run 700c tires on a 29er at all. I’m sure I’ll get a few, “Why would you want to” answers on this which I see as beside the point but I guess my answer to that would be for increased speed which begs the question what do I stand to gain in speed assuming I could go to a more narrow 700c wheel? Your comments are always appreciated.

  4. Davidcopperfield Says:

    All answers are here:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=18514/ Nothing left to say.

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    kaz_kougar: First of all, yes, you can run narrow 700c rubber on 29″er rims. Here’s the detailed answer…………..

    Many 29″er rims are sub 28mm wide, some as narrow as road rims are at 23mm, or even 20m wide. The narrower the rim, the less problems you will incur by running narrow tires in the 23mm to 30mm range. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend using these narrow sizes with anything wider than 24mm rims. Why? Because as the rims get wider, they by necessity spread the beads of the tire further apart, taking the tires shape in profile from a nice arched “U” shape to a flattened profile. This will decrease the height of the casing in relation ship to the rim walls, allowing for easier pinch flatting and bead blow offs.

    If the rims in question are 24mm to 28mm wide, then a minimum tire size of 30-32mm would be pushing your luck. I’d not do it, but would opt rather for 35mm rubber and up here.

    28mm plus? I wouldn’t consider anything under 35mm as even being a posibility, and would rather stay above 35mm, especially at or above 30mm rim width.

    So you see, you can use narrow roadie tires, with the caveat that your rim width and diameter must be compatible with the tires you have in mind. As long as that is in place, it doesn’t matter what the nomenclature is. 🙂

  6. Yourdaguy Says:

    I see no reason to pay the ridiculous price for these rims especially since you can’t build them 3 cross, or run tubeless. Stans Flows run tubeless would end up lighter and give a much wider tire footprint with less pressure and more compliance. At $85 per rim as opposed to $850 per rim I would rather have the Flows if the price was the same.

  7. Shimano Reels Says:

    Hi, I discovered your site a number of weeks ago and have ploughed through all the posts and comments quietly. I decided to might post my firstcomment. Not really sure what to comment but anyway. Informative blog. Will visit soon to see what else you have to offer.

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