OK before we start I should warn you, this is a very short review.... for good reasons!
Back in January I was on the lookout for a new set of wheels for my IBIS Ripley LS. Our home trails here in Ashland, OR are some of the best All-Mountain terrain on the west coast so I needed something with a great blend of decent weight, stiffness and generally awesome trail performance that can handle week-in-week-out abuse.
The PRAXIS C32 carbon rim is one of the widest on the market, so perfect for many of the newer, wider 29er tires on the market (up to 3"). Its certainly not an XC type rim, but then again its designed to handle way more abuse.
So, how have the wheels performed in half a year of regular riding, through various trail conditions and weather? Well, here's where the review starts to get short! I can honestly say these wheels have been faultless and I am struggling to say much other than they have handled everything that's been thrown at them.. kind of in a way like you don't notice they are there, which is what exactly what you want in a set of premium hand built wheels.
I'm not the type of rider who takes a lot of shuttles, so they have had to cope with plenty of uphill riding (like this weekend's race down the North Umpqua Trail which had 13k ft of climbing). A couple of minor spills the first week of having the bike were more down to getting used to a full-sus again after a year or so on a steel hardtail, so again I can't fault the wheels for their downhill ability. On a bike like the Ripley LS which really gets up to speed fast on straighter, rougher technical sections the wheels really accelerate fast.
On more technical, twisty trails there were no problems with wheel stiffness, they track like they are on rails and put all the emphasis back onto you as a rider to navigate technical turns. Which is kinda just how you want it really... i'm more than happy to be held back by my own riding ability and not my equipment!
While we normally recommend to customers to check the bearing tension on new Chris King hubs after a few weeks use these have stayed fitted to the bike since I got them and both the wheel bearings and rims are running smooth and straight with no follow up issues after the wheel build. Its getting to that time of year where the hubs could use a quick lube and service to keep them going through the wet, muddy winter.
If you're looking for a set of new custom wheels give our team a shout and we can talk you through the many options... these start from $1599 with White Industries hubs and are also available with Chris King, Phil Wood or Paul Components hubs.
This week's wheel build of the week is another super versatile gravel set up that's equally at home on road or CX.
Astral's Wanderlust Carbon rim is originally designed as a lightweight adventure / gravel rim capable of running up to 2.5" tires. But given their rim profile (23mm internal, 29mm external) they can perform double (or triple) duty as a pure road rim or cyclo-cross race wheelset.