THREE RIMS AND A CON­CLU­SION

Australian Mountain Bike - - Speakers’ Corner -

Look­ing back over the many hours spent on each rim width it is hard to call out a so-called win­ner. As we were us­ing the same setup with only the rim width chang­ing from test to test we would have to say that over­all the XM 481 was the best suited to the 27.5 x 2.4” tyre size we were used, and how we were rid­ing. The large amount of sup­port that the 30mm in­ter­nal rim gives the tyre means that if de­sired you could per­haps move up to a 27.5 x 2.5” tyre for that ex­tra grip with out any is­sues. By no means are we say­ing this is the per­fect width rim for any bike or any use. But it does come as no sur­prise that the stand out rim width of 30mm is what we are see­ing as close to stan­dard on most 150mm-160mm travel bikes sport­ing 2.4”-2.5” tyres in all wheel sizes. But next is­sue we’ll have a test of the DT Swiss XMC 1200 trail wheels that have a 29mm in­ter­nal, and they are pretty much the same wheels that XC phe­nom Nino Schurter used in 2017 for such a dom­i­nant sea­son, af­ter ex­ten­sive test­ing in 2016. So wider rims aren’t just the do­main for longer travel bikes, but also ag­gres­sive rid­ing no mat­ter the dis­ci­pline. Dur­ing the test­ing we were ques­tioned as to why the XR 361 rim was in­cluded. With a 22mm in­ter­nal vol­ume, this model rep­re­sents the in­ter­nal vol­ume that so many rims have been us­ing un­til the past cou­ple of years. So if your wheel set is a lit­tle older, chances are the in­ter­nal rim width is some­where around 22-23mm. And sure, you can fit wider tyres if you have the frame and fork clear­ance, but our re­sults should show you why you just might not be get­ting the ride you ex­pected by do­ing so. Sim­i­larly, the XM 421 with a 30mm ex­ter­nal width is a great ex­am­ple of where many of the ‘30mm’ rims on the mar­ket sit. It’s a re­ally pop­u­lar size for modern XC bikes, and while it can suit a 2.4” tyre, they are prob­a­bly best suited to 2.2-2.35” tyres. With tyre sizes start­ing to in­crease and 2.6”-2.8” tyres pop­ping up more and more we may need to re­visit this story this time start­ing with a 40mm in­ter­nal rim width. Wider tyres are bet­ter sup­ported with wider rims, es­pe­cially if you want to get the full per­for­mance ad­van­tages – so if you’re look­ing for that ex­tra edge in per­for­mance from your bike, have a think about your rolling stock and pay at­ten­tion to in­ter­nal rim width and op­ti­mis­ing your tyre pres­sures.

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