The past few days have been interesting in the fatbike realm. Salsa posted the following tweet on the issue just a few days ago…
What are your thoughts on carbon fat bike rims? I personally can’t wait to get a set!
— Salsa Cycles (@salsacycles) September 14, 2013
That’s got me wondering if QBP has something up their sleeves. There’s also been discussion about another set of Fatback prototype carbon fatbike wheels coming to market, anticipated to weigh around 600 grams.
However, first to market appears to be Borealis, which has released their new 590 gram, 85mm carbon fat wheels. They’re anticipated to retail for $1,599 for a set of rims alone.
Pics and details are from Pinkbike.
By way of comparison, Holy Rolling Darryl rims weigh around 860 grams in a similar 82mm width. Marge Lites are 65mm wide (20mm narrower) and weigh 690 grams. Comparing like-side rims, you’re dropping 270 grams per rim, or 1.25 pounds for a set of rims. However, you’re also dropping $1600 for that weight reduction. Hopefully, as more vendors come on line, prices will drop.
The other big advantage I see is the smoothness of the rims. In snow and mud, the holes on existing ‘lightweight’ aluminum rims attract and retrain crud that: a) looks like crap; b) gets into the drivetrain; and, c) adds weight. Smooth rims should shed snow and mud much more, while still offering the lightweight advantage.
The disadvantage? The uncertainty of carbon. Don’t get me wrong, I love my ENVEs, but I’d be a bit scared of an unknown manufacturer jumping into carbon. In particular, with fatbike wheels that run super-low pressures, it could be interesting territory. On my Mukluk, I bent a rear rim running 3-4psi, tubeless. With carbon, that could be an expensive proposition.
I’m interested. Definitely interested. Not ‘writing a check’ interested, but interested.