ASK MBACTION: Bent Another One

I BENT ANOTHER RIM!

Q: I am a 53-year-old man. I have been bending and breaking rims my whole life. Getting a bit tired of it! I weigh about 215 pounds, and I ride more aggressively than the average rider. Help! Is there something out there I will not bend?

—Patrick, who has had enough tacos for a lifetime

A: Keith Bontrager had a famous saying that went something like this: “When it comes to bicycle components, there are three things to look for—light weight, durability and affordability. Pick two. In your case, you need more durability, which means you’re either going to have to get something heavier and burlier or more expensive.

If you just want to rebuild the rear wheel, you could buy something burlier, such as a DT Swiss FR 570. It’s a welded rim that’s durable and can certainly hold your weight. The rim is about $70, but the spokes and labor will run you at least another hundred, which is halfway to a new wheelset that won’t be mismatched.

If you want a wheelset that’s affordable and durable, we’ve had great luck with the Azonic Outlaw wheels, which feature a burly 32-millimeter outer width and are available in four different colors and virtually every wheel diameter and axle size. They retail for $500, but you can find them online for less than that.If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Mavic DeeMax is a wheelset with aluminum spokes and an aluminum rim that you certainly won’t be able to bend. It’s been used by several World Cup riders who are harder on wheels than anybody else. They sell for about $800.

Finally, if you really want to end your bent-wheel woes, carbon rims are likely the best solution. Unfortunately, they’re also the most expensive. A set of Reynolds or Enve wheels will run upwards of $3000, but they are more durable, in our expe- rience, than any aluminum wheel. We know of some other carbon options that cost much less, like the ones from Box Components, but don’t have enough time on them yet to give a verdict.


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1 Comment
  1. Don Paul says

    I bent the rear 27.5+ Raceface ARC 40 rim TWICE on my 2017 Santa Cruz Hightower within the first couple of weeks of riding my regular cross country MTB trails. Nothing on my regular trails should have done this… and I’ve ridden these trails on my 2011 Santa Cruz Tallboy c with super lightweight Roval carbon fiber wheels and NEVER had an issue. I replaced the Raceface ARC 40 rims with ENVE M60+ carbon fiber rims on my Hightower and have had ZERO issues since… PLUS they track and FEEL a lot better (not as harsh which was a surprise). Not sure I’ll ever ride on aluminum wheels again since I’ve bent and even broken them… but never a carbon fiber one.

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