Product Test: Syncros Silverton SL Wheels
Syncros is a brand with a lot of history in the cycling industry. Over the years Syncros has made everything from handlebars to bottle cages and has been the go-to accessory brand for racers like Nino Schurter. In the last couple of years Syncros has been expanding its lineup of high-end products. This last spring Syncros introduced its latest Silverton SL wheels designed with one-piece carbon fiber construction to promote stiffness and efficiency. We got ahold of a set of these impressive-looking wheels for a long-term review.
The Silverton SL wheels were designed first and foremost for cross-country racing and riding with no corners cut or expenses spared. The final product is a one-piece carbon design, but it takes 34 different mold pieces to put together one wheel. Syncros uses one blade of carbon for the spoke that runs through the hub to make for a stiffer final product. The various mold pieces include the rim, hub and rim with spokes, all of which get bonded together into one piece.
To maintain the stiffness, Syncros molded the SL wheels with 20 carbon fiber spokes in an X lacing at the hubs. Syncros claims these carbon fiber blades are 35 percent stiffer than traditional steel spokes. Adding to the stiffness of the wheels is a 35mm-deep carbon fiber rim with an internal width of 26mm. The hookless rim beads are quite burly, adding another 6mm for a total rim width of 31mm. The rim bed is completely smooth and sealed with carbon fiber.
Part of the technology behind the SLs is the oversized hub shells that house DT Swiss 190 internal parts. The wheels use ceramic bearings and DT Swiss’ 90-tooth ratchets in the rear for quick engagement. The hubs are built with Boost spacing and were made for Center-Lock rotors. Riders will have the option to run an XD driver or Shimano freehub body.
So what happens if you break a spoke? If you’re on a ride and it’s just one spoke, you’ll most likely be able to carefully ride back to the trailhead. But, you will have to buy an entirely new wheel as opposed to just replacing a spoke as with a traditional wheel. The Silverton SL wheels are only available in a 29-inch diameter with a weight of 1250 grams for the pair with an XD driver. Retail price is set at $3500. This includes a wheel bag, tubeless valves and an XD driver.
On the trail:
There is no denying the Silverton SLs are quite impressive. The one-piece construction is sleek, and the wheelset is impressively lightweight. Needless to say, our test riders were eager to start putting in some miles on these hoops. We installed a pair of Maxxis Aspen 2.25 tires onto the rims, and the 26mm internal width gave the tires a nice, rounded shape. Syncros designed the Silvertons to work with tires up to 2.4 inches wide. A majority of the Silverton’s overall weight is in the hubs, and the 286-gram rim weight was noticeable on the first ride. With their low rim weight, ceramic bearings and quick rear hub engagement, the Silvertons consistently proved to be a fast-rolling set of wheels. They were also some of the stiffest wheels we have tested in recent memory. Some of our test riders found them to be a touch too stiff for a hardtail, but on a full-suspension bike we didn’t feel like they wore us down on longer rides.
With the added stiffness, there was no flex when pedaling hard out of the saddle or grinding up steep climbs or sections of singletrack. We did manage to squeeze in a handful of races on these wheels, and they felt more than up to the task of delivering a fast and efficient ride. After four months of weekly riding, the Silvertons didn’t give us any issues in terms of durability. They stayed true, and the carbon fiber showed little to no wear with the exception of some scratches from trail debris.
The Silverton SLs are a well-engineered set of wheels that will give you a touch of extra speed on race day or your local cross-country group ride. Are they worth $3500? For riders looking to shave every second on their race times and grams off their bikes, yes; however, these wheels will be too expensive for most.
• Quick hub engagement
• Really expensive
• Too stiff for some riders
Star Rating: ★★★★☆
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