Shimano is fairly consistent with its product lifecycles and, following its usual pattern, it seems highly probable that we’ll see the launch of a new 12-speed Dura-Ace groupset in 2020, most likely called Dura-Ace R9200. The current 11-speed Dura-Ace R9100 is a wonderfully refined groupset in all its permutations (disc, rim, electronic, mechanical…) and you could be forgiven for thinking that major improvements are unlikely. Shimano GRX is here: gravel-specific and 1x components for Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 review Nevertheless, we’re excited to see what Shimano comes up with for 2020. Will Shimano go 12-speed on the road? Will the new Dura-Ace Di2 be partially or completely wireless? What mad new tech might be introduced? As is traditional, Shimano won’t tell us anything at this point, so here are our predictions and my personal wish list of features, based on years of reporting on Shimano components and my assessment of the current road bike market. 1. Dura-Ace R9200 will be 12-speed Shimano debuted its 12-speed Micro Spline freehub with the launch of XTR M9100. Josh Patterson / Immediate Media Given that Shimano has already gone 12-speed with its XTR M9100 mountain bike groupset and both SRAM and Campagnolo have already added a twelfth cog to their road offerings, it seems all but certain that the next generation of Dura-Ace will follow suit. That has major implications for the groupset as a whole, because it would mean finally abandoning the Hyperglide freehub, presumably in favour of the Micro Spline design, which launched with XTR M9100 in 2018. This allows for the use of a 10t small cog on the cassette and has since been adopted for the second and third-tier SLX and XT mountain bike drivetrains. A move to 12-speed is good news if you’re looking for closer spaced gears or more range, but it will of course mean no backwards compatibility for most wheels. Of course, you never know, Shimano might just jump straight to 14-speed. 2. Dura-Ace R9200 will still be available in mechanical, Di2, hydraulic and rim brake versions SRAM seems to have all but abandoned mechanical shifting at the high end and its rim brakes feel like a bit of a poor second cousin too — the new RED and Force AXS groupsets are electronic only, and there’s still no groupset-matching direct-mount brake option. I can’t see Shimano taking a similar approach. Dura-Ace is a flagship for the brand with a long and storied history, and it’s always been a showcase for the very best mechanical shifting the company’s engineers can offer. Similarly, while the disc brake takeover continues, a significant proportion of pro and amateur riders continue to use rim brakes, and Shimano won’t want to alienate them completely. There days may be numbered, but I’m not convinced Shimano is ready to drop rim brakes just yet. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media As long as mechanical road groupsets continue to form the core of Shimano’s road range with everyman groupsets such as 105, and bike manufacturers continue to produce rim brake versions of their top-end bikes, I think mechanical shifting and rim brakes are here to stay as options at the top level. Saying that, it’s possible that one or more of the groupset permutations might be dropped. Dura-Ace R9100 is available in four versions (R9100 mechanical/rim brake, R9120 mechanical/disc brake, R9150 Di2/rim brake, R9170 Di2/disc brake). It’s conceivable that R9200 might do without, say, the R9220 mechanical/disc brake option, but Shimano generally likes to cover all bases, so I’m doubtful about that. 3. Dura-Ace R9200 will not be fully wireless There’s no denying that SRAM’s wireless eTap groupsets make for wonderfully clean builds. SRAM We know that Shimano has filed patents for wireless components in recent memory, but I don’t think the next generation of Dura-Ace Di2 will actually be wireless, or at least not fully. Going wireless would mean fundamentally changing the way Di2 works and up-ending the existing E-Tube ecosystem, which integrates with the STEPS e-bike system. Current Di2 (no pun, etc.) runs off a single, large battery, with components connected at junction boxes — typically one at the stem, and one inside the frame. Wireless would necessitate separate batteries and the adoption of a new communication protocol. Of course, there is precedent for starting with a clean slate — when Shimano moved from the original Dura-Ace 7970 and Ultegra 6770 Di2 to the 9070 generation, the original Di2 was completely orphaned, with no backwards compatibility at all. Perhaps a more likely scenario for R9250/R9270 is a semi-wireless design where the derailleurs are physically connected to a main battery and a receiver, and the shifters communicate with them wirelessly. A typical Di2 setup looks something like this — could it be streamlined? Shimano In any case, some streamlining of current wiring arrangements would certainly make sense. In existing Di2 setups, a bike might have two junction boxes and a bar-end charging point. One or more of these could be eliminated with some thoughtful engineering. 4. Dura-Ace R9200 will be a premium product aimed at road racers first While lower-tier groupsets have always offered features aimed specifically at amateurs, Dura-Ace has historically been kept slightly apart, with the focus always on racers. In recent years, for example, Ultegra rear derailleurs have been designed to work with cassettes up to 34t, while Dura-Ace has never supported a big cog larger than 30t. In a similar vein, Shimano held off adding disc brakes to Dura-Ace initially, at a time when pros were riding rim brakes exclusively, instead offering them as non-series components nominally at Ultegra level. It wasn’t until the debut of Dura-Ace R9100 that discs became part of the flagship race groupset. When Shimano launched its GRX gravel components, it chose not to offer them at Dura-Ace level. Shimano Most recently, Shimano dived into 1× for road and gravel with the launch of its GRX components, which top-out at the RX800 Ultegra-equivalent level. 5. Dura-Ace R9200 cranks will be alloy and 2× only Shimano has dabbled with carbon cranks before, but I’m predicting that the next generation of Dura-Ace will stick with alloy. Shimano Shimano has dabbled with carbon cranksets in the past and actually launched a carbon version of its Dura-Ace 7800 cranks way back in 2007, but since then, the brand has focussed exclusively on aluminium cranks, producing ever-more refined versions of its Hollowtech II design. It seems likely that this trend will continue for R9200 cranks, although we did get a glimpse of an alternative future with a striking new crank design teased in a patent filed by Shimano. What seems more likely is a shake-up of available ratios as we’ve seen with SRAM’s 12-speed AXS groupsets. If Shimano adopts a 10t cog, it would only be logical to combine that with smaller chainrings, perhaps along similar lines to the 50/37t, 48/35t and 46/33t of SRAM’s X-Range cranks. Shimano patented this radical crank design. Shimano / Google Patents It’s conceivable that Shimano might move to direct-mount chainrings for 12-speed as it did with the latest XTR groupset, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Direct-mount offers an elegant way to support both 1× and 2× drivetrains on the same crank platform as well as a range of chainring — because bolt circle diameter (BCD) isn’t an issue — but I doubt the next generation of Dura-Ace will offer a 1× option at all. Pro cyclists have shown little enthusiasm for 1× on the road (see also: the team Aqua Blue Sport debacle and the subsequent launch of the 3T Strada Due), so to offer 1× would not be in keeping with the racing-first ethos of Dura-Ace. It would be fair to say that 1× on pure road bikes has some way to go. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Also, Shimano has only just launched its GRX range of gravel components which support 1×, so adding the option to the brand’s pure road offering would be a muddling of its current approach. A curious side effect of Dura-Ace going 12-speed and sticking to 2× would be that the brand would then be offering 1×11 and 2×12, but not 1×12. No doubt 12-speed GRX components would be released in good time, however. A further consideration is crank spindle diameter; where other manufacturers have focussed on 30mm designs, Shimano has stuck doggedly to 24mm, which eases backwards compatibility concerns. I don’t see this changing — Shimano has proven it can make ultra-stiff cranks with 24mm spindles, and moving away from them would have far reaching implications for bottom bracket design that would put Dura-Ace entirely at odds with the rest of Shimano’s range. 6. Dura-Ace R9200 will brake even better, but you may not notice The current generation of Shimano hydraulic levers offer a greater range of adjustment compared to the first wave of road disc components and the braking on offer is very, very good. Realistically, any improvements on this front are going to be incremental ones, but it’s possible that the range of adjustment could be further increased or even made tool-free, although the latter seems unlikely. Shimano borrowed Servo Wave from its mountain bike levers for the Di2 version of GRX. Kevin Fickling / Shimano The new GRX Di2 levers use Shimano’s Servo Wave design for better braking off-road. Servo Wave makes the relationship between lever and pad travel non-linear, improving modulation in the latter part of the stroke. It’s debatable whether this specific approach would offer a benefit on the road, but I could imagine Shimano looking to improve braking control if not outright power. 7. Shimano will do something different Shimano won’t want to be seen to be playing catch up with SRAM and Campagnolo. There’s a strong incentive for the brand to strike out in an entirely new direction to differentiate itself from the competition. It seems likely that it might do this on the tech and integration front. Shimano has filed some interesting patents in recent years including, for example, one that appears to describe a system of service indicators for bikes, which displays information to the rider in much the same way that a modern car tells its owner when to perform key maintenance, such as changing engine oil or replacing brake pads. A system like this is more likely to appear on more utility-oriented bikes (and e-bikes) than the race machines for which Dura-Ace is intended, but it’s interesting all the same. A greater level of integration seems inevitable for Dura-Ace Di2. R9100 debuted Synchro Shifting, user-assignable buttons on the shifters and Garmin integration, and Shimano now offers a Bluetooth antenna for direct communication with your phone. Expect some further evolution of this everything-connected approach, perhaps with more sophisticated power meter integration and greater connectivity to third party devices. My Dura-Ace 2020 wishlist Above all, I’d like Shimano to be daring with the next generation of its flagship road groupset. This is the company that came up with pneumatic shifting and SPD sandals for crying out loud! While I don’t think it’s going to happen, I would love it if the brand were to go fully wireless with Dura-Ace R9200. Building a bike with SRAM eTap is such a delight, with no gear cables (or wires) to route through the frame, and no separate battery to install. eTap makes for wonderfully clean builds, the likes of which simply aren’t possible with current Shimano groupsets. I sincerely believe that Dura-Ace 9000 is one of the most striking groupsets ever made. BikeRadar On the aesthetic front, I think Shimano could afford to be bolder. I happen to think Dura-Ace 9000 was one of the best looking groupsets ever made, with its angular lines and sharp two-tone accents. When it launched, it looked like nothing else on the market. Dura-Ace R9100, on the other hand, was much more conservative in its design. It’s still a handsome set of components, but the mostly-black colour scheme (there’s a bit of subtle fading) just isn’t as radical and eye-catching. I want Shimano to come up with something both beautiful and new for the next generation. What are you hoping for from the next generation of Dura-Ace? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Bernard Kerr battled through heavy mist to become the first person to ever win the world’s toughest mountain bike downhill race for the second time. Gee Atherton and Joe Smith completed an all-British podium. Here is all you need to know: – Built by local legend Dan Atherton in Wales, the course combines tricky technical downhill features with huge freeride-style jumps including the breathtaking final fly off which sees riders fly 65ft towards the finish line. – Saturday’s qualifying for the sixth edition of the gruelling race took place on a near perfect track in bright sunshine amongst the hills of Dyfi Valley. – Kerr, one of the best all-round riders in the world, dominated qualifying with a time of 2m50s as Atherton showed he was also in form just two seconds behind. – Sunday’s weather, though, turned in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,000 as heavy mist and tricky wind peppered the track to make life difficult for the riders. – Former world junior champion Kade Edwards, Charlie Hatton and Kaos Seagrave all suffered in the conditions before Welshman Smith’s incredible run was marred by a rear tyre puncture that forced him to go round the final jump – losing three vital seconds in the process. – Reigning champion Atherton’s run was messy, however it was fast and enough to take the lead by 2.5s with Kerr then looking to repeat his 2016 triumph. – He attacked the course with clean lines and made up speed on the open sections, where other riders crashed, to power into the final section where he held his nerve. – Kerr revealed: “It was a tough day with all the weather, but I tried to carve new lines. I found it easy to focus today. Winning twice is unreal. I broke my hand a few weeks ago, so I missed half the season. It makes me feel really good, after missing races and knowing I was going quick this year, to come back and win it.” – Two-time world downhill champion Atherton added: “The rain rolled in, the mist rolled in and we went back to classic Red Bull Hardline with dark, Welsh conditions which always makes for a tough race. I enjoyed it. I had a few slips on the run, but it wasn’t a bad run.” 2019 Red Bull Hardline course features Rock drop: 13ft drop Cannon: 57ft travelled Step Up: 40mph speed required to clear jump Dirty Ferns: 45ft travelled Road Gap: 55ft trajectory Out of the woods: 45ft travelled The Final Fly Off: 65ft travelled – biggest jump ever at Red Bull Hardline
It’s fair to say that this year’s event was something extremely special Featured Image: Syo van Vliet Bangers. Wall to wall bangers. Nothing but bangers. Bang tidy bangers. Bang, bang, you’re dead bangers. Cillit Bang(ers). Audi Nine MTB 2019 bangers. Bangers ‘n’ Mash. So many bangers Nearly 4,000 spectators went to the Ellweiler stone quarry near Birkenfield to watch the conclusion of The Audi Nines MTB 2019. And boy, oh boy, were they treated to a spectacle. 28 of the world’s greatest mountain bikers, at an event put on in collaboration with Bikepark Idarkopf, gathered together with the aim of progressing their sport to brave new heights (sometimes literally). The invited riders, a hand-selected group of absolute rippers, wowed the crowd with sessions on the spot’s Big Air Jump, Freeride, Slopestyle lines, and the iconic “Perfect Hip” at the quarry’s bottom. “The level we saw today was just crazy” Germany’s Nico Schloze and Erik Fedko took the wins in the Big Air (DH Bike) and Best Line (Slopestyle) respectively while American Nicholi Rogatkin placed first in Big Air (Hardtail) and Spaniard Bienvenido Aguado Alba claimed top spot in the Big Line (Freeride). The day’s excitement ended with a crowd-wowing session on the site’s gargantuan hip, with riders soaring to jaw-dropping heights. “This was the best public display we’ve done in 25 events,” said Audi Nines creator Nico Zacek. “Usually it’s more about the video and photo shoots for us. But the energy from thousands of cheering fans is amazing for the athletes. It gave them extra motivation to perform their best, and the level we saw today was just crazy.” Video Highlights From The Audi Nines MTB 2019 Banger’s ‘n’ Mash Edit Nicholi Rogatkin, Twister No Hander Bienvenido Aguado, Tsunami Front Flip Jackson Goldstone, Double Backflip Tom Isted, Double Barrel Roll Credit: Klaus Polzer Credit: Klaus Polzer Credit: Klaus Polzer Credit: Klaus Polzer You May Also Like Raw 100 V5 | 100 Seconds Of Brandon Semenuk In Utah Mountain Biking In Nepal | Riding The Gosainkunda Trail In The Himalayas The post The Audi Nines MTB 2019 | Highlights appeared first on Mpora.
This is the first time we've seen someone do a Tsunami front flip on a DH bike, and especially on a jump this big. Wild!( Comments: 1 )
The Audi Nines MTB 2019: Bangers ‘n Mash A remote stone quarry in Germany, sculpted into a mountain biker’s wet dream. Nearly 30 top riders from around the world. Freeride & slopestyle lines, satellites and skate parks, a big air jump and a monumental hip. Got you feeling hungry? Then get your fill of this healthy serving of bangers n’ mash, courtesy of the Audi Nines MTB 2019. Featuring Jackson Goldstone, Sam Reynolds, Clemens Kaudela, Daniel Ruso, Peter Kaiser, Erik Fedko, Szymon Godziek and many more.
When did you last do something that made you truly proud? When was the last time you gave something your all and came out satisfied? Despite the uncertainty, the hard work paid off, right? That’s what the new ENDURO issue is about – the idea of daring to jump headfirst into a project to see if dreams can become reality, even if, at times, your journey might not always follow the direct route. The Highlights Group Test: 6 fun, capable, short-travel trail bikes Editors Bikes – 4 our editor’s dream builds Behind The Scenes – we visit Atherton Bikes All Or Nothing – the Stanton Bikes story Juliana Roubion CC long term review – Toni takes stock Portrait: We talk to Fanie Kok from Soil Searching The latest issue is available now in our free magazine app. If you haven’t installed our app yet, now’s your chance to download it for free in the App Store (iPhone / iPad) or in the Play Store (Android smartphones & tablets). Our free, digital magazine is the centrepiece of our work and definitely the best way to experience our content, with interactive features as well as beautiful photography and videos all packed into a unique design. If you like our website, we’re sure you’ll love our magazine app. By the way: the app even gives you access to all of our back issues – hours upon hours of first-class content! All the bikes in this issue Canyon Neuron CF 8.0 | Canyon Strive CFR | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 8000 | NICOLAI G1 | NICOLAI Saturn 14 | Nordest Britango | Pole Stamina 140 | Specialized Epic Expert EVO | Specialized Stumpjumper EVO | Stanton Switch9er FS | Trek Top Fuel 9.9 | Whyte S-120C RS | Yeti SB100 C GX What to expect in this issue This issue is all about action takers. People who grab life by the horns and decide their own fate. Entitled “Stairway To Heaven,” this issue is all about the fact that the road to realising your dreams can be long and hard, but it’s worth it at the end. Dan Stanton’s story sounds a lot like a script from a Hollywood movie. Sat at a poker table one evening, he literally bet everything on his hand. Winning would mean having the funds to start a bike company, losing would mean seeing his dream go up in flames. Fortunately – and here comes the Hollywood vibe – Stanton Bikes came to life thanks to this poker game. But like any gripping Hollywood movie, things don’t always go as planned. For Dan, running a business is a daily roller coaster, with new challenges and opportunities popping up all the time, such as the recent move of production from Taiwan to the United Kingdom. The four dream bikes that our editors built also took a long time to realise. After weeks of planning, discussing and spending a lot of time in the workshop, four completely different dream builds emerged for four completely different riders. The birth of mountain bikes is over 40 years ago. Since then, bikes have undergone an evolutionary quantum leap. Enduro bikes have become more efficient, and cross-country bikes have become increasingly capable. The categories we used to have are blurring and new possibilities are opening up. Our group test of six capable, short-travel trail bikes is proof. Besides being efficient and light-footed climbers, they’re a ton of fun on the descents! ‘Long low, slack’ is the new black and the mountain biking industry’s favourite new marketing slogan. While pretty much every modern trail bike at least somewhat follows this trend , NICOLAI and Pole take it a step further, implementing the most radical geometries currently available on the market. Does it make any sense to take this approach with trail bikes, or does it kill all the fun? We took these two extreme trail bikes out on to the trail to find out how they handle and see which one would come out on top in our head-to-head test! We didn’t go easy on the Juliana Roubion CC! It had to prove itself on demanding alpine trails in Europe, on the legendary North Shore trails of Vancouver, during long days in the saddle in Squamish and on jumps at the Coast Gravity Park. Now that Antonia is on her third set of brake pads and second set of tires, she has a good impression of what the Rubion is capable of. What are the hallmarks of a mountain biker’s ultimate family holiday? Easy answer: riding as much as physically possible. But when adult commitments and parental responsibilities put the brakes on your riding time, you may want to consider the Dolomites Bike-Weeks in the idyllic village of Olang in South Tyrol. We’ve been there and tried it out. Excited? These (and many more) stories are just a few clicks away. If you have already installed our free app, simply open it and download the latest issue right now. If not, first download the free app from the App Store (iPhone / iPad) or the Play Store (Android smartphones & tablets) and then download the latest issue in the app. All you’ve got to do then is sit back and enjoy (ideally with a cold beer or a delicious cup of coffee)! #qualitytime
Curve Cycling is a relatively small outfit based out of Melbourne, which over the past six years has established its name from producing carbon fibre wheels that are designed for everything from road racing, through to gravel, cyclocross, ulta-long distance bikepacking and mountain biking. The company has since broadened its product line to encompass complete bikes and frames built from steel, titanium and carbon fibre, but the wheelbuilding business still remains at the core of what Curve is best known for. The Curve Dirt Hoops came well prepared for a chilly Victorian winter with these neat rim-warmers. Down & Dirty With a keen focus on value and keeping the performance-for-the-dollar ratio high, Curve works with manufacturing partners in Asia to produce its carbon fibre rims, which are then handbuilt in its Melbourne-based workshop utilising high quality DT Swiss hubs and Sapim spokes. Up until recently though, Curve’s rims utilised what’s known as an ‘open-mould’ design, which means they’re basically a standard rim out of a catalogue that Curve purchases directly from of the factory. This is no bad thing, and there are plenty of small wheelbuilders out there who import rims directly from the factory to build up well-priced carbon wheels for their customers. Assuming you find the right factory and the quality is right, it can be a cost-effective way to get a great set of wheels. Though that’s worked in the past though, Curve has taken a slightly different approach with its new Dirt Hoops. The new Dirt Hoops are available as a complete wheelset, or rim-only too. Ain’t No Catalogue Rims Here Released earlier this year, the Curve Dirt Hoops are the brand’s newest off-road wheelset. Drawing upon the past six years of wheelbuilding experience, Curve has developed its own unique rim profile that aims to harness the benefits of modern high-volume tubeless tyres, while creating a vastly stronger rim than previous designs. The Dirt Hoops had been in development for well over a year prior to their release. The test process was as extensive and as wide-ranging as the staff pool at Curve Cycling, which included being walloped at Whistler Bike Park, belted at the 2019 National XCO Championships, and pummelled during the arduous 2018 Race To The Rock. The result is a set of wheels made to cover everything from long-distance bikepacking through to All Mountain riding, which Curve says is its most durable to date. Curve-sponsored rider, Jon Odams, getting wild on the new Dirt Hoops during the 2019 Reef to Reef at Smithfield MTB Park. Odams is running the lighter Wide 35 version of the Curve Dirt Hoops, complete with a DT Swiss 240 hub upgrade. Aussie Designed & Tortured Curve has had a number of its sponsored riders putting the new Dirt Hoops through their paces during the development process. That’s included super-endurance riders Sarah Hammond and Jesse Carlsson, and XC racer Courtney Sherwell, who finished 6th at the National XCO championships in Bright this year. Jon Odams has also been racing on the Dirt Hoops Wide 35 wheelset, which he’s had upgraded to DT Swiss 240 hubs to shave off a few more grams. Claimed weight on those wheels? Just over 1400g. 5mm thick carbon fibre hookless beads aim to provide more strength over previous rim designs. Curve furnishes the Dirt Hoops with its own tubeless tape and valves. Wide And, Err, Really Wide There are two options in the Curve Dirt Hoops range; the Wide 35, and the Wider 40. The number in the name refers to the rim’s external width, which as you’ve probably just realised, is bloody massive. Along with the 27mm depth, these wheels have some serious presence. The Wide 35 is pitched as more of an XC/gravel wheelset with a 25mm inner width that (according to Curve), will support 1.75-2.5in tyres. The Wider 40 is the burlier trail/AM wheelset, which has a 30mm inner width and will take 2.3-3.0in wide tyres. Both rims get 5mm thick beads, which is about as big as we’ve seen from any carbon rim on the market. In comparison, those new Zipp 3ZERO MOTO rims use 3.75mm thick beads, and that’s regarded as being pretty darn fat. Why the thicker bead? According to Curve, it’s all about impact strength and durability. Having identified this as an area where previous rims had failed, the Curve team decided to beef up the carbon walls to make them a lot thicker to help spread impact loads. The thicker bead also lessens the chance of cutting the tyre on a heavy bottom-out, which should reduce pinch flats. Those wide rims have some serious presence! Through Thick & Thin The rims themselves are constructed from 3K & Unidirectional Toray T700 carbon fibre and feature what Curve refers to as ‘Mo-Spo technology’. This refers to two things. One is the internal profile of the rim, which is reinforced with thicker layers of carbon fibre around each of the spoke holes. By adding extra carbon only around the inside face of the spoke holes, Curve is able to increase the rim’s strength under pulling forces from the spokes, without adding excessive weight. The other is the spoke holes themselves, which instead of being drilled like most carbon and alloy rims, are moulded instead. This is something we’ve seen ENVE champion on its own carbon fibre rims, and indeed it holds a patent on it too. However, ENVE’s patent is specifically around moulding the pocket for the spoke nipple, which sits inside the rim. That gives a very clean look, but coming from the world of bikepacking and bike shop wrenching, Curve’s design team didn’t want to do that. So the nipples remain external, where they’re more easily adjustable out in the field. For those who want to build their own Dirt Hoops, the rims are available on their own for $729 each. The Wide 35 comes in both 27.5in and 29in diameters, with a claimed weight of 365g and 385g respectively. The Wide 40 only comes in a 29in size, and has a claimed weight of 440g. All rims feature 28 spoke holes. Here you can see just how thick the carbon is around the hookless sidewalls, as well as the slight build-up of carbon around each spoke hole. Curve states an official max rider weight limit of 120kg. What About The In-Between Bits? As for the complete wheels, they’re built in Curve’s Melbourne workshop utilising Sapim’s CX-Ray bladed spokes and Secure Lock brass nipples. Curve acknowledges that alloy nipples are lighter, but prefers the durability and reliability of brass over the minimal weight savings of alloy. At the centre of the wheels is a set of DT Swiss 350 Straight-Pull hubs with an 18T Star Ratchet freehub mechanism. The 350s utilise slightly larger bearings than the 240s, while only being about 40g heavier. Curve does offer the option to upgrade to 240 hubs if you so choose, and it can also upgrade you to a faster-engaging 36T or 54T ratchet kit too. Being a DT hub, you also have the option of SRAM XD, Shimano HG, and Shimano Microspline freehub bodies, which offers a degree of future-proofing. Well, until another standard comes out anyway. Straight-pull DT Swiss 350 hubs are a smart choice on Curve’s behalf. Keep it tight! The bomber Star Ratchet freehub mechanism within. On a similar note, the hubs use a Centerlock disc brake spline, which means you can run them with Shimano Centerlock rotors, or 6-bolt rotors with an adapter. As for the straight-pull design, Curve went down this route since straight-pull spokes are physically easier to remove and replace than J-bend spokes. By that we mean that you don’t have to remove the rotors and cassette to replace a spoke – something that long distance bikepackers, adventure riders, and travelling mountain bikers will likely appreciate. How Do They Compare To The Competition? Curve is selling the Dirt Hoops complete wheelset for $2,198, which puts it somewhere in the middle of the price spectrum for carbon fibre mountain bike wheels. Confirmed weight for our test set of Wider 40 wheels is 1637g – impressive given the generous proportions of the carbon rims. The closest competitor would be the Giant TRX 0 wheelset, which comes in at exactly the same price and is only slightly heavier (1662g). Sitting on either side of the Curve Dirt Hoops is the $1,800 Bontrager Kovee Pro 30 (1500g claimed weight), and the $2,800 Roval Traverse SL Fattie (1735g claimed weight). We’ve spent a good bit of time abusing those three wheelsets, so we’ll have a good basis for comparison with the Curve Dirt Hoops. The Other Details While Curve originally started out selling its wheels direct to consumer, it now offers its products through a dealer network too. You can find more information about that via the Curve Cycling website. All wheels come with a 2-year warranty that covers you for any manufacturing defects that might arise. Curve is pretty confident in its product though, with a substantial 120kg max rider weight limit. Still, should you bust one up pulling a failed 360° tailwhip after being inspired by Red Bull Rampage video highlights, Curve has a crash replacement policy to get you rolling again. Our test wheels have been wrapped with a set of 2.4in wide Pirelli Scorpion MTB tyres, though we’ll be testing out a variety of other rubbers on here in the coming months. To see just how tough these new Dirt Hoops are, Curve sent us out a set of the Wider 40 wheels in a 29er size. We’ve currently got them setup with a pair of 2.4in Pirelli Scorpion MTB tyres, though we’ll be trying out a few other tyre combos in there over time. Here’s a closer look at all the tech specs; Curve Dirt Hoops Wider 40 Wheel Specs 3K & UD T700 carbon fibre rims Hookless & tubeless compatible profile w/5mm thick beads Available in 27.5in and 29in diameters Mo-Spo moulded spoke holes External rim width: 40mm Internal rim width: 30mm Rim depth: 27mm Designed for 2.3-3.0in wide tyres DT Swiss 350 Straight-Pull hubs 18T Star Ratchet freehub mechanism Centerlock disc brake mount 28 x Sapim CX-Ray bladed stainless steel spokes per wheel Sapim Secure Lock brass nipples 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects Claimed weight: 1595g Actual weight: 1637g (including supplied tubeless tape, valves, and Centerlock rings) RRP: $2,198 As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts – tell us what you reckon about these Aussie-designed carbon wheels. And if you’ve got any questions for us about the Curve Dirt Hoops, then make sure you drop them into the comments below! The post On Test | Curve Cycling’s Strongest Carbon Wheels Yet – The Dirt Hoops Wider 40 appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.