Test Pilot and Words | Ian Linton – Photos | Tommy Wilkinson
When we put the first impressions of this product online I’d only had a few rides on the wheels but they had already made a big impression on me. So read on for a bit more info about the product…
This review was for the whole package which included the company’s own Ridge hub. The wheel set build is available with Hope or Chris King hubs but we thought it would be better to test their own products. When the company first looked into getting a quality carbon rim they also wanted a cost effective hub to go with the package. During that time searching they also looked for a hub company to offer the complete package and after 8 months testing they found a company to produce a quality hub, although at the moment they only have 32h 142×12, 100×15 Shimano or Sram fitment they intend to have all sizes of hubs including boost available soon. The Ridge hubs have sealed stainless bearings 72 points of contact with 6 pawls which makes it a very effective hub. Weight for a Ridge Rear 142×12 hub is 308g and the Ridge Front 100×15 hub 188g which makes them on par with any other descent hub on the market. The Ridge hub sets front and rear come in at £135.00 a pair and currently come in Red, Blue, Black, Ti Grey.
So just before we delve into how they actually performed here’s what they cost and what you get for your hard earned cash. I will add the our wheels have a subtle grey graphic on the rim but there are other colours available.
Ridge Comp 27.5 AM/DH series which come with our 2 year crash replacement scheme and manufactures warranty only for £599.00 per set with Ridge hubs and bladed Pillar PSR Aero 1423 spokes, hubs red, black, blue, Ti grey.
Ridge Pro 27.5 AM/DH series with 1 year FOC rim replacement, 2 years crash replacement and manufactures warranty, Pillar PSR Aero spokes and Ridge hubs £750.00 per set. hubs red, black, blue, Ti grey.
Ridge Pro 27.5 AM/DH series with 1 year FOC rim replacement, 2 years crash replacement and manufactures warranty, Pillar PSR Aero spokes with Hope Pro 4 hubs in a choice of colours £899.00
Ridge Pro 27.5 DH series asymmetric, 1 year FOC rim replacement, 2 years crash replacement and manufactures warranty, Pillar spokes, Hope Pro 4 huns in a choice of colours. £899.00
Ridge Pro AM 29er series starting at £750.00
All prices include UK delivery
The Nukeproof Mega was the perfect bike to test these wheels out on, as we have it on a long term test it became obvious the only small weak point I could find on the bike was the stock wheels. The bike is very stable through the rough trails but after fitting these wheels I was totally gobsmacked at the difference to the overall feel of the bike. The rims are 35mm wide external and internal width of 29mm, this width for me personally is just about right without getting up to the realms of + sizes. Rim size means you can fit 2.3 and 2.4 width tyres with no real distortion to the profile.
The Tweed Valley has some of the best trails in the country to ride and test products on. Here Tommy catches me on just one of those flowing natural trails testing out just how much flex there is as we don’t have a proper scientific strain gauge. We couldn’t feel any flex and the feedback you get is confidence inspiring as they just track so well.
It’s been an absolute joy over the last few months riding round the valley with these wheels. Anybody that knows the “Flat White Trail” will know how a good set of wheels can make such a difference to the feel of a bike through those berms. The wheels give you a very direct feel, with a high level of responsiveness that makes direction changes snappy and instant. They’re not so stiff that the bike feels edgy or harsh but there’s no flex when you load them up into tight corners or rattle through the rock gardens.
Ok so there are still people out there with concerns over carbon fibre’s durability and toughness but I’d say they have subsided over the years as more carbon wheel sets have hit the market and proved themselves at the highest level events like World Cup downhill races and World Enduro series. I deliberately set tyre pressures lower on the front than I normally would and chose to ride rougher rockier trails just to punish them as much as I could to see how they held up. They not only held up but took some abuse to the point a few times i cringed as I herd them boing of the rocks. I know carbon fibre still has it’s doubters but there was nothing to worry about with these wheels, I’d go as far to say they were bombproof.
I came across this photo of the man behind the company Stephen Hardy ripping through a rock garden on his way to another podium finish. He’s spent the best part of 2 yrs researching and developing the product with various suppliers and finally getting it sorted out as a reliable end product that works. They are now happy to offer the 1 year FOC rim replacement, 2 years crash replacement and manufactures warranty. The work and testing the Scouting for trails team have put in over that time has given them the confidence the product is ready for the masses. If you see them at the races don’t be shy about asking them about the wheels.
To wrap things up a set of carbon fibre wheels for sure adds a bit of bling to your prized bike but there are some big performance benefits from them too. These wheels really impressed me with their solid build quality and would make a fine upgrade to a stock wheel set. They’re not the lightest but they are strong and strike a good balance of weight versus price, and come with that warranty and crash replacement for carbon skeptics. If you really want carbon wheels but don’t have the funds for the high end carbon wheel sets out there these are well worth looking at and don’t be put off because they’re inexpensive. Check out there website and social media outlets to keep up with whats new from the company and I’ll continue to enjoy these wheels.