Project Wide Gravel Wheels: Introduction
Wheels and tires are definitely the subject of much discussion and conjecture amongst cyclists of all disciplines. Gravel going cyclists are no different in this regard, we know that because of our RidingGravel.com Forum page and how many hits we get on our Tire Finder Page. Gravel riders are intensely interested in tires and all that goes along with that, including wheel choices. We’ve also noticed, with much interest, the ongoing trend for riders to choose wider rims. We see that with road cyclists, mountain bikers, and fat bikers. What is not seen so much is any discussion or testing of how a wider rim than is commonplace for gravel riders affects a typical 35mm-40mm tire.
This project is going to try to uncover the effects of a wide rim on gravel class rubber. The way that a wide rim and tubeless tire interact, and how that affects gravel road performance, will be analyzed and compared with how the same type tires react with more “traditional” choices in rims. We will explore how the wider rim and 35mm-40mm tires affect ride feel and comfort, if at all. The expectation is that, just as mountain bikers and road bikers have experienced certain performance and ride quality benefits from wider rims and “plus sized tires”, gravel riders should experience similar benefits. That is the reason for Project Wide Gravel Wheels.
The rims chosen for this project come from WTB and are their KOM series rims which feature their TCS tubeless design and, as the name implies, a 25mm wide inner rim dimension. That’s huge compared to most gravel type set ups which typically are anywhere from 17mm-19mm inner rim width on rims. Is 25mm inner rim dimension too wide? This will be a question we hope to answer as we get into this project more.
The other main components chosen for this project are the White Industries XMR disc compatible hubs. These hubs were chosen because White Industries has an excellent reputation for quality, are USA made, and have versatility in hub interface so that these wheels can be swapped into several different bikes whether they have quick release drop outs or through axles. We expect to have zero issues with these hubs and that they should handle the dusty environment they will be subjected to with ease.
The bike that will initially see these wheels on it will be the Twin Six Standard Rando tested on the site last year. This bike can handle 40mm tires easily and should provide a good platform for the test to be conducted on. By the way, I liked the Standard Rando so much, I bought it rather than sending it back, so that is your full disclosure statement concerning that bike. The point is, the bike won’t get in the way of the analysis of the wheels and tires used in the testing.
Stay tuned for the wheels and specs on them. Then it will be on to riding gravel and seeing what the effects of these wide rims is on the tires we hope to introduce as well here soon and in the coming months.
Note: RidingGravel.com received the WTB KOM i25 rims at no charge for this project. All other wheel components are being paid for out of pocket by Guitar Ted. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
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