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27 Dec

Alloy Rim round up. What rim should you choose?

Posted by Malcolm Borg

Here is a rim round up of all the things I know about bicycle rims. You can over think this one alot. so here is the process simplified.

1) Looks, only you can decide which looks better but most people think the HED Belgium + has the asthetics nailed down.

2) Stiffness. This is very important as stiffer rims lead to stiffer wheels and smaller tension changes in the spokes when you pedal. this means longer spoke life. wider rims are stiffer rims and deeper rims are stiffer rims. Asymmetric rims lead to stiffer wheels and higher lowside spoke tension whicn in turn means longer spoke life. Now you know why the Mavic Open Pro is only offered in builds here in a 36 spoke rear. It is narrow and shallow and not very stiff at all.

3) Width. wider is generally better as above wider rims are stiffer rims but wider rims also change the tyre profile for the better. The more semicircular the tyre becomes the better it handles, you know like tubs do. 

4) Depth. well deeper can be more aero depending on the profile. if the profile is right (BORG50C) then stability in cross winds is very good. the more rounded the prolife the better for aero dynamics and cross wind stability. 

5) Tubeless or non tubeless. Tubeless of course because you can run non tubeless tyres on them as well. the omly reason to go with non tubeless rims is because you need a silver rim or your 120kg+ and need the H Plus Son Archetype. or you just like the look of the non tubeless rim. back to point one only you can decide that.

6) Carbon or alloy? Carbon rims dont wear out quickly so they actually  might pay for themselves. Braking is good too even in the wet but you mostly buy because you like the look back to point 1).

7) Welded or sleeved joined? Well its a looks thing. In practice sleeved joined rims can be very good so welding offers potenially a seamless join and more uniform mass distribution but when you are riding you'll never know so it is back to point 1 again.

8) How round? i have not found one brand of rim to be rounder than any other. rims I use can be very good. So don't consider this when picking a rim all rims are round enough. Trying to make a wheel rounder is a fools errand that will mean a compromise in build quality. Now you see how I define build quality not not how most people think it is defined.

All the wheels i build are reliable and have the same guarantee so you can actually buy on point 1 alone. Now you know why you can over think this.

Rims choice - rim brake clincher or tubeless compatible clincher

Mavic Open Pro  £42 to £48.

Black silver or grey 32H or 36H

This rim is 20mm wide 19mm deep and 15mm internal width. Weight is about 435g and the join is welded. The rim has double eyelets. Some think this is the hallmark of a good rim. It is isn't. It is the hallmark of a rim that requires the top and lower walls tying together because this rim is not stiff enough or the spoke nipple bed is not thick enough to handle the loads placed in it. The H Plus archetype is a rim that can take higher spoke tension and higher loads and there are no eyelets and washers are not even needed.

The brake track is smooth like on most rims so braking is good.

In the rims favour the grey version does look good and currently they are very round. Tyre fitting is pretty straight forward but that is all I have to say in it's favour. It is not a stiff rim and I think rear wheels with 11 speed dished hubs work best with 36 spoke rears and Sapim race spokes as a minimum. I would not suggest it for riders over 100kg as because the rim is not that stiff so spoke breakages become increasingly likely. The rim works best with symmetric hubs or for geared hubs old shimano 10 speed hubs. The rim design has not changed for a long time. Please don't buy them because you think there is no better rim, there is but buy them because you want the look of a narrow shallow rim or that grey colour and are willing to accept the compromises.

Ambrosio Excelight -£70 black only 28H and 32H

It looks on paper a bit like the mavic open pro. 19mm wide, 18.5mm deep, 14mm internal width. It has double eyelets but is 450g. It is also a bit stiffer than the open pro so a 32 spoke wheel with an 11 speed hub is a viable proposition for many. Still it is narrow, shallow not that stiff, expensive and quite frankly you can spend you money on a better rim. Still some want the narrow shallow look and if you do this is not a bad choice.

BORG22 (Kinlin XR22T/RT) £40 Dis brake version too. 

Rim brake: 20H, 24H sym/asym, 28H sym/asym and 32H sym

Disc brake: 28H asymmetric and 32H asymmetric.

 24mm wide, 19mm internal width, 22mm deep and 450g. 20H to 32H drilling. 24H to 32H drilling for the asymmetric rim (3mm offset) for rear wheels. 

My view this is a stiff medium weight rim than builds into reliable wheels. Sapim HM nipples washers are best used so you can max out the spoke tension to 1250N. Tyres are a tighter fit but if you use tubeless rim tape then most tyres go on and come off without issue. Tubeless tyres set up very easily. They are round enough (0.5mm roundness is common) and flat allowing even spoke tensions. Sleeve join is generally smooth and the brake track is smooth.

Simply it does the job of being a rim very well indeed.

BORG31 (Kinlin XR31T /RT) -£55

18H, 20H, 24H sym/asym, 28H sym/asym and 32H sym

24mm wide, 19mm internal width, 31mm deep and 490g. 20H to 32H drilling. 24H to 32H drilling for the asymmetric rim (3mm offset) for rear wheels. The profile is a rounded V. 

My view this is a very stiff rim than builds into reliable wheels. Sapim HM nipples washers are best used so you can max out the spoke tension to 1250N. Tyres are a tighter fit but if you use tubeless rim tape then most tyres go on and come off without issue. Tubeless tyres set up very easily. They are round enough (0.5mm roundness is common) and flat allowing even spoke tensions. Sleeve join is generally smooth and the brake track is properly machined.

Simply it does the job of being a rim very well indeed and I think it is hard to beat. They are lighter rims and there are more expensive rims. None however are as stiff. If you want the stiffest wheels that can be built without going for the the Flo30 rim then pick this. 

Pacenti Forza

With a 24mm external width and 20mm internal this rim ISAs wide as need for road tyres. Available in symmetric and asymmetric for rim brake and asymmetric for disc brake.

 The rim is very tubeless tyre compatible. It is stiff round and flat. It does not have ant reliablity issues. It a good but expensive egg.

 


Size: ISO 622 - 700c
Width: 24.0mm
Inner bead width: 20.0mm
Section Height: 25mm
ERD: 591mm
Weight: 460g
Welded Construction
Hole Count: 20, 24, 28 & 32

I will start building with them as the new spec looks good. However the BORG22 (kinlin xr22t) is under half the price and never goes wrong so the only reason to pick the Forza rim is looks it wont be a better rim than the Kinlin. 

DT Swiss R460 -£40

24H, 28H and 32H

This is a good rim. 23mm wide 23mm deep. 18mm internal width. Drillings from 24H to 32H. It is 18mm internal width and 460g but are often a bit heavier. It is a sleeve joined rim but the join is smooth It has a balance of characteristics. I like the rim but the kinlin XR22T exists and this offers an asymmetric rim for the rear and given both rims are the same price I really struggle why anyone would pick the R460 over the Kinlin rim.

DT Swiss RR411 -£65

20H, 24H symm/asym 28H sym/asym and 32H sym/asym.

A new rim from DT Swiss. 22mm wide 21mm deep, 18mm internal width, tubeless tyre compatible and 435g in weight. The best bit there is an asymmetric (2mm offset) rim for the rear wheel. The rims are stiff and not so light that reliability should be an issue. Like all high end Dt Swiss rims they are flat and round but since this applies to most rims that hardly matters. Braking on Dt swiss rim is good like most rims. The join is welded. You pick this because you like the look and want  DT Swiss rim. The rim comes with spoke nipple washers that must be used and DT swiss silver squorx nipples. You can use conventional nipples if you like but the since conventional nipples require shorter spokes than the squorx you will need to check the ERD. It is however no better at being a rim than the BORG22 (Kinlin XR22T/RT). You are probably realising which are my favourite rims are now. 

I no longer use this rim due to tubeless tyre compability issues.

DT Swiss RR511 -£65

 

32mm deep, 22mm wide and 18mm internal width. The rim is tubeless compatible. It is stiff and weighs 530g. The rim is welded and the brake track is smooth. You must use the supplied nipple washers and ERD stated is withe squorx nipples. Using different nipples changes the ERD. It is a good rim for heavier rider but it is has a weight limit of 120kg. The rims main problem is the Kinlin XR31T which is lighter, cheaper, wider and come in asymmetric form. It is simply a better rim in many ways so i cant think of a reason to pick the RR511. 

I no longer use this rim due to tubeless tyre compability issues.

Kinlin XR220 -£35

20H, 24H, 28H and 32H

 Weight of this is 383g, this is why it exists. It is narrow at 18.2mm and 13.6mm internal width. It is 22mm deep and is surprisingly stiff govin the lack of weight and profile. The rim does not need nipple washer, it is sleeved joined and the brake track is smooth. The rim is suitable for riders up 85kg and 24 spoke rears are best avoided except for children. The rim is not tubeless compatible but unlike the Ryde rim you can fit tyres with ease. The rim is not tubeless tyre compatible. You buy for the weight and to hell with its flaws.

My own set are built up as a 28 spoke 2x set with Sapim laser spokes. They work quite well.

Ryde pulse comp

I do struggle with this one getting the tyres on it. Enough said really. Conti GP400sII tyres go on without too much hassle but forget trying to a tubeless tyre I actually failed to mount a Hutchinson Atom and a Schwalbe One.

The rim is no longer available. I am not that sad it has gone. 

DT Swiss RR440 -£ 75

20H, 24H sym/asym, 28H sym/asym and 32H sym/asym

21mm wide 20mm deep 16mm internal width and 450g. The rim has single eyelets. This is the only narrow, shallow rim I actually like and recommend because they build into stiff wheels. The rear rim comes in asymmetric drilling. The rim features a welded join and the normal consistency DT Swiss is known for.It is a shame it is no longer made. The rims that have replaced it are not as good as this rim. 

 H Plus Son Archetype -£55

20H, 24H, 28H, 32H and 36H colours black, grey or polished silver

This rim is 25mm deep, 23mm wide, 17.5mm internal width and 485g in weight. It has a v section profile that is slightly rounded. The spoke nipple bed is over 3mm thick and therefore there is no weight limit. The rim can handle more spoke tension that you can comfortably apply with nipples rounding. The join is invisible on the black  and silver rims there is no evidence of the weld apart from a couple of tiny marks on the rim tape bed. The grey rim has a line where the anodising has coloured the weld differently. The brake track on the black and grey rims are anodised and this will become silver with braking. The rim is not as stiff as some other modern rims but a 24H and 28H combination with 11 speed road hubs and sapim race spokes on the rear is stiff enough for most riders in the normal weight range 65 to 90kg. Tyre fitting is pretty easy and rims are not tubeless compatible. You can set tubeless tyres on them but dont expect the bead to remain locked in place with no air pressure. A good rim that never goes wrong.

HED Belgium+ - £130

25mm wide, 20.5mm internal width, 25mm deep and 465g. It is a stiff rim that will impress you. HED pinoneered wide rim for road racing if you discount touring rims which have been wide for a while. This rim is very expensive but it does have a couple of flaws.

Tubeless tyres are loose fit with 2 layers of rim tape and dont often lock into place so they unseat at zero pressure.  They are reliable rims with a welded join. The brake track is very smooth but narrow. Kool stop and aztec do pads that are narrow so use these. 

You buy these because of the way they look, there width and there consistency. Are they worth the money, no but you don't buy them for value, you buy them because they just look right. 

Velocity Aileron

A disc brake only rim that weight 465g, is 27mm deep 25mm wide and has a 20mm internal width. It is tubeless tyre compatible. There is a black and polished silver option. Drilling range from 24 to 32H. So something for every one. The rim can handle load easily and built into robust reliable wheels. My own set are 24 spoke with CX-rays (I am 85kg and bike has panniers on it all the time). They have done 21000km without a problem. The rear rim is dented though know in many places. I have hit too many holes with these. It is a disc brake rim that is hard to argue with. It just works. 

My favourite alloy rims are the BORG 22 and BORG31 simply because they meet most peoples needs. For something very pretty and that is made to a high standard the Easton R90SL would be my choice.