Atomik Carbon has developed a new mountain bike wheelset range which foregoes metal spokes, promising a breakthrough in performance and strength.
Carbon-fibre rims have been a revolutionary design trend in mountain biking over the last decade, reducing rotation weight while providing tremendous wheel strength and ride quality attributes.
One aspect of mountain bike wheel technology which has not altered over time, is the presence of steel spokes.
The design theory is that if more of the mountain bike wheel structure could be converted to non-metal material, weight and performance savings would undoubtedly increase.
Steel spokes have proven deeply reliable and capable of providing the required tension that expert mountain bike wheel builders desire during assembly. American cycling brand, Atomik Carbon, feel it has happened upon a superior replacement for the traditional steel spoke with its new carbon wheels.
The company's latest wheelsets see steel spokes replaced by ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), an advanced polymer material with twelve times the strength yield of steel.
These patented UHMWPE spokes are made by Berd, a company based in Minnesota and founded by engineers who also happen to be passionate riders.
By combining the Berd spokes with its own carbon rims, Atomik has delivered some incredibly light and strong new mountain bike wheelsets to market. These wheels are complicated to build, as the spokes require a unique tensioning and relaxing schedule, unlike the comparatively simpler tensioning and destressing applied to steel spokes.
There are three options available, two in the 29er wheel size and one 27.5-inch diameter variant. All three of these new Atomik Carbon wheelsets, laced with Berd polymer spokes, feature generous rim widths and run w/I9 hubs.
The lightest option is the 29er XC33, which has 28-spokes and weighs 1410g. Riders who want a touch more width to roll higher-volume tyres, can choose the AM35 version, which runs 32 spokes and rates at 1610g.
Those who remain committed to the more agile 27.5-inch wheel size, will have option on the AM35s too, at 1530g.
Positioning for the Berd spoked Atomik Carbon wheels start at $1699.