These clever wheels promise light weight, stiffness and no spoke failures

Hed Raptor 29 XC mountain bike wheels
(Image credit: Hed)

Using a bit of clever carbon work and precision drilling, HED's new Raptor 29 carbon XC hoops are more than just another set of carbon MTB wheels. 

Using what the brand calls Dual-axis Nipple Alignment or the DNA rim profile, the holes in the rim are drilled to match the angles of force a spoke experiences as the wheel spins; push, pull, left and right. Each rim is moulded to accommodate the spoke lacing pattern, and the spoke holes are CNC-drilled into the reinforced areas of the rim bed, so they are perfectly aligned to accommodate the angle of each spoke. 

HED says with the hole in line with spoke angle, there is no uneven strain on the nipple which also eliminates the spoke bend that's needed to accommodate this mismatch in a standard wheel. The brand also says it has been able to remove unnecessary material between the spoke holes (read: shave weight).

The net result should be a stronger rim with less weight and a reduced chance of spoke failure.

Hed Raptor 29 XC MTB wheels

(Image credit: Hed)

The new Raptor 29 rims have a 25mm internal/31mm external rim width and are designed for cross country and trail riding with up to 2.5in rubber sans tube. Produced in HED's Minnesota facility, the rims are claimed to weigh 380g, and come laced with 28 Sapim Laser spokes. Complete wheels are available HED's Brick House or Onyx hubs in 23 anodized colour options or Industry Nine's 690 point of engagement Hydra hubs in 11 colours.

Available now through the HED website, the Raptor 29er DNA start at $2195 for a complete wheelset with the Brick House hubs. International pricing and availability is to be announced. 

Colin Levitch
Freelance writer

Born and bred in Colorado, and now based in Australia, Colin comes from a ski racing background and started riding as a way to stay fit through the summer months. His father, a former European pro, convinced him to join the Colorado State University collegiate cycling team, and he hasn't stopped since. It's not often he pins on a number nowadays, and you'll likely find him in search of flowy singletrack, gravel roads and hairpin corners. Colin has worked at Bikeradar and is a regular contributor to Australian Mountain Bike and Cyclist magazines. 

Rides: BMC Team Machine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9, Ibis Ripley