Evil Loophole MTB wheelset review – premium polymer hoops

Does a new polymer-based composite give Evil’s super expensive Loophole mountain bike wheels a suitably superlative ride?

Evil Loophole wheels
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

BikePerfect Verdict

Fantastically damped, control and traction boosting 29er wheels but at a very high price.

Pros

  • +

    Super smooth ‘damped’ ride

  • +

    Awesome Industry Nine hubs

  • +

    Lifetime warranty

  • +

    Recyclable rim material

Cons

  • -

    Very expensive

  • -

    Cheaper alternatives

  • -

    More spokes means more weight

Why you can trust BikePerfect Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Evil’s Loophole wheels are some of the best mountain bike wheels we’ve used with a super quiet yet still responsive feel. They claim US-made eco benefits too, but they’re massively expensive and reported cracks suggest the lifetime warranty is likely to come in handy.

Evil Loophole wheels

Loopholes come stickered to match Evil's bikes but you can peel them for a vibe as stealthy as their ride (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design and build

The big news with the Loopholes are the carbon rims from FusionFiber. They are made in Utah USA by a company called CSS composites and use long chain polymers rather than traditional epoxy resins as the bonding agent between the carbon fibers. 

CSS claim the inherent compliance in the construction increases damping effect by 50 percent over conventional composites (interestingly Evil only claim 20 percent) and also improves strength to weight ratios. Because FusionFiber doesn’t need refrigerating before use, or sanding or otherwise smoothing after use, it’s more efficient to produce and it can be shredded for 100 percent recyclability without having to burn off any resin content beforehand. As the fiber itself is made in Utah, there’s no overseas shipping involved to get the materials to the factory. They even use a powder coat paint job with removable decals rather than a clear coat finish to reduce energy use and eco impact.

In terms of profile, the rims are shallow at 23mm, rising slightly into mold mounts for each of the spoke nipples. Internal diameter is a straight wall 29mm and they come taped and valved ready to go tubeless. Front and rear wheels both have 32 spokes, but the front is laced two cross not three cross. The hubs are the Industry Nine Hydra hubs with an almost instant engagement and excellent bearing longevity. You can order your Loopholes in all freehub formats, Centerlock or 6-bolt disc standard and normal 148mm Boost or extra wide 157mm SuperBoost hub spacing. They’re 29er only though, so no twin 27.5in or mullet possibilities.

Evil Loophole wheels

The FusionFiber rims use a polymer based composite and get moulded mounds to reinforce the spoke insertion points (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

While the fizzing buzz of the freehub is very obvious audibly, the outstanding part of the ride feel of the Loopholes is their sense of quiet calm. Whatever jank and slap is vanishing under you, the rims definitely mute a significant amount of it and resulting smoothness is outstanding.

CSS/Evil’s claim of vertical compliance without lateral deflection seems fair enough too as line tracking is consistently accurate. Our wheels did have the optional Torque Cap end pieces to sync with the Lyrik fork on our Evil Offering host bike. Given the scarcity of SuperBoost frame options I only rode the Loopholes on the Offering too, which gives them the advantage of being the ground contact point of an exceptional suspension system. The calm, confident feel they give is definitely tangible as they suck the sting out of the hardest hits and sharpest edges though.

The extra compliance also meant I could run harder compound/harsher carcass/more puncture prone tires for speed without getting decked or rattled off line or burst on boulders. While I only tested them on a suspension frame they’d certainly be a great choice for a high-end hardtail build that you wanted to smooth out.

In practical terms, mounting was simple and apart from some cosmetic scratches on the paintwork there’s no signs of knock or chips in over a year of use. The wheel build is straight and true too and hasn’t needed any tuning since I got them. It’s worth noting that other reviewers haven’t been so lucky though with cracking incidents reported by two other testers. The rims are covered with a no questions asked warranty though so Evil have your back if you’re a hooligan. It’s worth noting that you can buy FusionFiber rims (without the spoke reinforcing mounds) or complete wheels from other companies like atomikcarbon.com for a lot less cash.

Evil Loophole wheels

We've battered our set for a full year with only cosmetic damage to the powder coat finish. Those tires probably need retiring soon though (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

Evil’s Loophole wheels are some of the best mountain bike wheels I’ve used if you’re after a super quiet, suspension flattering feel that spreads a carpet of calm on the trail. The US FusionFiber rims are more eco friendly than most carbon hoops too. You can buy other FusionFiber wheels for much less than the premium cost of the Loopholes though. Wider rider feedback suggests the lifetime warranty may also be more useful than on other carbon rims with the same warranty and a lower cost. 

Evil Loophole wheels

I'm always pleased to see the super fast reacting yet seriously tough Industry Nine Hydra hubs at the center of a test wheel (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Tech specs: Evil Loopholes wheelset

  • Price: $699.99 / €749.99 per rim,  wheelset $2200.00 / €2499.00
  • Size:  29er only
  • Options: Boost or SuperBoost, 6-Bolt or Centerlock, XD, HG, MS freehubs 
  • Weight 1950g (SuperBoost tested)
Guy Kesteven
Technical-Editor-at-Large

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect's technical editor-at-large. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg