This is my last update on these hoops as they will be making a trip soon. A trip from the cold, icy grip of winter to Grannygear out in sunny SoCal. After Grannygear gets some quality time on these wheels of wonder, we’ll have them sent back to the Home Base and evaluate them with a final review. For now though, here is the most current word on these Edge XC rims.
After a short stint on my personal Badger drop bar custom 29″er, I switched the wheel set over to the Milwaukee Bicycle Company 29″er that we have on test. I thought that a high stress test as single speed wheels might show up a weakness in the rims/wheels. The bike was ridden and I stomped and grunted my way up several climbs and short steeps in an effort to reveal anything. Well, I was disappointed in that effort, because these wheels were spot on, even during single speed abuse.
So far I am impressed with the following traits………..
Stiffness: These wheels rival the Gordos in the stiffness department. Not quite as stiff, but pretty dang close! When you realize that the Edge set is 600 grams lighter than my Gordo set, it becomes amazing!
Toughness: I ran some lower pressures more for purposefully banging the rims on roots than anything else. Well, these rims were unfazed by that. I have run sticks through the rims at speed with impunity, hearing the dull thud of wood on carbon many times with not even a noticeable biff on the rims. I have not been particularly kind to them, treating them like a cheapo set of wheels, throwing them in the back of my Honda against pedals and cranks of other bikes I haul around, etc. No harm, no foul. Grannygear will see more rocks than I did, so the ultimate test is yet to come in this regard.
Performance: Obviously, a set of wheels this light and stiff is a very noticeable thing while riding. I especially felt the advantages on my single speed. Climbing suddenly became something not quite as tough as before!
Nits: I was slightly surprised by the fit of the tires to these rims as I mounted them. Much like many early 29″er rims and tires, these will require your full attention while mounting tires. Setting the bead by hand after inflating the tire to shape was almost too easy. Not necessarily a good thing, and something I would have expected Edge to address. The days of loose fitting tire/rim combinations should be going away, and in some cases, (Mavic, Bontrager,and especially Salsa’s newest rim designs), this is true. I would like to see Edge address this in the future. These rims, taking a cue from the road rims, have hidden nipples which are a hassle to deal with, should you need to. I haven’t needed to, and a good wheel builder using these rims should garner you a set that needs minimal to no maintenance, but…….if you ever needed to, it would be a hassle. Off with the tire and rim strip. This also precludes it from being a tubeless ready type set up. Sure, you could “ghetto” up a set of these, but at the asking price for these rims, not having a tubeless option seems like an oversight. Especially given the audience these are aimed at.
My Take So Far: In conclusion, I have to say that while the performance and ride quality of these wheels is intoxicating, the lack of a tubeless option, (without going home brew) and the hidden nipple set up are annoying. Is it something you could overlook and still get along with these wheels? Maybe. The longer term test in SoCal should help us figure this part of the review out. I’m anxious to see how these stack up for Grannygear, so stay tuned! It should be an interesting read.