Fat Bike 29″er Wheel Set: Mid-Term- by Guitar Ted

It has been sometime since I last updated the fat Bike 29″er wheel test, but here is the Mid-Term. I have the First Impressions post here.

Wheel Performance: The fat bike wheel set with Stan’s Flow rims has been just what you would expect from a tubeless standpoint. The tires that will fit on these rims set up tubeless very nicely. The tires that will not go on include WTB TCS Bronson,(on test here), the Michelin Wild Race’r,(on test here), and Geax tires. Perhaps these tires are holding a bit more strictly to UST bead dimensions than others, but there it is.

The great performance of tubeless technology was brought home quite pointedly while testing this wheel set. Here you can see a pencil sized branch that punctured the tire, but did not stop me or slow me down. (The branch was pulled up for the image here.)

The spokes and hubs have been great. The obvious gain in lateral strength from the wider flange stance is very noticeable. The hubs have been nothing but smooth and trouble free, but one would expect as much.

In the end, I can not imagine one would have any issues with the build quality or parts used on these wheels. For “normal” mountain biking and bashing around, everything here seems up to the task. Handspun Wheels has built a nice, high quality set of hoops here. But my favorite part of all is how stiff they are laterally, and that is just an eye opener from the standpoint of ride feel.

This is most notable on cornering, where you realize just how much the wheels you normally ride give in the apex of corners. The fat bike wheels just don’t do this….at all! The other obvious place this comes into play is on rocky off-camber terrain where the wheels go where you point them and do not have as much of a tendency to be bounced off line. This gives me a feeling of more control in technical situations. Match this with the stable geometry of the Mukluk, and you have one good technical trail bike. (It would move to being a “great” technical trail bike if the chain stays weren’t 18″ long and I could use a suspension fork, but as is, it isn’t all that bad.)

So far there isn’t anything to really dislike here. Yes…the wheels are somewhat heavy, but keeping in mind what they replaced, they are a lot lighter. Obviously if you don’t have a fat bike, this is mostly all lost on you. However; it seems that 29″ers as a whole could benefit from wider spaced flanges on the wheels. Perhaps if there ever is a suspension fork made for 135mm OLD spacing, the benefits of what I am seeing out on the trail could be enjoyed by a wider audience. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that front though, if I were you. ;) For now, it seems that getting a “fat front” fork and getting a Handspun wheel like the one on my Mukluk might be a good idea for riders dedicated to a rigid set up.

I’ll report back in a while and give my Final Review on these wheels and how they can transform a fat bike into something else altogether.

NOTE: Handspun wheels sent these fat bike 29?er wheels over for testing and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and I will strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.