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Mountain Gear

Ibis hopes to redefine ‘wide’ with new mountain bike wheelsets

Northern California builder goes super-wide with 41-millimeter rim widths on its new carbon hoops

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Ibis Cycles is throwing its hat into the quickly expanding carbon mountain bike wheel market and is doing so with two pairs of hoops it hopes will redefine how we look at wide rims.

The 928 is a 29-inch wheelset with an external rim width of 28mm and an internal rim measurement of 22mm. The 741 is a 27.5-inch wheelset with a whopping 41mm external measurement and a 35mm internal width. The 941 is identical to the 741 in rim-width, but in a 29-inch build.

Ibis is looking to redefine the term “wide,” calling the 28mm rim width “the new normal,” and referring to the 41mm width as “the new wide.” As a point of reference, finding a rim wider than 30mm is a challenge, even today, when “wide rims” rule the marketplace.

Looking at other two- and four-wheeled sports, tires are not typically much, if any, wider than their rims, yet in mountain biking, tires are often three times the width of the rim. Even on the road, we are now riding rims that are nearly or equally as wide as our tires. Ibis founder Scot Nicol wants to change that.

“Jumping on the 41mm rims for the first time is a little bit like the first time I rode a RockShox front suspension after coming from a rigid,” Nicol said. “You have to relearn what the bike is capable of. It’s that dramatic.”

The rims also use a hookless bead — something we first saw from Specialized’s Roval carbon mountain wheels. The design is intended to be lighter, instead of the inverted “J” of standard rim designs, something that’s important when the rim is 6mm wider than its closer competitor. (Derby rims makes a 35mm carbon rim.)

The wheels use a proprietary hub made to Ibis’ specifications at a small workshop in Taiwan. The hubs use bearings from Enduro, which, like Ibis, is a northern California company.

“The freehubs are similar to the ones we’ve been using on our OEM wheelsets for over a year, so we have thousands of them in the field,” said Nicol. “The large, widely spaced flanges and lacing pattern give a larger bracing angle, improving the stiffness and responsiveness of the wheel.”

Weights on the wheelsets are listed as 1,650 grams for the 741, and 1,770 for the 941. The narrower 928 wheelset weighs in at 1,580 grams, though we weren’t able to independently verify these numbers. Each of the three wheelsets will retail for $1,300.

The wheelsets are available now on Ibis bikes and will be available for purchase in June.

We’ll have additional coverage on the new Ibis wheels, and much more, this week from the Sea Otter Classic in Monterrey, California.

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