We decided to review some of the best carbon fibre mountain bike wheels (rims) on the market. Though they are generally used by pro mountain bike riders, you can pick up a bargain if you are building yourself a custom bike.
Why buy carbon mountain bike wheels?
Carbon rims are more rigid than traditional rims, meaning there is less flexibility when you hit bumps. Over time they retain their shape better and need less adjustment to the spokes. Even though carbon MTB rims are very rigid, they are much lighter than standards rims. This rigidity allows a mountain bike rider to corner better, which is why competitive riders prefer them.
Carbon rims can also be manufactured wider which allows the tyre more surface area to compress -- in turn giving further grip. They also allow you to reduce the tyre pressure.
The combined effect of lower pressure and a wider rim made the bike feel calmer and quieter through the rough
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Carbon MTB rims also absorb more shocks than standard aluminium rims. By the time the vibrations reach the shocks, there is far less work for them to do. Ever used a graphite (carbon woven) golf club? If yes, then you will know how little vibration you get even though the club is incredibly light.
Carbon rims and frames make mountain bikes lighter, which means faster; carbon mountain bike handle bars will you an awesome feel. This is why F1 cars mainly use carbon fibre to make the body -- it’s the same principle with mountain bikes.
Carbon rims also look very cool
Are carbon MTB wheels expensive?
Yes, relative to aluminium wheels. Average prices range from $1500-$2500 for a wheelset. As manufacturing technology advances, prices are continually dropping. More mountain bike brands are also producing them which creates more competition in the marketplace. You can also buy Chinese manufactured carbon rims which will be considerably cheaper, see a couple of options on Amazon below.
Here are some of the best carbon mountain bike Rims on the market
Carbon Fibre Wheel Sets 27.5″
U.S. based Enve have been going a few years now and have a great reputation and work ethos, highlighted on their about us page:
We are more than riders… We are risk takers, engineers and innovators, driven by our love of cycling.
Enve wheels are the #1 choice among professional MTB riders and for good reason. The M60s have a rim of 32 mm and are positioned between downhill and cross country carbon rims, making them an ideal all-round wheel size.
They feature a Spram XD-11 speed freewheel. Can use tubeless tyres or clinchers and have a total weight of 1487g. Most of these carbon rims will also be ready to mount a tubeless mountain bike tire as the inner rim are totally sealed.
Reynolds Cycling is another US company that does high-end carbon fibre rims, this is all they manufacture with their team of aerospace engineers. They are big in enduro but have also started building carbon wheels for the emerging niches like Fat MTBs and electric mountain bikes.
These rims are built for pro enduro mountain bike riders and have a 28mm rim, industry nine hub and weigh 1665g
These rims come with a lifetime guarantee
Carbon Fibre Wheel Sets 29″ (29er)
Industry Nine is another US company specializing in carbon wheel manufacturing, based in Asheville NC. These rims utilize the industry loved Torch trail hubs -- which are near on $400 just for the hub :). The torch hub allows you to create different setups if pro riders want to quickly switch the rim to another bike. Rim width is 29mm and the total weight of these wheels is 1600g.
Ibis produces a lot of ultra wide rims and these carbon mountain bike wheels are 41mm. They come with Industry Nine torch hubs and compatible with Spram or Shimano 8-11 speed cassette. They weigh 1690g and good for enduro riding, all mountain and standard trail rides.
Chinese carbon fibre rims
Ican 27.5er Carbon Rims
- 27.5er carbon fiber all mountain bike 25mm depth 35mm width rim
- Novatec hub(D791SB-812/D792SB-B15) Shiman0 10/11 speed or Sram XD driver 10/11 speed
- Build with CN spoke
- Weight: 1730+-40g (800+-20g/930+-20g)
- 2 years warranty
Ican sell a lot of wheels on Amazon and have good reviews. These have a 35mm rim and Novotec hub. Recommended max rider weight for these rims is 145kg. Ican will also change the hub to your specification if needed. If you have a specific question, just ask them directly through their Amazon page.
Ican also to a 29″ wheel (see below)
Ican 29er Carbon Rims
- 29er carbon fiber all mountain/mtb bike wheelset(Outer width 35mm inner width 30mm)
- Novatec hub(D712SB-812/D711SB-B15) Shiman0 10/11 speed or Sram XD driver 10/11 speed
- Shiman0 freehub use on all Shiman0 and most of Sram cassette, Sram xd driver use on X01, XX1, X1 cassette
- Weight: 1820+-40g (850+-20g/970+-20g)
- Guarantee: 2 years
Same specs as above, 25mm rim and compatible with Shimano or Spram XD driver 10/11 speeds.
Image sources: Worldcyclery, Amazon, Reynoldscycling, Enve