Stan's NoTubes ZTR 26in Crest rim £72.99

Both tough and light

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

Stan’s Crest rims are the latest NoTubes cross-country hoops. They make a tough but obscenely light basis for a superb wheelset – in 26in or 29er formats. They’re a development of the extremely popular ZTR 355 rims but use Stan’s latest BST (Bead Socket Technology) rim profile.

Outside edge width stays the same at 24.4mm but the Crest has 2mm extra across the bead lock and is 1mm shallower than the 355 in cross-section. This saves 15g on the 26in rim (340g total), while the 29er is 50g lighter than the ZTR Arch at 370g.

This doesn’t sound like much but Stan’s rims were already among the lightest available. Even tiny differences are more noticeable on the rims than anywhere else on your bike.

Our 26in set came as part of a value Hope Hoops package, on Pro II SP hubs with straight-pull spokes (£325). Moonglu custom built our 29ers on Hope Pro II hubs with ultra expensive but super-strong Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes.

While the hubs aren’t the lightest or fastest-reacting, performance is still outstanding – particularly on the 29er wheels. We’ve whored them around several bikes now and every time we’ve fitted them the difference has been dramatic.

They’ve felt a lot stiffer than aftermarket wheels of an equivalent weight, meaning much more accurate tracking when carving or sliding and better acceleration and agility than heavier – often pricier – wheels. The only wheels that we think have matched them overall are the DT Swiss Tricons we’ve been testing at the same time, but they’re a whopping £900.

What’s really surprising is how tough the Crests have proved so far. The rear 29er wheel picked up a tiny wobble when we took out three spokes after knocking the rear mech on arock, but otherwise we’ve hammered them as hard as any all-mountain wheel for more than six months and not found any damage to the rim edge.

They seal really easily with a Stan’s rim strip too – this saves even more weight and increases both their responsiveness and resistance to pinch punctures. The profile does mean you need to take your time and settle the tyre beads right into the centre when you’re fitting fresh rubber though. If you don’t you’ll have an absolute nightmare levering them on.

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