Ibis 741 carbon 650b wheelset review£1,299.00

The widest non-fat bike rims

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With a huge 35mm internal/ 41mm external rim width, these are the biggest non-fat bike hoops on the market and, along with their 29in bigger brothers (the 941s), are designed to offer more tyre support and allow far lower tyre pressures to be used without sacrificing ride feel or stability.

Carbon construction means they weigh just 1,660g a pair – especially impressive when you consider how wide these monsters are. Like a few other new rims out there, the 741s are ‘hookless’, meaning they lack the bead hook of a conventional rim. This has enabled Ibis to make the sidewalls much thicker than usual, creating a rim that’s far more resistant to the kind of hard impacts that can damage other carbon designs. This also means less chance of tearing the tyre sidewall when you pinch it hard. Though the lack of a hook to hold the tyre bead in place concerned us initially, we’ve had zero burping issues and now have complete faith in the system, even at hilariously low pressures.

The 741s are laced up with 32 spokes on own-brand hubs fitted with Enduro bearings and they’ll accept a 15mm axle up front and 142x12mm out back (or QR via adapters). Both conventional and XD Driver freehub bodies are catered for, and they come complete with rim tape and tubeless valve stems. Every tyre we installed inflated and seated first time, though some were very hard to mount.

The extra width affects tyre shape quite a bit – we found squarer tyres like the Maxxis High Roller II ended up with too much of an edge, whereas the wider rims worked perfectly with rounder tyres like the Maxxis Minion DHR II, Schwalbe Hans Dampf and Mavic Crossmax Charge. It’s worth noting that a 2.25in Hans Dampf will inflate to roughly the same size as a 2.35in tyre on a conventional rim.

With standard tyre pressures, the wheels are immensely stiff and rough terrain can transmit buzz to your hands. But let a bit of air out and the 741s come into their own. We ventured as low as 17psi, and found immense traction without burping the tyres or suffering unpredictable carcass roll. We spent a good deal of time clattering them into rocks and roots, and came out the other side with nothing more than a few minor scratches.

These wheels genuinely change the behaviour of your tyres. They’re strong and light, and considering the price and construction quality, they’re good value compared with other carbon wheels too.

Note: The 741 wheelset now comes with DT 350 hubs.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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