SRAM’s new wheel line comes in two sizes – 26in and 29in – and two flavours: alloy (Rise 40) and carbon (Rise 60). You also get a quick-release or 15mm front axle option, plus 135 or 142mm rear spacings.
At 1,840g for the 29er version and 1,813g for the 26in wheels, the Rise 40s are a little disappointing on the scales. This extra weight isn’t the end of the world, but in a set of wheels – especially on a 29er where you’re already trying to chase the weight of a 26in bike – it does have an effect.
The chunky bodied hubs with faceted flange and polished metal sections look neat, and previous SRAM hubs we’ve used have held up well, but it's a shame to see a steel cassette body rather than an alloy one. This is a major factor in the wheels' weight, though the tougher construction will shrug off scarring.
We’re also wondering why SRAM didn’t make their rims tubeless when the rest of the industry is heading that way. To run Rise 40s tubeless, you have to invest in a tubeless conversion kit. This isn’t a major hassle to fit, but requires time and a dash of skill to get right.
The freehub mechanism is slow to engage, which leaves the wheels feeling sluggish under acceleration, but once up to speed, and set up tubeless, these hoops manage to feel light and flighty on the trail, offsetting their weight on the scales.
It’s a trait we put down to a nice tight build and quality, thin spokes that allow a good amount of trail information to be transmitted to the rider – you just don’t get this feel on wheels using poorly-tensioned budget spokes.
The meaty, angular rim and more-than-ample flanges on the hubs mean the wheels are also strong and track straight and true. They're reasonably stiff for pushing hard through corners and they hold tension fine over time. This means they'll suit heavier, harder hitting riders looking for durability and precision over race-winning weight. Or at least they would if it wasn't for the 19mm interior width, which leaves larger tyres feeling and looking pinched.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.