Superstar’s Tech 4 wheels bring several improvements over the outgoing Tech 3s, and this wide-rimmed enduro set represents killer value.
The firm’s own Switch Ultra hubs are laced with 32 double-butted Sapim Race Black spokes, wound into brass nipples. They’re heavier but less likely to seize and strip than aluminium, meaning maintenance is easier and reliability greater. The wheels were straight and taut as new and, despite a battering on a heavy 150mm test bike, they’ve stayed that way.
The freehub is aluminium, and the 27 points of engagement provided by the four pawls inside give a solid and pretty swift pickup. It freewheels silently, which stealthy riders will appreciate, and the hub can take an XD driver body for 11-speed SRAM drivetrains.
Strung to Superstar’s pin-jointed 25mm (internal width) DS25 rim, the result’s not exactly light – the 1130g rear combines with a 984g front to create a 2114g pair. That’s only 90g more than Hope’s similarly solid Enduro wheelset, however, and entirely usable for aggressive trail riders. Tyres under 2.3in wide will come up too square, so it’s big rubber only.
The Tech 4s are available with a 23mm rim that matches the Hopes for width as well as weight, and a third option on a 21mm rim. All axle sizes are catered for via affordably priced adaptors (the pair includes one set of adaptors), and they are all tubeless ready. Tyre fit is thumb-friendly rather than rage-inducingly tight.
If Hope already has a reputation for reliability and easy maintenance, Superstar is trying to build one. The SKF cartridge bearings represent an upgrade over the Tech 3’s no-name options, there’s a lifetime free truing service (just keep the box) and a two-year warranty on the Tech 4s – these promises are even written on the rim tape. There’s also a crash-replacement discount scheme.
You can easily pay this sort of money for a front wheel alone, but while the Tech 4s are budget in price they don’t feel it in performance. Spare wheels make tyre changes a breeze – mount some dual-ply tyres on these broad, stable rims and your trail bike becomes an uplift demon in 60 seconds. The only real issue comes when you decide you want them as your number one set, rather than the spare.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.