Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK3 wheelset review£520.00

The no-nonsense tubeless option

BikeRadar score4/5
  • Weight: 870g + 1,000g = 1,870g
  • Width: 28mm / 31mm
  • Freehub lag: 10°
  • Sizes: 27.5in, 29in

Stan’s NoTubes Flow rims have been a benchmark tubeless-ready trail rim for years and the latest MK3s brings it back into the ring with a contemporary width evolution of Stan’s proven features. Add updated hubs and the result is a buoyant, wider-tyre-compatible ride with none of the previous escaping axle-end irritation.

Stan’s started the whole tubeless conversion revolution with its NoTubes kits, before designing and manufacturing its own radical low side-wall Bead Socket Technology rims.

No surprise then that the Flow MK3s come pre-fitted with Stan’s signature custard-coloured sealing tape and with valves included in the box ready for an easy pop into place.

The carefully shaped rim includes a low, sharp-edged Bead Socket lip that the tyre pops over as it expands to make for a secure seal. The resulting fit is trustworthy down to super-low teen pressures and the low sidewall helps it shrug off the rim-ding impacts well.

It’s wide enough to shape up 2.4–2.5-inch tyres without making 2.3-inch tyres too square and slow rolling, putting it in the sweet spot in terms of supporting the most popular trail tyres.

The windowed hubs and 32 J-bend (rather than straight pull) Sapim Force spokes are traditional and reliable (especially in the face of many flashy-looking or low-spoke-count setups that just cause spares problems). Combined with the shallow ‘WideRight’ rim that gives a smooth, shock-absorbing ride, they’re still accurate in terms of tracking. I’ve ridden them full gas for months without obvious denting, wobbling or de-tensioning too.

Engagement of the four-pawl Neo hubs is slightly slow and the splines have scarred over time, but the previously loose adaptor caps are now secure and you can even get a lefty version.

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

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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