Just a few years ago, it seemed in order to get a set of carbon wheels under your bike, you needed to give up your first born. $4,000 wasn’t uncommon for a set of carbon wheels, whether they be road or mountain. Most cannot afford that. I know that I can’t. I’m the average guy, like you. I tend to ride the crap out of the parts on my bike until they start to die. Many of the parts on the bike you see here have been through years of abuse. That doesn’t mean I don’t take care of my bike. I always replace parts when the time comes. Some things just last longer than others. The point I am trying to make is that it’s nice to see Niner Bikes come out with a pair of Carbon MTB Wheels that all of us can afford.
I’ve had the new wheels and Carbon RDO Fork on my bike now for about a month. I’ve put a little over 500 miles on them with plenty of up and down. If you ride bikes with me, you know I ride anything and everything, regardless of how many shocks are on my bike, or lack there of. Riding rigid means you have to choose your line more carefully. It’s a lot more fun than you would imagine, but I will get into that soon enough with a follow-up review of the fork.
The Niner wheels use Stainless DT 14/15G Double-Butted straight pull spokes with alloy nipples. The rim measures 23mm on the inside and 27mm outside. They are tubeless compatible with Stan’s Rim Tape and weight in at 1670 grams per set. Both the front and rear are 28 hole. The rear hub has a 39 points of engagement at 9.2°. I’ll mention this again later but I thought I would put this here at the top as well, the wheels retail for $1,399.
I love flashy parts as much as the next guy, but there is something sexy about the look of natural carbon fiber. These wheels don’t scream “look at me”, they subtly say, “coming through!” During the install, it was pretty obvious that Niner wasn’t looking to compete with high-end custom wheel builds. The rear hub has a similar look and sound to it, as well as the overall design. Simple, attractive, clean. A very, nothing less nothing more attitude.
The shape of the wheels and more specifically, the wheel lip, makes them very easy getting tires on and off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cursed deep dish wheels on the side of the road frustrated because I couldn’t get the tire off. With a month of hard use, I’ve had no issues with sealing or leaks using three different sets of tires.
The ghosted Niner logos are a nice touch. Keeping in line with that understated yet proud attitude. The front hub is compatible with 15mm thru-axle only and the rear comes with QR and 12/142 bits and skewer. I’m running a 1×10 setup but the wheels are also available for those running XX1 (standard free hub or XD Driver body).
Riding the new wheels has been a pleasure. They’ve taken every bump and drop I’ve thrown at them without issue. Even with a guy my size running rigid (190lbs), the wheels are still true and haven’t started making any cracking or popping noises I’ve experienced testing other carbon MTB parts. I would have liked to see the wheels come in a little lighter, but you can’t argue the price point. They’re still 500g lighter than my previous wheels, which is a noticeable difference.
Cornering and climbing is where you are most likely to feel the advantages of lighter wheels kicking in. Acceleration is also improved, as your power to weight ratio is being tipped in your favor. All of these are the reasons most riders look to upgrade their wheelset ASAP. I’ve noticed all of these while riding the Niner wheels. Very smooth and controlled. Not the best carbon ride I’ve had, but certainly nowhere near the bottom. I’d love to see a set of these hoops built with Chris King hubs to bring the weight down a touch and give them just a little extra pizzazz.
Carbon was once reserved for only Elite level builds when it came to mountain bikes. Road bikes have seen carbon components for much longer due to pro-level race demands and 16lb bikes. Wheels like these are ushering in a new category of carbon components. We are now seeing a great number of bicycle manufacturers creating multiple levels of carbon frames, components and wheels. This is a good thing for all of us. It provides everyone the opportunity to have nice parts while still being able to go out to dinner once in a while.
If you’re looking to create the ultimate, showpiece build, I would head another direction. These wheels are for the average guy, or gal, who doesn’t want to sacrifice a months pay to the Carbon Gods. They look good, ride well, the price is right at $1,399 and you get a solid company in Niner behind them. I recommend you give them a look.
Grab a set today at Niner.
If you're looking to break into carbon wheels, these should be on your list of options. The price is on the money, they wheels look great, they've held up to solid abuse and you have a quality brand name slapped on the side.