Alloy rim brake rims - you win some, you lose some

This is a warm enough topic that most readers will need no foreplay on it. The alloy rim brake rim market is in tumult. We haven't got perfect visibility into a lot of plans, so for example while Easton R90SL road rims (notice no hot link, because I just made all of the associated products unavailable) are out of stock now, and we don't know if they're coming back. There are indicators that they might come back in October, but neither the timing nor the certainty of their return is assured. 

We've also secured a pile of HED Belgium+ rims, again taking inventory against our standard practice. Desperate times... We were surprised to be able to get some, no one at HED is saying anything about whether they are actually discontinued or not, and we're just glad to have what we have. It's limited, so if you must have a set, get a set. 

As noted last week, Al33 is gone. The most similar rim to it, the Boyd Altamont, is also gone, except in ceramic (not ceramic) form. We did what we said we don't like to do and bought a bunch of them for inventory while they are still available. It's not an endless supply by any means. Boyd is one of the few (maybe the only) brand that is investing in alloy rim brake rims, and is coming out with a new rim for 2021. Details are under gag order, but from what we've seen they look nice.

Velocity Quills have been a hot seller out of the block, perhaps a little too hot as Velocity is out of stock for a few more days. And, since I spent this morning's web site management time on deleting or hiding a bunch of things that are either temporarily or permanently unavailable, I still haven't gotten to post the Astral Radiant builds that have taken off. There's no question that the rim brake rim market is in flux, but it's really only in comparison to this wild amount of choice that we recently had that you could say it's limited. 

Of course, there are always Rail 55s and Rail 25s to scratch your itch as well. I've brought my rim brake Timoneria out of its medically induced coma just to out some Rail 25s in it. They're pretty awesome. 

None of these is currently available with DT350 hubs, as DT doesn't have usable stock of 350 hubs in the US. We'll do a post about the hub situation next week. It's less dramatic than the rim situation for sure, but it's in some flux.

Since it always bears noting, we don't generally hold hubs in stock. None of our hub suppliers even holds all of what we sell from them in stock. There are disc hubs and rim brake hubs, 2 rotor attachment types, 4 drive types, 3 main front axle types, 2 main rear axle types, and at least 3 spoke counts each for front and rear. So if you simply asked "what black hubs have you got that meet my specs?," that  only narrows it down to about 100 (give or take) hubs to have the one you need. It's a terrible hit rate. Going back to our previous post, if we limited to just one hub type, and that hub type was an inexpensive OEM hub like what a lot of brands use, we could manage it. But we like great hubs and we like choice, Carb cakes and football, that's what we do (someone must get that one, right?).

Oh, and the Tour has been really fun to watch. Have a nice weekend. 

 


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  • Dave on

    Mike L – Yeah… Hunt… … well, I guess they tested it with a 25mm Pro One instead of a 23mm GP4000 (which is probably similar width to the current Pro One 25) like the Al33 got tested with a few years ago, so there’s that. But to call it the fastest alloy rim in the world having compared to a Mavic Cosmic Elite and a Zipp 30? A few miles over the top in my estimation. Their 34 didn’t keep up with a Zipp 202, where the Al33 kept up with a Zipp 303. All of which is just to say that aerodynamics claims have gotten out of hand and consumers are less well served with the “data” that’s out there. I know you’re giving away very little to the 303/Al33 group with a Belgium+, and I’d bet cold hard that the Velocity Quill and Astral Radiant are right in amongst it as well – especially the Radiant. So there really are good options still in this alloy game.

  • Mike L on

    Re: the weight:aero benefit, at a smidge less than 35mm I noticed Hunt has the 34 Aero Wide (though, disc only and seems like very limited drilling options), I wonder if they were taking a page from the Al33 — although their data seem to suggest optimization for 25mm tires as they only compare the 28mm to one other rim. I’m curious if what you’re saying is the reason why other manufacturers haven’t followed suit with rims like this.

  • Dave on

    Carb cakes??

    Mike – Thanks!

    Richard – 35’s a bit deep to be practical for alloy, my guess would be that it sits in a poor spot in weight:aerodynamic benefit matrix, but what do I know? They build some nice rims, and they build some cheap ones, just like a smart OEM should.

    Scott – I can’t say, but I sure can’t guarantee what will be available when you need to replace.

    Matt – I can’t say. Maybe a limited edition.

    Peter – I know, right?

  • Peter Chesworth on

    I think I tracked down the last remaining 650B alloy rim brake rim in Australia. What the hell happened?

  • Matt on

    Do you know whether or not the NEW Boyd rims you speak of will have the ceramic/not ceramic sidewall treatment? Because the braking with the Swiss Stop pads is glorious!



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