Full disclaimer - I really like carbon mountain bike wheels. While I like riding all sorts of bikes, it's on mountain bikes where I really like the changes that a good carbon mountain bike wheel set can make to your bike. Having had at least a dozen pairs on my personal rides, I can appreciate how the shift to wider and lower height carbon rims have enhanced the ride quality of a carbon wheel set.

Rim width is something that has been spoken about, especially when looking at 25mm or 30mm widths for mountain biking. The rough concept is that a wider tyre, or any tyre, can inflate to rounder shape on a wider rim. There are limits here of course, including how wide the rim can be, and how narrow the tyre can be. Ben Morrison tested a 2.4" trail tyre on 22.5mm, 25mm and 30mm rims, to see what the differences were.


Looking at carbon mountain bike wheels?

TESTED: Crank Brothers Synthesis carbon mountain bike wheels
TESTED: DT Swiss EXC 1501 carbon mountain bike wheels
TESTED: Zipp 3Zero Moto carbon mountain bike wheels
TESTED: Revel RW30 carbon mountain bike wheels
TESTED: DT Swiss XRC 1200 25mm carbon mountain bike wheels
TESTED: DT Swiss XMC 1200 carbon mountain bike wheels 


Rim height has an impact in terms of vertical compliance. You'll see that wheels like the Zipp 3Zero Moto wheels and Crank Brothers Synthesis have low rim heights so they aren't too stiff.

Schmolke Carbon, from Germany, have just released their new TLO XC Race Clincher Disc Wheelset, and a pair has been sent out for testing. The rim has an internal width of 30mm, external width of 36mm, making 3mm rim edges. The rim is a low V shape, with a 22mm height. The wheels can take up to a 2.7" tyre! They have a rider weight limit of 120kg.

Schmolke use DT Swiss 180 Ratchet EXP hubs, and the wheels just come in a Boost spacing with the centrelock hubs. Using Sapim CX-Ray 2.0 spokes, Schmolke claim a weight of 1280g, +/- 5%. Our wheels came in at 607g and 705g front and rear respectively, without tape and (included) valves. 1312g makes them about the third lightest mountain bike wheel I have fitted up - after non-Boost NoTubes Valor (OG light wheels) and a custom wheel set built for my wife. This is seriously light for a 28 spoke wheel with a 30mm wide rim.

The rim bed is really smooth and the carbon looks very consistent - although I'd like to hear more about the rim from Schmolke before reviewing the wheels.The curved inner face made it easy to fit Pirelli Scorpion XC Lite 2.4" tyres without a tyre lever, and they inlated easily using the Beto Surge Tubeless Floor Pump.

 What's interesting is that the spoke holes aren't offset to reduce dish, something that many (but not all) rims do. As it stands the wheels have setup easily, look stunning, and feel super light. The next step is taking them to the trails. Keep an eye on a coming issue for review.

Schmolke parts are available from Bspoke Velo. We have previously tested the Schmolke TLO Gravel Wheels, and the Schmolke Enduro Low Rise handlebar.