Hot News: Ibis launches line of ultra-wide carbon wheels

27.5 29er News Wheels

Bike-maker looks to reinvent the wheel with 41mm-wide rims

Photos courtesy of Ibis.

A little company from Santa Cruz, Calif. delivered some big—or should we say wide—news today as Ibis announced the launched a new line of carbon wheelsets, including two trail/all-mountain models that measure a whopping 41mm in width. A third 29er cross country model boasts an extra-large-for-its-class 28mm width. And while the measurements may sound excessive, the company’s founder thinks there’s a significant advantage to it.

“I have to say that jumping on 41mm rims for the first time is a little bit like the first time I rode a RockShox front suspension coming from rigid,” said Ibis Founder Scot Nicol. “You have to relearn what the bike is capable of—it’s that dramatic.”

Three wheelsets, no waiting

The 27.5-inch 741 and 29-inch 941 wheelsets feature a 41mm external rim width and measure 35mm internally. The rims feature a hookless bead Ibis says is not only much stronger than hooked rims, but less expensive to produce while holding tires just as well, due to the more precise construction of modern tubeless and tubeless-ready tires.

The 928 is—as you may have guessed—a 29er wheelset that’s 28mm externally/22mm internally. The cross country wheels—which Ibis calls “The New Normal”—measure close to the width of typical all-mountain rims.

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The advantages of wide rims

The company claims a whole host of advantages to wider rims, including better sidewall support so you can run lower pressures without fear of burping tires. The lower pressures in turn increase the tread’s contact patch, resulting in better traction and subsequent increased braking power.

“Typically, riders are running 4–6 psi less than normal. Light riders on moderate terrain are running as low as 15-17psi,” says Ibis. “In general, for a given rider, using tires you’ve used before in a given locale, you will be able to run lower tire pressures with wider rims. How much lower can only be determined through experimentation.”

Carbon rims produced in tandem—but not jointly—with upstart Derby

For the design of the box-section carbon rims, Ibis, along with friend and fellow light-but-wide rim enthusiast Ray Scruggs tag-teamed the concept initially and even shared some early tooling costs. From there, the companies cordially developed their concepts independently.

Scruggs, who incidentally used his Mtbr forum user name “Derby” for the moniker of his company, began selling Derby Rims in 2012 while Ibis took a longer path to the marketplace.

“We wanted to have our own project with our own factory, design, fabrication methods and QC, so it took us a lot longer,” said Nicol. “Ray was looking for help sourcing in Asia, and we provided him with a lot of good info and even went and verified the legitimacy of the factory for him. But the final products are independent—our rims are designed by us, and Derby’s are by Ray.”

Pricing and availability

All three models have a suggested retail price of $1299. The 741 and 928 are available starting today as optional upgrades on the Ibis Mojo HDR 650b and Ripley 29, respectively. The 941 is scheduled as an option for the Ripley beginning in May, and all three wheelsets should be available in the aftermarket in June.

Ibis Carbon Wheelsets

741 27.5-inch Carbon Wheelset

  • Use: Trail/all-mountain
  • External Width: 41mm
  • Internal Width: 35mm
  • Rim Weight: 475g
  • Wheelset Weight: 1650g (pair)
  • MSRP: $1299.00 (pair)
  • Available: June 2014

941 29-inch Carbon Wheelset

  • Use: Trail/all-mountain
  • External Width: 41mm
  • Internal Width: 35mm
  • Rim Weight: 490g
  • Wheelset Weight: 1770g (pair)
  • MSRP: $1299.00 (pair)
  • Available: June 2014

928 29-inch Carbon Wheelset

  • Use: Cross-country
  • External Width: 28mm
  • Internal Width: 22mm
  • Rim Weight: 375g
  • Wheelset Weight: 1580g (pair)
  • MSRP: $1299.00 (pair)
  • Available: June 2014

For more information visit ibiscycles.com/wheels.

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About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born editorial director Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and pedaling for Mtbr, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.


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