We’re constantly asked what’s the coolest thing we saw at the Sea Otter Classic. For me, the answer was undoubtedly the Syncros Silverton SL one-piece carbon 29er wheelset, where the rim, spokes, and hub shell all come out of one composite mold. Just push in a hub bearing (DT Swiss 190s in this case) and off you go – quickly.
At a wispy 1250 grams for the pair, this engineering marvel is both eye-catching and potentially game changing. Of course, picking up a set will also do a number on your bank account. They boast an eye-watering $3500 price tag. (For comparison sake, a new set of ENVE M525 carbon wheels will set you back $2800 and have a claimed weight of 1371 grams.)
Among the top line features is a claimed 100% increase in torsional stiffness compared to a traditional carbon wheel, plus an extra 30% lateral stiffness. That, according to Syncros, which is Scott’s housebrand for wheels and cockpit components, delivers increased initial acceleration and more precise cornering and responsive braking. Because overall mass has been moved toward the center of the wheel, Syncros says the wheels speed and slow down more quickly, requiring 30% less force at the initial moment of inertia.
Other key metrics include a 26mm inner rim width, 35mm depth, and 20 “spokes” front and rear. The Silverton SL is designed with XC racing in mind, and interface best with tires in the 2.25-2.4 range. Hub internals are DT Swiss 190, rotor attachment is centerlock, and since there are no traditional spokes, they are very tubeless friendly. They’ll also place nice with either Shimano or SRAM XD drivers.
Of course one of the big questions is, what if you crash and break a spoke? Syncros says the wheels are about 35% stronger than if you had a traditional spoked wheel, and in some cases the wheels could be repaired by a carbon repair specialist (as long as they are no more than 7mm out of true). If that doesn’t work out, there’s a crash replacement program that will discount a new set by 50% in the first year and follow a sliding scale thereafter. The wheels will be spec’d on select model year 2019 Scott Spark and Scale XC bikes, and also be available for aftermarket purchase starting in August.