Stan’s NoTubes Alpha 340 ZTR Pro Road Tubeless Wheels – Unboxed, Weighed and First Rides

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Stan’s NoTubes announced their new road tubeless wheelset, the Alpha 340 ZTRs, a few weeks ago and we’ve had a chance to get some early miles on them. Being true weight weenies (and that fact that the Team and Comp models weren’t immediately available), we received the top of the line Pro set to test, which has a claimed weight of 1,200g per set.

Per usual, we unboxed and weighed them right away, took some closeup photos while they were still clean and fresh, then promptly put them through one heck of an inaugural ride consisting of rain, gravel paths and curvy, hilly country roads.

Hit ‘more’ for first impressions, actual weights and some pics…

REAL WEIGHTS

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Each wheel came with its own tag showing actual weights from the factory. Our test set claimed to weigh in at 1,220g, which is 20g heavier than the advertised heft, but well within normal variances in our opinion.

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We verified on the Park Tools scale: 1.22kg = 1,220g.

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Front (left) and rear matched up within a gram of the tagged weights, which is likely just a matter of rounding up to the available spaces on our scale.

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The skewers add 99g, which is pretty light, and they have good lever feel.

All this lightness begs the question, is there a rider weight limit? Stan’s says the Pro set has 180lb rider limit for race day use, but that they’ve had slightly heavier riders on them with no problems. Personally, I’m usually about 175lbs, and so far they seem plenty stiff.

THE BUILD

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The heart of the tubeless wheelset is, of course, the tubeless rims. All three wheelsets use their new Alpha 340 ZTR rims that weigh in at approximately 350g each. Stan’s NoTubes tech man Mike says it wasn’t easy getting the rims that light and that, for aluminum, they’re not immediately working on anything to trump the 340′s. I asked him if they’d considered carbon fiber to create a lighter rim and the answer was a wry “could be.”  For now, they’re busy just getting enough mountain bike rims out the door to fill orders and get the Team and Comp sets built for late June / early July ship dates.

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The Alpha 340 ZTR rims take Stan’s patented shallow lip and set it up to accommodate a higher air pressure than their mountain bike rims. Some of Stan’s higher end MTB rims have max air pressure limits, but these road rims are set up to handle up to the 125 psi limit that’s printed on the sidewalls of the currently available crop of tubeless road tires. The tubeless rim strips come pre-installed with the valves, and our test set came with a couple tubes of sealant. Production wheelsets will include a padded wheelbag, too.

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The Pro set uses American Classic Micro 18h front hub with radial lacing and…

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… the American Classic 24h Hi-Lo rear hub (16 drive, 8 non-drive).

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The freehub body has three stainless steel inserts (black) to keep the cassette body from digging into the grooves, which is a common problem on aluminum bodies.

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Full tech specs on this and the other models are in this post.

FIRST RIDES

So far, I’ve put in three rides on them for a total of about 110 miles. The very first ride included an hour of rain, then riding over wet gravel roads before hitting some curvy hills around our office in North Carolina.

The second and third ride were in Florida in 99% humidity (just shy of raining, but enough to end the ride soaking wet) in 90º-plus weather.  In other words, I’m doing my best to punish the wheels with crappy conditions.

So far, they’re stiff, light and very quiet. They’ve made some normally painful hill sprints less painful, and the bike definitely feels snappier after dropping 265g from my usual road wheelset.

American Classic notes that some 10 speed cassettes may need shims to keep them from being loose, and I suspect I may need that as the cassette is rattling around a bit, which takes away from the sublime stealth of the AC hub.

All in all, first impressions are very good.  Of course, several of us will put a lot of miles on these before writing a full review, but if you just can’t wait to upgrade, both Stan’s NoTubes and American Classic have solid reputations for quality, so you probably won’t be disappointed. And at $1,100 for a 1,220g wheelset, they’re on par or slightly less expensive than similarly feathery wheelsets. The only downside at the moment is the lack of choices among tires…and in fact, so far, I’ve been riding these on tubed Bontrager tires while we await our tubeless tire samples from both Hutchinson and Bontrager, which will let us test these wheels how they’re meant to be ridden.

Comments

Keith - 06/07/10 - 10:05pm

I built these rims up olast week with Am Classic hubs – Micro 58 w/ 28 radial Revolution spokes, and road 205 32H with revolution non driveside and Comp spoke drive side 3X. The rims built up well and produced a 1340 – 1360 gram wheelset after tape and stems. i have the Fusion 3′s mounted up tubelss with a pinch of Stns sealant in there. I haven’t had the chance to do any serious road rides yet, but they felt nice and light on the few rides that I have done.
The 205 hub come with a thin spacer, as does the Shimano 105 cassette that’s on there now. I ned both spacers to adequately tighten the cassette in place.

jeff - 02/17/11 - 12:10am

Rims are ultra light, which makes truing(and re-tensioning) a bit of a hassle, because you lose about 10 kgf’s once you install the tires. After getting the rims to tension and riding them, I realized that bladed spokes flexed a bit under steep climbing or sprint intervals. I decided to put champion spokes on the rear wheel and all stiffness issues were resolved. The ride is more supple and grip better than my 303 tubulars in turns. Overall impressive for a 350 gram alloy rim..

Alex D Rider - 06/09/11 - 12:30pm

I´ve been looking into these for a while, trying to find reviews and opinions but I´m really lokking forward to long-term tests, as they look nice and light already – but how´s durability? I dig Stan´s stuff and tried their MTB ultralight wheelsets but I´m still unconfortable with tubeless lack of tire choice.

I have a pair of HED Ardennes C2 wheels and they´re amazing: light (1.348g on the scale), rigid and smooth, yet bombproof. The wider rim is something in itself, makes my 23mm tires look and feel (and NOT flat) like 25mm´s.

So basically I´m trying to decide whether it´s worth to exchange this record for a drop of ~150g, even though the HEDs can´t be used with tubeless tires. Both are basically the same price too. One for the future…

Alex D Rider - 06/09/11 - 12:31pm

P.S.: Thanks for the review ;-)

Jeff - 06/21/11 - 1:45pm

I have a set of Alpha rims laced to White Industries hubs that weigh in at 1330 grams. They were built by Ghisallo Wheels using Revolution spokes for about $550. I have about 3000 miles on them and they are phenomenal. Very stiff, light, and have taken on some rougher roads with no issues. I have not tried them tubeless but run Continental GP 4000s with tubes. I’m about 160 lbs with gear on the bike. Highly recommended. http://ghisallowheels.com/

david sundby - 08/10/11 - 11:04pm

I wonder why they put the nondrive spokes in backwards.

Dave - 10/27/11 - 6:54am

By “backwards” do you mean on the wrong side of the flange?

Dave - 10/27/11 - 7:05am

They could have shaved a few more grams with AC aluminium tubeless valve stems. And the QRs could be a lot lighter too.

I’ll be interested to hear how they hold up.

Josh - 02/21/12 - 9:28am

@david sundby, lacing the spoked from inside out on the front flange moves the center of the spoke wider. Radial lacing is all about trying to get the highest angle (from vertical) possible. This moves a greater portion of the spoke tension force lateral and really stiffens things up. It will make marks in the flange though.

Steve - 07/05/12 - 1:49pm

Had these for about three months. Couldn’t get the back spokes to stop creaking as I rode on them. Stan’s was unable to fix the problem though they admitted it existed. Would not recommend these as there are too many other wheels out there at the same price point that are much, much better.

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