Stan’s NoTubes Updates Alpha 340 Road Tubeless Rims w/ Stronger, Thicker Spoke Bed

Stans NoTubes Alpha 340 road tubeless rim gets thicker stronger spoke bedStan’s NoTubes started shipping revised Alpha 34o tubeless road rims near the end of May. The revised rims get a slightly thicker, stronger spoke bed and are shipping now on both complete wheelsets and as standalone rims.

NoTubes’ Mike Bush says the change was made to allow them to build wheels with a higher spoke tension. With Road Tubeless tires in particular, as they’re installed and inflated, they can cause a significant drop in spoke tension on the wheel. On the drive side rear, the drop could actually put the tension below recommended spec. Previously they had supplied spoke washers, but many builders weren’t familiar with their use. Some folks would over tension the spokes, which could cause the rims to crack or, in rare cases, the spoke would pull through. Bush says they would warranty such cases even though it wasn’t technically an approved issue.

The new rims only add a bit of weight (10-15g with extrusion variances), putting the new rims at about 380-385g, up from 370g.

Comments

RKT - 06/08/12 - 12:39pm

Would be awesome if Stan’s started making aero carbon wheels with their bst!

joby - 06/08/12 - 1:39pm

As a wheel builder, I’ve always worried about drillings without eyelets or washers. If the rims come with washers from the manufacturer, I cannot imagine the weight savings would be worth the potential to blow the rim early from even RECOMMENDED tension. Good on Stan’s for warranting the rims when improperly built.

tim o - 06/08/12 - 2:33pm

No modern bike company seems to make better use of their customers for product development than Stan’s. And yes, I have bought several of their products.

michael - 06/08/12 - 3:25pm

How about an “Alpha 440″ deeper aero rim.

DeLoped - 06/08/12 - 3:43pm

i built up a pair of these on XTR hubs for cross last summer. I use them now for commuting. About a month ago, one of the DT alloy spoke nipples cracked at the head of the nipple on the front wheel, something I have never experienced before. I have broken plenty of spokes in my day but never broken a nipple. Just yesterday, it happened again on the rear wheel this time. I either have bad spoke nipples or there is something funky going on with these rims. So strange.

Gillis - 06/08/12 - 6:56pm

@Deloped: are the spokes threaded all the way through the head of the nipple? If the spoke isn’t threaded into that point (flush with the head of the nipple is ideal) it becomes a stress riser and can break like you claim. If they are, and are still breaking, they I would say its a bad batch of nipples you got.

Jason - 06/08/12 - 8:46pm

I bought a set of these rims a month ago. To build up a $600 sub 1250 gram wheel set. The wheels were a breeze to build and tipped the scale at 1220 grams (without washers, didn’t know they were necessary). After mounting reg clincher tires I did notice a significant amount of de-tensioning. I built the front and drive side to between 14-15 on the park scale. After the tires were installed I was measuring 10-11. After reading this article I wish I bought Kinlin rims instead, I would have saved a lot money. I guess I have spoke and rim failures to look forward to, thanks.

John - 06/09/12 - 12:42pm

Cant wait to see those I9 tubeless rims, they look like they would be great for cross

elwictor - 06/11/12 - 7:56am

@Gillis / DeLoped: You should be aware that ERD on Stan’s rims is a bit funky. I have no idea whether this is production variation or a difference in measuring method, but punching the ERD into Spocalc or the DT Swiss tool sometimes leads to slightly too short spokes.

Tom - 06/11/12 - 9:56am

Darn, I wish these came out about a few weeks earlier before I built up my 340′s. I love Stans rims and never had issues until these. After having used 3 sets of Stans MTB rims I have no reservations about the lack of eyelets. While these are not terrible, and I haven’t had any nipple breakages, cracked eyelets or pull throughs, the de-tensioning issue is definitely real. I’ve had to true the rear wheel a couple times after the first few hundred kms. Wind-up or stress relieving wasn’t an issue with the bladed spokes I used, tension is even, but it still tends to detension with tires at full pressure. I am happy they are addressing this.

@elwictor: I also found the ERD on these rims to be a little wonky. I wish I waited for the rims to arrive before ordering my spokes. Because of this I ended up with spokes that weren’t to the ideal length, but at least it was on the front and not the rear. The front has been problem free at least. Finding the right balance of tension is tricky because you don’t want to risk cracking the rim. They recommend 125kg with washers, but most builders I spoke to were building with less tension and not using the washers.

A reminder for anyone building up a set of these and planning to use washers, make sure you account for their thickness with your spoke lengths—maybe an extra mm to ensure good spoke depth in the nipple.

385 puts it within 5g of a Kinlin XR200, plus another 8g for washers if they are still required. I’ve always been curious as to how these two rims compare, but Kinlin is definitely winning points on the $$ scale.

@michael: Check out the Kinlin XR300, 30mm aero profile might be closer to what you are looking for?

In any case, I would be curious as to what the new achievable tensions are with the added material on the spoke bed. Lastly, does the improved rim eliminate the need for the washers?

matt - 02/14/13 - 9:40pm

I built a pair of 340’s up onto a Alchemy Elf 24h and Alchemy Orc 28h rear and with Sapin cxrays spokes and ali nipples. Weight with rim tape 1365g I went with the extra spokes as I had heard rumours about flex / tensioning and wanted a durable wheel. I had no issues with flex but I only weight 67kg.

After 6 months and approx 6,000 – 6,500km the rear rim has cracked around the eyelets on the drive and non-drive sides. I normally get 18 – 2 years out of a quality wheel set so was a little disappointed. There is minimal brake surface wear.

I am still waiting for a response from the warranty department but it looks like I had the older 340.

Not that the option was available at the time but a 340 front and 400 rear looks like a better choice

Martin - 04/10/13 - 10:46am

I had a set of these rims buit on Hope hubs and cxray spokes. They felt too flexy at first and this would seem to be the problem experienced by others, that the tyre pressure was compressing the rim. After some discussion with Stans the spoke tension was increased to the meaximum recommeded by them. At that time (about 18 months ago) there was no metion of nipple washer … Since then I have used them in blissful ignorance, but only for training as I accepted that the were just a bit too soft for racing…… That was till last weekend when on a descent on a local hill a spoke pulled through on the rim and liberated a large chunck of aluminium in the process. The failue was so violent that it blew out the tyre … and at 37mph!… Fortunately it was the rear so I was able to stay on, but only just…. On checking the rim closely, I found multiple fatigue cracks showing on the rear….. To be fair on Stans it seems that they will rebuild the rear for me and we are currently discussing the front. It shows no signs of cracking, but I wont risk using it again. However, I think they could have been more proactive in tracking down people with the early rims and warning them of the problems as I was completely unaware of this issue and lucky not to have a serious off.

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