EB13: Crank Brothers Wheels Get Wider, Lighter Rims & More, Cockpits Updated

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Crank Brothers‘ wheels get a complete overhaul, with new wider and lighter rim extrusions, updated hubs and lower prices. Cockpit parts also get a revamp, with fresh graphics and a few functional updates that also shed grams.

The wheel lineup gets simplified, now with just the Cobalt (21mm, XC), Iodine (23mm, Trail) and Opium (26mm, FR/DH). No more Sage. All of the rims get about 2mm wider with deeper cross sections and shorter sidwall bead heights. That allowed them to remove the central rib, which saves weight, and makes them about 50% stronger gives them a roughly 50% improvement in strength to weight ratio for the carbon rims and 15% for alloy ones.

The sidewalls now taper in just a bit and have a much shorter interior wall. This sheds weight, too, and likely reduces pinch flats and dinged rims. And that ain’t all…

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The overall weight savings are somewhat offset by the wider design, but not completely. The 27.5″carbon Cobalt 11 wheels drop down to 1425g and 1550g for the 29er. That’s down about 100g for the 29er. No more 26″ Cobalt 11.

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Rim widths progress naturally through the line from 21mm to 23mm to 26mm. These are external internal widths.

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The carbon rims for the Cobalt 11 gets similar updates, but the cutaway shows a more dramatic reshaping. The original, on the left, had a central rib and used small bladders in the molding process…which remained after construction. The new ones get much thinner walls but a bigger cross section so they don’t give up strength. They also get a new production method that compresses around a firm mold that’s then burnt out, leaving very smooth interior walls with no added weight.

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Like the alloy rims, it keeps a sealed tire bed, so no tape’s required to go tubeless.

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The hubs get a slight rework visually, and have updated pawl springs, but the big improvement is that they swap easily between any axle standard with end caps.

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They’ll ship with all options, and there’s also an XD driver body available.

Prices drop by $50 for the 3 ($900) and 2 ($600) levels, but the 11 remains at $2,200.

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The cockpit parts get cosmetic updates and streamlined SKU counts. The Cobalt 11 carbon stem (right) loses the wedge system and drops down to about 110g for the 100mm. It uses loose alloy inserts on the clamp face, nothing bonded in.

The Iodine 2 & 3  (left) both get a standard pinch bolt clamp on the steerer rather than the band, which lowers stack height and weight.

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The 132g Cobalt 11 carbon riser gets matte black graphics, and the Iodine 11 goes completely matte black. Seat posts get similar graphics updates and new bridge that goes between the rails that makes it easier to keep the saddle centered during setup.

Comments

Mindless - 08/27/13 - 3:15pm

No more proper UST bead? They can go pound sand.

Padrote - 08/27/13 - 3:37pm

run away

erock - 08/27/13 - 4:23pm

Run away…I 2nd that!

dwiz - 08/27/13 - 6:09pm

I ride a lot of bikes and see lots of them on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis in colorado and have seen these wheels in action only once.
how come you don’t see them to often on other peeps bikes? are the wheels really any good? are they lemons?
I just have to ask as these wheels have been around for awhile now, but they are rarely seen, at least in my part of the world……

Pete - 08/27/13 - 6:16pm

@dwiz: I had a set of Iodines that lasted a real long time on an old Specialized Enduro. They needed standard truing and the hubs were terrible, but I lambasted those wheels and had no problems. That being said, they are generally known for being pretty terrible.

Sevo - 08/27/13 - 7:55pm

Know why I sold mine? You trash a rim it’ll take forever to get a new one. Saw that happen a few times and said adios.

I use crank brothers tools, love them. but really they’ve yet to impress beyond that. Cute from a design stand point, but functionally there are better products when you compare to other stuff in the market.

Mongo - 08/27/13 - 8:58pm

Those Cobalt rim walls look terrifyingly thin. Am I supposed to believe those will hold up to everyday wear and tear, or are they meant to be race-day only disposables? And where’s the new dropper post to replace the truly awful kronolog?

alex - 08/27/13 - 10:05pm

you want to like them…they look nice….but don’t fall for it. “Crap Brothers” is more like it. Friend of mine bought a pair of wheels and sold them after a couple of weeks of riding. The wheel flex was totally noticeable. He’s never going back

Ham-planet - 08/27/13 - 11:36pm

At least they make nice multi-tools.

Johann - 08/28/13 - 2:10am

Any axle standard? Do you mean we can get 20 mm through axle on Iodine and even Cobalt?

vhom - 08/28/13 - 11:39am

Crank Brother is actually getting better, but there are still other products that are better and cheaper. The only thing CB has for them is their warranty department. They’re simply about the best there is and the saving grace for CB.

@Mongo…They do look scary thin don’t they….

Tad Dickman - 08/28/13 - 1:20pm

Yada yada yada… to the people who bash Crank Brothers wheelsets. They had one bad year with a few occurrences and of course everyone jumped all over them and became an expert on how bad they are! Typical forum BS.

Hans Rey runs them exclusively and beats the living hell out of them with no problems.
http://bit.ly/ZK0HLK

troupe - 08/29/13 - 12:19pm

i’ve been on 26″ and 29″ versions of the cobalt, and put them through tons of racing and training and have had nothing but great experiences with them. looking forward to these new versions – the carbons looks killer.

Frank gonzaleZ - 01/05/14 - 9:50pm

“No more carbon cobalt 26″?… WTF?!?!?!?

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