The shuttle assist lift riding found just South of Yosemite is notorious for moon dust, and requires running lower PSI for traction, which can often result in severely dented or even cracked rims. Fed up with the constant cycle of replacing outers, Antonio reached out his future father-in-law, who was & is a Boeing Composite Engineer, to help him design and manufacture a set of rims he could rely on.
After experimenting with a variety of rim profiles, the pair selected two they thought were optimal, and had friend in Taiwan with a carbon facility create a pair of molds. A few months later, the two prototypes labeled the DH 1.0 and DH 2.0 hit American shores, and were immediately put to the test under an assortment of riders.
After over a year abuse, they settled on the DH 2.0 rim, which is what we’ve been taxed with abusing…..
At 1745 g, this is the lightest DH wheelset Deflexion has built to date
Deflexion racing offers prebuilt wheels with either Hope or Industry Nine Hubs, but for our build, we sent over a pair of ultra light (and very reliable) DT Swiss 240 Hubs. Laced to those hubs, our 26″ wheelset hit the scale at 1745 g.
For comparison, a set of the new Enve M90s laced to the same hubs would weigh a claimed 1707, and cost nearly $3,000. Base price for a set of Deflexion Rims laced to Hope Hubs with double butted DT Swiss spokes is $999.99, and claimed weight is just a touch over 1800g. Coming just under that weight, their “team build” is laced with Industry Nine Torch hubs, and will retail for $1,3999.
A rim only option will also be available in the future, but pricing has yet to be announced.
The front wheel was laced with triple butted DT Swiss Super Competition spokes and weights 825g, while the rear was built with double butted DT Swiss Competition spokes, and hit the scale at 926 g
We do not have scale shots of the individual rim, but we’re told the 26″ 32H DH rim weighs 455 g.
A 27.5″ all mountain rim is also in development that weighs 408 g. It is currently being tested by the Intense/ Troy Lee Designs Team, and has already earned a top ten result in a World Cup race. Deflexion wouldn’t normally recommend racing a more trail oriented product on a downhill bike, but they’ve been holding up just fine under the punishment of up and comers Luca Cometti and Alex Willie.
Following the American mantra of “bigger is better,” the Deflexion rims utilize a healthy 23mm inner width, and 30mm outer.
The bead was designed to work with both tube or tubeless setups, and their sponsored team riders have had great success using a strip of Gorilla tape and 1.5 scoops of Stan’s. We’ve had no issues with either setup.Each wheelset is handbuilt in the United States, so Deflexion is able to offer some unique customization programs – like matching hubs, nipples, and even decal colors.
The stock decals are black and white, with a clear protective coat, but for $30 you can have them printed in any color. A $15 fee lets you order hubs in your preferred color, and for an additional $35, you can also color match with aluminum nipples, rather than the stock brass DT Swiss nips.
The standard warranty guarantees the rims for two years and covers any manufacturing defects. According to Antonio, if they break hucking Rampage, or your bike falls off a cliff, etc…, they’ll also offer a one time crash warranty replacement to the original buyer.
The lifts are just starting to open, so we haven’t had the opportunity to batter our poor test ride on back to back runs in the bike park, but we have had the pleasure of squeezing in a few shuttle sessions.
Most of the trails in this area worthy of a downhill bike are littered with high speed shoots, man made berms, big transfers, and steep drops. You won’t find burly rock gardens a la Santa Barbara or East Coast, but there are a few hot spots.
Because the wheelset is built with regular off the shelf parts, replacements are available anywhere
Out of the box, the wheels had nice even tension with no hop, and were dished perfectly.
While we often prefer to build burly wheelsets with brass nipples for the no fuss factor, the red aluminum nipples, and the two blue nipples framing the valve stem, were a nice touch of color.
Our V10 testing platform was already rolling on a custom but fairly stanrd Mavic/DT/Hadley wheelset, that are very stiff for alloy, but were much heavier. Not only do the Deflexion rims helps shave a quarter pound of rotational weight per wheel, they introduced a whole new level of acceleration performance.
At under 35 lbs, the big bike was already encroaching trail bike weight, but now hammering on the pedals causes it to accelerate like a pod racer in a drag race on Tatooine.
Through fast loose descents, and deep ruts, tracking was more precise, as was hard cornering. And in the air, the lighter weight was immediately apparent, as whips came far easier than muscle memory remembered, and snapped back with equal vigor.
The decals are beginning to show a little wear from rocks and debris, but after several bit impacts, including a memorable G-out over a rock strewn creek bed that harshly bottomed out the suspension, the wheels are still spinning perfectly true.
It’s only the beginning of a summer filled with road trips, camping, and good rides, so our long term report on durability is still in the air, but first impressions are solid. If you’re putting together a new race bike or just looking to upgrade, this carbon wheelset from Deflexion is priced competitively with other high end aluminum offerings, but offers some serious advantages.
Via Deflexion Racing