With so many rims to choose from it's sometimes a bit daunting to work out what you need for your particular purpose, so I try and keep it simple by using rims that are capable of going tubeless (with the correct tape and valve), rims that have been tried and tested and also rims that look the part. Below are some of the brands and rims that I recommend.
Currently by far and away the most requested rims for both 'Cross and road are the 23mm wide H+ Son Archetype. The Archetype rims look the part with either a Matte Black finish or a grey Hard Anodised finish, have a nice semi-aero profile, are comfortable and therefore great on crappy British roads and are a great price at £55 for black or £58 for the Hard Anodised version. The extra width of the rim makes for a great tyre profile, the difference can really be felt when cornering compared to a narrower rim and tyre combination. The H+ Son workmanship is exceptional at this price and the rims have invisible welded rim joints as standard.
Spec: Weight: 470 grams Material: G609 Alloy Height: 25 mm Width: 23 mm Size: 700c Joint: Welded Machined Braking Surface
The Pacenti SL23 is another wider tubeless rim that is super stiff, looks amazing and performs brilliantly. The rims follow the current trend for stiff wide rims and measure 26mm deep and 23mm wide . These rims have an added advantage of being superbly stiff meaning low spoke counts are not a problem, they also have quite a deep machined braking surface with a wear indicator. The wide profile coupled with a tubeless setup (yellow stans tape needed, veloplugs won't seal) on a tubeless specific tyre (converted road tyres won't hold and will blow off) makes for a really smooth ride. These rims are designed to be raced for both road and 'cross, probably my favourite rim just now, well worth their £98 RRP.
Spec: Weight: 450 grams Material: 6061-T6 aluminum Height: 26 mm Width: 24 mm Size: 700c Joint: Welded 10.6mm Machined Braking Surface
The Velocity A23 had been the widest tubeless road rim on the market for a while and is still a great rim, but the last few that I have built have had problems with quality control and therefore I'm no longer offering these as part of a built wheel, I still ride and race on a set though and they are great rims. If you want tubs for 'Cross and don't want or can't afford to spend lots of cash on good carbon then there really is only one option and that is the Major Tom by Velocity. It's an aluminium tub that has a 23mm wide rim which allows for better tyre performance, providing a larger contact surface for gluing and adds strength without additional weight (432g). They have a semi aero profile that gives them lots of strength without extra weight. Velocity added an extra mm or so to the brake track depth so that it's easier to swop between wheels for racing and training (less brake setup). The strength of these rims should not be underestimated, Al Dorrington uses them for the 3 Peaks and seems to have no problems at all. One of the riders on the team i race for swears by these and they don't seem to be hindering him any over the riders equipped with much more expensive carbon tubs, in fact when you look at the pitiful build quality, weight and price of some carbon tubs from some UK retailers it's a wonder demand for these isn't higher (listening planetX?). £52 RRP.
Spec: Weight: 430 grams Material: Aluminum Height: 21 mm Width: 23 mm Size: 700c 11mm Machined Braking Surface Tubular Only
Where to start, loads of options, all tubeless, all well made and all at a decent price. My current favourite Stans rim for disc road or 'Cross is the new Grail:
Countless hours spent working with our professional road racers and cyclocross team led us to create what just might be the ultimate disc-specific rim for road, ’cross and gravel. At just over 24mm wide and featuring our deepest profile (24.5mm), the Grail is the most aerodynamic rim we’ve ever made.
They weigh in at 460 grams and cost £75.
You can't do better than the Stans Iron Cross if you want a traditional profile tubeless 'cross rim, strong, light and wide.
The new ZTR Iron Cross rim combines a stiff 17.5mm rim depth, a 20mm wide internal cavity, and our ultra-low-profile Bead Socket Technology (BST) sidewalls to virtually eliminate pinch flats under some of the lowest tire pressures you can run. At 385 grams a rim, the ZTR Iron Cross disc rim will make your next cyclocross disc wheel build considerably lighter but able to handle all the punishment you can dish out. The new ZTR Iron Cross disc rims are designed only for use with cyclocross tubeless tires and traditional cyclocross clinchers.
For XC mountain biking the Stans Crest is still one of the best rims available, tubeless or non, light, strong and reliable.
The ZTR Crest is built for cross country and light trail use. Next generation BST provides the tire stability and tubeless seal. Wins at the Tour Divide and BC Bike Race have established the Crest 29er as the leader in light, reliable big wheels.
They weigh in at 380 grams and cost £70.
For Tubeless Road the new Alpha 400 is a great piece of kit. Stans listened to the customers and beefed up the spoke bed of the new 400 compared to the 340 whilst retaining the light weight and increasing durability.
A rim that shares the same dimensions and Bead Socket Technology as the Alpha 340 but adds the triple channel and internal arch design of our nearly invincible Arch EX and Flow EX rims. The ZTR Alpha 400 offers a 33% thicker spoke bed than the original Alpha 340 rim for maximum durability. Light and fast on the outside, ultra-stiff and strong on the inside, the new ZTR Alpha 400 is the rim we've all been waiting for!
Weighting in at 425 grams and £90 RRP
The whole range of Stans No Tubes rims are generally great and they are bound to have something to suit whatever riding style takes your fancy. Personally I can't wait to try out their new CarbonValour wheels.