Category: Tech How To

Recent Posts

White Industries Chainring Mounts Explained

As a companion to last week's post about White Industries R30, G30, and M30 cranksets (MR30), this week we wanted to take a look at the two chainring mounting standards that White Industries use on their square taper road, Eno, and 30mm spindle MR30 cranksets.  This is an area that generates a lot of questions because both the VBC and TSR chainrings are available for both standards, but clearly aren't differentiated by name.

MR30 VBC outer ring (left) and square taper outer ring (right)

Both standards use a 12-spline interface, but the diameter of the hole, and therefore the size and shape of the splines is significantly different to accommodate different spindle sizes.  A quick glance is enough to tell the two apart, and there is no possibility of installing the wrong one on the wrong crank: they're just too different. So is that the end of the story?  Similar, but different and separate?  Not quite.

While the two different interfaces are non-interchangeable, they do use some of the same VBC (Variable Bolt Circle) chainring system parts.

The VBC system uses two chainrings–one fixed to the crankarm, and the second mounted to the first–and both the small chainring and the VBC bolt kit are compatible with both MR30 and square taper-interface outer chainrings.  This means that if you've been using VBC chainrings with your White Industries square taper road cranks, and you have extra inner chainrings, you'll be able to use those with your MR30 VBC outer rings

MR30 TSR chainring on top of a square taper TSR chainring

So to wrap up, here's a very brief summary of what is interchangeable (not based on crank interface), and what is specific to either the MR30, or the square taper system:

Crank Specific
Not Crank-Specific
VBC Outer Ring
VBC Inner Ring
TSR chainringsVBC Bolt Kit
Chainring Lockrings

Crank Extractor Caps

Crank Bolts

We hope this helps you get a better feel for how White Industries cranks work, but as always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this or anything else related to the parts we sell.  

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What Makes a White Industries R30, G30, or M30?

White Industries offers a really wide range of cranks, from their square taper ENO and VBC cranks, to their 30mm-spindle R30, G30, and M30 models.  In this post we wanted to take a look at what the actual differences between the three 30mm-spindle cranksets.

Most of us have gotten used to not having any control over the q-factor, and at best minimal control over the chainline of our cranks because modern 2-piece cranks tend to not have any means of adjusting these factors.  Because White Industries uses separate crank arms and spindle, and because those both pieces come in two different versions, you actually do have some measure of control over those factors.

White Industries G30 and M30 arms and Road/Gravel spindle: these are the parts that make up the R30 and G30 cranksets

For starters, let's look at what defines each model:

R30: R30 (narrow) arms, Road/Gravel spindle (for 68mm and equivalent bottom bracket shells).

G30: M30 (wide) arms, Road/Gravel spindle (for 68mm and equivalent bottom bracket shells).

M30: M30 (wide) arms, Mountain spindle (for 68/73mm and equivalent bottom bracket shells).

From this small list, you can see that the G30 crankset provides more chainstay clearance than the R30 crankset by using the same arms as the M30.  As an example of how you might use this information, we've found that many times gravel bikes don't actually need the extra width of the G30 cranks, which means that if you would like to get the narrowest q-factor possible you have the option of using the R30 version.  But what does any of this actually mean, and how can you decide for yourself which crankset will give you the fit and feel that you're looking for?  Read on to find out.

M30 crankarm on top and R30 on the bottom

In the photo above, you can see how much more the upper crankarm bows out.  That's the M30 crankarm, which as noted in the list, is used to make the G30 crankset as well as the M30 crankset.  And as you can see, the difference between the G30 and M30 cranksets is the spindle they use.  It's really that simple.  One very important thing to note is that the Road/Gravel spindle is only compatible with 68mm bottom brackets (and their equivalents in T47 and PressFit standards), whereas the Mountain is compatible with 73mm (and its equivalents in the other standards).  For more on bottom bracket compatibility, check out this compatibility chart.

White Industries has handy technical drawings with measurements for the three cranksets, which is a very useful tool to help you decide which one will best suit your needs.  They also list the q-factors for all three, which, for those who care, is very nice indeed!

If you look at the drawings, you'll see that the road crankarms have a 12.5mm narrower q-factor than the mountain/gravel ones. This is the actual difference in q-factor that results from the different shape of the arms, so it's the difference in q-factor between the R30 and G30 cranksets, because they use the same spindle but different arms.  With so many bikes these days being designed with s-bend chainstays, it's often not necessary to have as much clearance between the crankarms, making it possible to run the narrower road arms on your gravel bike.  For some riders, getting a narrower q-factor is an important part of leg and knee comfort on the bike, so we think this is important to know.

For us, the natural next question to ask is whether you could, or would ever want to run the road arms on your mountain bike.  Of course, with many older mountain bikes, you'd be able to install a standard road or gravel cranksets (assuming the bike has a 68mm bottom bracket), but you would need to check beforehand to make sure you'd have clearance at the chainstays.  This is where the detailed drawings are so helpful.  One important consideration with this is that using R30 or G30 cranks on a mountain bike would give you a chainline that is 2.5mm farther inboard than you would get using the mountain bike spindle.  Just to stir up this already-cloudy topic, if you wanted to do this while maintaining your standard 49mm mountain bike chainline, and you were using a 1X setup, you could install a boost chainring in place of the standard non-boost one.  Of course if your bike uses a boost drivetrain, this wouldn't be possible, so it would be better to just go with the standard mountain spindle.  All of this is possible because on White Industries R30, G30, and M30 cranks, chainline is determined by spindle length and chainring offset, and not the crankarms.  

Non-boost TSR chainring on top of a boost TSR chainring to show the difference in offset

But say, just for kicks, that you really like the narrowest q-factor you can get, but you have a 73mm bottom bracket shell, so you have to use the Mountain spindle according to the bottom bracket compatibility chart.  You've measured your frame and you've looked at the White Industries' technical drawings where you've seen that the M30 cranks have a measurement from the centerline of the bike to the inside of the crankarm tip (the X2 measurement) of 74.8mm, but the road cranks have an X2 measurement of only 66mm. If you add 2.5mm to the road X2 measurement you can see what it would be if you substituted the mountain spindle spindle for the Road/Gravel one in that R30 crankarm. The result is 68.5mm for the X2 measurement. That's pretty narrow, but definitely not unheard-of for a mountain bike, so you might just be able to get your mountain bike set up with a q-factor of only 163.5mm by using R30 arms and a Mountain spindle.  Just be sure to measure well!

In the end, we've found that most riders are quite happy with one of the standard options, but we find it helpful to know what's actually changing when you go from one model to the next, and we hope you do too.  If you ever have any questions, or if you would like to get a special build, just get in touch, and we'll help you get the build you need.

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A new frame, fork, or drivetrain is only a part-swap away.

With the whirlwind of new standards, both from the frame and fork side of things and from the drivetrain side, it can seem like no part can be of use for very long, but that's not the case with the likes of Chris King, White Industries, and the other brands we carry.  Each brand varies with the options, but pretty much all of our brands allow you to easily swap axles, and drivers (or driveshells as Chris King calls them) to accommodate different dropout and cassette standards.

Chris King ISO 100x9mm Quick-Release hub with the 100x12mm and 100x15mm thru-axles that could replace the stock axle.

For example, if you have a White Industries CLD hub with an HG driver and a thru-axle style axle, but you want to convert it to a campy or XD/XDR driver (White Industries uses the same driver for both), or maybe a quick-release style axle, all you have to do is get the appropriate axle and driver, remove the old ones (an easy task), and install the new ones.  It's really as simple as that!  The same rules that apply to any hub, like not being able to convert a non-boost hub to boost, still apply, but within the standard confines, your options are pretty extensive.

White Industries CLD hub, thru-type axle with Micro Spline-compatible freehub, and quick release style axle.

For Chris King, you have two styles of freehubs based on hub models: Classic and R45.  The latter is smaller, lighter, and has fewer points of engagement, and uses a different driveshell and axle.  If you have a Chris King ISO rear hub with a 135x10mm quick-release style axle, and you want to change the axle to a 142x12mm Thru-axle, all you need to do is get that new axle, and swap it out.  By the same token, if you want to change the driveshell on that hub from an HG to an XD, all you need to do is get that new driveshell

Chris King ISO hub with some of the axle/driveshell options: XD Driveshell, Stainless Steel HG Driveshell, Black Alloy Driveshell, and Black Thru-type Axle with Black Alloy Driveshell.
Chris King R45 driveshell on the left, Classic driveshell (in stainless steel) on the right.

If you have an R45 hub, it's a bit more complicated because the most driveshells use their own specific axle, so they have to be swapped out together.  But you still have lots of options.  We recommend getting in touch with us before you order in order to ensure that you get the parts you'll need for your hub.

Chris King R45 hub with XDR driveshell and 130x12mm thru-type axle ready for a swap.

With Industry Nine hubs, each hub type has its own driver, axle, and endcap design (some encaps cover more than one hub type, but not all), and within each type, you can get all relevant driver types and axle standards (so no XDR or Campagnolo on Hydra hubs, for instance).  Essentially, you can get any option you want, and it's easy to change things later if you want to!  We don't currently list all of the small part options online, so if you're looking for a part, just contact us, and we'll get you what you need!

One of the many endcap/driver combinations that's available with Industry Nine hubs

Phil Wood is a lot like White Industries in that as long as the hubshell is the correct width, you get to choose whether you want a steel or alloy axle, thru or QR-type axle, and XD (no XDR available yet), HG-11, or Campagnolo freehub because for the most part they're interchangeable.  There are a few limitations within this (such as there being no Pro axle available for Touring hubs), but overall the system is very modular.  Get in touch with us for details on what the options are with any given hub. 

Phil Wood Classic hubs with HG freehub (red), and Campagnolo freehub (blue)

With Onyx Racing Products hubs, there are axle and freehub options for just about every standard, but there are variations in axle and freehub, so you just need to make sure you get the one that will work with your hub.   If you would like to change your axle or driver type on your Onyx hub, just get in touch, and we'll help you figure out what your options are!

Onyx has a very wide variety of axles and drivers.

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Threaded Headset Options: Chris King GripNut and 2Nut Headsets

Some might not know that Chris King offers two options for threaded headsets: the 2Nut and the GripNut.

Our Gios build is coming along, and it's got a Chris King GripNut headset.


We'll give you a quick run-down of what the differences are, and why you might want one over the other.  

Chris King 1 1/8" 2Nut on the left, with a spacer in between the adjusting nut and locknut, and the 1" GripNut headset on the right.

The Chris King 2Nut is basically Chris King's high-precision take on the classic threaded headset.  The bearing cap is threaded, and then there's a lock nut on top of that.  The headset allows you to leave your steerer long by using spacers, a cable hanger, or just about anything else you can find to attach to a spacer (like a bell, for instance), and mechanically, it works exactly the way just about every other standard threaded headset does.  If you have a threaded steerer that extends at least 5 full threads above the top of the adjusting (lower) cup, you can use the 2Nut, and depending on how much more than 5 full threads your steerer has, you can fill the space above the adjusting cup with spacers to take up the extra room underneath the lock nut. 

Notice how the 2Nut on the left looks just like a standard threaded headset, but the GripNut on the right looks different because the locknut (called a lock ring) actually threads into the adjusting ring.

Here you can see the GripNut adjusting cap assembly taken fully apart. The three parts are: the adjusting ring, the thread collet (the split part which is actually the part that threads onto the steerer tube), and the upper lock ring.

If you have very little steerer tube extending above the upper bearing cup, or if you want to cut your steerer tube as short as possible for the lowest stack height, the GripNut is the best option because it uses a special expanding collet to clamp the steerer tube, which requires fewer threads. 

So while it looks a lot like the 2Nut, it is functionally very different.  The design is also more secure and resistant to going out of adjustment over time than a standard threaded headset design.  The main downside of this design is that you have to cut your steerer tube to the correct length (between 11 and 14mm above the top of the bearing cup, not the adjuster cap).  This obviously limits your ability to add anything like a cable hanger down the road, but on many bikes–especially classic racing bikes–this just isn't an issue, and keeping the headset's stack height low is a bigger priority.

Both headsets are available in 1", 1 1/8", and 1 1/4" sizes for straight steerer tubes, so you really can get whichever style works best for your bike and your intended use.  If you've got any questions about these, or anything else we sell, don't hesitate to get in touch.  We have experience with these on our bikes, and are always happy to help you decide which type will work best for you!

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Bling Builds: Getting a Yeti Ultimate up and running again

The Yeti Ultimate started out as Mountain Bike Action's attempt to build what they thought was the ultimate mountain bike, and that meant tackling the common shortcomings of contemporary bikes.  The year was 1988, and some of the big issues at that time were chainsuck, poor tire clearance, and long chainstays, so MBA set out to solve all by using elevated chainstays.  After Yeti put the frame together for MBA, they made it a stock model, which went on to become their most popular frame by 1990.  And while it looks a bit unusual now, anyone who can remember the time around 1988-91 or so will recall that it was in good company: the Nishiki Alien, Mantis Valkyrie, and Trimble Carbon Cross among the most memorable of the bikes with elevated chainstays; but still, this bike was one of the first, and it had its own special little tidbits that set it apart.

  1. One of these innovative details was the 1.25" Fisher Evolution threaded headset, which was a standard that never really gained widespread traction.  These days, if you need to swap your fork and you have one of these headsets, your options are pretty much limited to finding an old fork...unless you get a Chris King Devolution headset!  This is a headset that is designed for cases where you have a headtube that's designed for a larger steerer, and you want to go down a size.  In this case, the rider used the 1.25" Devolution headset to put a fork with a standard 125" threadless steerer tube on his bike. 

Beyond the headset, this bike is a rad mix of older parts, and some that are still around today like the Paul Motolite brakes and Love Levers.  It's a perfect example of one of the reasons that we like working with companies like Chris King, Phil Wood, White Industries, and Paul: without a product like the Devolution headset, this bike might not still be rolling.  The fact is that Chris King can't expect to sell very many of those headsets in a given year, but because they do make them, rad bikes like this can still get their tires dirty! 

We love helping customers keep their classic bikes riding great, and we've got a lot of parts that can help with just that type of thing: from bottom brackets for very unusual thread pitches, to headsets to fit just about every standard, chances are that if you've got an old bike that needs odd parts, we can get it rolling! 

And remember that whether your bike is old or new, we want to see how you're using the parts you get from us!  We spend a lot of time working on our own bikes, and we want to see what you're working on too!

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XDR is here, so what do you need to know?

With Sram's introduction of their new Red Etap AXS group, they also announced their new XDR freehub body.  XDR isn't actually new though: the first place we remember seeing it was on Sram's 900 series of hubs, which came out back in 2016.  When asked about the new driver body, which a the time had no apparent use, we were told that it would allow for the development of a 12 speed road drivetrain at some point, and now that has arrived!

Chris King's teaser of their new XDR driveshell for their R45 and R45D hubs.  Photo courtesy of Chris King

So what's the actual difference between an XD and an XDR driver?  The latter has splines that are 1.85mm longer, making the driver body that carries the cassette effectively longer (the same as an 11-speed road Shimano-style driver, but more on that in a moment).  If you want to run an 11 or 12 speed mountain cassette, you just need a 1.85mm spacer behind it on the XDR driver, and you're good to go.  It's worth emphasizing, however, that while the freehub is very similar, it is longer, so it needs a hubshell that's designed for it.  This is one reason that it Chris King is offering it only on their road hubs, which are built for a longer 11-speed road Shimano style freehub body to begin with.  Since White Industries makes all of their hubshells slightly narrower to fit an 11-speed road freehub, the XDR freehub will work on all of them. 

White Industries current crop of titanium driver bodies: Campagnolo, Shimano 8-11 speed, Shimano Micro Spline, Sram XDR.  Photo courtesy of White Industries

Because all hub brands have approached freehub and hub design in general in their own way, it's hard to make any blanket statements about compatibility across multiple brands, but here's what we can say about the brands we carry:

  • Chris King R45, R45D Gen. 2, and R45D Centerlock hubs will be compatible with Chris King's new XDR driveshell, and conversion kits, as well as complete hubs should be shipping around the middle of March, 2019.  Currently there is no word on possible compatibility with other Chris King hubs.
  • White Industries has an XDR driver that is compatible with all of their recent hubs.
  • Onyx Racing Products is working on an XDR driver, and while we expect that it will definitely compatible with their road hubs, we don't have any word on compatibility with mountain hubs.  We'll keep you updated as new developments arrive on that front.
  • Phil Wood currently doesn't have plans to make an XDR driver.

Beyond this basic run-down, we're sure there will be questions, and we'll be here to answer them!  



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What's so special about custom wheels?

Most of our customers have probably been riding custom wheels for years, but even some of them may not have really thought a lot about what makes those wheels so worthwhile, so whether your bikes still have their stock wheels or not, read on to learn a bit more about what makes a set of custom wheels so good!

When thinking about custom wheels, the most basic question to ask might be “why?”.  It’s not a bad question either: most of us have at least one bike that has a stock wheelset on it, so why should anyone want to replace it, and supposing it does need to be replaced, why not try to get the exact same one that you already have?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between a stock bicycle and something like a car, for instance.  The latter has parts that are very specific to it, and which are usually of good quality and so a good choice when something needs replacement.  With a complete bike, in many cases the wheelset that comes with it has been machine-built, and isn’t of the best quality. This is because wheelsets are made of many parts that don’t look that sexy on a spec sheet, making them an easy, and definitely a go-to place to save some money when spec’ing a complete bike.

Of course this isn’t true on all bikes, and some come with really high-quality wheelsets, but in general even on higher-end bikes the wheelsets aren’t built to the same quality standards, and with the same quality materials as an aftermarket wheelset would be.  The result is that many of the wheelsets that come with complete bikes have inbuilt stresses that mean broken spokes, broken nipples, and the need for frequent truing.

Those issues are rare on a custom wheelset, and for riders who haven’t experienced one, it can be hard to believe that the difference could be so pronounced, but those who have been riding a top-quality, custom wheelset for any length of time, know that replacing spokes and nipples, and even truing wheels are things that hardly ever need to be done!  While the cost of a custom wheelset is seldom small at the outset, the long term cost can be really low when you consider the reliability and durability.  The fact that you also get a wheelset that is lighter, stiffer, smoother rolling, and more beautiful can actually start to seem like a bonus!

Beyond all of these very utilitarian differences are a whole host of aesthetic ones, because once you open the door to a custom wheelset, the options for how that wheelset looks are pretty much limitless!  That's where we really start having fun too, but we'll leave that to another day....

If you're ready to get started on your new wheelset, head over to our Wheels and Rims page!  And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

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Dropset Fit Roundup

Chris King DropSet compatibility revisited

You may have read our first blog post about which DropSet fits which bike, but now that we've worked with more customers, and done more digging to find out which bikes work with which DropSets, we figured it would be a good idea to do a followup post! 

First a little refresher on the different models:

DropSet 1: IS41/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 45/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits many Santa Cruz, Yeti, Alchemy, IBIS).
DropSet 2
: IS42/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 45/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits OPEN plus many Specialized, Trek, Cervelo and other major brands).
DropSet 3
: IS41/28.6 45/45 degree Upper Bearing, IS52/40 36/45 degree Lower Bearing (fits forks with a 36/45 degree crown race).

Below is a list of the bikes and brands we've checked out.  It's not exhaustive by any means, and we encourage you in any case to take a look at your headset bearings (they will almost always have their dimensions etched onto the outside of the bearing) before ordering just to be sure yours matches the information we have! 

If you need help finding the correct headset for a bike that's not on this list, we'd recommend checking the Cane Creek Headset Fit Finder, and then calling us so that we can make sure you get the right one!


The new Cosmic Stallion uses the an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 IS52/40 headset, which translates to a DropSet 2 headset.  Pretty much every All-City frame is compatible with a Chris King headset, and many will also work with the options we have from White Industries and Phil Wood, but we're sticking to DropSet compatibility here, so we won't go into detail on the others!

Ibis Cycles:

Most of the Ibis frames use one of the InSet variations, but the Hakka MX uses and integrated tapered IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headset which translates to the DropSet 1 headset.

Mason Cycles:

All Mason Cycles frames currently use integrated tapered IS42/28.6 IS52/40 headsets, so they work with the DropSet 2.  

Santa Cruz:

The vast majority of Current Santa Cruz bikes use integrated tapered IS41/28.6 IS52/40 headsets, so they work with the DropSet 1.  The few exceptions to this are the V10, which uses  an Inset 5 and the Jackal, which uses an InSet 3.


Many, but not all Trek bikes use the DropSet 3.  The best idea with these is to remove your headset bearings and check the size, because Trek uses many different headset styles and standards across their line, and some are completely proprietary, while others will work fine with an aftermarket headset like DropSet.


Many Specialized bikes use a DropSet 2, but because of the wide range of variations between the models it's hard to say with much certainty until you look at the bearings in your bike, so that's what we recommend doing in order to determine which will work best.  One example that we've researched is the current S-Works Tarmac Disc, which uses the DropSet 2


The 3T Exploro uses an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 | IS52/40 headset, which translates into a DropSet 2.  Currently there isn't a Chris King headset that will work with the Strada, which uses a smaller lower bearing.


The Open U.P. uses an integrated tapered IS42/28.6 | IS52/40 headset, like the 3T Strada above, so it uses a DropSet 2 as well.  This is true for all versions of U.P., including the 'Classic', 'New', and the U.P.P.E.R.


Genesis, like some of the other brands already mentioned, uses a variety of headsets, some of which have Chris king equivalents, and some of which don't.  We've found that many of the ones that use integrated headsets use the DropSet 2, but we recommend checking the bearings in yours before ordering. 

Beyond this list, Chris King has these general compatibility notes:

The DropSet 1 is compatible with Santa Cruz, Yeti, and Alchemy, among others.

The DropSet 2 is compatible with Open, 3T, All City, Low, Cinelli, and Lynsky, among others.

The DropSet 3 is compatible with the Santa Cruz Stigmata (without baseplate), among others.

Given the vast array of variations in headset dimensions right now, it's beyond the scope of this post to list everything, because in many cases finding out what will fit what takes some research, so we'd love to hear from you about any new fits that you find.  This will help us help other riders to find the right headset for their bikes!

And of course, if you need our help figuring out which headset will fit your bike, we're here, so just give us a shout!

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Alloy Wheels Are Better Than Ever!

Alloy rims are still a great option for your road bike, and here are some of our favorites!

With all of the focus on carbon rims these days, it would be natural to think that there was no place for alloy ones anymore; but in our opinion, that couldn't be further from the truth!  While carbon rims do offer some real benefits, they're expensive, and not necessarily the best choice (at least for bikes with rim brakes) for wet-weather riding because of generally poor braking in the wet.  And let's face it, not everyone has the money to drop on a new carbon wheelset–especially on a backup or winter wheelset.  Because of this we wanted to highlight a few alloy rims that we feel are not just OK second-choices, but that actually provide great performance and features that make them desirable options regardless of price.  Note that this post focuses on alloy road rims; in the future we'll talk about some of our favorite mountain rims.

Alloy rim technology and profiles have come a long way from the ones we rode 20 years ago, bringing stronger, lighter alloys to wide, tubeless-compatible rim profiles.  And if you just don't want to go disc, or are looking for a nice wheelset to put on an older rim-brake bike, some of the best of these use a ceramic coating to deliver low-weight braking on par with discs that isn't affected by wet weather!  These rims make a great alternative to carbon for off-season rides, or just a lower-cost option for any time of year, but as noted above: don't let the lower price fool you, because these are great rims, and we ride and recommend them daily.    

With that bit of introduction, here are a few of our favorites:

HED Belgium Plus

The HED Belgium rim was arguably the first high-performance rim that used a wider profile to spread the tire out to match the rim with more closely for greater aerodynamics and traction, and higher air-volume for a smoother ride.  Steve Hed had a very long history researching and making aerodynamic parts (we've all probably seen the famous HED tri-spoke wheel that has been a fixture of time trials and track racing), and this rim brings that no-how to a rim that is light, durable, and versatile, making it great for everyday use.  The Plus version of this rim (which is the one we offer with our wheelsets) adds 2mm to the overall width of the rim, which works better with the 25mm and up tire sizes that many of us ride these days.  And yes, the Belgium Plus is tubeless compatible, so you'll get a super-supple ride from your tires, and won't have to worry about every little sticker giving you a flat! 

This rim is available with a machined brake track for rim brakes or without for discs.  This our go-to rim, and in our opinion, both of the complete options below are some of the best values in road wheels at the moment!

  • External width: 25mm
  • Depth: 24mm
  • Seam: Welded
  • Brake track: Machined (on rim brake model)
  • Tubeless Ready
  • Weight: 465 grams

Complete Wheels built around Chris King R45 hubs are available here.

Complete Wheels built around White Industries T11 hubs are available here.

Astral Solstice

If you're looking for a super-light, made-in-USA alloy rim, then this one just might be for you! 

Astral has been keeping a low-profile, and their graphics are similarly low-key, but behind all of that is a high-quality alloy rim that won't make you pay any weight penalties.  Astral is one of the few companies that actually makes their rims entirely in the USA, and to our knowledge, is the only one making a welded rim in the USA, so this is a pretty special product.  Truth be told, the only beef we can find with Astral's rims is that the graphics are a bit ho-hum, but especially for a winter wheelset, your rims are likely to get dirty anyway so that really doesn't matter much.  Like the HED option above, the Solstice is tubeless ready so you can have the best ride quality and puncture protection, but it has a slightly narrower profile, which is probably part of how it shaves-off some weight.  The rim brake version of the wheelset below comes in at a mere 1370 grams, and the disc version only ups the weight to 1440 grams, so this is a great option for riders who either just want to keep the weight down without the cost of carbon, or who want a lightweight winter wheelset!

  • External width: 23.5mm
  • Depth: 22mm
  • Seam: Welded
  • Brake track: Machined (on rim brake model)
  • Tubeless Ready
  • Weight: 425 grams

Complete wheels built with White Industries T11 hubs and Astral Solstice rims are available here.

Mavic Open Pro UST

It's hard to discuss alloy rims without at least thinking of the Mavic Open Pro. This rim was, and to some still is, the standard workhorse rim for road bikes: great Maxtal alloy, a welded seam, tough double eyelets, nice machined brake track, and great overall quality have made this rim a keeper! Over the years though–especially as Mavic pushed the cycling world more and more toward wheel systems starting with the Helium wheelset–the venerable Open Pro's glory has faded a bit.

Well, that's finally changed with the new Open Pro UST and Open Pro UST Disc: these rims are wider, fully UST compliant, while maintaining a reasonable weight. They've also added some crazy shaping to the rim profile, with a look more reminiscent of Mavic's high-end Ksyrium wheel systems, which probably increases the strength while keeping the weight down because it focuses material at the spoke holes, but it definitely looks rad!

These are rims that we haven't offered in the past (we will be adding them to our AVT Works Custom Wheels soon)–partly because we just like the other options that have so much.  It's hard not to have a certain attachment to Mavic's rims though: most of us have ridden, and have enjoyed riding them because they tend to be very durable for their weight, whether that's because Mavic's Maxtal alloy really is as good as they say it is, or because they're just well made and well designed.  Another place where Mavic excels is their tubeless support: they're one of the few manufacturers to use the UST standard.  While savvy and cynical readers might point out that Mavic was one of the founders of the standard, that doesn't change the fact that it's one that seems to work quite well.  Our experience of using rims that are UST compliant is that they are very reliable and easy to set-up tubeless, so that's a plus in our book!

  • Internal width: 19mm
  • Depth: 25mm (at spoke holes)
  • Seam: Welded
  • Brake track: Machined (on rim brake model)
  • Tubeless Ready (UST compliant)
  • Weight: 430 grams


While the rims to this point will give you a lightweight, high-performance wheelset, for the very best braking performance with rim brakes, a ceramic coating offers significant advantages, which brings us to....


Boyd Altamont Ceramic Alloy

This is where the really special stuff starts happening: the Boyd Altamont Ceramic alloy rims might look like carbon from a distance, but that stealthy coating is actual ceramic!  This coating covers the entire rim–including the brake track–which protects the rim because the coating is more durable than paint, but more importantly, it improves the braking in both wet and dry conditions when using rim brakes

As far as we're concerned, Ceramic coated rims are where it's at for rim brakes.  They make it possible to have the light-weight of a rim brake bike, but with the stopping capabilities (and uniformity across weather conditions) that discs usually give.  It's really a win-win, so we're really excited about them!

The Altamont's 30mm deep rim profile is decidedly more aero than the other models in this post, but it's still squarely in the all-around category, making it a great choice for just about any type of riding.  If you ride rim brakes, and want an alloy rim–whether it's as a winter backup for a carbon one, or as a high-performance year-round one–we can't recommend this rim highly enough!  The combination of medium depth, wide width, and the durability and braking performance make it a really impressive option, so if you're thinking it might fit the bill for you, our bet is that it will!

  • External width: 24mm
  • Depth: 30mm
  • Seam: Welded
  • Brake track: Ceramic Coated
  • Tubeless Ready
  • Weight: 485 grams

Boyd Altamont Ceramic Alloy rims are available here.

Complete wheelsets built with White Industries T11 hubs and Boyd Altamont Ceramic Alloy rims are available here.

Complete wheelsets built with Chris King R45 hubs and Boyd Altamont Ceramic Alloy rims are available here.

As a special promo through the end of November, we're offering half-off one of our Donnelly road and gravel tire bundles when you spend over $500!  Just use promo code "Tire_Promo" at checkout!

Hopefully this has been helpful, but if you're not sure which rim will be best for your next wheelset, just get in touch!  We're always stoked to get riders on the best parts for their riding-styles, bikes, and budgets!


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Custom parts kits are our specialty!

Do you want to make a matching kit, but aren't sure how to do it? We're here to help!

One of the things we enjoy most is helping our customers get the best parts kit for their bikes.  Sometimes that means something as simple as making sure they get the right headset or bottom bracket for their bike, but other times that means helping them match-up parts from various manufacturers to create a cohesive group that will give them a beautiful and functional build!  And remember also that just because these photos don't have wheels as part of them, we can also build complete wheels to fill-out your kit!

Because White Industries offers their cranksets with a variety of extractor cap colors, you can match your cranks to the rest of your parts in a really low-key, but effective way! This kit includes the White Industries M30 crank with Chris King ISO B Front and ISO B Rear Hubs, and a Chris King Threadfit 30 bottom bracket in Matte Punch.

Not everyone knows that Chris King makes beautiful headset spacers to match their other parts. This kit includes their ISO AB Front and ISO B Rear Hubs, Threadfit 30 Bottom Bracket, InSet 2 Headset, and Spacer Kit all in Matte Slate.
This White Industries kit includes the M30 Crank, BSA Threaded Bottom Bracket, and Zero-Stack 44 / External Cup 44 Headset in blue.

Sometimes black is best! This kit includes White Industries' M30 Crank, BSA Threaded Bottom Bracket, and Zero Stack 44 / External Cup 44 Headset all in black.

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