Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Light Bicycle All Mountain carbon wheels review

Posted by Tony | May 26, 2014 | 15 comments so far

Light Bicycle carbon rim

After lusting for some carbon MTB wheels for a while and deciding that I didn’t want to spend a huge amount in case I didn’t get on with them. I came across a huge thread on SingleTrackWorld that threw up many positive comments about Light Bicycle wheels. Given how positive the feedback was I decided to give the Light Bicycle wheels a go.

Buying the wheels direct from China was a different sort of experience. After deciding that buying with a credit card was going to be fairly safe I chose the hookless (no bead) 30mm wide carbon wheels. Even the website admits that these are “very similar” to the Specialised hookless rims, which have had great reviews. Next was the hubs and spokes. The hubs I chose were the Novatec which are the same as many other wheel builders use (Superstar) and had the same reliable bearings as some of my other wheelsets. Red to match the bike build in progress.

Light Bicycle carbon rim2

Cost? $568 which at current rates is a very competitive £337. Plus postage and import duty. Still very much cheaper than any other sort of carbon wheels from the well known brands.

After some interesting Anglo-Sino e-mails to confirm the hub configuration and the spokes, I had to wait almost a month for delivery since I forgot that I’d ordered just before Chinese new year. Light Bicycle were very rapid in getting back to queries though.

Eventually the big box arrived and out came a pair of very light and really high quality looking wheels. After a quick application of some Stan’s tape, valves and sealant. Two specialised 29er tyres went up almost instantly and stayed up beautifully. Just the addition of red anodised valves, which Dave suggested, were the final essential touch.

Light Bicycle rear carbon rim

So what do they ride like? Well my comparators are the Roval aluminium wheels on the my Camber Carbon 29er. They might not be the highest quality, lightest 29er wheels, but they are OK and the Light Bicycle wheels blew them away. The carbon wheels must be a good 0.5-0.7kg lighter and are a good deal stiffer too.

Along with lots of recent road miles the first ride on the new wheels was a 40 mile blast over the Surrey hills to meet the Moles at Peaslake. Heading over the bike was really covering the ground well and after meeting D’Andy on the way back he hit Strava PR’s on the way back from the Tower keeping up.

So in summary. Amazing value, light and stiff carbon wheels that really made the bike feel quicker. In fact my only “problem” now is that I want another set for the Camber Carbon 29er!

Filed under Wheels & Tyres in May 2014


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  1. Elliot says:

    That was the main “problem” I saw with super expensive carbon wheels; buy a pair for one bike and they might ride so nice you want a set for every bike. But at that price 3!!! bikes could be fitted with plastic hoops for the same as most companies are asking for a single pair.

  2. KevS says:

    Me likes, me wants.

    Can you send me your credit card details so I can order some too please? 🙂

  3. Matt says:

    Wheels are where it’s at these days.

    I think the interesting issue is that these rather nice carbon wheels appear to be attached to a rather nice carbon Pronghorn of which we know little about. Are you now twentyonebikestony?

    Nice looking wheels and a good weight for 29ers. The Novatech hubs should be pretty reliable given they are cartridge bearings and easy to overhaul.

  4. Tony says:

    A review of the Pronghorn will follow in time….. nottwentybikestonyyet

  5. Andrew says:

    I am considering these wheels for my Transition Covert 29. Can you post an update or long term report?

    • Dandy says:

      Hi Andrew – facing the prospect of replacing a Stans Arch rim for the second time in about 6 months (after one of my regular bike/tree interfaces on landing a jump) I ordered some Light Bicycle 29 x 35mm rims.

      These have really improved the feel of the Santa Cruz, searching for a description, I’d say, “Crisp and solid.” Crisp because the bike feels faster and accelerates quicker, and solid because it doesn’t seem to deflect on cornering and has taken some abuse with no dings.

      I hit a root while descending at speed, and managed to pinch flat. So what? Well I was running a tubeless set up, so the impact had punctured the tyre casing (Specialized Purgatory Control) in two places. For sure it would’ve badly ‘dinged’ an alloy rim, but not a mark on the LB carbon.

      I’ve also managed to (successfully this time) land many of my usual 2-3 foot drops with them, and they’re still running straight and true. I’ve now bought a 26 x 38mm pair for the Surly Instigator.

  6. Adam Hunneyball says:

    I’d be interested to know the lowest pressures you’ve gone to without the tyre burping? I’d like a set of these, but regularly race on 20psi or less.

    • Dandy says:

      Hi Adam – With ‘normal’, i.e. 2.0-2.3 inch tyres I run around 20psi. The only issue I’ve had with burping air was when I slid off on a corner and the extreme angle caused it to burp and collect a load of dirt between the bead and the rim … I did say it was an extreme angle !

      Normal riding, i.e. staying rubber side down, and smallish jumps don’t seem to be an issue at all.

  7. Rob says:

    Hi mate, great review and i’m close to pulling the trigger, but please can you elaborate on how much you paid in import duties shipping to UK.
    Thanks, Rob

  8. Rob says:

    .. sorry also interested in how the novatech hubs are holding up? Cheers Rob

  9. tony says:

    Hi Rob. The wheels have been great. Stayed strong and true with no hub problems. The hubs are the same as many other wheels (eg Superstar) use and the bearings are easy to source& replace.

    I must like them. I have another pair in the garage waiting to have their tyres fitted.

  10. Eric says:

    Out of curiosity, what the POE on that Novatec hub?


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