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Reviews > SRAM Rise 60 29″ Carbon Wheelset

SRAM Rise 60 29″ Carbon Wheelset

SRAM Rise 60 Carbon 29er Wheels
A long term test of SRAM's Rise 60 29" Carbon Wheelset
Towards the end of the 2012 mountain bike holiday season I received a new mountain bike to test, an Orbea Occam 29er which came with a full carbon, SRAM Rise 60 29″ Wheelset. I am not known for being very gentle and I also have quite a well known dislike for many of SRAM´s products, for example their X9 gear, so it wasn´t much surprise that these wheels caused much hilarity, and sucking-of-breath-through-teeth, amongst my riding friends who were quickly taking bets on how quickly I would snap them. Well, I used the wheels for 3 months of hard mountain biking on the Basque Coast and on several trips through the Pyrenees, so how did it end for the Rise 60 carbon wheels? Read on to see how SRAM´s carbon lasted up to my not-too-gentle testing.


The SRAM Rise 60 wheels are a carbon rim, laced to an aluminum SRAM hub with 24 steel, straight pull, bladed, Sapim CX-Ray spokes and aluminum nipples. The aluminum nipples use nylon inserts to stop the high tension spokes loosening off during use. The carbon rim uses a proprietary asymmetric carbon which SRAM claims lets them give some vertical compliance while keeping lateral stiffness. Did I notice any vertical compliance, on a FS bike with 2″ rubber… what do you think?! The rims are 26mm deep and have a 19mm internal diameter and need a conversion kit to be run tubeless. Axel kits are available to fit both QR and 15mm up front and QR and 12×142 out back. No 20mm bolt through is available which is in keeping with SRAM´s designation of these wheels as “XC and Marathon” use only.
The hub seems really nicely made, with a large body housing two 6902 bearings in the rear shell, two 6804 in the front and three further 6802 bearings in the freehub body. The freehub comes off very easily with a sharp pull, revealing a 54 tooth engagement ring which is actuated by three pawls in the freehub, giving an engagement angle of 6.7 degrees or roughly twice as fast as the Hope Pro II´s I´m using on my other bikes. The pawl design is clever, with three notches giving three points of engagement on each pawl meaning a better distribution of forces. The pawls are activated by rubbish looking metal springs, very similar to my Pro II´s. I always look at stuff like this and think, “can I fix it on the trail” and with these hubs I definitely could, meaning SRAM’s Rise wheels pass the BasqueMTB bodge test.

SRAM Rise 60 29er Wheels: PERFORMANCE / IN USE

To describe how the SRAM Rise 60 29er wheelset performed in use I think it is useful to split this section into three main areas; weight, stiffness and durability. These three factors are the holy trinity of wheels and any wheels that can deliver that are worth considering regardless of the price.


On my scales the front wheel weighed 691g and the rear 791g excluding the rim tape giving 1482g in total or 1544g including the rim tape. SRAM claims 1420g which I guess is with all the grease removed from the hubs. This puts the Rise 60´s in the “light-but-not-that-light” category, comparable to the lighter aluminum wheelsets but easily beaten by other carbon wheelsets. It is funny though, when you hold the wheels they feel stupidly light. I believe this is because a lot of the mass is concentrated in the hub, and this goes a way to explaining why SRAM´s wheels seem to accelerate so effortlessly on the trail, something which is very noticeable.


The other part of that equation is the stiffness of the rims. Orbea told me that with the 29er Occam they wanted a very stiff bike, so they tested the stiffness of different manufacturer´s wheels at the local university. They chose the SRAM Rise 60 wheels for their top of the range Occam S10 because of their impressive stiffness. This stiffness undoubtedly helps the sprightly feel that the wheels have but when it is really, really noticeable is when you are pointing the bike downwards and cranking on. There is no perceptible flex from the wheels, even when things get rough.


SRAM state on their website that these wheels are designed for “XC and marathon” users and are not suitable for “All Mountain” type riding. I couldn´t disagree more. Initially I was very cautious of the wheels and was conscious of them on every rock and root, and if you´ve had a mountain bike holiday with us before then you will know we have plenty of those. The change for me came around 2 weeks into my test period; I was running our Backcountry Pyrenees trip for a group and we did one of my favorite descents, a long trail full of loose “baby-head” rocks. The Occam seemed to come alive and I couldn´t slow down. I didn´t want to! The noise was hideous with the rocks hitting the rims but I totally ragged it. At the bottom I carefully inspected the wheels, fully expecting some damage, but there was nothing. Not even a mark! After that I forgot about the fact I was rolling around on expensive carbon wheels and just rode them. On several occasions I very definitely felt the rims contact rocks, either due to slow punctures or just being clumsy. At the end of the test period I stripped the wheels down and inspected them, and to summarise what I found:
  1. Lots of marks on the wheels. These we in the top clear coat of lacquer over the carbon or in the stickers. No marks on the carbon.
  2. Absolutely no visible signs of damage to the carbon, either on the rim, on the bead, around the spoke eyelets or on the inside of the rim.
  3. The wheels are still very true. I never had to true the wheels during my test period.
From my experience of aluminum rims, under similar test conditions, I would have expected a few dings on the rim, some snapped spokes and to have had to true the wheels. It is worth mentioning that the SRAM freehub body showed the typical damage where the cassette bites into the aluminium. This is common to so many hubs now and I wish that manufacturers would sort it out.


There are a few other things to mention on the SRAM wheels. The freehub seems to be well sealed and at the end of the test period the grease was still relatively clean. The freehub performed faultlessly and I liked the quick engagement which the 54 tooth engagement ring, combined with the pawl design, offers. The bearings were still in good condition after 3 months of riding and, although I found a small amount of swarf around one of the freehub bearings, I woudn´t need to replace them in the near future. The 19mm internal width of the rim worked well with the 2.1 Maxis Advantage and 2.2 Kendal Nevegal tyres I tested. I tried to get the tyre to work tubeless using the regular Stans rim tape but couldn´t. Apparently with the rubber tubless conversion kit I would have managed but I didn´t have time to buy and try this during my test.


It is very hard to draw a conclusion on the SRAM Rise 60 wheels. How do you justify a set of wheels that costs as much as many full bikes? Can a set of wheels ever be worth this price? I guess I can only ever answer whether I would buy them or not and for these wheels I would definitely part with my own cash. The reason is the fact that here is a light wheelset that is super stiff in use and seems tough enough to go the distance. On 29″ bikes the wheels are really important and I believe justify a higher percentage of the overall bike spend to avoid flexy, high weight and poor durability. If I was building a 29″ bike I would definitely consider these wheels. Price: £1550, €1800 or $2000. Weight: 1482g without rim tape. + Very stiff. + Light and feel lighter still. + Durable. – Not tubeless ready. – How much were they again?

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