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First look: Rockguardz takes on the carbon rim market!

Any colour you want for the logo

Any colour you want for the logo

UK firm Rockguardz, have seen an opening in the Carbon rims market! With some carbon rims now retailing at unbelievable prices,up to and beyond £850 per rim, there is an opportunity for a more budget priced rim. Carbon rims seem to be the latest buzz words in the Enduro community, but until now, only used by the wealthier or more factory of riders due to the high costs. Seeing a gap in the market for a more affordable offering Rockguardz are now offering their own version called Rockguardz Rimz.

Rims available unbuilt

Rims available unbuilt

Advantages of carbon rims are weight and stiffness, with the obvious disadvantage being cost! If you puncture and try and rip down a rock section on the rim, you could be in for a hefty bill just for those few precious seconds you may gain in a race. Weight advantages in a rim is one of the most crucial places. Due to the theory of rotating mass, basically for every gram you can loose on the rim, it equates to around 7 gram less rotating force, so when you work that out you realise just how advantageous it can be to loose weight in the outside edge of a wheel.

Matched with the Hope hub, its a fine looking wheel

Matched with the Hope hub, its a fine looking wheel

Carbon offers huge benefits to stiffness too, especially in the bigger 29″ wheels, which with their taller rims are much more likely to bend or just twist whilst out on the trail. A stiffer rim will also track and steer so much more efficiently, hence the rider can hold their line with much more confidence.

Goes great with the sweet look of the Intense

Goes great with the sweet look of the Intense

We had Hope send us over their beautifully crafted, latest Pro 2 Evo hubs, to lace up to these rims, we also made sure the wheel builder was equipped with a digital spoke torque meter, as the last thing we wanted was a spoke nipple pulled through the rim. Our wheel builder was most impressed with the rims, which is a good start and when back at our UK HQ they were weighed and compared to a fully built wheel with the same hubs and spokes, but Stans Arch rims. The weight of the carbon wheels (together) came in at 1889g, compared to 2071g with the Stans rim. Now that’s only a weight saving of 182g but if you times that by seven for the rotating mass weight, then it becomes 1274g, and that ain’t to be sniffed at!

Hope Pro 2 Evo retains the fine Hope styling

Hope Pro 2 Evo retains the fine Hope styling

As for the stats, these 29er versions are 30mm wide tubeless ready (once tape applied to inside) come in at 410g each, or you could go for the more XC orientated 23mm wide ones at 350g each, personally I would stick to the 30mm for our game. Prices for rims are £300 each or you could go for the sturdier DH type for £360. Rockguardz will be offering builds on hubs sent in by customers and full wheel sets ready-built (prices TBC)

You can never get enough carbon!

You can never get enough carbon!

A couple of other clever thing this Shropshire based firm have done is, offer any colour Rockguarz logo to match your bike for an extra £75 and they have also hooked up with another great Shropshire firm, Invisiframe, to offer protection against knocks and scratches to your precious black carbon. This comes in at £84.99 (gloss or matt) which may seem a bit pricey, but a lot of material is needed, with quite a lot of off-cuts, to cover all of the rims.

I prefer the gloss for more bling

I prefer the gloss for more bling

These Invisframed Rockguardz Rimz have now had a real good spanking upon the hills of North Wales now. They have gone through the rigors of amateur trail-centre type wheel bending whips, deep rutted mud and gravel, fast rocky single-track descents and the dreaded jet-wash and on close inspection are holding up real well. The New Hope Pro 2 EVO hubs have the usual sweet Hope click noise just a bit slicker, with more engagement points added to these latest models. The Rims are still true and no peel-back has been found on the Invisiframe protection. And with the Hope hubs coming in at £155 (rear) and £65 (front) plus £100 for spokes and build, that’s a set of light-weight stiff wheels for roughly the same price as one US made Carbon rim, as they say, “you do the math”!

Invisiframed in matt

Invisiframed in matt

VPP urad, small but effective

VPP guard, small but effective

A typical Rocklguardz frame guard

A typical Rockguardz frame guard

Whilst on the subject of Rockguardz, it is worth pointing out their frame guards and mud guards are going from strength to strength, with all new bike frames constantly having moulds taken, plus they now have brought out a much needed linkage protector for the bottom part of the VPP link of the Intense and Santa Cruz bikes. This is to be used as an extra add-on bit covering up your precious carbon or Alloy frame. This just cable ties on and will retail around the £15 mark. We also have been testing one of these on our Carbine test bike and it is bang-on.

Words & Pics: Jim Buchanan

More info: www.rockguardz.com, www.hopetech.com, www.invisiframe.co.uk

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