Alloy All Mountain Wheelset Collaboration by Chris King and Stan’s NoTubes
Building a custom new bike is always fun, picking the exact parts you want and not sacrificing quality could save you some dollars in the long run. The last piece of the bike-building puzzle I needed to secure was a wheelset for my downhill rig and trail bike. I have tried wheels like E-13 LG1+ and TRS+, Spank Spoons & Racers, Roval Traverse, WTB’s and Derby Rims. I had yet to try Stans NoTubes rims and with a great recommendation from my local shop I decided to set my downhill and trail bike, up Stan’s NoTubes Flow EX rims with Chris King hubs.
The Stan’s Flow EX rims are laced up by machine and then tensioned by true hand and all built close to home in Portland, Oregon. Local shops like Hi-5 Bikes build wheels all by true-hand. Chris King hubs come with a five-year warranty, and the complete wheelset comes with a one time, two-year crash replacement program. Coming from a 26” downhill wheel set I expected having a wheels that were strong, durable and could handle anything and everything from downhill laps to aggressive trail riding.
This is what Chris King has to say about their Alloy Ride All Mountain wheelset:
“Our workhorse mountain wheel set is built for those who descend like a cannonball and climb like a goat. These wheels are designed for riders who demand the precision and performance of Chris King hubs coupled with a durable and high performance alloy rim.”
Alloy Ride All Mountain Wheel-set Specification:
- Rim: Stan’s Flow EX 27.5
- Hub Configuration: 32/32 ISO LD
- Hub: Trail- 20mm Front; 142×12 Rear / Downhill- 20mm F; 150x12mm R
- Spokes: Sapim Race
- Rim Weight: 530g
- Lacing Pattern: 3-Cross
- Approx. Weight: Front- 930g Rear- 1055g Total: 1985
Stan’s NoTubes – Flow EX 27.5 Rims
Stan’s Rims use the company’s Bead Socket Technology design, which practices lower sidewall height in combo with a wider rim width that allows the tires to spread out into a rounder contour. The Flow Ex has multiple World Cup and World Championship victories from the best riders in the world (like Rachel Atherton), they’ve spent countless hours getting input from these riders and refined them to the remarkable rims they’ve created today. They’ve kept the weight low, however the Flow EX offers a 14% thicker sidewall than previous years for maximum dent resistance. Additional improvements are a 33% thicker spoke bed for added pull-through strength. Stan’s increased the outside width of the rim to 29.1mm and the interior to 25.5mm. Stan’s claims they are, “the strongest, fastest rolling, and best sealing tubeless rims available for 26-inch, 29inch and 650b tires sizes…” We will see about that!
Chris King Precision Components – ISO Hubs
With respect in the cycling industry for creating precision components that are designed to last years not months, Chris King has a reputation that directly relates to the company’s focus on preserving tight tolerances and expert level quality control. All of the manufacturing processes are done in the United States, including USA sourced raw material to purchased goods. Chris King also upholds a strong business practice to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
The ISO disc hubs are cnc machined from 2024 aluminum and use Chris King’s Ring Drive system for 72 points of synchronized engagement. All of the hub bearings are made in house as well, to exact tolerances and use a split ring over a rubber seal to keep contaminates out all while allowing them to be serviced. Chris King recommends servicing your hubs every 6 months. See service guide here.
I chose ISO 20mm Front and ISO 142x12mm Rear hubs for the enduro / trail ride usage and ISO 20mm Front and ISO 150x12mm Rear for downhill riding. The wheel builders set me up with Sapim Spokes, Stan’s tubeless rim tape for the Flow EX’s and valve stems, which seated perfectly on a trail set of Maxxis DHF and DHR tires.
On the Trails
Out on the trails, the Stan’s were unyielding, smooth and stronger than other 650b wheels I have ridden. There wasn’t any flexing during landings or hard cornering and even when running a lower tire pressure, the Maxxis DHF and DHR trail tires stayed securely seated on my rims despite my best efforts to tear them off. After initial break in and the first couple ride tightening adjustments, the ISO hub’s engagement is wildly fast! There was no popping, skipping or clunking that can happen when under aggressive use with less developed designs.
Chris King recommends servicing your hubs every 6 months; my local bike shop Hi-5 Bikes has all the tools and equipment to re-service my hubs. It takes them less than 30 minutes all the while you can sit, hang out and eat tacos from the Mexican restaurant next door. The seal in the drive shell works really well at keeping the grit and grime of the PNW winter months out of the internals of the hubs. The rear hub did eventually give way after a year of abuse with no maintenance (I was pushing it!).
Yes I managed to stuff silt, dirt, mud and more into the bearing… but because of Chris Kings precision work they are the only bearings I have ever seen come back from the dead! After only the rear drive-side bearing being completely seize all it needed was a little cleaning action, a spurt from the air compressor, a fresh dosage of lube and bam! I am ready for another 6 months of pure enjoyment on these hubs. Whether I was buzzing down technical downhill laps or climbing up seat numbing trails, this wheel set has set the bar for me and never missed a beat. After going through every type of ride the rims remain dent free, the only wear on the rims are from bouncing off rocks and smashing over roots showing a few cosmetic scratches.
For someone who wants a solid wheel capable of withstanding numerous seasons of hard riding. The Stan’s Flow EX and Chris King collaboration is a tough wheelset to beat. It isn’t the lightest rim, is not the cheapest but it is a 3 cross, 32 hole lacing pattern that is ultra reliable, strong and buzzing with fun all the way down the trail. Everything from downhill racing to all-mountain style riding this wheel set can do it all.
Cheers and Happy Riding!