So I teased a few days ago on Twitter about a set of carbon bling that my main man Jason Sager swung by Boulder for me to test out. Since then, and nearly 200 miles later I have become obsessed with them…
First some background. For those of you that do not know him, Jason was one of the initial cyclo-bloggers using the primitive social interweb tools available in the day to talk about his antics….but mostly using his words; use pictures as the new words. Visit his Flickr account and you’ll see what I mean. My man snaps pics prolifically. Anyways, his blog I often credit for inspiring me to start my own and we started an ‘internet dating relationship’ over the years commenting back and forth on blogs, sharing emails and thoughts, etc. His diatribes of professional racing life were and still are downright entertaining and we all got to witness him pursue his career as a bike racer, become a new daddy and as of late, take on some new and extremely exciting career responsibilities. More on that in a moment.
So, I thought the best way to cover the review of the Edge Composites wheels I am testing in addition to a little more knowledge about Mr. Sager would be to do it in a ‘5 Questions with’ format as I’ve done in the past.
Sager: The title I've given myself is "VP of Relationships and Story Telling" though technically its more along the lines of domestic sales and marketing. My job is to put wheels under people who like to ride bikes fast.
Sager: We've been really lucky that Jason Schiers, the company's owner, has made so many killer products that they've simply been selling themselves. In an effort to help with that, we've been putting products in front of opinion leaders, racers, and movers and shakers in the bike world. I have a fleet of mtb xc, all mountain, 29'er, tubular, and the full spread of road wheels that travel with me to races and events. Anytime I can stop by and let folks take the wheels out on ride, we try to make it happen. Forks, bars, stems, and posts are also available, but nothing is eye candy to a bike rider like a pair of 190g rims.
3) Keller: Let's talk Edge and cyclocross. What are some of the marquee products we will see racers on in 2009 from Edge?
Sager: Our cross fork was getting a few laps in under American riders in Europe last Fall/Winter on the back-up bikes of folks who couldn't officially race on them. For this year, those athletes made a big push to use the forks in competition, which is flattering and testimony to the design. We have a 450g full carbon one piece construction and has a 47mm rake. That, mounted to our 210g road bar, and on a wheel built with our 350g 68mm deep tubular rim would turn into a dream machine. Maybe toss all of that on one of the custom carbon frames that are made with our tubing, and you'd be onto something. If you own a carbon frame made in the US, its highly likely to be made with Edge tubes.
4) What is making Edge on the bleeding edge of carbon technology for bicycle applications? There are a number of choices out there for carbon hoops as an example. If you focus on wheels specifically, why should a reader choose Edge with their hard earn greenbacks versus the various other players in the market?
Sager: Two things - durability, and performance. We didn't design products around weight goals or a look, but we did design them to be ridden. Our road rims are the perfect example of that - the brake track is built out and then machined down to insure the highest compaction, perosity, and uniform surface possible. This, combined with higher spoke tension and the molded spoke holes eliminate the biggest problems with carbon wheel lifespan - spoke breakage, nipple pull, and brake track pulsing.
5) Lastly, why does T. Wells wear tiny little Euro ankle panty socks? I thought home boy had style?
Sager: Don't talk to me about APS. We need to put the positive vibe out there and create and atmosphere of support and a nurturing energy. Todd deserves that if he's going to kick this affliction. Besides, those wheels he's using on his 29'er look very familiar.
Now let’s learn a bit about the most excellent set of Carbon 29’er hoops Edge has graciously let me test for the next few months. I had Jason walk me through some of the specifics….
- What’s the MSRP?: $2350 complete.
- What Model am I Testing? You're riding the 29'er XC 28h on King ISO disc in Team Jamis Pewter. Built with DT/Swiss Aerolite spokes and Pullar nipples.
- For the weight weenies: 1570g with King hubs, rim weight is 380g
- Any description of unique construction methods: Carbon's an amazing material - wheels and products, in general, can vary so much from one company to the next depending on their layout and laminant schedule, design characteristics, and tooling used. Our designers came from a tooling background which has allowed them to build the tools, molds, and processes needed to implement designs that might otherwise become stuck in simply concept phase. We mold in our spoke hold, rather than drilling them, and leave behind an internal ball and socket type cup for the nipple to rest in. Now when the wheel is laced and tensioned, the nipple can articulate and stay in alignment with the spoke, which allows for a higher spoke tension, increased spoke and nipple life, and prevents the fatigue that causes nipples to pull through the hole in the carbon we didn't drill. The processes of layup vary from one wheel to the next, also, with road wheels, clinchers in particular, designed to withstand impacts from road use in addition to the high pressures of a road tire and tube. This is opposed to the design of the mtb clincher which is designed around stress and force impact, but not the internal side pressure of 135psi tire pushing on the rim wall. Application engineering allows us to not put weight limits on any of our products.
Thus far my experiences have been absolutely stunning with the 29’er hoops and wheel build. Here are some observations in roughly ~200 miles of riding:
- The wheels, likely due to the shorter spokes and carbon hoops, are noticeably stiffer and accelerate SUPER quickly.
- Jumping and getting air is easier in that I can throw them around easier…likely due to weight. My CrossMax 9’ers are like pigs when I try to get them off the ground.
- Jason equipped me with Geax 2.2 Saguaro tires. They are set up tubeless with Stans. Zero leakage and thus far no burping. I started with 40psi (SUPER high!) as I was not sure what to expect and have since, ride after ride tried different pressures, each ride releasing a bit. I am now comfortably at 35 front and 36 rear (I could/will go lower depending on the course) and the combination of the tires tread pattern and side ‘teeth’ and the pressure make them hook up insanely. Near tubular like performance.
As the months wear on, I’ll report more on my observations and longevity of the product. For now, come look at the rest of the photos to see close ups and other angles of the wheels and Jason’s visit by clicking on the image below…